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Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/12/2012 | 10:08:38 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
What you say makes a lot of sense, Chris. (Although, the Pope *is* on Twitter now.) But there are a lot of people who say that social doesn't really take hold at a company until upper management participates. Maybe it's different for external social media. But, just like I expect to see whomever is president with a Facebook and Twitter presence (even though I know someone else is writing as him/her), I think people/customers/shareholders will start to expect (if they don't already) some kind of public presence from the top exec on social media.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Mathew
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Mathew,
User Rank: Moderator
12/13/2012 | 11:01:39 AM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
One of my favorite CEO Twitter feeds is via United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek. That it's a fake feed makes it an even more hilarious highlight of how ineffective the airline seems to be at public relations.
David Berlind
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David Berlind,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 3:11:11 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
Interesting post Chris and I think the examples you called out help to inform the debate (hey, Laurie.. if you're watching.. maybe this would make for a great debate!). It would be interesting to look at the financial trajectory of Salesforce vs Oracle since social media really got its legs under it. In April of 2008, Oracle was trading at around 22 and today it's at around 32. Salesforce on the other hand was at 59 back in April of '08 and today is at 166. Oracle has had a little less than 50% growth. Salesforce is close to 200% growth. I'm not saying the growth of either is directly attributable (or not attributable) to their CEOs use of social media. But the two are more apples to apples from a comparison point of view. Back in his Oracle days, Benioff was widely viewed as Ellison's protoge. As industry CEOs go, the two love the spotlight, have gargantuan egos, love to provoke controversy and are virtually synonymous with their brands. The personalities of both men greatly helped to propel their companies to the heights they've achieved. Yet one has heavily leveraged social media as a platform to get his message out. And the other has not.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
12/14/2012 | 2:17:34 AM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
For a $20-some billion revenue company like Oracle to grow at 50% is like it added 5+ Salesforces, David -- not bad, even without tweets! Ellison and Benioff both put on can't-miss keynote speeches at their customer events, Open World and Dreamforce. Those kind of venues are where I think their messages get out. That's where they reach their customers with very compelling storytelling there. But I don't think most CEO's storytelling voice and charisma carries through on Twitter.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
12/13/2012 | 7:17:41 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
I had followed a leading network vendor's CTO who tweeted frequently until it became clear there was little benefit and so kicked them out of my tweeter nest. Problem was, the tweets were equal parts marketing announcements (50%) and wardrobe selection quandries or cultural awareness tours she participated in as she was jetting around their world's offices (50%). Great if I wanted to follow a travel consultant instead of the CTO of a major network hardware vendor.

I say, let a CXO tweet, if they want, but they (or their appointed minion) should keep it relevant. Being irrelevant or overly publishing humorous asides like digs at competitors only lessens their position as considering social media or tweeter a gam or amusing pasttime. Perhaps James' opinion would change if he read some of the posts.
Talent Analytics
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Talent Analytics,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 7:59:33 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
There's nothing like doing to fully appreciate the value and impact of social media. Encouraging top execs to offer thoughts on twitter and elsewhere is refreshing and welcome. In fact, I attended a talk at Dreamforce where Jeff Immelt, CEO of GM talked about how much he enjoys blogging and interacting without the constraints of "scrubbing" his words. Immelt, along with Gen. Colin Power talked about active participation with social media - not to mention Richard Branson who is active on twitter and blogs on LinkedIn.

If CEOs and leaders from some of the largest organizations in the world see the value in embracing social, there's no reason why executives from midsize or smaller organizations can't or shouldn't as well.

Mike Kennedy
Dir Marketing
Talent Analytics, Corp.
sweetman554
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sweetman554,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 7:59:46 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
Makes sense. While Twitter is somewhat different than past forms of communication, the fact of the matter is that CEO's in all size companies have not been universally present in newsprint, radio, television, email, etc. And yet companies have grown and thrived over the years. Might it be that more companies "get" social media than is claimed, and that they've made a conscious decision to have their CEO sit out another round of being the company's daily spokesperson?
Matt Ridings - Techguerilla
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Matt Ridings - Techguerilla,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 8:26:47 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
There is a difference between a cause and a correlation :)

Social Media is an amplifier. Being on twitter doesn't make you more or less of an asshole just like it doesn't make you more or less of an effective CEO. Understanding the dynamics of social constructs and their risk/reward for your organization? Absolutely critical. Actually *being* social personally? Well, if you are someone who can pull that off in a way that's beneficial to your company that's great. If not...

Fact is the more progressive companies have more progressive CEO's, the more progressive you are the more comfortable you are participating. Thus...CEO's of the more progressive growth companies are on Twitter at a higher percentage. Their engagement didn't create their success, their particular style and personality just makes it easier for them to engage.

But it's just correlation, not causation. In other words, it's like saying that crime is highest when it's hot outside (true), and more ice cream is sold when it's hot outside (true), thus ice cream makes people into criminals (not true).

Thanks for a balanced point of view vs. the social media purist rhetoric.

Cheers.

-Matt
Kymberlaine Banks
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Kymberlaine Banks,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 9:53:22 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
It's important to stay in touch with what's happening in the world, but, if a CEO really doesn't have something to say to the broad world, there is no reason for them to be tweeting. Social media has led to customers forming higher expectations of access and engagement but that doesn't mean everyone in the company has to turn their focus to meeting those expectations. My question is, how many CEOs have something interesting, relevant and informative to share?
anon6540999749
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anon6540999749,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 10:36:29 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
So the real conclusion is that Inc 500 CEO piss away more time on the Internet than Fortune 500 CEOs?

Internet:, Greek for "massive waste of productive time".

Love how the junkies justify their addiction.
egrobichaud
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egrobichaud,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 11:44:40 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
I think you've glossed over a major point in comparing Fortune 500 to Inc. 500 -- scale and scope. Inc 500 companies are often several orders of magnitude smaller than Fortune 500 companies. CEOs are much less likely to be directly involved with customers at the F500 level versus Inc500 who probably *are*. Both are CEOs but with very different focus and areas of responsibility.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
12/14/2012 | 2:22:36 AM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
Great point on the importance of CEOs using social techniques internally with employees. That can be hugely effective -- in fact it's probably essential to get social network tools used widely in-house.
FritzNelson
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FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/14/2012 | 5:56:42 AM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
What about CEOs of public companies? Can they really be on social networks, spewing whatever they want? Watch them give speeches or listen to their earnings calls -- they are bland, non-committal and their messages are nested in caveats and PR speak. I remember Cisco CEO John Chambers telling me how he has to be careful about what he says, or even the way he looks when he says something, lest someone interpret a blink or an eyebrow raise as something more than a facial tic. I can imagine a day when a vocal F500 CEO makes a stab at a Tweet and the SEC opens an investigation. OK, maybe a bit of hyperbole there, but you get the point.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/14/2012 | 9:13:49 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
A public company CEO's lieutenants have much more freedom than a CEO to tweet, blog -- and do lots of other things. Consider @Benioff's JP Rangaswami G(@jobsworth) whose title is Salesforce Chief Scientist and who tweets and blogs about many interesting things. Certainly not with a marketing slant. At Cisco, I follow @Padmasree with interest. There are plenty of CIOs and CTOs on my follow list. The only CEOs I can think of that I follow are either 1. startup CEOs or 2. smaller company CEOs at private companies.

Did I just help Chris make his argument?

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
hyphen8
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hyphen8,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2012 | 2:00:32 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
I think CEOs - particularly those that represent very large organisations - should be wary about using Twitter too liberally. There are only so many "Richard Branson" types around that can really engage and influence through tweeting. It is after all a "social" channel of communication - hence, the impact of any message (deliberate or otherwise) delivered through it could have a profound impact on its audience. Remember - Ratner!

David Nandhra, co-Founder, Hyphen8.com
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
12/17/2012 | 5:15:00 PM
re: Tell Me Again Why CEOs Should Tweet
That's the first suggestion of someone to follow that I've gotten as a result of this, David! (Well, except the fake CEO above.) I'm now following Richard Branson.


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