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Social media can be intimidating to CEOs

CEO

Chief Executive Officers, or the CEO as a class, are viewed as leaders; people with clear-cut abilities able to reason quickly and make sound decisions without crippling delay. Now word comes from The Wall Street Journal that some CEOs are showing signs of uncertainty, balking when confronted with the risk and unfamiliarity of social media even while their companies actively engage in it.

A recent report from CEO.com and Domo, a business intelligence provider, established that seven in 10 Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on the major social media networks Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Fortune 500 CEOs who do tweet average 33,250 followers.

“Chief executives are under pressure to appear accessible and ‘authentic,’ say WSJ writers Melissa Korn and Leslie Kwoh, “but social media—with its demands for quick, unscripted updates that can quickly go viral—poses risks for top managers and the companies they represent, in the form of lawsuits, leaked trade secrets, or angered customers.”

Doubtless, more than one CEO has witnessed the career-killing effect that Twitter—a digital platform with the magnitude of a bullhorn—can create when misused. Think of the many Twitter retractions that have come to light after an impulsive tidbit was tweeted in haste.

Tweeting

Like so many things, tweeting can be the consummate tool in the hands of a professional or the bloody ax handle that can instantly subvert your years of hard work—a  double-edged sword, if you will, where the user would best learn its varying degrees of serration. Six months ago a major fashion-design company fired its CFO for irresponsible posting (on Facebook) and tweeting (Twitter). The executive recklessly spoke of company earnings and peppered his posts with snide comments and self-congratulatory remarks. In his hands, social media had turned into Halloween IV.

Many tweeting executives, however, benefit from editing assistance from staff or even from ghostwritten posts, according to the Journal. Some have an outside marketing team working to further the executive’s vision, aiding in tweet drafts and maintaining the preferred overall tone—a positive workplace condition that ironically places the boss back into the trusting hands of those he has hired.

To tweet or not to tweet. That is not the only question professionals should ask when tiptoeing down Social Media Lane, but with the confidence gained from working with people you trust, navigating new media turf can become a comfortable and ultimately profitable ride. Social media presents opportunities in both medicine and business to educate, motivate, and influence opinions. That’s tomorrow’s new ROI.

MIPX.NET … We position your business in the universe of social media.

(Sources: Melissa Korn, Leslie Kwoh. “140 Characters of Risk: Some CEOs Fear Twitter),” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444083304578018423363962886.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLE_Video_Top; Kevin R. Campbell, M.D., “Guidelines to engage professionally in social media,” Nov. 9, 2012, http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/11/guidelines-engage-professionally-social-media.html)

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