As social networking and social media marketing continue to increase as a disruptive trend, our top executives are being left behind. So far, they are ignoring the trend. Not sure what their excuse is, but I imagine it is that they just don’t get it. It reminds me of the time email first came on the radar.
Sure, CEOs aged 30 and under understand the power of Web 2.0 and social computing…some of the younger ones are in fact digital natives. But for some reason, middle aged and older CEOs have not yet figured out that the social computing train has left the station.
I have a unique perspective in that I have been around for a long time. Truth be told, I was around for the email revolution in the late 1980s and early 1990s'. I was a young IT professional at the time email first came on the radar (anyone remember PROFS?) and I do remember that for the longest time there were people (typically older and higher up the executive chain) that just never checked their email. I guess they either forgot their passwords or really did not even know how to check and respond to email. It was hard for them to weave email into their daily activities. They were tied to the phone and face to face method of communication (not to say those are bad communication methods) and ignored the new way of communicating via email. They resisted change.
So when I saw an article discussing recent research results that confirm my observations that CEOs are absent from the social media, it does not surprise me. The report in question (It’s Official: Fortune 100 CEOs are Social Media Slackers) finds that CEOs at top companies in the U.S. are dramatically disconnected from the social networking phenomenon. The report was recently published by UberCEO.com, an online news and discussion site that focuses on CEOs at major companies.
The study found that only two CEOs from Fortune magazine's list of the Top 100 companies have Twitter accounts and only 19 have a Facebook page. And none of the 100 CEOs were found to have a personal external blog.
In fact, only 13 of the top top 100 CEOs are members of the LinkedIn social network for business professionals. And of those 13, five were connected to just one other person on the site. The study found that only three technology CEOs really stood out on LinkedIn
- Michael Dell (Dell) – http://www.linkedin.com/in/mdell
- Gregory Spierkel (Ingram Micro) - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-spierkel/0/222/233
- John Chambers (Cisco) – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-chambers/9/758/44a
From my point of view, top CEOs in technology companies should be embracing web 2.0 and experimenting with social media and networking sites. I believe they are missing an opportunity to positively influence how people view their companies as well as missing an opportunity to demonstrate leadership to their employees, customers, partners, and shareholders. It’s called leading by example and in my mind technology CEOs can't afford to pretend that social media is not for them. They need to find some way to weave social media activities into their daily routine….just like the rest of us.