English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After all the recent talk around the unbelievably low numbers for executive participation in social media – including that of hardly any CIOs, which should be a hanging offence if not one for drawing and quartering first – we now have an effort to defend the C Suite and pooh-pooh the concerns of those of us who have been suggesting that the Fortune XXX are well on their way to losing their fortunes.
Jeff Esposito makes the best of a thoroughly bad case, and I invite you to read it (link below).
Quick points in rejoinder (and see my earlier posts):
1. The issue is strategic. If in 2012 hardly a soul in the C-Suite is actively engaged in social, a (the?) major source of competitive (dis)advantage is simply being ignored – because, unlike say the dictaphone, you don’t know what you’re talking about / hiring for /strategizing about unless you have splashed around with several of these platforms over time. As I said in an earlier post, social is like saying you’re sorry; you can’t just hire someone to do it for you.
2. CEO disengagement is bizarre (these are supposed to be the smart guys). @Rupertmurdoch stands out as the only top CEO using Twitter interestingly. Only. But if the CIO, the conscience of the new info technology, is making snide remarks about people wasting their time “twittering,” it is not surprise everyone else in the suite feels they are off the hook. He (OK, almost all of them are) is doing more damage to the company than he could begin to imagine. At Moore’s Law speed, the social revolution is – chaotically – up and running. (The fact that most U.S. CIOs still report through the CFO, another body blow revealed by recent reseach, explains, sadly, a lot.)
3. Point is: This is not “about” marketing/customer service – though fielding complaints in real time is no bad thing. It’s about strategic re-invention by the alignment of corporate values, the values of employees, and those of present and prospective customers. It’s about B2B as much as B2C. It’s about letting loose a force for continuous innovation within the company – the only way, in the M’s-Law context, that this can be achieved. This is nuclear stuff. And the sooner 225 CIOs are giving their marching order (only 25 are on Twitter), the better. At least, if shareholders and boards have any interest in long-term profitability.
Jeff’s charge is partly that social media pros, whatever exactly they are, are jumping up and down about a situation which is of course of interest to them. But by and large their interests are tactical and marketing/CR focused. This issue is nuclear in its implications. There is no better thing any board member or CEO or C Anything Else could do than spend 2 weeks in social media immersion.
Memo to Social Media Pros – Social Media is NOT necessary for the C-suite.