Why CEO’s Shouldn’t Fear Social Media


I’m late on this one, but find it still worth noting. Jerry Bowles, in “Why CEOs Are Afraid of Social Media”, a post at Enterprise Web 2.0, noted:

“They have already seen ordinary angry citizens armed only with blogs bring down Trent Lott, Dan Rather, and Joe Lieberman. They have seen powerful newspapers and magazines and TV networks forced to back down on stories because there are now millions of fact checkers out there. They have seen famous authors busted for plagiarism.”
In my experience, most leaders do not want to operate their organizations as experiments in democracy or collective intelligence. Not even our Presidents and Congresspeople want to do that. That’s why resistance to Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies is likely to be understated, but fierce, at the upper levels.”

Resistance also is futile. Look at Dell. They ignored the great hue and cry about their customer service for years. Meanwhile, the online commentary grew to a tsunami. When Dell finally launched a blog, they still tried to play by the old rules and push their message out while ignoring the elephant in the room.
A week or so later, when the Dell battery recall was mounted, the company already had a way to communicate with customers, and that forum made it clear that they were trying. Looking back, I’m sure they’re wondering why they were so afraid of customers. Dell’s problems are far from solved, but, in the long run, I think they’ll gain, not lose, customers as a result of their participation in social media. And they could have gained even more if they’d gotten into the conversation a year sooner.