140 Characters of Risk: Some CEOs Fear Twitter

From The Wall Street Journal:

When General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt tweeted for the first time this month, his “Hello Twitter” was greeted with some snarky replies, including this one: “@JeffImmelt how come my grandfather got on twitter before you?”

While arguably late to the game, Mr. Immelt’s debut on the microblogging site makes him a rarity among chief executives, who have generally steered clear of social media even as their companies have embraced it to commune with customers and pursue new business.

While many companies have taken to Twitter, their executives avoid it for fear of making public missteps. Still, some are attempting to navigate the world of social media with aplomb. Match the executives to their recent tweets.

Chief executives are under pressure these days to appear accessible and “authentic,” 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.

Many corporate leaders say they are too busy running a company to spend time posting 140-character messages to Twitter, or retweeting posts from followers. What’s more, for some companies, the business case for using the site can seem unclear, with no direct correlation between Twitter followers and sales.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Wall Street Journal