Are the CEOs of America’s top corporations tuned into the internet and taking advantage of all the many opportunities that Web 2.0 has to offer?
This is the question that UberCEO.com decided to investigate a few weeks ago. Really, it was a simple investigation on the technical side. It just required a lot of man hours, computers with Google, and a copy of Fortune Magazine’s 2009 issue listing America’s top 100 companies. After many painstaking hours of prying into the online lives of 100 corporate executives, UberCEO made a remarkable discovery. America’s CEOs are not tuned in at all, in fact they are surprisingly absent from the new worldwide web.
For a complete synopsis of the research, methodology and conclusions, you can see a slideshow presentation of the UberCEO.com study by following this link:
Here I have highlighted some of the more interesting statistics and organized them by internet site. The UberCEO.com study looked at 5 different criteria — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wikipedia and corporate blogs (specifically, does the CEO have a blog on the corporate website?), therefore, I have organized the statistics according to these five tools. And remember, the top 100 corporations were studied, so all statistics are from a sample of 100.
- Only 19 of the CEOs had a personal Facebook account (81 did not).
- Only 2 CEOs have more than 10 Facebook friends.
- The CEO of the #1 US Corporation, Exxon Mobil, has no Facebook friends at all.
- Just 13 of the top 100 American CEOs have a LinkedIn account.
- 5 of these 13 CEOs on LinkedIn have just 1 connection.
- Only 3 CEOs have more than 10 LinkedIn connections.
- 3 CEOs have 80+ LinkedIn connections, however, all 3 were from technology companies — Michael Dell (Dell), Gregory Spierkel (Ingram Micro), and John Chambers (Cisco).
- Despite being the fastest growing web phenomenon, Twitter has only been taken up by 2 of the top 100 American CEOs.
- Warren Buffet has 7441 followers on Twitter, but he doesn’t follow anyone.
- 75% of the top 100 American CEOs have a Wikipedia entry.
- One in three of these Wikipedia entries contains erroneous information or lacks sources.
- I wish I could put more statistics in this section. Unfortunately, none of the top 100 US CEOs has a blog.
What conclusions can we draw from these rather disappointing statistics? Sharon Barclay, an UberCEO.com editor was quoted in a PCWorld article from Sunday June 28 (Real CEOs Don’t Twitter — Do They?) as concluding:
“In our opinion, the top CEOs appear to be disconnected from the way their own customers are communicating. They’re giving the impression that they’re disconnected, disengaged and disinterested. No doubt, regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley and Reg-FD make CEOs cautious about communicating freely, [but] they’re missing a fabulous opportunity to connect with their target audience.”
And if that sounds none too good, check out the conclusions drawn on the UberCEO.com website. It suggests that CEOs risk being seen as “disinterested, disconnected and disengaged” from their customers and the public in general. UberCEO suggests 3 reasons for this: fear, lack of knowledge, and time constraints. The new challenge for today’s CEOs will be overcoming these obstacles to take advantage of the best tools that the new web has to offer. Looks like they’re off to a shaky start.
I’d like to know:
(1) What percentage of CEOs from the top corporations in your country would you say are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter and/or blogs?
(2) What risks are their for CEOs who venture into these new web tools in order to connect with the public?
(3) What rewards are there for CEOs who use these new web tools. Do the possible rewards outweigh the risks?