I woke up this morning to a tweet from Text100, a global PR agency focusing on technology and digital lifestyle. Apparently, I am one of the most ‘digitally engaged’ FTSE100 directors and have been featured in their recent report “How top FTSE 100 executives are engaged in social and digital media”.
Having read the report (well, you would, wouldn’t you?), the most surprising thing is the inactivity of almost all the other directors. Why is this?
The authors comment that “any busy professional who’s tried to regularly maintain a personal blog will understand how hard it can be to find the time to write regular posts”, and I can certainly vouch for the fact that this is definitely a factor. They also point out that “Due to the environment of heavy regulation and intense and public scrutiny that the financial services industry operates in, few executives from this sector are willing to participate in social media since the associated level of risk is deemed too high”. I agree that this is a significant factor for business leaders, and not just in the financial service industry. The downside risk of being found to have “said the wrong thing” can seem to outweigh any possible upside of publicly participating in the online world in a personal capacity (better to leave it to professionals in the communications department, surely?).
But I agree with the authors that this risk adverse approach by executives is very short sighted, placing their own careers and the future of their companies at much greater long term risk. My approach has been driven by a mixture of fascination for the technology, and a strong belief that the only way I can remain current and truly understand how the new social media world works, is by fully participating in it myself.
And of course the reference to the fact that my blog is “infrequently updated” was a bit of a spur to compose this post!