Posted by: Ryan Schoenefeld | June 14, 2010

The Impact of Social Media Continues to Surprise

In a New York Times article entitled, “Sun’s Chief Executive Tweets His Resignation,” by Ashlee Vance, I learned of the implications that social media networking has brought about. Who would have thought that a social media networking platform could be an avenue for such an announcement? Maybe it is should be expected though, with more and more social interaction programs to use; this could be becoming a new option for people and develop into a trend for individuals to harness.

Regardless of what is going to happen as a result, Jonathan Schwartz, the previous chief executive at Sun Microsystems has seemingly paved the way for people to imitate him, even if he didn’t intent to. Schwartz recently became the first Fortune 200 corporate executive to reveal his resignation through a social media networking platform, specifically with Twitter. Schwartz even incorporated an element of creativity by producing a haiku regarding his demise from Oracle, which interestingly enough just completed its absorption of the Sun Microsystems entity last week.

With the recent news, I still continue to question my thoughts on this mechanism of delivering the substantial information. Is it proper to exit with such an un-personal medium or should he have considered a varying option that is more traditional? Personally, I would consider a more traditional approach to be releasing a press release, holding a news conference, sitting down for an interview with a local newspaper or publishing the information via the organizations’ website.

I am not intending to judge the nature or ethics of using Twitter to announce the exit; I am merely attempting to ponder if this is going to become a continuous reality. Are we going to see a continuous cycle of social media networks being brought into play for seemingly unique reasons?

Interestingly enough, Twitter seems to be a pertinent option for increasing a company’s transparency and openness. People have the ability to constantly comment on the state of your business and in a sense you are allowing employees to be your voice of reason on-line. I can only imagine the amount of comments and re-tweets that were dispersed after Schwartz’s announcement.

Interesting enough, I believe technology will continue to change the fashion in which business is accomplished. To some extent, I was still unexpectedly surprised by the information I was reading, even amidst the technological savvy universe we live in.

Overall, I think it could be a viable option for maximizing customer-centricity and a foundational loyalty. You are allowing people to communicate with you, regardless of the organizational hierarchy, which in a sense takes away the intimidation factor and reveals a focus on transparency and open communication.


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