IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Are hackers a valid reason for a CEO not to participate in social media?

with 3 comments

You would have to be in a fish bowl not to be aware of identity theft.  Never give out a password or your social security number.  Never click on a link from someone you don’t know or freaky banner ads promising you something for nothing.  An article in the June 1 issue of the AARP bulletin warns Boomers of incidents of identity theft occurring on Facebook.

Author Sid Kirchheimer in his article “Scam Alert – False Friends on Facebook” relates one man’s nightmare:

“On Jan. 21, Rutberg discovered his Facebook page had been hacked with this alarming message: BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP! He tried to access his page to remove the warning, but his password had been changed. When he tried to alert his friends from his wife’s Facebook account that he was OK, he says, the scammer had ‘de-friended’ her, blocking any messages he sent. Meanwhile, Rutberg’s Facebook friends who had posted ‘what’s wrong?’ messages were getting replies from the hacker, who posed as Rutberg and claimed that he had been robbed in London and needed money to get home. One concerned friend, Beny Rubinstein, wired $1,200 overseas, which the trickster quickly collected…’

Is it any wonder B2B C-level executives are reluctant to participate in social networks?

Are hackers a valid reason for company CEOs not to blog?  No.  Hackers are a good reason to exercise good judgment common sense in every aspect of life whether you are on Facebook or responding to email. 

Wired blogger, Natania Barron comments on June 15 that while the Internet has been a great unregulated frontier, as internet culture matures and people make mistakes that can hurt them professionally, we will see a trend back to the concepts of obligation and accountability. 

She states, “My suggestion is to do things you’re proud of. Sure, there will be embarrassing pictures of us all somewhere, and likely some immortal forum rants. But if you do anything, do it well and because you love it. Do it without flinching, and be prepared to stick up for what you say and what you do. Because well, just about everyone may be watching. It’s Big Brother and it’s Uncle Bob. And soon enough, if it hasn’t happened already, it’ll be your kids, too.

Granted, before we know it something else is likely to create new, strange and unknown space and we’ll start all over again with a new sandbox. But until then, and as the online world grows, it might be that we’re learning something unexpected: accountability. Because you know what? Our kids are going to see what we do, too. Chances are, as never before, what we say will really go on after us.”

This is why B2B CEOs should, at the very least have an internal blog for their employees, if not an external blog to communicate with all of their stakeholders.   This is how corporate CEO Blogs can build brand in unique and compelling ways.  It allows CEOs to fulfill their obligation to provide clear and transparent communication to stakeholders, and demonstrate that they are accountable by allowing their audience to respond. 

 Links in this article:


 Scam Alert – False Friends on Facebook,


 GEEKDAD, The Internet is People: Social Media Anxiety and Web 2.0,


Written by Beth Ryan

June 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

3 Responses

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  1. After reading your post I thought, “that’s interesting. Why aren’t CEO’s blogging?” I never would have really thought about hackers being a prime issue. If anything I would think that a blog would create another avenue in which the public could criticize a CEO or the company as a whole. I’m not familiar with CEO blogs so I went to good old Google to do some research. I came across an article from USAToday on the very subject. This article is dated (it was written in 2005), but it still shows why blogs wouldn’t be such a good idea for CEOs.

    According to the article, large companies will let senior executives blog, but there’s not a Fortune 100 company who has a CEO that blogs. The article goes to state, “Weblogs are personal Web sites for posting thoughts, rants, and opinions in chronological order. One written by a CEO would slice through traditional media gatekeepers and bring him or her unedited to the desktop of customers, employees, Wall Street analyst and competitors. A blog by a prominent CEO would attract instant traffic, could influence public opinion, perhaps steer legislation and maybe sell a few widgets,” (Jones, D.).

    CEO’s can get in a lot of trouble for having outlandish ideas and making them vocal, especially in a blog or company message board. Look at Whole Food’s CEO John Mackey. He used an alias back in 2007 to make comments on the Whole Food’s message board in which he predicted a bad future for his rival Wild Oats Markets, Inc. His messages painted a glorious future for his company Whole Foods while he downplayed his competitors. What he did wasn’t illegal in anyway, but it was ill advised. They were his own thoughts and opinions, which is what blogs consist of, but because of who he was, it was seen as a tad unethical. It’s for reasons like this that CEOs choose not to blog. They don’t want to be haunted or judged by their words later down the road.

    To read Del Jones full USAToday article go to

    To read the John Mackey story go to:


    June 29, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    • It’s a complicated issue for sure. I really think it’s best for a CEO to test the waters with an internal employee blog as a beta test to see if a public blog is the best solution for their brand. Thank you for your comment.


      June 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm

  2. Perfect!


    July 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

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