Recently I was part of an interesting conversation about executives participating in Social Media.
The question that came up was how much of the executive’s posts had to be made by the individual themselves. My first response was that if the post had their name beside it then it should have been the executive at the keyboard. After some discussion however, I began to realize that maybe that is not realistic. After all senior executives frequently have assistants send email under their name, and memos, directives, etc are usually written by a staffer and then distributed under the executive’s name. So maybe the same rules should apply.
We talked about several scenarios:
- Only the executive posts under their name. Even if most of the posts came from staffers, only the posts actually typed by the executive would carry their name. Staffers, who would probably make most posts would post under their real name and their profile would identify them as part of the executive’s staff.
- An organizational user would be created to make most posts. For instance the “Office of the Executive” . In this case the user profile would identify the individuals using that account. Only posts actually made by the exec would carry his or her individual name.
- Staffers would be allowed to post as the executive assuming her or she had approved the message. This model is similar to what happens today with email and other correspondence. Readers would never really know if the post was actually typed by the executive, (does that mater?), but they would know it had been approved by them. In addition there may be staffers identified as authorized contributors, who would post under their own name.
There are likely variations on the three scenarios above that we did not explore. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts. What other approaches have you run across? What approach has the best balance of authenticity and practicality given the incredible time pressures on most senior executives?