15th May 2012

Business Leaders Hate Social Media!

Last Saturday my wife and I went to a great dinner party—beautiful food, remarkable wines and a bunch of interesting people. Opinionated, amusing and all well travelled. In their fifties and sixties, with buckets and buckets of money. In some ways, the group were a little old fashioned as the women were ‘stay at home’ wives. The men, however, were all highly successful in business and all early adopters and heavy users of new technology such as iPhones, iPads, etc. 

The subject of Social Media came up and the incredible out-pouring helped to crystallise my understanding of why they hate it so much…

And if these people are typical of business leaders, then it accounts for the slow take-up of Social Media in business.

As soon as the topic was raised they started ranting about the stupidity of Social Media and as always the prime target was Twitter. Followed closely by that demon Facebook.

Scam and derision poured out. Lots of “Who cares about…

“…what they had for lunch”

“…their plans for the weekend”

“…pathetic attention seekers like the Kardashians are up to?”

It was a barrage for a solid ten minutes, everyone saying the same thing, everyone agreeing with each other in a mutual ‘hate’ society. And of course, everything they said was right. They just were missing the main point.

After their rant, they got back to discussing developments in Greece and the EU. And to bagging Obama (well actually Prime Minister Gillard because it was an Australian dinner, so as usual she was the left-wing target).

Is this just an Australian phenomenon that’s peculiar to our business leaders?

No. In 2010 I went on a ridiculously luxurious 2 week Mediterranean cruise. Because I advise companies on Social Media and all things online, the topic came up as we discussed our professional lives.  I heard the same ranting and scorn and black humour. And this was on at least 6 different nights, where most people had similar backgrounds to those Sydney-siders at the dinner party. Except they came from many different countries.

Twenty months ago I didn’t see the significance of their ranting and scorn. That these people, highly successful in business, were the decision makers—they were Corporate Board Members, Managing Directors, Senior Business Advisors and Business Owners. These were the people who ultimately decided on how the influx of world changing technology is to be used in business.

Business leaders despise it. And remain blissfully unaware of the potential for their business or the companies they advise.

Unaware of how Social Media and Social Networks are transforming the business world, which presents huge opportunities.

These opportunities are available now.

More on B2B Lead Generation with Social Media here.

And here is a research study posted in July 2012 that bears out my more informal study:

http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2012/07/12/fortune-500-social-network/

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About James Eastland

Creating Customer Communities for companies selling B2B is my passion—shortening their sales cycle and building market leadership. My role sets the direction and vision of Lead Creation, tapping into the online experience of our large team of young professionals to implement cost effective strategies for B2B businesses.

8 thoughts on “Business Leaders Hate Social Media!

  1. Amen to that.
    There is a HUGE untapped chance here for anyone with an ounce of go in them.

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  2. James,

    were you able to discover why they hate it so much?

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  3. Great article! Good info is awesome to know. Here in Chicago, IL USA social media is on the boom because Google and Yelp are headquartered here. The corporate Execs are open. I think the main point is that based on their position in The Csuite they only see the bottom line which is being affected by labor to appeal to maintain key relationships. We have the opportunity as social media strategist to make or break the entire business industry as we know. Though we are miles away I’m totally global. Let’s stay in touch. Get that moneyyy! Lol

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  4. Do we think it an age thing?….I mean these people didn’t grow up on FB or twitter but you look at the graduates of today who are tomorrows Business Leaders – surely they expect it?

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  5. Mark, believe the prime reason is what they all say: that it is trivial. A waste of time. They see how their children and their friends are spending so much time on such ‘trivia’.

    Going a bit deeper and getting a bit psychological (and with no research evidence to back it up, just observations):
    They are scared of losing control. Of being kept out of the loop. That people can gang up on them without them knowing. And cause their businesses damage, or attack their wealth.

    And they would be right to think that. One in 8 people in the world on FB. It is like a giant and scary black box.

    People in power who are thinking beyond the next Ferrari or the new prestige beach house will have noticed what is happening to the world’s dictators. All of the despots are under threat. It is not a coincidence that the butchers who have been in power for 20, 30 or 40 years are suddenly being threatened.

    Their citizens saw what happened in one or two other countries and realised the power they had. Because of the new communication and info sharing tools.

    Corporate leaders also have a bit less power. They have to justify their actions. And the back lash happens very quickly when they get it wrong.

    So, no-one with power likes to lose it. And they don’t like being out of the loop.

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  6. Jam, it is definitely an age thing. Which contributes to their not trying something new.
    But fundamentally my concern is with the current generation of business leaders: Their negative views are having a hugely negative global impact as they are slowing the introduction of this powerful and useful technology.

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  7. It’s delusional — wishful thinking on their part.

    When people have had enough of being abused and manipulated, lied to and exploited, and that attitude is suddenly empowered by a convergence between social media and networking and Web 2.0 and mobile technology, revolutions tends to be the outcome.

    We watched it happen in the Arab Spring (starting with Iran, which faltered, then succeeded —twice! — in Egypt and now other despotic Arab nations) and we’ve watched it happening online, triggered by the GFC, to businesses everywhere.

    The businesses who really get it seem to be surviving and thriving. The hidebound and delusional are dying, with gathering momentum.

    (See http://buyerrevenge.com — it’s no longer “buyer remorse!”)

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    • The Arab spring happening when social media and smart phones took off is NOT a coincidence. Thanks John.

      My only disagreement is that the delusional are dying very slowly. Not sure the momentum is gathering just yet. Wish it was, there are some amazing benefits waiting to be realised in all our lives (and some big risks of course).

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