Forbes highlights Marc Andreessen as using Twitter the way it was intended. Like a human. And they are right – not just in that Mark is using Twitter well, but that he is using it the right way.
Andreessen is exactly the kind of person who could be excused for not using Twitter like a human. Inhumanly busy? Check. Prominent enough that they could cause a media firestorm with a wrong choice of words? Check. Powerful enough that a tweet could derail multizillion-dollar deals? Check.
And yet, he’s using Twitter the way you wish every person who gets invited to Davos would. He doesn’t just tweet humorous utterances and replies every once in a while. He goes on epic rants (most recently on the NSA). He tells stories. He entertains replies and is seemingly willing to banter with anyone who’s got anything smart to say. He even, o feat of social media savvy, uses the “favorite” option as a way to “like” tweets, which has become all the rage of late.
But it is going to take more that just the business leader changing for others to benefit from this advice.
First, context is everything. Say you are the CEO of a bank – your business context is very different from that of a Silicon Valley super star. Would you be able to behave in the same way? Simply put, no.
Second, communication needs to be a priorty. Mark has clearly prioritized communicating. Most business leaders don’t. Except through facile emails and videos cooked up by comms teams that would be, for the most part, better off getting out of the way.
Third, Mark’s brand is Mark. Most business leaders struggle with this. Are they the brand – or is the company the brand. In this new world of zero intermediaries I argue it has never been more important for Executives to build their own brands and communicate authentically. Most wont because communicating isnt a priority for them – they favor opacity over transparency (see 2) and if they did, their business context might not allow for it.
Either way, I hope Mark continues what he is doing.