The impact of social media continues to surprise

Ryan_Schoenefeld_1 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 social networking tools to use, this could become a new option for people, and ultimately 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. Interestingly enough, Oracle recently completed its absorption of the Sun Microsystems entity.

Even with the recent news, I continue to question my thoughts on delivering such an announcement through Twitter. Is it proper to exit with such an un-personal medium or should he have considered an 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 such information; I am merely attempting to ponder if this is going to become a 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.

Nonetheless, I still 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.

On that note, I believe that social media will continue to be a viable option for maximizing organizational transparency. You are allowing people to communicate with you, regardless of the perceived business hierarchy. In a sense, social media takes away the intimidation factor and reveals a focus on transparency.

With the walls of organizations being broken down on a daily basis — it will be interesting to see where the social media wave takes us and what will happen next. Stay tuned, I know I will be.

Ryan Schoenefeld is a recent graduate from St. Cloud State University, in which he focused on public relations, graphic design, digital marketing and communication. Since graduation, he launched and analyzed a social media marketing campaign for M Squared Group, a results-driven marketing company in Minneapolis. He is currently a Web Content Specialist at Health Partners and recently commenced The Continuous Disquisition. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter and on LinkedIn .

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1 thought on “The impact of social media continues to surprise”

  1. SEC will investigate this action as he leaked information that could have a material impact on share price without consulting counsel and advising the investment community before-hand. Could very well wind up in jail or fined as a result. His use of Twitter made a difficult problem worse.

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