It is amazing how many chief executives, when one calls their office, are usually not available and remain unavailable for many hours, sometimes for a day or two. But post a notice on their Facebook wall, you get a response within five minutes, sometimes even in under a minute.
That tells me only one thing. They are apparently not available because they do not want to talk to you, yet they sit and play on facebook constantly, as in the whole day long. So when do they work?Or even more pertinent, why do they occupy these top positions, and what do they get paid for? The impression is that many of the large companies and government ministries can just as well put the cleaner in the CEO’s office, pay him or her one tenth the pay, and use the saving for Corporate Social Investment, or to reduce debt.
For some time, perhaps more than a year, the facebook phenomenon has intrigued me. I find it hard to figure out why rational, mature, hopefully thinking individuals find it necessary to join a cyber brotherhood where they dish out all sorts of silly anecdotes, post even sillier pictures, and generally keep an uninterested world informed of their daily routine. To me this borders on the infantile. It is the type of behaviour one usually expects to find among teenagers, or among Huisgenoot readers. It is not the conduct of an individual that convinces me of his or her competence to run a large organisation.
And this observation applies to all social media, not only the one that wastes people’s time and eat up bandwidth.
Make no mistake, I am not deluded and I do not think social media has no future. Instead I think it is THE FUTURE, but then in a much modified, revised and refined form. Not the exploitative, time-wasting, nonsense we find today on social media websites, but useful, constructive, informative and enriching contributions ranging from mundane everyday life stuff, to important life-changing decisions and events that actually make the world a better place. Secondly, I think the cyber future is MOBILE, but again not the frivolous gibberish that now marks 90% of mobile content. For that, one can use SMS.
In trying to figure out what is the revenue model for e-commerce, most notably e-marketing, billions have been spent the world over by many impressive corporations, and as yet, I am not aware of a single e-strategy that actually works. People love the internet because they love the unlimited access to information, and most of all, they love the fact that it is free. Hence, traffic is the buzz word but the whole electronic media relies on advertising revenue, same as any other information and entertainment house be it print, broadcast, web or mobile. The moment an organisation starts closing the gate and demand payment for access, the users quickly dwindle to the level it was when the company had a rep and a brochure in the field. And this is not an isolated occurrence. I have seen it happen over the past couple of years to the biggest, most impressive media houses world wide. If I have to pay for content, I simply go next door. They publish the same info, through the same internet, and it is still free of charge.
In economics, analysis is one of the key functions. In this regard, corporations are often prepared to pay for the service of consultants. But access to this type of expertise is not dependent on the internet. Here we are talking about real experts, real analysis, and real application by the customer. The moment it becomes available on a wider platform, it immediately loses its commercial value because there are thousands upon thousands of experts for all types of disciplines, and all this information can readily be accessed via the web. But the advice the CEOs trust, is still based on personal, face to face contact, with a proven expert. CEOs, in my experience, do not manage companies based on the input they get from the web, or from some nefarious blog by some wannabe celebrity, no, they use the classic, conventional methodology of fact finding, comparison, analysis, projection, and finally, falsification of their premise, assumptions, etc, by showing it to peers and colleagues. And in the ultimate verdict, the market decides whether they are successful or not in their particular, individual management styles and targets.
So the question remains: Why are top-notch Namibian CEOs on facebook all the time. When do they manage their companies? How do they run their ministries? Hopefully they do not get their strategic information from a frivolous social website.
Maybe social websites capture more of our shortcomings than we realise.