Tweeting in the C-Suite: An Examination of the Habits and Strategies of CEOs On Twitter




DeNardi, Kathleen M.

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This study seeks to understand how CEOs are utilizing Twitter and whether their utilization is effective. Under the lens of Grunig and Hunt’s four models of public relations, I examined nineteen Fortune 500 CEOs who are active on Twitter. Twitter feeds from a four-week time period were coded for model of public relations used, quality of leadership displayed, as well as tweet content. While a relationship between models of public relations used and quality of charismatic leadership displayed was not found, the importance of a CEO’s intended audience was clear. At a basic level, a deeper understanding of how CEOs are actually utilizing Twitter has been gained. Moreover though, this study has potentially discovered an emerging taxonomy for the reasons why CEOs use Twitter. As well, there are now greater insights into how the CEOs intended audience impacts how CEOs tweet. This study found that CEOs who are intending to communicate with their employees will utilize two-way symmetrical communication; whereas, CEOs seeking to communicate with journalists or customers will utilize the other models of public relations more frequently. From this study best practices can begin to be developed for more effective use of Twitter by CEOs.



Public relations, Executives, Twitter, Social media