Tweeting execs walk a fine line

Marketplace Staff Apr 22, 2009

Tweeting execs walk a fine line

Marketplace Staff Apr 22, 2009


Kai Ryssdal: Won’t sound good on radio, but here’s a 140-character introduction to a story about executives who use Twitter. Padmasree Warrior, hello.

Padmasree Warrior: Hi, Kai.

Ryssdal: All right, so now that I’ve done that Twitter thing and kept my introduction short. You have to tell us who you are.

WARRIOR: I am the chief technology officer for Cisco Systems.

Ryssdal: And you, I guess, what is the word? You tweet, right?

WARRIOR: I tweet, yes.

Ryssdal: OK, but why?

WARRIOR: I tweet because it allows me to have conservations with people that I don’t normally have in the course of my day.

Ryssdal: So what do you tweet about? Read me your latest tweet, if you happen to have it there.

WARRIOR: Oh, I don’t know if I have it directly in front of me. But I tweet about a combination of things related to Cisco, related to the industry and some that are personal.

Ryssdal: Now does this do anything for your business?

WARRIOR: I can’t say that it does things directly to benefit the business. But it does things indirectly to support some of the top leadership, some of the innovative ideas that Cisco is considering. I propose questions, I ask people for their input. And I get a lot of ideas back from people.

Ryssdal: Have you ever gotten anything that you took to a meeting, and everybody said, “Oh man, that’s a great idea.”

WARRIOR: Absolutely. I actually used something at a recent keynote that I did at a VoiceCon conference. I asked people about the future of collaboration, what their predictions were about how collaborations would look like in the future. People sent me lots of ideas, I created a word cloud out of that. In fact, one of my followers on Twitter created it for me. And I used that as part of my keynote, and it helped shape our strategy on collaboration.

Ryssdal: So you’re getting your followers on Twitter to, you know, do your job for you.

WARRIOR: In a way. Why not? That is the future of social media and collaboration.

Ryssdal: You said you use this for some personal things as well, right?

WARRIOR: Yeah, I share personal things about movies I’ve seen, books I’m reading, what I’m doing at the moment. Ask people for ideas.

Ryssdal: Do you find it hard, though, to balance your personal observations, as much as they can be expressed in 140 characters, with your role as a senior executive of a very important company in this country?

WARRIOR: You know, it’s not that difficult. I would say a lot of it is common sense. How much you want to share about your personal life openly with the world, where I have 250,000 followers or something. I think a lot of it is your judgment on what you feel comfortable and what you feel you shouldn’t share.

Ryssdal: Do you really have 250,000 followers?

WARRIOR: Something like that.

Ryssdal: You know, Ashton Kutcher has a million, so you’ve a got a ways to go.

WARRIOR: I know, well, he’s a Hollywood star. That’s different.

Ryssdal: And you’re just a tech person.

WARRIOR: I’m just a CTO.

Ryssdal: Padmasree Warrior, the CTO at Cisco Systems. Thanks so much for your time.

WARRIOR: Thank you.

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