Twitter Townhall at The White House: A Game Changing Virtual Meeting

Many executives still don't "get" social media. In fact, some CEOs still dismiss corporate events as discretionary fluff that can easily be cut and Twitter chats as irrelevant. President Barack Obama has just raised the bar with his game changing Twitter Townhall @ The White House. Every organizational leader should sit up and take notice. If you missed it, you can catch it on YouTube:

Using the #AskObama hashtag and the @whitehouse and @townhall IDs, the President's first Twitter Townhall was an interactive virtual meeting in a Twitter chat format. It gave the public direct access to the President of the United States and an opportunity to get immediate answers to questions. This is a direct contrast to some Heads of State who block social media during times of crisis.

The technology is available for corporate executives to hold their own virtual town halls while preserving confidentiality. In fact, one of my clients has an internal version of Twitter as well as tele-presence. Unfortunately, very few executives are plugged in. Instead, social media is seen as the job of a few specialist in the PR department.

In the past week, we have seen new role models of engagement that should be a wake-up call to every CEO stuck in an outdated leadership paradigm.

  • President Obama's Twitter Townhall
  • The high level of engagement displayed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their Canadian tour.

Leadership is not about being aloof and stuffy. It's about engagement. Corporate events are a golden opportunity for meaningful engagement with employees and clients. Hybrid and virtual meetings can extend an executive's reach without significantly reducing downtime. Twitter chats are a perfect vehicle for CEOs who want to feel the pulse of their organizations and obtained unfiltered information directly with clients.

Do you know of any executives using internal versions of Twitter to create forums and town halls in a Twitter chat format? Please tell stop by and tell us about them.

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