SHOW AND TELL
THE BOUNDARIES OF PRIVACY IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BOIL DOWN TO SELF-CENSORSHIP.
Hat Salesman. That’s how Elon Musk describes himself on his Twitter bio – even if the entrepreneur with dreams of cosmic proportions is anything but. His account has 16.6 million followers to date, many of whom are only too eager to retweet bon mots by the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla: “Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roaster playing Space Oddity”; “Second boring machine almost ready. Will be called Line-Storm, after the poem by [Robert] Frost.”
Musk’s tweets are essential company updates, ones cleverly couched in equal parts whimsy and futurist speak. With each tweet buoyed by thousands of shares, he clearly recognises the role social media can play in building a corporate brand.
“Businesses are often corporate. But one of the great ways of humanising them is through people and what better way than to have a C-Suite executive be the face of the company,” says Rika Sharma, managing partner of advertising and public relations agency Ogilvy & Mather Singapore.
With over a decade of experience in advising clients on digital strategy, the 35-year-old Sharma has encountered leaders who are wary about revealing too much of their personal lives on social media. To that end, she has a word of advice: “Simply disclose as much as you want to show.” Making your public profi le accessible isn’t about sharing what you had for dinner. Your thoughts on industry developments can be equally engaging. At the end of the day, remember that social media accounts – unless completely privatised – are not personal. “It’s still business. You have the liability of the company on your shoulders,” says Sharma.