Are Fortune 1000 CEOs Too Busy to Blog?

Posted on October 28, 2005

Joe Queenan explains why CEOs should not blog in an article in Chief Executive magazine. Queenan says that a CEO who has the time to blog has "too much time on his hands" and is not being responsible to the company's shareholders. In the article Queenan referred to the USA Today news story that said not one Fortune 1000 chairman and/or CEO is blogging. After listing USA Today's reasons for the non-blogging by Fortune 1000 CEOs Queenan adds another one: unlike bloggers CEOs have a life.
Yet, perhaps the single most important explanation for the refusal of CEOs to blog can be summed up in four words: CEOs have a life. If a CEO is doing his job properly, he doesn't have time to spend preparing the type of glorified online diary that is associated most intimately with gas bags, blowhards, navel-gazers, crackpots, conspiracy theorists and lonely guys. CEOs are expected to make important decisions about products and policy, not to ramble, rhapsodize, rant, blue sky, build castles in the air, muse out loud or bloviate. That's what bloggers are for.
Later, Queenan compares blogging to menial tasks like picking up trash or removing grafitti from public transportation.
But as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Donald Trump and even Matt Drudge will tell you, if you're not getting paid for it, it's probably not worth a whole lot. In this sense, encouraging CEOs to blog is like encouraging them to clean up the local lake or remove graffiti from public transportation. It's a nice thought, but CEOs have better things to do. If you're running a company and you have time to write a blog, maybe it's time to find someone less chatty to run the company.
The Chief Executive article raises a few good points about the busy lives of Fortune 1000 CEOs but it is quite harsh on blogs. The legal issues raised by a CEO or Chairman of a public company blogging are much more serious and reasonable than a "lack of time." Couldn't a busy CEO simply record a message to be transcribed or have the marketing or PR department help the CEO craft a message?
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