Can a CEO quit social media?

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I love social media. I hate social media.

It connects us through our interests and passions. It divides us into warring tribes.

It enables us to speak to just one person or thousands. It creates so much noise that no one is listening.

It enables my business to reach our members. It empowers enemies to disrupt our society.

There is a struggle between the angels and devils of our online life. While some argue we should delete all our social media accounts, startups like mine rely on social media. We hustle with small budgets and tight deadlines to create something that will go “viral”. We can target potential members in neighborhoods we serve. Campaigns can be optimized for app downloads or service signups. We can promote new features almost instantly. Our support team monitors social media for members who need help.

Social media is good for our company. I’m just not sure it’s good for me.

A CEO is the lead spokesperson for their company, brand and vision. What you say matters but so does when and how you say it. Just ask Elon Musk. How do I balance social media as a business tool with my personal concerns about its impact?

I’ve divided my social media life between “friends only” (Facebook) and “public” (LinkedIn and Twitter). Within Facebook’s walls I am more aggressively partisan and passionate. We debate everything from politics and politicians to gun control and trade policy. In public spaces the focus is industry news, engaging our members and solving their problems.

I love it. We get feedback, positive and negative, from our membership. Its wonderful to see and hear how our service is helping people throughout the community. It was through a LinkedIn message that an executive recruiter put me on the path towards ReachNow. Without the connectivity of social media, I wouldn’t be a CEO.

Back in 2014 I took a 3 month hiatus from Facebook. No posting, no peeking. I had a different job then in a simpler, less partisan time. Since then election hacking, Cambridge Analytica, Charlottesville, #deletefacebook, data scraping and now a massive security breech. Why stay in 2018?

They say in poker that if you sit down at the table and don’t know who the sucker is, then you’re it. Best to leave the game.

Twitter and LinkedIn mostly work for me. Facebook doesn’t.

Deleting my Facebook account seems too extreme. I still want to be able to send and receive messages from my friends so that doesn’t yet feel like an option.

I have already deleted the Facebook app from my mobile devices. For the last few weeks I only logged into Facebook on my mobile browser. Slowly I’m disconnecting all the sharing and cross posting tools. Then I will focus on writing and working on my photography.

I will leave the Facebook echo chamber. My company should stay. It’s a good tool for one of us, just not both.