There are no Big Pharma CEOs that I know of who actively and directly engage with their stakeholders — investors, physicians, patients — using social media such as Twitter. There are probably many reasons for this. For one thing, they hire entire PR departments to be their “spokespeople.”
But I have suggested that future pharmaceutical C-suite executives will have to have experience “carrying the digital bag” (see here).
Alexandra Fulford (aka @pharmaguapa on Twitter), in an interview today (here), suggested that pharma execs could greatly benefit from having — and using — a personal Twitter account.
However, even when executives do open Twitter accounts, they often “protect their tweets”; i.e., allow only “confirmed followers access to their Tweets and complete profiles. Such is the case with Alex Gorsky, the CEO of JNJ. His Twitter account is @AlexGorskyCEO (see screen shot on left; click on it for an enlarged view).
I’ve requested access to the @AlexGorskyCEO account, but have not yet been granted that privilege.
Why is Mr. Gorsky “protecting” his Twitter account from people like me? Obviously, I can learn a lot about Mr. Gorsky if I were able to follow his tweets and see who he follows and who follows him. Does he have something to hide? Why, then, does he bother to have a Twitter account at all? Does Mr. Gorsky follow me or anyone else? Has he tweeted?
It’s hard to tell because I cannot see his account.
Fulford rebuffed the oft-heard excuse for why many pharma execs do not use Twitter in her discussion with m: it’s simply the “fear of following” and what they may hear from followers. The following is the relevant snippet of that discussion. You can listen to the entire discussion here.