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How CEOS Can Leverage Twitter

At the present time, Twitter is one of the strongest instruments that allow companies to communicate with their existing and potential consumers without having to invest additional resources in organization-customer relationships. This ultimately means that Twitter is the utmost filter of corporate communication that establishes the company’s image. When it comes to dilemmas or problematic situations linked to misinformation or social issues, companies are often forced to apologize. Therefore, the concept of Twitter apology is rather important for customers, even though the real meaning behind an online request for forgiveness is rather questionable. The current paper aims to explore the main topics related to Twitter apology and define the essential characteristics of communities that require apologies and force organizations to come up with predefined excuses irrespective of the situation that occurred.

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One of the most interesting ideas on the subject has been shared by Chandler et al. (2018) dwelling on worldwide communication and how Twitter adds to it. International communities are interested in different events ranging from political news to natural disasters, whereas looking forward to situations where an organization or an individual could be blamed for at least something trivial. The language of the Twitter community may be considered the key contributor to news spread and the development of a fundamental influence that can be defined as of the moving powers for groups of people that are interested in increasing their own value. In this case, as Chandler et al. (2018) put it, Twitter apologies become a source of increased scrutiny for the reason that the community in question expects to understand the rationale behind certain organizational or individual activities. Because of this, many organizations worldwide tend to use multiple accounts to address different issues using a multitude of approaches based on social media.

A similar idea was also promoted by Page (2014) who believed in the idea of Twitter being a competitive advantage that would easily improve a corporation’s reputation and relationships with customers through potential apologies or curry favoring. As per the information presented by Page (2014), worldwide renowned organizations tend to deploy apologies that contain certain essential elements that are typical of corporate requests for forgiveness across the globe. Some of the apologies may be seen as disingenuous, with the mere willingness to develop positive relationships with consumers and provide them with an apology when they want one. The shape of Twitter changes in accordance with how often companies tend to explain their deeds as well. Therefore, in his article, Page (2014) proved that Twitter apologies could be represented as a mere follow-up activity for reputable brands that could help them protect their sales and customer base.

The most important conclusion made by Malhotra and Malhotra (2016), for instance, was that any given tweet containing an apology could be perceived as a calming influence. There is an increasing number of examples of how CEOs tend to vent on Twitter to get through to the existing and potential consumers and achieve a better image for their organization. There are also challenges linked to how a company could communicate negative news and update consumers on specific events that could have a deeper influence on the community as a whole (Malhotra & Malhotra, 2016). Despite the fact that the customer base and the community, in general, could be interested in the allegedly tragic circumstances, Twitter apologies could serve as a means of direct communication. This would be helpful in altering people’s reactions to negative events, especially if the organization were involved in it directly. Over the last years, the use of Twitter became so compelling that almost every event requires industry moguls to release online statements that are dictated by the community and not the management’s outlook on the subject matter.

Zhang et al. (2020), who develop an argument regarding how important it could be to reach out to different stakeholders and utilize social media platforms to enrich the customer base and investigate the market, also extend the idea established by Malhotra and Malhotra (2016). The prominence of apology messages defines the future of the brand image and how dissimilar groups of stakeholders would perceive the organization in the future. The current societal architecture forces corporations to release apology tweets merely to satisfy the communal sense of vanity and overcome the popular unrest. Zhang et al. (2020) claimed that the majority of apology tweets released by major organizations were aimed at the facilitation of a dialog and not on a sincere apology.

A similar concept is also discussed in Kim et al.’s (2015) article on emotional responses coming from the community in regard to corporate apologies and organization-consumer communication in general. The findings suggest that an apology-based message posted on Twitter has much more chances to influence customers than an informing tweet that does not feature any basic characteristics of an admission of guilt. Overall, the current literature review outlines the idea that a large number of public apologies made on Twitter only represents a forced, insincere phenomenon that pleases the community’s pride and does not contribute to real relationships between the society as a stakeholder and the organizations as service providers. The audience’s psychological reaction to expressions of regret made online makes it evident for industry moguls that a mere apology might protect them from negative backlash and possible adverse consequences.


Chandler, J. D., Salvador, R., & Kim, Y. (2018). Language, brand and speech acts on Twitter. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 27(4), 375-384.

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Kim, H., Park, J., Cha, M., & Jeong, J. (2015). The effect of bad news and CEO apology of corporate on user responses in social media. PloS One, 10(5), 1-21.

Malhotra, C. K., & Malhotra, A. (2016). How CEOs can leverage twitter. MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(2), 73-79.

Page, R. (2014). Saying ‘sorry’: Corporate apologies posted on Twitter. Journal of Pragmatics, 62, 30-45.

Zhang, S., Gosselt, J. F., & de Jong, M. D. (2020). How large information technology companies use Twitter: Arrangement of corporate accounts and characteristics of tweets. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 34(4), 364-392.

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