A story popped up on the web Thursday reporting that in these trying economic times General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was taking “a message of hope” straight to the people through YouTube. Too bad the video message was posted on Sept. 22 — before the big BIG meltdown. Also too bad is GM’s unwillingness to put the “you” in its YouTube channel.
The Case for GM is a series of videos featuring GM’s senior leadership. The introductory video from Christopher Barger, GM’s director, global communications technology (he refers to himself in the video as director of social media) says the video series is not designed to be one-way and that the company wants constructive criticism. Then why did GM disable comments on its videos?
In his video Wagoner talks about what GM is doing in the midst of high oil prices, financial market crisis, and a weak economy. Wagoner’s remarks are the standard stuff a CEO would say — we’re looking to the future, blah blah blah. But at the end Wagoner invites people to leave comments (he’s “anxious” for them) and then says he’ll read them all. Easy to do when no one can post one.
This isn’t the first time a CEO has taken to YouTube. JetBlue’s CEO David Neeleman used the video sharing site for damage control in Feb. 2007. His company screwed up and he was man enough to open up the comment section and take the heat.
If GM is going to use YouTube — use ALL of it, create that dialogue. If you don’t want criticism, don’t invite it.