Head of Twitter flippant in response to outside criticism

While being a CEO that is responsive, frank and active on social media can have some definite benefits, it also raises the stakes should something be miss-said or misinterpreted. Though there's no hint yet that it's become a full-blown scandal or reason for outrage among commenters online, the recent reaction of Twitter's CEO, Dick Costolo, could bring this issue into focus.

According to the New York Times, Costolo has responded to accusations that his company is sexist for not including any women on its Board of Directors. After Professor Vivek Wadhwa made some comments disparaging this company for its gender inequality, Costolo made his opinion known. But rather than issue an official statement, the preliminary response seems to have been an ad hominem joke targeted at the man himself.

"Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources," the CEO tweeted on October 5. While not entirely clear in meaning, the joke also brings up issues of professionalism: is it right for even someone with extensive executive experience to be this personal in their responses?

This did at least lead to an extended back-and-forth conversation in tweets, with Costolo engaging more fully and thoughtfully with critics, including Wadhwa. But by "throwing the gauntlet" with such a direct comment, the tone could have been misconstrued, especially if the CEO only intermittently responds.

However, exchanges like this can demonstrate how these CEOs act in certain arguments, and may be a sign to recruiters of how seriously committed a candidate is to a certain cause. YES Partners can help pinpoint the person with the maturity, finesse, and know-how to communicate important points to the masses.

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