In a bold move, Twitter’s CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey has announced he will be giving away approximately £128m of his shares in the firm.
He shared this information – in a tweet, naturally – on Friday 23rd October, broadcasting that he was giving away a third of his Twitter stock to the company’s employees.
Dorsey’s plan, according to his post, is to “reinvest directly in our people”. Twitter’s ‘people’ consists of its 4,100 employees based all around the world – and it seems the move has boosted Mr. Dorsey’s popularity already. One worker told the BBC (once again, via Twitter) that “folks are ready to run through walls for him and the company.”
It’s an even bolder move when you consider that Mr Dorsey was only appointed as the company’s permanent leader earlier this month, after taking over as temporary chief when Dick Costolo got the boot back in July. Dorsey justified his announcement with a further tweet, stating “I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small.” Officially, Twitter is yet to comment.
What with K2L being an inquisitive digital marketing agency, and never one to shy away from questioning the status quo, these 130 odd characters (plus the two emojis) got us thinking. How much of this move is a CEO’s generous display of altruism, and how much a very savvy slice of social media marketing?
You see, it was but a fortnight ago that Twitter announced plans to lay off up to 336 employees – or around 8% of its total workforce. In a scathing accompanying statement, Twitter claimed the redundancies will help the company focus on “top product priorities”. Ouch.
So in times like these, when your multi-billion dollar company needs to court favour with your employees (or what’s left of them) and the public, what better way than to divvy out a rather large chunk of company stock? By sharing out the stock and then sensationally tweeting about it from the CEO’s personal account, of course.
There are countless articles online that detail how it’s possible to turn instances of negative social media marketing into positive publicity, and someone on Twitter’s PR team has certainly been doing their research. Through the use of just one public sentence (albeit a pretty important one), Twitter have ensured that the 336 potential redundant staff members have slipped silently down the news pages.
It’s a wonderful and benevolent gesture to distribute this type of wealth – and no doubt under Mr. Dorsey’s leadership company morale will be at an all-time high. Compassion and generosity will always prevail, particularly when it comes to managing a global team, at a company that is consistently making headlines. But compassionate deeds will always open themselves up to cynicism when announced in such a casual way. A move with such impact, to so many people, would perhaps be better announced through the formal, respected channels – and not in the form of a micro-blog.
All this, plus the excitedly-hushed whispers about Twitter potentially eliminating its trademark 140-character limit, means that for coming weeks we will most definitely have one eye on the ball – and one on Mr. Dorsey’s timeline.