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CEOs…they’re just like us.

Friday, March 4th, 2011

“I’m not on Twitter.” If this is you, you are probably one of the many people without a Twitter account, but one of the 500 million registered users of Facebook. These are the people who are either not sold on its advantages or do not understand how it’s used and feel it is a fad whose reign will soon eclipse.

Despite all the non-believers, there were 175 million registered Twitter users as of September 2010 (Source: Twitter, Sept 2010). Closing in on 200 million registered users only a few short months later, what started out slowly is exploding into the frontier of social media. Twitter, a real-time information network, is the dark horse of the social media world, quickly garnering a critical weight in every profession and across demographics.

Everyone is on Twitter these days from latest media warlock and “Unemployed Winner” Charlie Sheen to Oscar host James Franco (who registered only AFTER his grandma who was made famous by his Funny or Die video) to the homeless man down the street. No, really…Twitter was used by the homeless to tell their stories (‘Underheard in New York’) and helped a homeless father and daughter reconnect after 11 years last week (‘Homeless Man Reunites With Daughter‘).

Maybe the most surprising fact about Twitter is the significant number of CEOs on Twitter. From those heads of Fortune 500 companies to young billionaire Mark Zuckerberg who does do more than just Facebook. In August 2008, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on 18 chief executives utilizing Twitter to engage their customers, business associates and most prominently the public. Not even a year later, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on 50 CEOs tweeting including Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, Zappos.com’s Tony Hsieh, and Digg founder Kevin Rose.

With a combined following of over six million people as of January 2011, these five CEOs are not only at the forefront of their businesses, but the forefront of Twitter as well. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Top 5 CEOs on Twitter:
1. Jack Welch (@jack_welch) – former CEO of General Electric
2. Sir Richard Branson (@richardbranson) – CEO of Virgin Group
3. Bill Gates (@BillGates) – Former CEO of Microsoft
4. Eric Schmidt (@ericschmmidt) – CEO of Google
5. Pete Cashmore (@petecashmore) – CEO of Mashable

There’s also Twitter accounts like @theceodaily following and tweeting about all things CEOs.

Whether you’re using Twitter for business or pleasure or both, these CEOs prove there are definitely advantages to being social with this social network.

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