GM CEO Fritz Henderson was busy at his computer this afternoon, first typing answers to questions from reporters in a web chat on the carmaker's FastLane blog and, immediately following, another 30 minutes responding to questions on Twitter for the first time.
The difference between the two was evident right off the bat. It took Fritz a minute or two to write his responses to reporters, but his answers on Twitter came a lot faster, which seemed to indicate he had helpers. However, a GM spokesman insisted he wrote all the answers himself. "It went faster on Twitter because the 140-character limit forces shorter answers; the media chat allowed him to do deeper answers."
Fritz held his own with the tweeters. The CEO picked up a tweet from JV3, who mentioned GM: "first assembly plant gm is gonna build after bankruptcy is for dodge vipers?? really??" To which Fritz replied, "not on your life." (Chrysler builds the Dodge Viper, although it has been looking for a buyer for the high-end sports car brand.)
JV3 retorted, "i meant chrysler not gm.. but they are the same douche bags anyway.." Mr. Henderson answered, "highly constructive my friend."
Scott Monty, who heads social media for crosstown rival Ford, participated on the GM CEO's first Twitter day, getting in two tweets: "Glad you're here, Fritz. Where'd you get the idea to use Twitter?" (Ford CEO Alan Mulally first fielded questions on Twitter in mid-April.)
The tweet back from GMblogs: "At least our guy types his own tweets." (Mr. Monty can be seen on YouTube sitting next to Mr. Mulally typing in his tweets.)
After the event, Mr. Monty told Ad Age, "My hat's off them. GM is trying to be more transparent about the things they're doing."