How Jim Farley uses social media in real life

Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News
It was near the end of an Automotive News TV interview with Jim Farley, Ford's honcho of global marketing, sales and service.

Sitting in his office, we were discussing the beefed-up role that social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are going to play in the global launch of the new Ford Focus.

That made me wonder whether Farley is active in social media.

So I asked him, “Do you tweet?”

A sly grin came across his face.

“Yes, I do,'' Farley said. “But actually under a private name at home.”

Then he laughed.

After I left Farley's office, it hit me: Can it matter if most tweeters -- and other social media users -- don't disclose their identities?

For some purposes, the advantages of anonymity are clear.

That's why truckers used “handles” instead of their names on CB radios in the 1970s. And why a decade later Internet users began creating e-mail addresses -- such as BadLad343@someserver.com -- that concealed who they are.

But it's the kind of thing that might challenge a marketing guru.