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Girl in a jacket

In the Philippines, the ‘CEO’ title has taken on a different meaning

An intimidating demeanor paired with professional attire such as suits and tailored dresses is the usual combination that can be associated with how a “CEO” looks. Given that CEO or the Chief Executive Officer holds the highest-ranking executive in the organization, displays of high-level professionalism and adherence to proper business etiquette are expected of them. However recently, this may no longer be the case with CEOs in the Philippines.

During the height of the pandemic, many Filipinos have established micro and small businesses. Thanks to social media platforms, specifically TikTok, businesses instantly rose. Now, many of these successful business owners, who are self-proclaimed “CEOs,” use the same platforms to share their stories and serve as an inspiration to those who aspire to be them. Undoubtedly, social media platforms had played a huge role in the popularity of these so-called “CEOs” which drove people to want to be called the same thing. This is why suddenly, the “CEOs” we once knew are different from the “CEOs” we now have.

In a way, the term “CEO” has become a catch-all for a collective of out-and-about online personalities.

“CEOs” in the country engage in online dramas. There have been so many of these that you can already understand what is happening just by scrolling through your TikTok FYP—the “CEOs” trying to prove their points, and other influencers just trying to ride the tide. Some even think that they do this to promote their products (what a weird take on Marketing 101). These “CEOs” even started having their own concerts. They just keep on pulling off (unnecessary) weird stunts.

CEO holding concerts

I hope you do not take this the wrong way but, there is a difference between a “business owner,” and a “CEO.” Anyone can be a business owner, but not everyone can be a CEO. Being a CEO goes beyond owning a business. There are specific expertise, experience, and leadership skills that one must possess. Whereas one can own a business just by starting one, acquiring, or inheriting it.

But then again, the age of social media can really pose significant impacts and weird changes, to the extent of allowing anyone to claim anything. This is not even a debate on allowing everyone to be anything they want to be. It goes back to drawing facts. You can be who and how you want to be, just not overnight. So, always keep in mind to use terms and titles in the right ways, especially with respect to those who really deserve those titles.


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