At the Forrester Marketing Forum this year (I hope to see you there), I am giving a talk on “The Social CEO.” I’ll be analysing the state of the art (what pioneering CEOs are doing), assessing which social technologies should and should not be used by business leaders, and summarizing what CEOs and their companies can expect to gain from social.

But all of this may be getting ahead of a fundamental question:  Should CEOs be social? Or should they stay behind the scenes and let their CMO take the lead? If the CEO is not social, will the company suffer?

Would great CEOs of the past, like Thomas Edison, Henry FordAlfred Sloan, or Thomas Watson Jr. have been bloggers? Would Winston Churchill, FDR, or Stalin have used social to win WWII? Why doesn’t Fortune Magazine’s CEO of the Decade engage in social? Would Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln have engaged in Twitter war?

I’d love to get your thoughts. Even better would be any stories you may have about a CEO that uses social to drive the goals of his or her company. If they’re unique, I’ll use your quote in my speech at the Forum and give you a well-deserved shout out…

Thanks in advance for the help.