InsightaaS: Long time readers of ATN are aware of the regard that I have for David Moschella, whose blog posts make CSC’s Leading Edge Forum an important source of IT insight. In today’s featured post, Moschella discusses the risk that he sees CIOs taking as they fail to develop social media competencies.
Moschella beings by observing that traditionally, CIOs have been on the leading edge of understanding and adopting new communications technologies. However, he sees CIOs as being on the trailing edge of adoption/use of important social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Moschella argues that CIOs who do not actively explore social risk “falling out of context” – failing to understand how social channels provide important means of gathering intelligence from the flood of social data.
Moschella illustrates this point by highlighting the differences between digital, which is “focused on devices and technologies,” and social, which is “all about culture and behaviour.” This seems like a simple distinction, but the implications can be far-reaching: for example, the number of LinkedIn profile hits accumulated by employees “can run into thousands a month, meaning those profiles can be as significant as your corporate website. We call this shift the move from .com to .people. Increasingly, we decide whether to deal with a person or an organization based on what we can find out about them. Do we like and trust them? Do they have a good track record? Do they ‘get’ social communication? Or are they going to be ‘too slow?’”
Moschella believes that CIOs need to engage in “a ‘health check’ on their own social media skills and profile, and to decide on their personal strategy – be it just ‘listening’ or more broadly contributing, sharing and engaging.” This is a bit self-serving – CSC, not coincidentally, offers coaching in this area – but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valid prescription. As he says in the post, “CIOs have to decide how they want to be perceived both inside and outside their organization. If you decide to be invisible, that sends a strong message about you; if you never share anything you’ll find people stop sharing with you. Reciprocity is now the natural norm.”
Over the years, CIOs have typically been on the leading edge of new communication technologies such as pagers, email, laptops, the early mobile phones, BlackBerries and today’s smart phones. The benefits of being in touch have been obvious and compelling.
But social media is proving to be different. While estimates vary, it is clear that when it comes to the use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, many CIOs are on the trailing edge. We believe that this is risky. Many IT leaders are now in danger of falling out of context if they are not prepared to use social channels as effective intelligence gathering, communications and personal branding mechanisms.
CIOs often ask us why they should bother with social media. They tell us that they know what’s going on, and when they don’t they have a rich network of people and suppliers from whom they can learn. And they are already invited to participate in more events and conferences than they can make time for, so feel little need for self-promotion. Understandably, many have chosen to focus more on the policy and security side of their firm’s social media usage.
So what is wrong with this thinking, and how can the use of social media help make CIOs more successful?
Your own personal radar
The starting point is the recognition that social media isn’t mostly about posting and broadcasting one’s thoughts. Social media is mostly about listening…