Can CIOs Afford to Ignore Social Media?

Can CIOs Afford to Ignore Social Media?

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December 19, 2013
CIOs and Social Media

Social media has not been a major focal point for most CIOs so far, but that may change in 2014. While retail and other consumer-focused industries have led in social media outreach programs, for the vast majority of CIOs attention to social media has been low on the priority list.

But this might be changing, and the role of the CIO might be evolving to become more active in social media programs. Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, said recently in Information Week that this year marked social media’s move into the mainstream. "It's no longer passed over as a fad or something that's going away any time soon," he said. "Social media is now part of our fabric of society, like mobile phones and computers—it's a staple of our everyday life."

Social media is used within the enterprise primarily by the marketing department for promotional activities, such as using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to link to the latest new release, and building Facebook and LinkedIn pages to establish communities with external audiences. But social media is at its core a communications vehicle the same way email is, and as it expands throughout the enterprise IT should have a role in defining social media policies and technologies and selecting the right tools for analyzing social media results.

The CIO can begin by looking at how to use social media to improve IT operations. The Forbes article Four Reasons Why CIOs Need Social Media cites the following ways CIOs can benefit from social media today:

  • Find the right staff using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool.
  • Tap into internal communications using collaboration tools such as Yammer or Chatter to replace suggestions boxes and encourage more open feedback to IT from departments.
  • Get smarter by using collaborating tools within IT to allow your organization to better share their experiences without having to build knowledgebases that are rarely used anyway.
  • Learn more about product issues by establishing social networking capabilities for other departments to improve IT’s relationships with workers in these departments.

I think these four steps are a good start, but they’re only the beginning. Harvesting and mining social media data will be a major driver for expanding the role of the CIO to more actively embrace social media in the new year.

What do you think—is the above list an adequate starting point? Do you think the role of the CIOs today fully addresses enterprise social media requirements? Should enterprise social media be the purview of the CIO, or should it be left to the CMO, or even a chief digital officer (CDO)? Will social media become a higher priority for IT in 2014?

Chris Carroll is a freelance technology writer with over 30 years editorial experience. See more information about his background, including samples of his work and references, at www.chriscarroll.com.

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Chris Carroll is a freelance technology writer with over 30 years editorial experience. See more information about his background, including samples of his work and references, at www.chriscarroll.com.

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