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2/27/2012
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SF Symphony CIO: Facebook Or Tweet From Your Seat

On the third episode of Valley View, hosts David Berlind and Fritz Nelson interview San Francisco Symphony CIO Michael Skaff about how he's keeping one of the City's leading non-profit organizations on the bleeding edge.

According to San Francisco Symphony CIO Michael Skaff, symphony seating has traditionally been considered sacrosanct. Not only shouldn't you talk during a performance, but all your electronics should be turned off. Think of it like takeoff and landing on an airplane--but with less risk, better entertainment, and no seatbelts. You can watch InformationWeek's Valley View hosts Fritz Nelson and David Berlind interview Skaff in the embedded video below.

Starting this summer, Skaff says the San Francisco Symphony will actually encourage audience members to tweet and Facebook from the second tier of its venue. "We hope they'll leave the ringers off," said Skaff.

Letting its customers lead the Symphony to where it should go technologically is just one of the many bleeding-edge IT initiatives that Skaff is overseeing. Like most organizations, the Symphony is not immune to the consumerization of IT, and Skaff also lets employees take the lead when it comes to bringing their own tablets and smartphones to the office. According to Skaff, his department supports three mobile operating systems, and he currently relies on Mobile Iron's mobile device management solution to keep tabs on it all. One new tablet that might be added to the supported mix is Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Though Skaff himself uses Google Plus, the Symphony hasn't embraced it yet, instead investing all of its social energy into Twitter and Facebook. During the orchestra's recent Black and White Ball, larger-than-life-sized Symphony-related tweets were scrolled on the walls of San Francisco's City Hall.

Be sure to watch the video to learn how Skaff is confronting other challenges.

Attend the March 28 edition of Valley View and you could win! For each episode of Valley View, one lucky member of our live online audience wins some cool tech gear (for example, we've already given away a bunch of Amazon's Kindle Fires). We announce the winners and the prizes at the end of each show. But to win, you first have to register for the drawing. Or better yet, attend in person at our San Francisco headquarters and meet the editors and guests! If you want to be a member of our live studio audience, just send an email to one of the Valley View hosts: David Berlind or Fritz Nelson.

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