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Global CIO: A CIO's Fear Of Social Networking

IT folk like Stu Laura see Web 2.0 as a giant food fight with unknown outcomes and lots of disharmony. They don’t get it--yet.

You remember Stu Laura, CIO, from last month when he was bloviating about security issues, whining about costs, and moaning that his job might be in jeopardy if he underfunded protection but that it also might be in jeopardy if he overfunded the project and starved application development. He suggested that some days he wishes he never heard of the Internet.

Frankly, Stu complains a lot for a guy pulling down $700K, and today is no different.

Stu, how do you look at social networking?

"I hate it. I don't understand it and I don't know what top management's attraction is. Don't they have anything better to do? I have explosive database growth, lower head counts, and every time I turn around one of the Green Eyeshade Boys wants to cut my budget. The next son of a bitch who tells me to 'do more with less' I am going to strangle. I would like to tell them what they can do with MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, and Orkut, and I don't need 140 characters to do it. How many characters in 'drop dead?’"

Stu is essentially a conservative manager. He likes predictability, loves metrics, abhors disruption, and resists change every time he encounters it--that is, until he embraces it, upon which time he has amnesia about his previous trepidation. He fought office automation, resisted e-mail, never got too wild about minicomputers, and thought that PCs were the works of the devil. He’s a control freak, so Web 2.0 looks to him like more problems. It scares him, but he isn't quite sure why.

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Stu, so who is pushing this social networking in your shop?

"The idiots in marketing--or is that redundant?--pretend that we can learn from what is being said about us from our customers by tracking trends. So if Wal-Mart hears from the social network that Store #234 in Dayton is out of chocolate-covered popcorn at 10:30 in the morning, does that mean that its supply chain is broken? I don't think so."

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