IW500: CIOs Are Anti-Social On Social NetworkingIW500: CIOs Are Anti-Social On Social Networking
I can't say I'm surprised by what CIOs told me at the <i>InformationWeek</i> 500 conference about Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites: They're just not into those services. However, the CIOs see that young people have a very different attitude. Social networks are their primary channel for communication, and so companies need to be hospitable to social networks to continue to attract young recruits.
September 15, 2008
I can't say I'm surprised by what CIOs told me at the InformationWeek 500 conference about Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites: They're just not into those services. However, the CIOs see that young people have a very different attitude. Social networks are their primary channel for communication, and so companies need to be hospitable to social networks to continue to attract young recruits.We did the old-fashioned kind of social networking for the opening reception of the IW500, the kind that's mediated by alcohol, music, and snacks. One of my goals for this conference is to get a sense of how attendees, who are CIOs and director-level IT managers, are using social networking, and how we might implement social networking features at InformationWeek to serve these readers better. My initial intent was to take notes on what they said and use that toward a formal article or blog post. But then I thought I was getting better insights just talking off the record. What follows is some notes based on my memory and impressions of a half-dozen conversations with CIOs and high-level IT managers for large corporations.
The only social networking service these folks use is LinkedIn. I get the idea (though this is something I'd need to follow up on) that even on LinkedIn, they're not very active; they post their resume, build up a social network, and then don't come back to it unless they're trying to find someone. However, one or two of the CIOs I talked to said he likes to check in regularly to see whether old friends have turned up online. Why don't they do other social networks? Time. CIOs don't have it. They don't see the payoff from social networks. But young people use social networks quite a bit, and the CIOs know it. Indeed, that's one reason that one of the CIOs I talked with stays away from social networks -- his children use it, and he sees social networks as their space, where they're carving out their own identities, and he feels he needs to respect that and keep his distance. The CIOs I talked with noted that e-mail is dead for young people, replaced by instant messages, social networks, and text messages -- even in the workplace. One CIO noted that his young programmers use IM as a primary channel for collaboration. Although IM isn't officially sanctioned in the company -- they can't log it, or control it, so they don't support it -- upper management looks the other way at IM use, because they know it's how younger workers get things done. Companies are, however, implementing a couple of older forms of social networking, blogs and wikis, which they use for collaboration and documenting best practices.
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