How CIOs Use Twitter: 5 Facts

Twitter adoption among CIOs increased significantly in the last year, according to a new survey. But 49 percent of CIOs say Twitter's biggest challenge in the enterprise is its reputation as a time-waster.

CIOs have been slow to adopt Twitter—in one survey, 65 percent admit they have never used the microblogging service. But those who have joined Twitter say they are tweeting more than they did last year, are seeing a tangible return on investment and view Twitter as a useful business tool. This, according to a new survey by Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, which surveyed 75 CIOs.

[Check out CIO.com's Twitter Bible for more information on best practices, tips, tricks and more.]

"What surprised me most about the survey results was [the number of CIOs] who have established a new working relationship," says Chris Curran, partner and CTO with Diamond Management and Technology Consultants. "This says to me that many have moved beyond using Twitter only as a consumer."

How else has Twitter affected CIOs and they way they work? Here are five key takeaways from the survey results.

1. Twitter has evolved into a useful business tool.

Ninety-two percent of the CIOs surveyed agree that Twitter is a useful business tool, and for three primary reasons: It allows them the opportunity to share best practices; stay ahead of the news that may impact their jobs; and allows CIOs the opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders. Twitter has also helped CIOs reach out and network with people who have similar interests: 70 percent of those surveyed say that they have established new working relationships via Twitter, something that Curran has seen.

Curran established The CIO Twitter Dashboard, a collection of Twitter usernames for hundreds of CIOs who are on Twitter.

2. Recruiting is not the top reason that most CIOs use Twitter.

While many CIOs have found success in networking via Twitter, they're also using the site as a forum for sharing news, ideas and best practices.

[The New Twitter: What's Good and What's Missing]

In its infancy, many used to Twitter to search for job leads and recruit candidates for open positions. Over time, that has changed. The top three reasons CIOs who use Twitter continue to use the site are: to follow news that impacts their job (92 percent); to learn best practices from other CIOs (75 percent); and to position themself as a though leader (67 percent). Sharing news about the company with other employees (21 percent), recruiting candidates (21 percent) and to search for jobs (8 percent) round out the bottom three reasons cited.

3. CIOs who tweet more are blogging less.

It appears that some CIOs may be leaving the traditional, long-form blogging behind in favor of 140-character tweets: Sixty-one percent of CIOs surveyed say they are blogging less frequently.

While blogs have taken a hit in the last year for CIOs on Twitter, CIOs have increased their presence on two other major social networks: Facebook and LinkedIn. Thirty-five percent say they're using Facebook more, while 47 percent say they're more involved in LinkedIn than they were in the past.

4. Most CIOs trust employees to use Twitter at their own discretion.

While Twitter restrictions are place on some employees, most are trusted to use Twitter in the workplace, according to the survey. Fifty-four percent of CIOs said that their corporate policy places no restrictions on Twitter use, while 6 percent allow no business use and 7 percent allow no personal use of Twitter.

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5. Productivity and ROI concerns remain.

While the CIOs who were polled in the survey are seeing returns from their time spent on the site, they're not blind to the stigma that Twitter still carries. Forty-nine percent of CIOs surveyed say that the perception of Twitter as a time-waster was the biggest challenge Twitter faces in gaining enterprise adoption. Thirty percent noted that the measurability of its ROI had an affect on enterprise adoption, as did privacy and security (12 percent) and difficulty in monitoring (9 percent).

Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com.

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