Twitter-Skeptical CIOs, Come Back!

CIO publisher emeritus Gary Beach once ditched Twitter. But after several CIOs touted social media tools like the microblogging site as the most game-changing technology, he decided to give it another chance.

Do you tweet? Or are you a Twitter skeptic?

Several years ago I created a Twitter account and jumped in to see what this social-media website was all about. Two weeks later, after an afternoon spent reading a friend’s tweets about whether he should buy scallops or swordfish for dinner, I ran for the door and didn’t come back.

Until two months ago.

I was on the west coast moderating a CIO advisory council meeting for a major software vendor. At the conclusion of the event, I went around the room and asked the 18 CIOs in attendance, “Of all the technologies we have discussed in the past two days, what’s the one you see as a game changer?”

Before this exercise, I would have bet a pound of New England scallops that these CIOs would place their wagers on cloud computing or its first cousin, virtualization.

I was wrong.

Social media tools, like Twitter, was the consensus choice. The vote was not unanimous. Cloud computing came in a close second.

While several CIOs in the group panned social media tools as a time drain with no business logic supporting the case for their use, the majority chose them as game-changing because they are proving to be “a powerful channel, truly transforming how the firm communicated with customers and employees.”

These CIOs feel the need to get ahead of the learning curve, particularly before marketing and sales executives claim ownership. They picked social media as a game-changing technology because they realized that if they didn’t deeply understand this tsunami­—or “social media creep,” as one CIO put it—it would have a negative impact on their careers.

So as of June, I’ve been trying to tweet once a day. My method is to find a business-relevant article focused on CIO pain points and post it to my followers on Twitter; I shy away from personal tweets. So far my reintroduction has been a success. My tweets have attracted the attention of CIOs who use Twitter and I, in turn, follow smart posts from them.

It’s a content win-win.

I encourage you to log on to Twitter and jump in the pool. You can follow me: @gbeach.

Gary Beach, Publisher Emeritus

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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