Have you friended your chief marketing officer yet? If you\u2019re like most CIOs, I\u2019ll bet not. Being Best Friends Forever with the CMO is still a ways off your radar screen.\n \n Your company\u2019s marketing function might seem more like a faraway land of clueless, complaining users who don\u2019t get (or particularly like) IT. So mostly ignoring them has so far been a reasonable strategy.\n \n Then along comes social media. And like it or not, the game has changed. \u201cIT knows the technology; marketing knows the customer,\u201d says CIO Robert Urwiler of Vail Resorts. \u201cIt is a huge opportunity missed if IT and marketing are at odds.\u201d\n \n Vail Resorts is one of the compelling examples featured in our cover story (\u201cInside 4 Companies' Facebook and Twitter Strategies.\u201d), which delves into the new business demands and technology issues that are arising as companies venture into social media.\n \n For starters, there is considerable confusion around how to use whatever data you derive from the social media stream. Beyond those half a billion people friending each other on Facebook, there are 80 million LinkedIn members and 106 million Twitter users, who shoot forth 55 million tweets a day. \u201cThe amount of data a CIO could glean from social media chatter could smother the typical corporate network,\u201d Senior Editor Kim S. Nash writes.\n \n Separating useful data from the deafening noise of millions of social users is clearly the business goal, says Todd Michaud, vice president of IT at Focus Brands. \u201cThe vision I have is, when you drill down on a record, it will show the person\u2019s LinkedIn profile, Twitter stream, Facebook page\u2014whatever I can get that\u2019s public,\u201d he says. \n \n With the right integration tools (which don\u2019t exist yet), social media data could paint a much more vivid picture of customers, which would allow marketing to fine-tune its efforts.\n \n That\u2019s where the CIO-CMO relationship matters most. Without one, social media projects spring up randomly and money gets wasted. In a recent study by Accenture and the CMO Council, only a tiny percentage of marketing executives or IT leaders felt their organizations were anywhere near ready to properly exploit digital marketing channels.\n \n If that sounds like your company, then it\u2019s time to get social with your CMO. Lunch is on you.\n Contact Maryfran Johnson, Editor in Chief of CIO Magazine and Events, at firstname.lastname@example.org.