Social Media & the CIO

Larry Bonfante, Founder, CIO Bench Coach | 1/30/2013 | 50 comments

Larry Bonfante
It absolutely makes me crazy when I hear some of my peers discussing how they are "putting the clamps" on their employees being able to use Facebook and YouTube at work.

They act as if they are doing their organizations a public service by stopping their employees from "wasting their time" while at work. Looking at social media as a frivolous activity is shortsighted for many reasons.

First of all, many younger workers have a very different view of work than we baby boomers do (I'm 53 years old so I am on the tail end of this generation). We were taught that work was work and that you lived your life once you left the office. Today's new workforce has a different (and healthier) view of work/life balance. They want to work in an environment where they can bring their whole selves to work and where there are not artificial barriers constructed between what they can do in their work lives and what they can do in their personal lives. The lines have blurred and we can either embrace that or fight it but it is a losing battle.

Secondly, looking at social media as "fun and games" is very shortsighted. Think about how much money marketing departments used to invest in focus groups to learn more about what the consumers of their companies' products and services thought about them. Social media creates the opportunity for access to an unlimited and unbiased focus group -- all of your actual consumers.

You can directly interact with your customers to learn what they like and dislike about doing business with you and what products and services they would like to see you create to serve their needs. In terms of customer service, you can learn real-time about negative trends and product problems, and communicate broadly your plans to address them. You can learn what people are saying about your organization and have a voice in this dialogue. What could be more business-focused than that?

Also, social media is how people interact today. We provide opportunities to play in organized tennis events. One of the best ways to attract new players is to let them know that their friends and colleagues are already enjoying our leagues and tournaments. After all, like-minded people want to hang out and be active with their friends, and social media provides an opportunity to keep their friends abreast of what activities they are enjoying and participating in.

Thinking that social media is a kid's game is also a mistake. Studies show the average Facebook client is a 50-year-old woman! Many of our key target audiences are on social media platforms. What's easier -- getting them to come to our sites to check out what we want them to know, or having a presence where they already "live" and being a meaningful part of their community?

Social media is not a toy. It is not a waste of time. It is a proven opportunity to engage with the people you are trying to influence in a non-threatening way that they are comfortable with. We can either be a part of their world or wonder why they aren't becoming a part of ours.

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adil   Social Media & the CIO   3/20/2013 2:32:26 AM
Re: weighing pros and cons
Currently the social media is in transition phase. It's just a 10 year old baby and has acted like a baby; playing games and meeting new people. Now grown enough, it is high time to use it for more creative purpose as suggested in the article.
soozyg   Social Media & the CIO   3/19/2013 11:05:23 AM
Re: Reasonable use is key
Interesting article on how to convince the CEO to use and encourage social media:
Vijitha   Social Media & the CIO   2/7/2013 7:19:00 AM
i like to add something
Social media is good stage to sell 'myself' (my profile).
Vijitha   Social Media & the CIO   2/7/2013 7:14:42 AM
Social Media
Also social media can explain as psychotherapy to control young age's sentiments. Because most of sensitivities can share with others. But it should have limitation. 
Vijitha   Social Media & the CIO   2/7/2013 7:06:16 AM
Re: weighing pros and cons
i agree with u

most of young crowd try to absorb social power by social media, but without realize the correct method.  Social media is a powerful tool and it should use with consciously. 
batye   Social Media & the CIO   2/3/2013 3:32:01 PM
Re: weighing pros and cons
sometimes with social media it happens more than we know... as everyone want to have the power... social media is powerful tool...
soozyg   Social Media & the CIO   2/3/2013 12:00:04 PM
Re: Reasonable use is key

I find it interesting, even fascinating, that some companies still push back on it. About 5 years ago, Faith Popcorn talked to me about doing digitial marketing/social media with Walmart. They actually backed down and the project was scrapped. Can you imagine? I'm sure they're running it now, but they would have been ahead of the curve if they'd pursued back then.
stotheco   Social Media & the CIO   2/3/2013 11:51:41 AM
Re: Expectations and Etiquette
It all boils down to self discipline, really. It's not just the young ones who are doing this; I've seen people in their forties and fifties do the same, and it's a shame, really. There is more to life than the online world, and I'm sure they all know this. Unfortunately, it's not enough to make them to put down their phones when it's time to live in the real world.
stotheco   Social Media & the CIO   2/3/2013 11:48:00 AM
Re: weighing pros and cons
I never saw social media in this light, but I think it is extremely unfortunate that these types of governments or organizations include social media under their umbrella of control.
stotheco   Social Media & the CIO   2/3/2013 11:46:52 AM
Re: Reasonable use is key
I agree, Soozy. Social media gives you a direct line of communication to your consumers, users, or target audience. It's personal in the sense that you are conversing on a platform where you can reach them and interact with them directly. Given its popularity, more and more people are getting online as well and might be looking to reach your company too, through this medium.
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