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BLOG: CIOs and social media

Martha Heller | Oct. 7, 2013
Tom Catalini, CIO of the Museum Fine Arts, says IT leaders need to take the plunge into social media

The new Twitter user will be confused at first.  Who should I follow? What's with those hashtags? You just have to go down the rabbit hole and figure it out.  And being on Twitter for a few weeks is not enough.  You need peel back the onion and work with it somewhat steadily over time.

Once you're ready to jump into the deep end, you can start a blog, which means setting up your own corner of the internet and offering your perspective on something.  A good way to start this process is to read other people's blogs.   Once you start commenting on blogs that are interesting to you, you'll figure out what you want to say in your own blog.

As you get deeper into social media, you will realize that you cannot necessarily take a linear approach. You just follow this path and then that path as you figure out your next level of engagement. Like hopping on rocks one at a time in order to cross a stream.

What has your experience with social media been?
Several  years ago, I became curious about social media.  I read some books that described the different platforms, and then I set up a few accounts to experiment with. When I got to the point where I was ready to start my own blog, I was intimated.  I put out a few posts and I remember thinking that people would probably be looking at me funny when I walked down the hall. But then I continued blogging regularly and realized that no one seemed to care.  That was an important takeaway:  If you write a blog for recognition and accolades, you may be disappointed, because for a while, only your cat will read it.   

But if you write it for other reasons, you will see the benefit. Not only does writing a blog make you knowledgeable about the medium, it makes you a better communicator. Writing a blog is a unique way to crystallize your own thoughts. It really helped me to push my own thinking forward.  It dramatically improved my writing and communication skills because I've developed a stronger metacognition capability.  I articulate a thought in my blog, and I find that later on, I am much more effective in communicating that idea or my opinion when the topic comes up.

Eventually, your ideas will find their way to others, allowing you to make real connections online. Social media has allowed me to meet people I would not have met otherwise. And for me, it's also been useful in terms of personal branding and professional development.  When I was changing jobs last year, I found that recruiters and potential employers had read my blog and knew about my approach to leadership and strategy, before they even saw my resume. That created some great dialog in the interview process.    


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