Stuart Appley was not a social media early adopter, but you won't know it now if you follow him on Twitter. The CIO of real estate firm Shorenstein joined Twitter in 2009, and it took him years to warm up to social and eventually become a champion for the medium. Today, he is prolific with his tweets.
Flexible social media schedule
Shorenstein Shorenstein CIO Stuart Appley
Appley kicks off his daily social media routine during a 40-minute commute via public transportation to San Francisco, as long as cellular coverage cooperates. He fills in the network gaps by reading a digital version of the Contra Costa Times, a Bay Area publication, which he downloads before leaving home. The CIO doesn't typically set specific goals or limits for himself on social media, but some days he will "consciously check-out just to take a pause," he says.
"Being on social media can be all consuming, if you let it, so I do like to take periodic breaks."
He calls Twitter a "spigot of news" that helps him stay current and informed on important issues in business and technology. "For new trends in IT or other business topics, Twitter is where I go to see what's happening and what's being talked about."
In addition to Twitter, Appley also uses LinkedIn on a daily basis, for similar reasons, but his LinkedIn network is smaller and tends to fuel fewer conversations, he says. He enjoys the dialogue and commentary on LinkedIn Groups, but it's not the company's primary product, it's buried in a menu, and "it's not as free flowing as Twitter," according to Appley.
LinkedIn is also purely focused on business, while Twitter delivers a mix of personal and business interests, which Appley appreciates. He started out using Twitter exclusively for business, but his son encouraged him to experiment with personal uses, as well — and he did, as evidenced by his recent tweets about the Philadelphia Eagles and Golden State Warriors.
"Social media has been transformative for me personally and career wise," Appley says. "It's given me a voice and opened up so many connections that I never would have had otherwise."
Tech leaders should embrace social for professional growth
Social platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are valuable tools that can help businesspeople learn and engage with others, says Appley, who purposefully mixes participation and observation on social. "There is a lot of content out there that you can catch up on by just observing, but that's just the tip of the iceberg," he says. "Engaging and participating is really where the true value comes in."
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