I know from first hand experience that CIOs will tend to network well at fairly exclusive conferences. The question on my mind today is whether CIOs will take that networking virtual anytime in the near term. Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Myspace provide the medium.
I have been playing around with Facebook for a few months now. It was initiated through my college age kids – two of which are avid Facebook users. It’s been an interesting experience, and a novel way to keep track of them (besides the scheduled weekly “how is everything” phone call that consists of more silent pauses than actual speech). Do they THINK before they put some of that stuff on that their parents (and just about any other human on this planet with an internet connection) can look at it? Hmmmm....
Will executives even have time to think about how they use the medium? What’s appropriate, what is not, what should be private, what shouldn’t? That coupled with recent WSJ articles about how lowlifes are using those same sites to gather information of potential targets…well…is this a trend that has legs for execs?
What is more likely to happen is that F500 CIOs will take advantage of sites like “imagebuilder” where professionals (PR & Marketing) pull together and create a “virtual persona”. That service could even be part of the contract. Then have someone manage it for you. Networking? Maybe online components to SIM, CHIME, other for/by CIO groups might (over time) bring more and more CIOs on line. Those that are online are in the minority (a good research project to find out the numbers), and are typically managing smaller organizations. The effective CIO manages his one, personal, smaller networking groups over lunch and golf. But, of course, all this will change as Generation:Internet-ers become entrenched in the executive ranks...
The last CEO I worked for had this MO: Have a department of about 5-15 people that you managed directly as administrative assistants/special assistants/project managers. Some of these morphed into a quasi executive “Project Management Office”. The lead AA decides which emails are important, and printed them out for an early morning hand delivery. They would be commented on and returned for paper delivery, or to be typed in for a return email, by 9 AM. Anything that happened during the day after that would be vetted by the same group before being brought to the CEO’s attention. Rarely would the CEO use email directly (forget about Facebook).
Now there’s a process.