Chris J Powell

Social Media and the Enterprise where does IT fit in?

This is a question that I have been asked with increasing regularity in my role as an Account Manager at an IT Research Firm.  The Vancouver Riots after the Stanley Cup Final brought both the dangers and the greatness of how connected we all are to Social Media and the instant gratification that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter bring to each of us.  Whether you are a world class athlete that got caught setting a police car on fire, or a young couple captured for ever in a loving embrace…each of our actions can potentially be forever stored and shared around the globe.

YouTube Video on Vancouver RiotsFor an IT Professional this becomes an even bigger challenge.  As my clients wrestle with the invasion of consumer technology into their business it becomes important that as the guardians of Data that they be on the front line and in the discussion with the rest of the business to develop a solid strategy for handling Social Media Channels.

I am going to use a few examples starting with my entrance into the world of Social Media.

As a Tech Sales Guy, this blog and my other points of 24/7 connections to my clients (LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr and even Facebook) are an opportunity for me to set myself up as a different and unique resource for my clients and colleagues.  I did not look at it as a challenge but as a way for me to prepare for each day and from the very start I have had the support of my management team and senior executives within my organization.

For me, I started the process with a solid strategy for what I wanted to do with Social Media and set up several measurable targets that I hoped to achieve at 30 day , 60 day and 120 day points and beyond as this was not something that my employer came to me and asked “can you test out Social Media as our Tech Sales Guy”.  This is all me, 100% of the time and the thoughts, opinions and type O’s are all MINE.

This entire process is my own design and is not part of a Corporate Strategy to win the hearts and minds but a challenge and a reward for one lonely Sales Guy among the masses of “Sales Professionals” trying for just “5 minutes” of my clients time!

In other cases though the dangers of Social Media become a glaring point of contention.  Companies actively recruit new talent using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (I know the offers have come) and it is vital that as individuals we do draw a line in the sand and fight the urge to cross over to outright crazy postings on social media challenges.  Even as companies reach out to potential candidates and new talent, they are also checking out your back ground that you include in your resume.

A case in point Jim Redner a one man public relations firm was fired by 2K Games after he took to defending his client on Twitter and threatening to Blacklist game reviewers.  I was also reading recently that to support HR Departments several companies are offering Social Media Indexing by cross referencing each and every candidate and employee post to protect corporate identity.

It is that Corporate Identity that IT Professionals will be faced more and more with “Standing On Guard for Thee” and having a solid plan and strategy to assist, build and support a Social Media Strategy is key to the continued improvement of IT / Business Relations.  All to often it is assumed that it will be the Marketing Department who handles all the Social Media Channels but without the support of the IT Department, those efforts can not be tracked, measured and improved upon.  In my Role as an Account Manager and Tech Sales Guy…that is part of my job to assist in building not just the strategy but act as a broker between the different related research and the actual subject matter experts in our Analyst Team to assist you.

For my clients that I work with their questions point less to “If Mary in Accounting goes out on a weekend bender and posts her escapades on Facebook” and more to “If the Shop Supervisory John and his Team Lead Fred get into an argument on the floor and 6 people use there camera phones to post the argument on YouTube”.  This is a concern and a challenge because there is only 24 hours in a day but being ever vigilant is key, have a plan, communicate the plan and enforce the policies developed from that.

Whether you are venturing into the world of Social Media for the first time as a company or an individual know first and foremost that EVERY, EVERY PICTURE and EVERY VIDEO and EVERY WORD is forever in the public domain.  Social Media is here to stay and for every ounce of personal privacy we give up to be able to “put ourselves out there” there is a ton of reward waiting for us, it is not a matter of if Social Media will come to your Enterprise it is a question of when…and there is assistance available based on solid best practice available for you!

Cheers and have a Great Day!

Chris J Powell

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