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Your Mama Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't... Twitter?

June 15, 2009
by jlee
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During the CHIME reception at HIMSS in April, I spotted our friend Anthony holding court at a table surrounded by the rich and powerful. (Actually it was a bunch of CIOs and consultants.)

Being the shy and retiring guy that I am, I pulled up a chair and sat in the reflected glory for a while.

Over the next hour or so several people moved in and out of the conversation, but a recurrent theme was, “What is the utility of social networking sites to your business?” Most of the debate surrounded MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

I wasn’t checking IDs, but my guess is that (with the obvious exception of Anthony) most of those involved in the discussion could tell you what they were doing when Kennedy was shot. Jack Kennedy.

The consensus of opinion in the group seemed to be that there was very little business value to Web 2.0, especially where Twitter is concerned.

It got me to thinking, though, about what Twitter does well. If you want to send out little messages or updates to a targeted group- even a self-selected group- it’s a pretty nifty tool.

One of the common complaints that people in positions of leadership hear is that their employees feel out of the loop. What if you tweeted little updates of anything that you thought might be of interest to people in your business sphere, especially those who report to you? Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of “followers”, doesn’t it?

Is it likely to solve all those “out of the loop” complaints? Of course not.

Can it help? Can’t tell without trying.

So I’m trying.

I registered recently and encouraged everyone on my team to follow me.
Since then, I’ve been trying to decide in my own mind what kind of update is pertinent and useful. There’s a difference in the updates my family, my staff, and my “fans” are interested in. (If you’ve not signed up yet, you’ll be surprised at all the followers you’ll gather that you’ve never heard of. I’m guessing that most are probably selling something.)

It’s too soon to tell if my team is finding any value in the exercise. For me, I’m hoping that it at least helps me to think about how I disseminate information. It would be nice if I could also gain some word discipline by learning to work in 140 characters. (Readers of this blog won’t find this newsworthy, but I’m sometimes, like Polonius, brevity-challenged.)

Perhaps a larger question is- Does adoption of any technology by a 50-something denizen of the C-suite demonstrate that the technology has entered the mainstream? Or that it’s hopelessly passé?

What about you? Are you Tweeting, Facebooking, YouTubing, Flickring, LinkingIn, or Blorping? (I just made that last one up. I think.)

And what were you doing when Kennedy was shot? (Jack.)

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