I thought today i’d take a look at how social media helps the IT community consume content and how it is helping IT professionals make more informed decisions as well as increasing collaboration and conversation within IT.
I’ve been working in IT for 15 years and feel pleased to say that I was an early adopter of medium like Facebook, Twitter and Blogs for use in promoting business when they were not considered key tools to be used to increase ones knowledge or were even considered as medium for education and information. To quote bestselling author and social media expert Chris Brogan “he who gets there first owns the game”!
I definitely saw a few companies who “got there first” and reaped the benefits of being early adopters!
Over the years social platforms have evolved to integrate themselves into our lives as part of the way we interact with each other on a daily basis and so they do also affect our careers, the way we work, help us engage, learn and connect with the people we meet. This change was very slow for marketing departments to pick up on, and when I changed my career from software development to focus on social media and marketing it was at first a hard sell to the people I was working with. Marketing departments would not (and often still do not) consider social media a justified spend and typically require metrics linked directly to their bottom line. I was not a fan of this since there was often not a physical way to link a high street banner directly to a sale yet this was never a problem in the past. Anyway, my point is that social media was a hard sell to any professional that had been in the industry for years and had survived happily without using it. The “it’s not broken so don’t fix it” attitude was common!
This is where the IT community took a leap ahead of the rest of the industries in the social space because to stay on the cutting edge within the IT industry you had to develop, change and move with technological advances.
IT professionals are the market leaders in consuming content via social platforms. IT podcasts like the vBrownBag, VMware Communities Roundtable and the Geek-Whisperers sprung up out of a necessity and also because the people running them had a passion for their careers, social media and recognized that these conversations needed to happen.
It’s hard when looking at social media in IT to not include marketing and I’m guilty of this in this blog post. Putting marketing aside for a minute there is a human element that also needs to be considered.
Social media is at it’s heart a conversation and communication medium allowing information and conversations to occur from great distances. You meet someone several times and you add them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. After a while you meet this person a few more times and then add them on Facebook. You no longer need to see them physically to interact with them and while some parties may say this detracts from our humanity I would say that is serves to make the time we spend together all the more meaningful. We can stay in touch and share our lives with people the other side of the globe and forge friendships that were never possible 20 years ago.
Going back to the marketing side again it has to be said that some IT companies have used social media the right way and have leveraged the ability to connect like this effectivly. When I first started working for VMware partners it was a pleasant surprise to be able to see companies like VMware using social media to their fullest. The addition of blogger areas the VMworld conference, Technical Tweetups being sponsored, and even vBeers! All of these endorsed by companies to promote the use of social media and allowing local content to be consumed by anyone interested from anywhere!
So you are working in IT and don’t have a blog, twitter account, LinkedIn or even Facebook do yourself a favour and give them a go. If you integrate these platforms into your life the world will seem like a smaller and more exciting place!