Top NZ CIOs ahead of public in using LinkedIn and Twitter
Aaron Overington, IT manager for Spectrum Care Trust Board, which provides services to people with disabilities, signed up for Twitter in March 2009. He finds Twitter a time saver and a great way to stay up to date with business technology trends and conferences.
He explains he has two screens on his desk, the second is used to check Twitter feeds. “I have a separate screen [so] I can just sort of see any new updates that come in and just quickly check it as I do other things.”
“I find it useful to keep on top of news and current events,” says Overington, who follows a lot of organisations and technology websites, including those of major suppliers. “I find it a quick and easy way to see what product and updates are coming out and other industry news, instead of constantly going back and checking websites and signing up, and things like that. So I unsubscribed from email updates from all those companies.
Since the Twitter feeds are limited to 140 characters, he can see quickly what feeds interest him. “The one headache I have is a lot of the sites or organisations I follow are based overseas so between 10 pm and 8 am, I spend a good half hour or so scrawling back through and reading forward again.”
Twitter, he says, is also useful if he wants to keep abreast of what is happening in conferences and seminars that he can not attend due to work and other commitments.
“I get the key items from it based on the unique hashtag,” says Overington, who is completing a university degree in information sciences. One of his assignments is writing a paper on “Social Media Networks for Business”.
At Spectrum Care, Overington is also working on a strategy paper on social media – which includes Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. He explains his Twitter feeds are personal, as Spectrum does not have a corporate Twitter account. He sends tweets relating to the sector, but not the organisation.
One thing he does support is the idea of ‘reverse mentoring’, getting someone adept in new technologies to teach the other staff. “For a lot of organisations, that is the smart way to go,” he says. “There would be value in getting somebody younger – and by younger, I don’t necessarily mean age, but attitudinally - to help them mentor up [on new technologies].”
But there is a caveat. “You have to find a balance between mentoring up and letting them actually have total control,” he says. “You would not put a 20-year-old straight out of university in charge of a $10 million advertising campaign. You have to put somebody senior.
“It is the same with social media,” he says. “It is a way of engaging your client base so you have to be careful.”
Read related article: Social media at Big Blue is more than just a marketing weapon - it is a business survival tool, says IBM CIO Jeanette Horran.
Share your passion
Like Overington, John Holley has been on Twitter for more than three years now. “For me, at the time, it was about learning about what this ‘Twitter thing’ was and how it could apply to local government,” says Holley, who was then with the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and is now general manager operations, Visible Results.
“I realised pretty quickly it was a great way for myself, as the CIO of the ARC, to share what we were doing. I also learned that if you operate your own Twitter account, rather than an organisation one, you really need to give it your personal flavour otherwise it can be quite bland.”
He says his followers know that he is passionate about a range of things from work to personal and these include open government, open source, education, mobility technology, Apple technology, social equity, Formula 1 and the NZ Defence Force, where he is a reserve officer.
“It is a bit of a two-edged sword as you need to remember that you can't control who reads what you write, and how far your tweets might go,” he advises. “This means, when I was at the ARC, I had to be careful around election times, and I always have to be careful around anything I tweet about the NZDF.”
Chief flexibility officer: The next CIO role?
The world is changing so quickly, and every company's business model has to change as well, says V.C. Gopalratnam, vice president, IT at Cisco. 'You really have to build an organisation that is as flexible as hell.'
Rob Fyfe receives CIO Lifetime Contribution Award
Cited for 'his approach to innovation and his courage and leadership in supporting technology based initiatives' as CIO and CEO at Air New Zealand.
Posted by Courtney Allen at 03:40 on May 15, 2012
CONNECT WITH @ CIO NZ
CIO is bringing together the best of MIS NZ and CIO, the new look CIO is the only magazine that focuses on the unique management needs of senior IT professionals.
Get the latest news from CIO delivered via email.
MIS 100 REPORT
The definitive guide to New Zealand's largest and most significant ICT users.
READ NOW »