I am not a tech-toy pioneer. It was two years before I logged onto my company’s instant message system because I thought it would create ADD symptoms (it didn’t). I just got a Blackberry a few weeks ago (yes, Blackberry, not iPhone) because I lost my PalmPilot calendar and they don’t make them anymore. And I resisted a Twitter account because I thought it was silly, frivolous, and seemingly narcissistic.
In each case, I found myself wrong. Let me explain why I now Twitter. I found following a few “tweets” actually exposed me to helpful info I would not have seen otherwise. Being selective helps. I follow about a half dozen Tweets, including GAO (which announces its new reports daily), Federal News Radio reporter Chris Dorobek (who posts links to timely government stories), and a new site, OhMyGov!, which highlights interesting government-related stories.
For example, OhMyGov! editor Mark Malseed did a great story, “Social Media for Government: Six Trends for 2010,” that I’d not have seen if I had not been on Twitter. Malseed summarized trends from a Harvard Business website article targeted to the private sector, but it is relevant to the public sector as well:
- Individuals will become more selective about their social media connections and trim back the number of networks they belong to because of information overload.
- Organizations will look to scale up their social media efforts (and in government, this will likely be driven by the long-awaited Open Government Directive).
- Managers will be encouraging (not discouraging) their employees to participate in social media on behalf of their organizations.
- Organizations will create more formal social media policies, and begin to enforce them (I’ve seen corporate dress codes for avatars in Second Life!).
- Social media will become more mobile-device oriented.
- Sharing will no longer mean email. As generations shift in the workplace, email is the new snail mail.
So, do I “tweet?” Well, not really, but I do follow others! You can follow the IBM Center, though, at: BusofGovernment on Twitter. So, if you haven’t joined, you might try it out and see if it makes a difference. It’s free!
NOTE: A subsequent Federal Times Op-Ed, by U.S. Army General Craig McKinley, “Why I Tweet,” provides a powerful example of how leaders can use Twitter to stress important messages across a highly decentralized organization. It’s worth reading!