Back to the Basics: Learning Is Fundamental

bookz.jpgIn order to evolve as a professional, regardless of your market, you have to implement continued education. Now that you’re connected to a group of social CIOs, what can you continuously learn from them?

Throughout your career, you’ve probably attended conferences, read white papers and books, and had many hallway chats with colleagues. Social media can maximize what you already learn from these experiences. Jonathan Feldman, CIO for the city of Asheville, North Carolina, recently attended a conference that he gained knowledge from, but also adds he learned “… conference experience lessons beyond the event’s walls that I never would have if not for social media.” In his article for InformationWeek, Feldman references social CIO Vala Afshar, saying that “[t]o stay informed, successful CIOs are leveraging social media as their personal learning networks.”

Seek Out Your Teachers

If you’re following your most exemplary peers, seek to understand what it was they implemented in order to lead their companies to innovation. Strive to learn how they navigate the choppy waters of managing their own social media profiles, and don’t be afraid to personally reach out to them and ask! has a great series called “A Day in the Life of a Social CIO” in which they break down how they manage social media and their daily duties. David Bray, CIO of the Federal Communications Commission, checks Twitter for important industry links and developments and approves tweets on his train ride both to and from work. Shorenstein CIO Stuart Appley shared that he’s “always on the hunt for new ways to interact with people he wouldn't connect with otherwise.”

Choose Your Classes

Now that you’re following and sharing, consider what it is that your business can benefit from in regards to what you learn on social media. Much like Feldman learned from the social buzz surrounding the conference he attended, he adds that because of his tweet about the conference, he was able to connect with Vend’s Chief Delivery Officer Nic Kelly on taking POS software and transforming it into a consumer-oriented app. As I’ve also mentioned in my previous blog, there’s a ton of challenges and opportunities for CIOs to dig into and turn into valuable continued learning.

As more and more CIOs become social, the larger the network of peers you can learn from and connect and share with, and the larger the pool of resources becomes. This will ultimately lead to a network of best practices and lessons learned that all CIOs can benefit from. As Peter High reminds us, “[W]hen one leverages social media to talk about IT’s successes, better to use the pronoun ‘we’ than ‘I.’”

Now that you’re on the road to learning, stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll discuss the art of collaborating online. Until then, check out my previous blog post “Leading the Charge: Becoming the New Technology Champion.”

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