Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Curiosities of Social Media

Social media (I will refuse to just say "social" for another year at least) is one of the most disruptive, transformative, and important innovations in my lifetime (so far). We're not talking about esoteric bullshit here: my marriage resulted from the presence of social networks to connect to connect me to a woman I had not seen since seventh grade. Since then not only has that life-changing social network (MySpace) become something of a punchline, but social media has become truly ubiquitous.

This week I've been at Oracle Open World (or #oow13) and busy tweeting about this and that. While I am always active on Twitter during conferences, this year's event has been different. Updates were coming in so furiously that it was impossible to watch any program (e.g., TweetDeck) that streams messages continuously. Even taking in 50-tweet batches I found it practically impossible to read everything. Yet Twitters was the only way that I could learn about roadmaps and announcements in the hundreds of sessions I could not attend. Later, when I'm back, I'll have to go back and look through the tweet streams from some select individuals whose insights I rely upon to see what all I missed in the course of this crazy week. 

But it has also been a little unsettling at times. Earlier today I saw one of my tweets pop up in the curated stream on the huge video monitor on the Howard Street Plaza, which at the time was showing the trophy ceremony for the America's Cup. So I posted this.

And then I went into a meeting and the guy says "hey, I saw your Tweet on the big board and then I saw your Tweet about your Tweet!"

Later in the day I attended a blogger meet-up event where I kept seeing people whose faces or names I knew only from Twitter. I realized as the words "hey, I know you" were leaving my mouth how strange that is. To "know" so many people without really knowing them is strange.

My strong feeling is that IT professionals have to embrace social media. It is our job in the same way as adapting to new technology. In fact, I feel that it is nearly impossible to innovate or even to keep up unless you're plugged into the community. Between technologists and vendors and industry analysts, there is so much information to be consumed, 140 characters at a time, that I can't imagine now how we did it five years ago.


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