Are There Any Real CIOs in the Twitterverse?post by Chris Curran on June 4, 2009
That’s the question I set out to answer. I’ll tell you about the frustrating journey, which might be useful for anyone trying to find a particular interest group. And I’ll tell you what I found (and am sharing in detail at my CIO Twitter Dashboard).
Is There Anybody Out There?
I have sorted through literally hundreds of Twitter-related sites and applications looking for the best place or places to find professional groups. Hundreds of sites exist, by the way, because of Twitter’s open interfaces and the vast numbers of creative developers out there. In fact, last week at the All Things Digital conference, Biz Stone said that over two-thirds of Twitter’s traffic come through their API. (There is an important lesson in here about openness.)
There are some professional lists and communities that have cropped up (journalists, industry analysts), but they seem to be mostly media-related, which is to be expected for early adopters.
So, for the most part, we are stuck using the general tools to find other CIOs out there. While this isn’t exhaustive, here are the most successful approaches I’ve found.
Search Twitter Profiles for “CIO”
This is the most obvious place to look. Unfortunately, I have not found many great search interfaces that focus on the bios. There are two options.
- Use an advanced Google search string like this: intext:”bio * CIO” site:twitter.com. You could just bookmark this and visit it periodically. Or, you could take it one step further and create a Google Alert that will update you whenever it changes. (Thanks to Mr. Google Alerts for this idea)
- Use TweepSearch, the only purpose-built Twitter bio search I have found. A search for CIO yields over 500 hits. On the first page of 20, however, about 5 of the entries appear to be CIOs - the rest are consultants, writers, etc.
While a bio search is a good start, you still have to manually wade through the results and weed out the foreign language results (“cio, baby”), chief investment officers, and people who want you to “check it out” (CIO - get it?).
Browse Twitter Directories
There are at least 20 Twitter directories out there. I’ve explored them all and Twellow (710 in the CIO category) has the most extensive CIO-tagged list. WeFollow (70 in CIO category) comes in a distant second. These directories have the same filtering problem if you are looking for fellow CIOs. Don’t get me wrong, the others on the list are great IT leadership thinkers, writers, consultants, etc., but I’m just looking for current CIOs.
I thought that LinkedIn might be a good source for professionals with a Twitter presence. The first problem is that LinkedIn does not have a specific profile field for your Twitter ID. You can add a custom link in your profile but it isn’t visible in your public profile (maybe that’s a good thing). Anyway, in a search with keywords CIO and Twitter, I got fewer than 5 relevant hits in the first 100 results. Not so good, but an opportunity for LinkedIn to tie into other social media channels?
The CIO Twitter Dashboard
I provide my experiences digging around so that you can do the same while bypassing the dead-ends. If you don’t want to bother, but are interested in which CIOs are out there, you can just visit my CIO Twitter Dashboard to see the CIO list I have compiled. I will keep this up to date, so you can revisit anytime to see the updated list. Feel free to leave a comment on that page if you have any suggestions. I have not intentionally left any CIOs off of the list unless they fall into the following categories:
- unverifiable through Google or LinkedIn search
- former CIOs (not currently a CIO)
- a one-person show calling himself/herself a CIO (really a consultant, not CIO)
- other non-CIOs with “CIO” keywords in their bio
I hope you find the CIO Twitter Dashboard and the notes above useful as you seek out IT leaders to network with and learn from. Please let me know what you think. Maybe someday there will be a great Twitter CIO community (or other microblogging platform), but it’s not out there yet.
The larger question is if a platform like Twitter is even of value to a CIO. There are some good reasons to experiment, largely centered on networking and real-time learning. For now, I hope to learn from the early adopters.
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