How Can Shy CIOs Build An Online Presence?

Even if you don't want to become famous, you can still build a personal presence online
Even if you don’t want to become famous, you can still build a personal presence online
Image Credit: Jennifer

Let’s face it, not all people with the CIO job are the type that are constantly seeking to be in the spotlight. In fact, there are a number of CIOs who prefer to go unnoticed and unrecognized. However, we all realize that we are living in the 21st Century and what this means is that one way or another because of the importance of information technology we all have to have an online presence. For the CIOs who are shy, this can be a daunting proposition. Somehow they are going to have to overcome their shyness and take steps to become known online.

The Challenge Of Social Media

As the person in the CIO position, we are always being told to build a “personal brand”: a public-facing persona, exhibited on LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks, that showcases our expertise and fosters new connections. This kind of thing is all well and good for CIOs who thrive on attention. But what if you’re the kind of CIO who prefers to stay out of the spotlight?

For introverted CIOs, social media can pose all sorts of challenges. For one, introverts often find interactions difficult and draining. They would largely prefer to do their work undisturbed, without any self-promotion. What’s more, a problem that introverts have is that they may not have a huge list of real-life contacts to jump-start their online experience. They often wait to be asked for input and this means that the constant self-expression and self-disclosure of social media may feel far from instinctive for them.

However, it turns out that social media is just as important for introverts as for extroverts—or even more so, since it offers a way to build a professional network and reputation for those who usually shy away from face-to-face networking. Indeed, studies suggest that it is introverts who benefit most from using social media. A survey of college students showed that Facebook usage is associated with an increase in face-to-face interaction—but this is only for introverts. Another study showed that the usage of social-media increases the likelihood of introverts getting involved in their communities and interacting with a wider range of people.

How Shy CIOs Can Make Use Of Social Media

The first thing that shy CIOs need to do is to not think of social media as being their “personal brand”: Much of the conventional wisdom about using social media as a professional tool revolves around using it to promote your particular skills and expertise as a coherent, distinctive package. However, you don’t have to think of that as “branding”: After all, you’re a CIO, not a product. Rather than thinking of this kind of activity as a type of self-promotion think of it as providing an actual service to all the people who can benefit from your curation and insight.

This will take away the pressure to see social networks as a stage where you have to perform, and instead allow you to create a social-media experience that actually suits your own personal pace and temperament. You need to manage your exposure. Creating or updating your social-media profile needn’t involve sharing everything about you with everyone. Extrovert CIOs might delight in seeing their follower counts balloon or their networks expand with all kinds of people they don’t actually know, but not everybody loves the prospect of being scrutinized by strangers.

Instead, you need to use your social-network settings to adjust who can see your profile or your individual posts. As an example, you can set your Twitter or Instagram profile to “private,” in which case your posts will be visible only to people you specifically accept as friends; on Facebook or LinkedIn, you can adjust the privacy settings on your profile (or on individual posts) to control what different people get to see. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with using social media to connect with a small number of valued colleagues and deepen those relationships rather than aim for the largest possible audience.

What All Of This Means For You

Here in the 21st Century we are all presented with a host of new tools that we can use to connect with other people. However, not all CIOs are outgoing people who want to connect with other people. For those CIOs who are shy, social media may not hold much of an attraction for them. However, that does not mean that social media is not important for this type of CIO. They need to learn how to go about using social media in a way that meets their unique needs.

Social media can pose a big challenge for shy CIOs. They like to work by themselves and they don’t relish the thought of having to update online feeds with their every move. However, since this is an easy way to build a professional network, social media is a tool that even shy CIOs need to learn how to use. Shy CIOs should view social media as a way that they can provide a service others. Shy CIOs need to take the time to manage and limit their exposure on social media. They can use their social media privacy settings to limit what others are able to see.

In the world that we now find ourselves living in, social media has arrived and it is playing a major role in how we communicate with other people. Even if you are a shy CIO, you still need to make use of the social media tools that are available to you. Take the time to move slowly and only expose as much of yourself as you feel comfortable doing. Also restrict who can see your social media profiles so that you remain in control.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think that a shy CIO should update their social media profiles?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the biggest issues that CIOs have been facing over the past few years has been the question regarding what to do about worker’s personal technology. The people who work for us have been making major investments in mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. These devices are what they use almost nonstop when they are out of the office. CIOs often require workers to put these devices away and use only company authorized equipment when they are working. However, is this the right thing for us to be doing?