Written by Meghan Kennelly on Jun 21, 2016

Smart Strategies from #SocialCIOs

In these times of digital transformation, social media is becoming more and more necessary for business leaders, especially for CIOs who are in most cases leading the charge.

I recently caught up with 3 of the “100 Top Social CIOs” to get some insight on how they use social media and what advice they have for their peers who are looking to embark on the journey.

Social media can be frightening for some. Are you following the right people? What type of content should you be looking for? What frequency should I post? Where?

Stephen DiFilipo, Chief Strategist & Founder, JRS, LLC and former CIO of MSOE University (@S_dF), refers to it as a “Fishbowl” and goes on to say “Social networks just in the unique platforms can be overwhelming, but once you can minimize the ‘noise’, the quality of content is extremely valuable”.

Let’s start with how these CIOs are utilizing social networks and what value they get from them.



Richard Corbridge, CIO, Health Service Executive and CEO, eHealth Ireland says social media “enables me to connect to a much wider audience and build confidence and trust in what [his team] is doing.” He finds great value in following other CIOs and similar companies in his field to help shape the journey his IT team is on. He finds it is most helpful to get connect with experts, review content and presentations, and to follow conferences he might not have been able to make.




Christian McMahon, CIO & Managing Director, three25 has also found great value in the information he receives from social networks. “It’s helped me gain recognition, network, make decisions, widened my sphere of influence, generate work, keep up to date and learn an awful lot. Also, having to distill your messages into 140 characters certainly teaches you how to get your message across!




For Stephen, “[Social Networks] serve as a platform for various forms of expression, maintaining existing and establishing new online acquaintances and as a personal learning network”. He also finds great value in participating in structured activities such as Twitter chats (i.g. #CIOChat).


Let’s also consider when, how often and when not to be active on social platforms.


“I try to use time traveling for this and to stay aware on a morning journey into work of what is changing and what the trends are in the area we work within.”



“Less than you think. It’s all about dipping in and out, picking up the most interesting/informative bits and sharing/contributing with your networks where you can. You quickly learn how to make your forays faster and more focused to maximize your time.”



“I disconnect [from Social Media] when it’s important to focus my attention on matters at hand. Sharing meals with family and friends for example… There is an etiquette around being hyper-connected that addresses social norms, workplace expectations and personal preferences.”


So what advice do they have for those who are just getting their feet wet?



“Be as open as you can, create a conversation and invest in the relationships you create. Offer advice and guidance where you can and remain mindful of the public nature of what you say. Consider creation of a hashtag for your team or event as a way of easily capturing and seeing what is going on against a theme.”



“Just get involved. Don’t put it off and be anxious about it – get your message across, integrate it in to your day and interact. It will provide value and you really need to be doing so in today’s world.”



“Start out by lurking. Spend a few minutes in the morning and around mid-day to just observe. Social networks and blogs can prove worthwhile in professional development, industry news, technology advancement, leadership qualities, future trends, etc., etc.”

Be Sure to Follow Us

Social media may only be a small part of getting yourself on the path to successful digital transformation, but it has proven to be a worthy tool for more than just these social CIOs. Start off small and see where it takes you. At the very least, you might find some valuable content or make a connection to a peer in your industry. While you’re at it – follow the CEC (@cioec)!