Do CIOs Blog — And Should They?

We’ve become curious ever since we interviewed Linda Cureton of NASA a few months ago, when we were a bit surprised to discover that she has an active blog (her Thanksgiving entry implores CIOs to give thanks to their “geeks”). And there’s Rob Carey, CIO of the Navy,  who has been blogging for the past two years.  So we decided to look around to see other CIOs who are actively blogging. Active implies recent — which takes quite a bit of time and thought, and is probably not for everyone. So who else besides Linda takes the time and thought? Here are a few who do, though not always frequently.

Healthcare CIOs blog as individual musings. There’s Will Weider, who is CIO of Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System in Wisconsin (14.5 hospitals and 400 employees).  In his blog, "CandidCIO," he blogs about issues and observations from his job, including musings about job descriptions, federal stimulus programs, and e-mail overload.  At the other end of the blogosphere, there’s John Halamka in Boston, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chief Information Officer at Harvard Medical School, and too many other roles to count. Per his blog profile, he supports “3000 doctors, 18,000 faculty, and 3 million patients”). John posts nearly every day at 3:00 a.m. (!), perhaps due to insomnia or a regularly scheduled upload process. Sometimes these are about technical issues such as his post on time servers and sometimes about clothes as in this Gortex suit blog post.

Government CIOs blog as part of a communication strategy.  There are the very occasional bloggers like Vivek Kundra, CIO of the Federal Government — with his last blog entry from September on information security and the government standards for compliance. On the other hand, it’s remarkable that his blog entry is part of the IT dashboard for the Federal Government — where Federal spending projects and amounts can be reviewed graphically and in great detail.  And there’s John Suffolk’s blog — "Government CIO" (for Her Majesty’s Government) — most recent entry on project costing.

Industry CIOs blog — and tweet. There’s Martin Marietta Materials’ CIO Chuck Musciano’s “The Effective CIO” blog, started fairly recently as an effort to share best practices. Unlike the others, Chuck is also scrolling Twitter updates on his blog site — he’s tweeted over 1000 times and has 951 followers (as of this writing). And as we know, the great thing about tweeting is the 140-character limit. 

There are a few more, but after you look at these, you get the idea.  Forrester has offered great advice about blogging as a marketing tool and also has advice for execs on Twitter — but we’ve yet to weigh in on whether CIOs should blog or Tweet.  Let’s get right down to it — being a CIO is a lonely job and offers few great opportunities for well thought out written communication, unless you count PowerPoint.

So let me offer a theory and get your input about whether CIOs should even think about blogging.  Consider blogging if:

 

  1. You feel a strong need to write, you’re known to be good at it, you have someone who takes a look before you post, and you’re willing to keep it up — weekly or more often. Quarterly posts are not blogs — they’re press releases.
  2. It’s good for your organization as a whole that you do this and they’re not going to be embarrassed or disavow you.
  3. You market your blog (or someone does) so that it is read and invites comment — you tweet it, put it on Facebook, and take note of feedback and comments.
  4. You’re willing to link to other thoughts and ideas (from in or outside your organization), creating the greatest reach and connectedness.

 

Otherwise, keep a low profile in the blogosphere — and hone your PowerPoint. Other thoughts?

Comments

CIOs must blog and share

In my view, CIOs of the world must share their ideas, priorities and focus areas as this not only creates a sharing pool of knowledge that further enriches their own knowledge but also budding CIOs learn from them. I am a strong supporter of knowledge sharing through social media, be it blogs, twitter, facebook or linkedin like applications.

For CIO priorities for 2010, check out http://www.infoverto.com/2010/02/survey-results-top-3-focus-areas-for.html

re: Do CIOs Blog — And Should They?

Thanks for the recognition. One small correction, we have 400 employed physicians, but you can't run 15 hospitals with 400 employees. There are 14,000 employees that our IT group supports.

Of course you never want to say something that will damage your reputation or the reputation of your company. The reason I blog was best captured in a SXSW presentation. The message was blog about things you are passionate about in your own voice, then good things will follow. You can download the audio here: http://www.43folders.com/2009/03/25/blogs-turbocharged

BTW, I believe I have the oldest running CIO blog. While I started blogging in 2001, candidcio.com started in June 2003. Can anyone beat that?

re: Do CIOs Blog — And Should They?

would be great to get a list of CIOs that use twitter

re: Do CIOs Blog — And Should They?

Cindy,
I'm tracking CIO's on Twitter in this list - still growing but if you know any not in the list let me know.
http://twitter.com/#/list/NigelFenwick/cio-tweeters

Nigel