Society for IT Management – sneaking the message in through the back door

I’ve been invited to speak to a regional meeting of the Society for IT Management on Friday. Without being confrontational, here are some issues on which I might challenge them:

  • What is your attitude to social networking (including blogging, the use of Facebook within the company, etc)? I plan to share the background to the current controversy as well as what the benefits are. IT managers are in a position to make life better (by allowing people to be innovative, open, collaborative, and therefore more productive…) or worse (by implementing closed information silos, in which nobody knows anything or anyone).
  • How are your firewalls set up? Do you care? I’ve been interested recently in IT departments which work for a company rather than against it. If IBM’s firewalls had prevented IBMers from connecting to Second Life at work, we probably would not be where we are now. Are your staff enabled and empowered to make the right choices and try new things?

I know what I want to say to them. Much of it came out a bit early on a more academic crowd last week. Yes, as you can probably already tell that I’m planning to re-use a fair bit of the presentation I gave last week. Since I’ve got an extra 10 minutes I’ve thrown a few new slides in for good measure and will, as ever, adjust the message according to the audience.

Other people at the event are speaking on webcasting, and teleworking and, as usual, I’ve been asked to speak on is virtual worlds. Since virtual worlds are really just social software though, my cunning plan for the past year or so has been to help people understand social software, social networking, user generated content and indeed the whole Web 2.0 malarkey. I can either do this purely in the context of virtual worlds, which may risk confusing the medium with the message, or I can step back and introduce them properly, in the context of Web 2.0, and start from there. Depending on who I’m talking to, I don’t even have to use the words “Web 2.0” at all. With a decent grounding in that, the realistic and instantly useful benefits of virtual worlds become apparent much more easily.

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