Unlikely to join Twitter, IT would rather be 'LinkedIn', guru says

Those of you trying to figure out how to back up a virtualized environment efficiently ought to check out Greg Schulz’s blog about data footprint reduction. The 1% of IT staffers who join Twitter (according to Schulz) might even send him a tweet about his posts.

Schulz is the founder and senior adviser to The Server and StorageIO Group in Stillwater, Minn., and author of Resilient Storage Network and The Green and Virtual Data Center. While researching a piece on storage management this week, I toured the consultancy’s website and enjoyed his blog post about VMworld 2010 but was struck by the way he revealed his connections to other people during the event — by giving a shout-out to their Twitter addresses. Suddenly I felt like a creeper, viewing his correspondents through the lens of their @’s. He even thanked @rogerlund “for organizing a very impromptu, ad hoc lunch discussion with a couple of other IT pros …”

I asked Schultz about this over the phone: Were people now using their Twitter addresses to identify themselves? Had he met them in person or by tweet? Was this a trend among IT executives and staffers?

Not so much, was his response to the last question.

“If you look in IT in general, less than 1% are on Twitter,” Schulz said. “It’s VARs, vendors, the marketing side, some journalists, editors, analysts, a lot of consultants, super IT people, early adopters [who tweet].” He himself participates in about a dozen social networking sites, in some more actively than in others. “You can’t learn every language or culture,” he said.

But wait: Isn’t IT an early adopter? Doesn’t it have to be, in this day and age? With integration tools coming out that connect cloud applications with enterprise data more easily, with a steep rise in automated end-to-end monitoring tools that make it a snap to find and fix problems, with application performance monitoring tools that business analysts can use to streamline processes, technology is about to bypass the slow adopters en route to business transformation.

And yet, fewer than 1% of IT staffers are on Twitter. Does it matter? Again, not so much, Schulz said.

“I wrote a post two years ago about how different people use different media,” Schulz said. “Some still want a printed copy, some want it in email; some read a book, others read a Kindle; some communicate via Twitter, via Facebook, via LinkedIn,” he said. LinkedIn is where the practitioners of IT find each other online, he added, while spammers show up everywhere.

IT executives of a certain generation won’t even read a blog, never mind a tweet, Schulz said. “With the blogs, the issue is what is vetted content and what isn’t? Do CIOs want to know information in each story as it’s breaking? No — they’re in meetings. They want the analysis.”

The news junkies sitting on different websites — who literally can put up a site and claim to be an expert — are the ones most involved in Twitter, Schulz said. “You can tweet faster than IM. … Those who tend to flock around that flagpole want that information fast.”

Let us know what you think about the story; email Laura Smith, Features Writer.

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