When I was barely into my 20s I spent a weekend with my feet strapped onto roller blades as I skated up and down long aisles of old fashioned tape drives changing out tapes as the main console posted the latest tape wait logs.
Why you ask? I lost a bet to the MIS Director (yes, that's what they were called back then) who said I wouldn't last one hour loading tapes. Surprise, I lasted an entire shift although I swore to never do it again.
Most people probably have no idea what I'm talking about when I say loading tape drives, but it was both fun and exhausting. It also toned my legs.
As my hybrid career progressed I transitioned from monster mainframes to the first generation of PCs. I worked for a software company in Carrollton, Texas (burb of Dallas) where I was on a pilot project team utilizing PCs for the IRS Electronic Tax Filing System. I actually watched the first set of returns go through the system.
In the mid 1990s I was one of the first to "surf" while everyone looked at me like I was speaking gibberish about that mystery known as "the web". Of course HairBoutique.com was one of the first to launch a hair & beauty information portal on the Internet.
First Glimpses Of Social Networking - Prodigy?
When the first glimmers of what was to become social networking arrived - as Prodigy - I was there. Ditto for AOL chat and the old talk cities. I was on MySpace and Facebook the minute I could have an account. Same with LinkedIn and Twitter.
During that time I watched the rise of the Chief Information Executives known as the CIOs - Chief Information Officers - who would architect appropriate information technology strategies, policies and execution.
As business began to move away from traditional models of technology such as the mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s and were replaced with the PCs of the 1980s and beyond, companies realized they needed an executive strategy.
Rise Of The Chief Technology Officer - CTO
Sometimes corporations would also employ a Chief Technology Officer - CTO - responsible for developing overall technology directions. There was also the Chief Security Office - CSO - tasked with overseeing the protection of the corporation from the rise of destructive security attacks in the form of viruses or other sinister outside activities.
In some cases the CIO also had responsible for CTO and CSO corporate activities. In larger corporations there might be individual C level executives which could sometimes result in turf wars over the appropriate territories.
Rise of Web2.0 & Social Networks
With the rise of Web2.0 and Social Networks such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and related, corporations need a carefully planned Social Network Stategy that not only encompasses corporate policy about corporate employees interacting with the outside world, but also how to dominate over competitors in the Social Network Space.
The Social Network Landscape is extremely complex. Don't be fooled by how much fun it can be to Tweet, post images to Flickr and upload your favorite videos. Without a carefully devised corporate philosophy and strategy, some of the corporate giants will find themselves being kicked to the Web2.0 curb.
Social Media Network Strategy
Of course there are always Social Media consultants who can advise corporations on a wide range of Social Media techniques, but to truly reign supreme a corporation needs an executive who can architect a total Social Network Strategy that evolves from totally understanding the core business model and goals.
Rise Of The Chief Social Media Officer (CSMO)
Thus the beginning of the new rise of the Chief Social Media Officer (CSMO) will likely occur. If a corporation is serious about really competing, they need to seek out and recruit an executive who truly understands as many components of Web2.0 and Social Media as possible.
Note: Smart executive recruiters are already beating the bushes for savvy Social Media executives although they are still relative rare. The good ones who truly understand Social Media are worth their weight in gold, silver and Porsches.
One of the most important characteristics of a top CSMO will be the ability to build a solid Social Media Foundation for their corporation but also be willing to constantly change their strategies as Social Media morphs and changes. As all of use Social Media addicts know it will on a constant basis.
Best Buy Announces Chief Social Media Officer (CSMO)
In light of my conversation bout the CSMO I was interested to see that Best Buy has just announced the appointment of their own version of a Chief Social Media Officer.
Barry Judge who is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of Best Buy has now been officially tasked with Best Buy's Social Media corporation direction.
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn announced that Judge, 46, has been deploying social media across multiple brands and channels to create stronger customer relationships and has helped encourage Best Buy's employees to use social media. Kudos to Brian Dunn for recognizing the importance of appointing a C level executive to drive Best Buy into the new Social Media worlds.
As I was reading the press release I was smiling to myself and remembering a conversation I had just a week ago with another CEO I know. I said to him, you know...anyday now there will be the new announcements about how corporations are appointing Chief Social Media Officers. And there it was in black and white.
Barry Judge Takes Reigns Of Best Buy's Social Media Strategies
Judge seems like an excellent choice for Best Buy's CSMO because he was responsible for the launching of BestBuy.com in 1999. I actually remember when BestBuy.com came online since HairBoutique.com was in their early days of building their web strategies. Although we had started in 1996, launching in 1997, I remember thinking it was a good sign that a company as large as BestBuy was embracing the web as an early adopter.
It will be interesting to watch and see what Judge does next as he works on a global initiative for BestBuy in the Social Media arena.
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