Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Why Social Media is Essential for Tech (and other) Careers

with 2 comments

When it comes to the practice of social media, much has been written about the career benefits of maintaining a public persona via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media technologies. Maintaining a public blog can be extremely beneficial in differentiating yourself from other job seekers. This is especially true in the high-tech industry.

Involvement with internal social media at large corporations can also be a critical driver for career growth in high-tech. In particular, global innovation in high-tech can be accelerated when internal social tools are commonplace and available. Here are some important tips to remember:

The Common, Corporate Backbone

Hopefully your corporation has a common social media backbone. In my corporation (EMC) we are using a tool from Jive Software known as Clearspace. This tool is a soapbox for every employee that wishes to publicly post a discussion, a blog, or a document. I’ve explained the importance of a corporate social media backbone in a previous post.

Spend some time every day on this type of site. Learn the interests of your co-workers, and find out what technology topics are hot within your corporation at large. It is OK to “lurk” initially (view without interacting), but make it your long-term goal to begin communicating with others.

Before you begin this interaction, fill out a full and complete profile of your interests and work experience. Make yourself and your expertise “findable” within the corporate backbone. If you are an expert in information security, list all the buzzwords that you are familiar with. If you write software, write down each and every language that you know. By creating your own “resume” within a social media backbone, you have taken the first step to increase your influence.

Expertise: Push It and Pull It

In order to increase your opportunities for innovative dialog with your peers, target your internal activity towards social media interactions that facilitate “innovation by adjacency”. This technique (described here) combines your expertise with adjacent technologists in order to solve a customer problem. These two spheres (expert and adjacent) collide when you “push” your expertise while “pulling” from others. This can be accomplished via the following approach:

  • Push: publish your own blogs, articles, and discussions about what you know best. For example, when I started blogging within my own corporation I wrote a blog post for every year that I’ve been working in the industry (over twenty years). These articles, when combined with my profile, put me on the map as someone that is available for collaboration.
  • Pull: As you develop the daily discipline of perusing your corporate backbone, begin following fellow employees who share a level of expertise that resonates with yours. Subscribe to their discussions and comment on them. Take note whether or not they belong to a “technical community” and begin following that community as well.

These suggestions may seem simple, but the daily discipline of practicing intentional social media inside of your corporation will open new doors for you. Why is this?

Many of the employees at large corporations have still not recognized the full value of social media. They focus intently on the task in front of them and are blissfully unaware of the collaborative, global opportunities that are a mouse click away. They also may still be operating under the assumption that social media is a frivolous, unproductive activity. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

My personal experience practicing these behaviors has resulted in spontaneous brainstorming, global friendships, new customer knowledge, and increased exposure to local university research.

Not everybody has the ability (or the time) to collaborate publicly via standard social media tools. If you work in a large corporation, however, you should find the time to collaborate internally.

-Posted by Steve Todd, EMC Distinguished Engineer. Read more of Steve’s posts on careers in the tech field on his Innovate with Influence blog on Vault.

Twitter: @SteveTodd

EMC Intrapreneur


2 Responses

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  1. Nonsense.
    First, the fact that the corporate culture is struggling with these issues is directly opposed to what is consistently said. Most of my background is in small to mid size companies and attempts these very things, yet when I apply them to larger companies I am an outcast to their corporate culture.
    Second, regardless of the size of the business, I have never found the infrastructure to be interested in employee contributions for a better company. In fact, it is almost a stifling process that inhibits an individual from influencing toward a positive difference despite what is being projected. The method suggested in the article is akin to a suggestion box – good luck with that.
    I’ll even go one step further. In my thirty five years of being in a CFO/Controller role, there have only been a handful of times that my suggestions were ever accepted and less for implementation; most ended up as either “thanks, but no thanks”, or being terminated for having the audacity of saying something to the contrary of the consistent normal business practices – regardless of how bleak the circumstances may be.


    April 26, 2010 at 5:09 am

  2. […] Todd, EMC Distinguished Engineer, on the daily discipline of practicing intentional social media inside your organization: Hopefully your corporation has a common social media backbone. In my […]

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