For a lot of CIOs, "social networking" suggests users pounding away on Twitter and Facebook and hogging network bandwidth with YouTube and iPlayer video streams. But smart IT managers are realising the concepts that such services embody are central to improving collaboration both within the organisation and with customers and partners.
"As businesses look to become more effective across different departments, functions and processes, social computing in and around the enterprise will become more widespread," says Sharyn Leaver, CIO research director at analyst Forrester Research.
Alastair Behenna, CIO at recruitment firm Harvey Nash, says that social media technologies are now ready to use in a corporate environment.
"I will be pushing to the brink of, or better still pushing past, the tipping point in my global organisation for the adoption of social media technologies in a monetised, embedded and mature series of technologies that measurably boost the bottom line," he says.
Not Lans and Wans and Ethernet and all that, but making the most of your personal networks to be a more effective and successful IT leader.
A survey by analyst Pierre Audoin Consultants and the IT Service Management Association in September last year suggested that 68% of IT buyers now turn to their peers as their preferred source of advice on potential IT systems. That is almost double the second most popular route of searching for information on the web.
As US technology blogger and former Gartner analyst Vinnie Mirchandani recently wrote on his Deal Architect blog, "In the 1970s CIOs turned to IBM for advice; in the 1980s to Accenture (Andersen); in the 1990s to Gartner. In this decade they rely on each other - unbiased peer input."