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October 05, 2012

IT Gets Social: ITEXPO Panel Discusses the Role of Social Media for IT Pros

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

Social media is not only a way to keep up with friends and colleagues or market your business; it’s also becoming an integral part of communications for IT professionals at all sized organizations. Industry experts gathered at ITEXPO Austin 2012 in Austin to discuss some of the ways IT is becoming more social by implementing communications based on social media to allow for greater collaboration among IT support professionals.

Spiceworks (News - Alert) – which offers a popular network management app – has implemented a social media platform based on popular social networking sites such as Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter, given that users usually have a comfort-level using these mediums for communications, according to Caroline Tipton, IT product manager at Spiceworks.

“We have taken from Twitter (News - Alert) with the ‘follow’ idea, so people learn those behaviors in the social part of their lives and then bring them into their work,” Tipton said.

Over 25 percent SMB IT pros and over 1,200 IT brands use Spiceworks network management apps.

“If it’s out there in the public domain, they want someone to talk to them, they are looking for a response or an acknowledgement,” Tipton said.

However, utilizing public domains can also present a drawback given that anyone following a certain company can see the information – and potential information leaks can be, and often are, publicized in mainstream media. Businesses are therefore starting to implement internal social media platforms to chat internally.

“Twitter and Facebook are more of a public personal forum so there are limitations but there are a number of things coming out like Twitter such as Yammer (News - Alert), so it may be moving in that direction,” added Kirill Bensonoff of

While there are many benefits associated with using social media to communicate, there are also privacy issues for businesses.

“By regulation we have to keep it in house. There is absolutely no way we can let any company information outside at all. The ability to send messages via Facebook or Twitter is great, but as part of the healthcare industry we can’t let that information get out,” said Philip MoyaSan Antonio Kidney Disease Center.

Exchanging information between physicians and doctors to discuss patient care is a delicate area for healthcare providers, which are subject to regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.) In terms of sharing patient information, he said electronic health records (EHRs) is information that is mostly being passed via DVDs and CDs, he said.

The delineation between social and work is getting gray, Tipton added, as more IT professionals use Twitter and Facebook for both personal and work reasons, underscoring the need for IT pros to take special care when posting comments on these mediums.

The San Antonio Kidney Disease Center uses Spiceworks to help run the organization in terms of supporting its IT staff. Moya praised Spiceworks for building such a useful network management app.

“They have built this incredible app that helps us run our day-to-day lives,” he said. “It’s amazing how fast a response will come through on Spiceworks and what it allows us to do.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, happening now in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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