Thursday, January 01, 2009

Twitter Security

A few weeks ago I decided to give twitter a try, following some friends and colleagues scattered throughout the Midwest. Like sets of data points on a time-series plot, it’s amazing to see patterns develop 140 characters at a time.

As with most things that are new, cool or interesting, I wondered if there was a practical way to translate the things that make twitter ‘work’ into something useful at the office.

A few months ago I put together a one page summary of key metrics my project team had gathered and sent it to a number of stakeholders throughout the organization. The response was decent, but not as strong as I’d hoped. As nice as it would be for facts to flow like electrical current throughout an organization, powering change, I needed to put a lot of follow-on effort into making sure the themes of the report registered with decision makers.

As an experiment in communications, I wanted to see if the size and frequency of the message could make the change process any easier. I decided to “twitter” a single metric from a follow on project to see if I could make a bigger impact by dialing down the content but increasing the frequency. To start, I sent a four line Email that put the metric in context along with a recommended organizational response. So far, the hit rate is up.

Not every security metric or message reduces down to one or two sentences. But for those that do, sharing status, concerns and recommendations in a “blackberry friendly” format seems to increase the likelihood that it’ll get read, and re-sent, gaining momentum throughout the organization.

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