As of this moment, I'm publicly admitting my initial reluctance to embrace social networking trends. My staunch defense has been a respect for privacy and the fact that most of us struggle with information overload on a regular basis. How much more information can one person handle? At what point does the wealth of information available in social media channels become overwhelming as opposed to beneficial? 

While I contend that my reasons are valid at least to an extent, it looks like I'm headed for minority status. Social media continues to gain traction within organizations to degrees I never would have imagined. William Laurent points out in our Interface section this month that membership in social networking sites has grown to include more than 50 million users worldwide (see page 40). Like Laurent, I was impressed by the online networking strategy of the Obama campaign during the 2008 presidential election. Laurent explores the enormous potential of online networks in government and beyond. Marketing organizations have much to gain from monitoring and exploiting social media networks. The comments consumers post in their blogs or product reviews reveal first-hand opinions and open a channel for direct connection with customers. In "Your Customer is Talking - To Everyone," Bill Baker discusses how to develop an enterprise strategy to manage social media (see page 20). David Raab shares tips for selecting a marketing application appropriate for your social media management strategy in his column on page 27. 

Social media and Web 2.0 are changing the requirements of the ways companies must do business. Consumers are driving these changes by voicing their expectations and capitalizing on the power and choice afforded to them through the Internet. Greg Todd explains that companies can achieve high performance and keep these customers happy through information management and analytics (see page 36).  As these trends and strategies unfold, Information Management holds the key to help you manage your business for competitive differentiation. 

All that said, enjoy the issue, and maybe I'd better have another look at Twitter.
Enjoy the issue.
Julie Langenkamp, Editor in Chef

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