I have been an active user of internet since Lynx days. For me it is just natural to use modern social media tools; share, collaborate, discuss and communicate. For some reason it is not that easy for most of the engineers, coaches, managers, developers and testers in my surroundings. I believe it is actually not about the tools but more about how people see and feel their presence towards others; If I share something will I also make a fool of myself? In order to get over these emotions people need to feel trust and honesty. Participation in the discussions might feel uncomfortable in the beginning but most of us will soon get over this (with practice and experience). Should I only talk about business and cold hard facts? The challenge is that if you outsource your own emotions from your online (and real-life) persona not much is remaining. Agile is about passion and collaboration and it is impossible to influence others without putting yourself on the spotlight, in one way or another.
Leaders need to influence; when starting to share your insights and views via social media people will naturally start to follow. This requires new mindset from the leaders: openness, transparency and trust. A new culture that overcomes traditional management. Steven Denning calls it radical management: http://bit.ly/nlud2C
We have also ongoing experiment about how to build social networks inside hierarchical large organization. Many of the characteristics valid for open networks also apply inside enterprise borders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network. I will come up with metrics and other interesting measures when we have more raw data available. Until then, keep on Tweeting!