The role of the CIO and IT professionals has significantly changed in the last decade. In today’s professional landscape, an IT professional is poised to lead the charge for technological innovation. As David A. Bray, CIO of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a interview with The Washington Post, “We need leaders who do more than keep the trains running on time. CIOs and CEOs can work together to digitally transform how an enterprise operates.”But, according to CIO magazine’s 2015 State of the CIO survey, CIOs were viewed as business leaders by just 13 percent of colleagues outside of IT and only 30 percent of line-of-business leaders. Obviously, there’s still a significant gap in the C-suite perception of IT. But there’s also a significant opportunity. As any digital professional will tell you, the best way to solve a perception problem is to be more visible. Say goodbye to the IT professional tucked away in the basement and say hello to the age of the social techie.Teaching Techies to be SocialitesIt’s been clear for some time that social media is essential to successful businesses, providing the opportunity to not only serve their customers better, but to learn from them. The same is true for the social IT professional. Through social media, an IT professional is able to engage in and help shape the changing conversation around IT. They’re able to expand their knowledge and skills through peer collaboration and partnerships born online. And, by adopting a more open and collaborative mindset, the social IT professional is able to begin to solve their perception problem.One CIO leading the charge to bring IT out of the shadows and into the social spotlight is Intel’s very own Kim Stevenson. Ranked as one of the most social CIOs by the Huffington Post in 2015, Kim has long been an advocate of shaking up the IT department and what’s expected of it. As she stated in a Forbes interview, “On the leadership front, I challenged IT to take bigger risks and to move beyond ‘what you know’ to ‘what’s possible.’ IT had gotten into a comfort zone taking small risks and only solving problems we knew how to solve, which yielded incremental improvements. If we were going to meet the needs of the business, we needed to be operating at a higher level of risk.”Beyond changing the perception of IT, becoming social can provide hungry IT professionals with a personal classroom for learning and innovation, helping them to stay on the cutting edge of the latest technology.Now that you now why you should get social, it’s time to learn how to get social. In my next blog, I’ll go into how you can kickstart your social persona.Until then, check out this list of the most social CIOs in 2015. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the benefits of the social CIO and the hurdles that are preventing more CIOs from jumping in. Leave your comments below or continue the conversation on Twitter @jen_aust and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferaust.