I’ll Read it on Monday

by Ray Colon on February 26, 2012 · 8 comments

My feed reader, like yours, gets lonely on the weekends.

Bloggers have learned from experience that people don’t read blogs when they have time off – they do it at work instead. This has always seemed odd to me as I write my posts and visit other blogs much more frequently on the weekends than during the week. I can barely find time to take a peek at a news site for a few minutes to find out what’s going on in the world while working, so leisurely reading of blog posts isn’t practical.

By the time the workday is done, I’m often too tired to care about what anyone has written, tweeted, or posted to their Facebook wall, so I put a lot of that off until the weekend.

Social Media @ Work

I remember when the biggest gripe I would hear at work was how unfair it was for smokers to take breaks whenever they wanted. The complaining non-smokers felt cheated that they didn’t have the opportunity to freeze their butts off during the winter months or enjoy the legislative and societal ostracizing that smokers endure year round.

That’s all changed.

It’s no longer necessary to leave your desk to take a mental break since almost everyone is connected. There are some holdouts though. I know one woman who has made it her mission in life to not be on the Internet. She’s one of the few people that I know who won’t show up in a Google search of her name.

My own behaviors have changed too. I won’t try to write a post during work hours, but I do respond to comments. I’ll check my Twitter stream and post a tweet or retweet someone. My personal email accounts are delivered to my phone along with my work emails, so I scan those as they come in. I’ll even watch a YouTube video if someone sends me a link.

All of these intermittent interactions are the new water cooler dynamic. It’s not as if there was no interaction with coworkers and the outside world before we had smartphones. It’s just gotten a whole lot easier.

But there are dangers.

In moderation, I don’t think that these brief interactions degrade our work performance. The opposite may be true. Fixing our focus on one thing for too long, even work, can diminish our effectiveness. Taking brief breaks can help to keep us sharp. Unfortunately, there’s nothing moderate about the Internet. Social media can be very addicting.

Last year, a former colleague shared his desktop during a WebEx conference call. When the call was over, he forgot to end the session, so his desktop remained on my screen. He clicked over to Facebook and began scrolling through his timeline. Once I stopped laughing, I called to let him know. He was a little embarrassed.

My daughter thinks it’s funny that I proofread almost everything – emails, text messages, and even tweets – before I send them. There are too many examples of people who have gotten into trouble because they haven’t done just that.

I should add IMs to my proof-before-sending list.

We use IM in my office. It’s an effective way to communicate, especially when multitasking. On a call and need an answer to a question? Use IM and have the answer in seconds. It’s pretty nifty. But IMing at work leads to using it for more social reasons like banter, gossip, or bitching about someone or something. This is pretty harmless until you type that not-so-nice comment into the wrong window. Oops, sorry!

What do you think? Has being connected enhanced or harmed your work productivity? If you have a related embarrassing story, by all means, please tell it below.

Author Bio:

Ray Colon has written 167 posts on Ray's Blog.

He works with numbers for a living, but don't judge - boring accountants need love too. His blog has no niche (unless writing about things that are important to him is a niche). Some folks cringe when he gets “all political” on them, but he does it anyway when he's in that kind of mood. Sometimes, he writes something nice about someone, but you shouldn't get used to that. His first book, the one he hasn't written yet, is not available on Amazon. Subscribe to Ray's Blog via RSS  or Email.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia February 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Not on your life, Ray!

Actually, my embarrassments are more along the lines of “I can’t believe I really said that.” Sometimes my mouth (or my fingers) moves faster than my brain can filter. I can have a really vicious wit, and every now and then something slips out that is simply appalling.

Reply

Ray Colon February 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

Hi Alicia,

That’s true. I haven’t done that too often verbally, but it does seem easier for our inside voices to get out when we’re typing.

Ray

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Tristan February 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hi Ray,

While I don’t get paid for the work I do I fit the profile you write about here. My weekend routine is so different from my weekday routine. So I have a tendency to take a break from blogging on the weekends. I’ve been accused of not blogging when my husband is home and I guess it’s true. I’m too busy making memories to write about later! I do look forward to your posts on the weekends and check my phone frequently for the email. But then I didn’t respond until today!

I have a tendency to judge people who blog at work. The reason why is because they often don’t proofread what they write before publishing. The other reason is because when they stop working for whatever reason they also stop blogging. I don’t get that. It’s an unfair judgment but I still do it.

Like you, I proofread everything. That doesn’t mean I haven’t made a few mistakes in my day. There is one recent situation that comes to mind . . . but I’m trying really hard to forget it ever happened. Idiocy is one thing but forgetting and forgiving myself is something else entirely!

Tristan

Reply

Ray Colon February 28, 2012 at 8:04 am

Hi Tristan,

Not blogging when your making memories that you end up blogging about later makes perfect sense. Besides, you keep a very steady weekday blogging schedule. I’d be hard pressed to post as consistently as you do.

Proofreading is a must, but mistakes do sometimes get though — especially when an email has a long CC list. I hate when that happens. It’s hard not to dwell on those mistakes, but forgetting about them is probably the best we can do.

Ray

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Jean February 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm

My present employer (govn’t) has software that can monitor people’s Internet use.

I cannot check my personal email via the ISP’s webmail web site –it’s blocked. I kid you not.

I am aware that managers have ploughed through the emails of former employees, to track down some critical decisions.

So for email, it’s short stuff like reminders or where to meet someone.

I could never blog during work hrs. I couldn’t concentrate. I do check my international flag feeds of readers on blogs during my lunch breaks..that way, my blog is open visibly to other employees passing by. I just get a nice kick where readers are located..

I worked for a major international accounting firm, where at our head office location, an employee was fired for viewing porn at work. They could tell..the computer was slowing down…

Reply

Ray Colon February 29, 2012 at 6:29 am

Hi Jean,

I’ve heard of companies that choose to block access to popular sites like Facebook. I guess that they don’t share my thoughts on the subject. What we do at work can never be considered private, but monitoring usage and reading people’s emails still seems a bit overboard to me. However, In the case of former employees, it’s reasonable for employers to look for company information.

The porn thing is just crazy. If someone is doing that at work they clearly have other issues.

Ray

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Jean February 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Oops I meant, my blog would not be visibly open to others. They just see flag feeds.

By the way, about China and stuff, which you suggested in my blog..I just finished a blog post something. I’m actually excited to release it because it would surprise some regular readers. But it won’t be published for awhile: there are other babies that are impatient in pop up since they’ve been waiting in line for a long time.

Reply

Ray Colon February 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

It’s good that you have a backlog of posts ahead of your new one. That’s the way to do it! I’ve rarely been able to get ahead in that way, so my posts go up as I write them.

I’m looking forward to your China post when it makes it to the top of your queue.

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