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.