Socially Inept but Networking Nevertheless

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I just read Kris Dunn‘s piece on social networking and Web 2.0 at the office, and the timing couldn’t be better. I’m still on the fence about Facebook and MySpace because I’m still not sure exactly what I’m supposed to be doing on those sites.

Maybe I’m missing something, but Web 2.0 seems to inflate my ego and enable my worst narcissistic tendencies. It’s like blogging — with more pictures of me and my cats.

  • Right now I’m chilly with a chilly smiley face.
  • Yesterday I was sad for Robert Goulet with a sad smiley face.
  • Later on I will be annoyed with a red, annoyed smiley face.

Christ, enough already. I’m sick of myself, which brings me back to Kris’s original article. Many companies are developing social networking strategies and platforms as a means to service and monitor employees. Unfortunately, Corporate America has demonstrated time & time again that something useful and/or fun becomes less interesting when incorporated into the workforce.

So let me cut right to the chase: Corporate America, please, don’t try to deliver a Facebook-lite experience at work. I don’t want it and I won’t use it. If I want to use Facebook, I’ll go on Facebook without your help.

My previous employer had a pretty snazzy web portal designed to deliver Human Resources content and information. You could go online and manage your retirement funds, learn about your benefits, read about the vacation plan, etc. The site was designed to replace the traditional HR Assistant in the office who would address the normally benign HR questions and issues.

Unfortunately, no one wanted to use the HR web tool. My department had meetings on whether or not the interface was too clumsy, the speed was too slow, the look was too static, etc. We talked about designing “work arounds” to the system because — maybe, just maybe — the system wasn’t flexible enough to meet the employees’ needs. We strapped on MS Access databases and cute, fancy web portals –all of which led right back to the boring, unloved HR web portal.

Do you know why the employees didn’t use the HR web portal? It’s simple: the company branded the product as “mandatory,” stopped investing in its development, and the HR web portal turned the internet into work.

  • If I’m going to work at anything, it’s my day job.
  • If I want HR advice, I’ll ask the woman sitting in the office down the hall who gets paid to answer HR questions.

I don’t know about you, but I feel that the internet at work is supposed to be fun and diversionary. If you want to know how I’m feeling, ask me — don’t ask me to input my feelings about the company or my boss onto a social networking tool. Please stop trying to find ways to use technology to simulate human interaction. I will never be as excited about a work-related social networking tool as I am about I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER.

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