Thursday, December 04, 2008

facebook is my coworker...

Since I joined Facebook, I've had this nagging feeling about it that has been driving me a little batty. It's like that feeling when you know that you know someone, but don't know how. And last night, I realized what it was.

I was working late and found myself getting distracted and I was ready for that trip down the hall to the kitchen where you meet up with your coworkers to grab a cup of coffee or a soda and you chat for a few minutes about what you're up to, and then you head back to your desk, newly refreshed and ready to dig back in. I was ready for some watercooler time.

Since I've been working at home these days with only maybe a trip to the office once or twice a week, I'm finding that I am really missing the company of colleagues and coworkers. I've complained mightily about the waste of time "drive-by" meetings can be (though, of course they can be very constructive, too) and I've truly relished the fact that without social lunches or coffee runs, I can get so much more accomplished in a much shorter amount of time. And because my schedule is so crazy and I've got so much going on, working from home helps me get a little further in my quest for work/life balance.

But I miss my colleagues and coworkers. It's so great to get excited about a project and brainstorm together in person over coffee. In my last role, I had "production" sessions with one friend in particular where we'd make amazing progress in projects when we sat together and worked. Though I even miss the simple things, like hearing about everyone's weekend, and yes, talking about the last episode of Lost. I don't even watch Lost anymore.
With Facebook, I've got that back a little. I can take a few minutes, grab my coffee from my own kitchen, and check up on what everyone is doing, maybe write a comment or two, or share some photos from my weekend. It's not the same, and nothing should or can substitute for real human interaction. But it's something, and it helps with the sometimes overwhelming quiet of working alone.

Facebook is so interesting because it really hasn't reached it's potential yet. It's a cool social network, but there's a definite opportunity for it to morph into something that has more workplace potential. If I see an interesting status from one of my friends on FB that deserves more than a "Wow, sounds interesting..." type comment, there should be a way to start up a conversation. There is the chat, but that depends on getting two people available at the same time, something that is harder than it should be. But what if you could have a bulletin board conversation, totally basic technology, that took the commenting a little further than it is now. And then you could also have an option to not show it to the world?
I'm ready for my new coworker to gain a little more workplace experience...


Shelly... said...

I have been on FB a few months now and I am totally hooked. I have found friends that I haven't talked to in over 20 years and it's been so cool! Now that I don't live in Seattle anymore it also has been a great way to keep up with my friends and family too.

Jessica, Jackie and Ezra said...

Facebook is weird for me in a different way. There are so many people from HS that I felt I never had closure with, and truly, I have wondered about them, felt embarrassed about who I was in HS and had dreams - some of them nightmares - about meeting up with some people again. And then there was facebook. And there they all are. A quick hello to catch up and no more dreams. Problem solved.

But in some ways, facebook is exactly like HS. There are lots of people I 'know' but don't hang out with. I see what they are up to. We pass in the halls. I know when they get hair cuts, but we aren't really friends. Maybe we have to be lab partners or share a music stand, but we don't hang out. Now we're friends on FB. One or two are actually becoming long distance friends. And that is great. Others, just drive by friends. It's not the water cooler,; more like homeroom.

By the way, Salesforce just joined with Facebook to create a workplace version.

amy said...

Ooh, I'll have to check out Salesforce.

The whole FB phenomenon is weird, I agree. Especially with old friends or acquaintences that you never thought you'd see again. But I'm enjoying it and it's very nice to catch up with some people in particular.