Twitter goes mainstream at work

powerI never thought it would happen. It’s too niche, I told myself. But I was wrong. Today, for reasons unknown, Twitter went mainstream at work. When I started I only knew one other person who was on Twitter. She’s the artsy type so that didn’t surprise me. I figured Twitter was mostly for those that enjoyed blogging and not the geeky IT crowd. 

This got me thinking about how the work culture changes when the majority of the company uses Twitter regularly. Here’s what I think:

  1. Employee to employee email is reduced.
  2. Employee to employee instant messaging is reduced.
  3. Those who may be on the outside can suddenly be in the know
  4. The playing field is leveled. Titles don’t mean anything.
  5. Community is fostered.

It will be interesting to see how Twitter changes our culture at work. Maybe today was just an anomaly and it really won’t change much or people will use it for a week and then quit.

I for one hope it continues.

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6 thoughts on “Twitter goes mainstream at work

  1. Brett, I think this is great for the kind of team building that doesn’t require a great deal of confidentiality. But if it’s a way of boosting productivity and collaboration, it might be worth exploring something with a little more compartmentalization like Pownce or Pibb.

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  2. James: Yes, suddenly a lot of people at work started using it. Mainstream probably wasn’t the best word to use in that case but I couldn’t think of another one. The number of users doubled or tripled overnight.

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  3. Jamie, I agree. The confidentiality could be a concern. I like the simplicity of Twitter and think it will work in many instances but not all. It’s still new and I’m sure we’ll make some mistakes as it becomes more popular.

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  4. I really like your blog design, by the way.

    I wanted to ask you to clarify a couple of your points.

    You said, “Employee to employee email is reduced. Employee to employee instant messaging is reduced.”

    Do you think that’s good or bad? I know there are IMs I will always do over IM for privacy’s sake. (I kinda find twitter’s direct message a pain, but I’m not on a mobile phone….)Why is it necessarily better that IM and email are reduced? Or is this just an observation, not a value-judgment?

    #3 & #5 are, I think, some of the best things about twitter. Some conversations you may not have anything to contribute to, but you’re still better off in the know. And, needless to say, feeling like a part of the org. is crucial.

    but I strongly question whether #4 could ever be true. I will always be aware of my boss’ name on my screen. What that awareness will mean is the measure of many things, but I will never forget that “username123” is my boss.

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  5. Taylor, I think fewer IM and email is probably better for our culture given the amount that’s already there. I’ve not seen much use Twitters DM feature but that could change as more people discover it.

    #4 may not be true for many workplaces. And it might not be true at mine. Maybe it’s so new right now that people are more open? I don’t know for sure. But it feels like an even playing field for the moment.

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