So here’s how my day typically goes. Wake up, get the kid breakfast, check email, check Facebook, eat some cereal, check Twitter, do some work, check Twitter again, do some more work, check Facebook, back to work…you get the point. Some people might look at this pattern and say, “Hey lady, get to work, check Facebook on your own time.” Fair enough. Except if you look at my list of friends, the majority of them are coworkers, and while learning what my coworkers have going on outside of work isn’t entirely work-related, it’s great for morale and really makes me feel a lot closer to the people I work with. And we all know that understanding the personalities of team members leads to a more functional team, right? (Thanks Myers-Briggs!)
Anyway my point here is that, for better or worse, social networking is clearly pervasive in my life, blurring the lines between work and home. I’m sure the same can be said for many of you.
One interesting conversation that I saw going on recently on Twitter was around the idea of using these social networking tools for project communication. Frankly, I’ve got some mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, many of us are already tapped into Twitter/Facebook/whatever, so there’s the efficiency factor: if my teammate is tweeting about a dependency slipping, and my kid is tweeting about how much she hates her math homework, I can quickly get caught up on both fronts using a single tool. Sweet. There’s also the camaraderie factor: my teammate updates her Facebook status to indicate her general displeasure with how a vendor relationship is going, and I can comment on that, saying that I totally agree and it totally blows…now we’re communicating at a watercooler level, and we both feel a little better knowing that we’re both in the same boat.
However, the flip side is consideration of privacy. If you’re tweeting about a dependency slipping, A) you’d better be careful not to inject too much emotion, in case the owner of that dependency sees your tweet, and B) you’d better watch what you disclose about your project, in case the rest of the world isn’t supposed to know about Feature X, let alone that it’s slipping.
So while I do see the merit in social networking for work purposes, I’m not sold on social networking for project purposes. Seems like it’s a little too easy to get yourself in hot water unintentionally. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you use any social networking tools for your projects? What kinds of guidelines do you follow, if any? If you’re not using social networking tools for your projects right now, why not? What’s on that “flip side” for you?