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Too chummy with your co-workers?

First, a general comment: as I mentioned in my introduction, I've been extensively involved with the internet for years now, but I've always been better at the observer role. I rarely comment on blogs I read; I rarely write on Facebook walls and my own blog - though this hasn't always been the case - is updated every month or so. (Twitter is the exception - something about the snappy entries and the single-person nature of it makes updating easier for me.) What I've always liked best about the web is that a passive role is OK, and generally accepted. I can respond if, and when, I feel like it. It's strange to have what I've considered a leisure activity bumping against school and work. While I generally like the internet's role in business and other formal communication, I'll be interested to see how I shift gears.

A thought about the texts: In Connect!, the authors mention that web communication allows "team members to get to know each other on a human level" (Zelenka 56). This is advantageous - especially for those members working cross-country or transcontinental - but I see downfalls. With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., the internet rapidly exposes more detailed information than one might hear around the water-cooler. In five minutes, I could discover my colleague's birth date, marital status, weekend plans, kids' names and even religion and sexual preference. I'll have a pre-determined idea of them before we even begin a project. Instead of meeting a blank-slate co-worker, I've already painted them. Another disadvantage is that the line between co-worker and pal becomes a little blurry - while, often, co-workers become friends, there often needs to be a level of professionalism present to get the work done. I think the internet makes this professionalism more difficult. What do you think?

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughtful entries. I look forward to next week - it's fun to see how everything's coming together.


--

Zelenka, Ann Truitt. Connect!: Web Worker Daily’s Guide to a New Way of Working. Wiley, 2008. Pg. 141-171.

Comments

There is something about Facebook that is just too "chummy" for me, I agree. There is only one coworker that I really socialize with outside of the office and even then I would not want here to know every detail of my life. As for my other coworkers, I prefer they build their opinion of me on a professional level, only what they see through work. I am not embarrassed about anything I have on Facebook but I would prefer they not know that many details of my life. i like to keep my work and personal life separate for the most part. I spend enough time at the office I don't need the office seeing me at home!

Jennifer, I totally agree with you regarding being a more "passive" user of blogs. I never replied to them but reading them was interesting. The "chumminess" of Facebook is a very good description. I have a personal one set up that I go to about once a week only to see if my kids posted anything new. I still cannot see how all of this will fit together but I am sure by the end of the course we will.

Good points. And you're right about preconceived notions. That's why it's so important to filter what you have up. For instance, since I have so many students with so many opinions, I don't post my political and religious views. And have had to sit on my hands so as not to Twitter Super Tuesday.