Being a modern office modern office worker means you must master both old communication channels like the community bulletin board as well as the new forms like Twitter…so here’s my take of an ongoing set of negotiations.
Recently there was a blank whiteboard installed in our hallway (probably a good idea), but almost immediately, there has been tension on what should go on the whiteboard. Is it an informal brainstorming tool? A place to post official office news? Although I have my preferences, I can see an argument for all three options.
Interestingly one of main problems for the whiteboard has been the erasure policy. If an entire white board is covered with a project sketch, how long does it remain? Similarly if we have a run of poll questions (e.g. water filter preferences, disco ball preferences, sci-fi preferences, presidential preferences). Are these appropriate?
I know that they were recently erased (and continue to be erased), so I do think someone is questioning their appropriateness. I know in the past we’ve been asked to not post political material in the office, so I wonder, so are we trying to be more “formal” here?
Which leads me to my annoying Twitter question… We all (more or less) tacitly agree that individuals can post whatever they want to their Twitter accounts – despite the fact that we know many of our colleagues will see them. And yet our Twitter posts are being displayed in the hallway on a monitor.
Maybe it’s me, but given the fact that Twitter is in the hall and is being viewed by the same people who see the whiteboard, I do think of Twitter as a workplace communication channel.
That’s not to say that I’ve been letting work stop me from ask annoying questions, but I do think it’s interesting that our comfort level with “informality” on Twitter does not extend to the Whiteboard.