Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hiding Your Twitter Habit from the Boss?

Hot on the heels of Oprah's triumphant entry into the Twitterverse (my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek as I say that), the New York Times published a piece on Spreadtweet, a Twitter client that looks just like an Excel spreadsheet. Why? Because you can use it at work and the boss will never suspect you're Twittering!

Given my post yesterday about why those in the trenches seem relatively absent in the blogosphere, I'm torn between being amazed at the cleverness of the concept and annoyed at the need for it. It's really unfortunate that there are companies that still prohibit the use of social media tools among employees. They provide valuable means for staying connected with colleagues and trends in one's industry. While I applaud the developers of Spreadtweet for finding a need and filling it, I am more inclined to encourage those working for employers that limit social media access to instead be honest about your desire to connect with colleagues and ask your management for permission to use the tools.

Instead of going underground, why not draft a proposal for your superiors that demonstrates the value of interacting with colleagues via Twitter and blogs? Offer to report to your colleagues on a regular basis the things you learn as a result of this interaction. Tie measureable social media interaction to your annual performance goals. In short, become visible embassadors of media that we all know is not just a passing fancy and not just a way to stay in touch with friends and family. Prove to your employers the value of social media; not only will it benefit you in your career but it will ultimately benefit all of us as we try to connect with ever more professionals across a variety of industries.

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