Hey Boss, Look at Me: Twitter with a Corporate Twist

Ann All

If there is one lesson I've learned as the mother of a 6-year-old, it's that kids are impatient. Whether I am cooking dinner, cutting the dog's toenails, or trying to get some work done in my home office, my son expects me to drop everything and attend to his needs, no matter how minor.


I try not to give in, because I've been reading all the latest research that implies today's college students are more narcissistic than previous generations -- and you guessed it, their parents made them that way.


For obvious reasons, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are highly popular with this Me Generation. And now we have Twitter, a free service that takes navel-gazing to extremes by letting users send up-to-the-minute updates of their activities and thoughts via a Web site, instant messages or mobile text messages.


Like CNET writer Elinor Mills, I just don't see Twitter's appeal. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to want to take the time to read random musings along the lines of "Tweakin' stuff on the server" and "Bored out of my freaking skull," two examples of actual entries by someone known as "Duaners."


Yet is it possible that Twitter -- or another presence application -- could be tweaked to add value to the workplace? Many observers have wished for better management of presence -- what a WebProNews writer calls "the new dial tone"-- in IM.


I'd agree that making yourself more accessible to colleagues can boost productivity. But it can also drive you crazy, as IT Business Edge blogger Ken-Hardin discovered.


Twitter and Twitter-like applications do make me realize one thing: Companies are going to have to find ways to deal with the generational differences of employees in today's workforce, an issue spotlighted in this interview with a professor from Madrid's Instituto de Empresa in a recent Knowledge@Wharton article.


IT Business Edge blogger Mike Stevens also mentioned the importance of IT addressing the differing desires and motivations of younger workers when it comes to technology. He writes:

There is the larger issue of whether or not all of life really is like high school, and, in a more serious vein, how IT departments in large corporations are to deal with an incoming work force that has come of age under the influence of video games, blogging, MySpace, YouTube and so on.

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