I was reading the Michael Sampson: Currents blog the other day when I read this:
Is Twitter / Yammer / Socialcast the "new cigarette?"
Joel observes the power of the meetings that occurring every day in the huddles of individuals sharing in the smoking habit.
One of my first bosses was a smoker and I used to marvel at his ability to know things – it didn’t take me long to work out the source of all of his inside information. If something was going to happen he always knew way before it actually occurred, sometimes he would tip us off, but on many occasions he would leave it as a surprise. He’s always be perfectly positioned to take advantage though.
I’ve worked alongside other smokers and without exception they have been well connected, and normally connected above their station in the organisation. There are times when I’ve joined them for the chat because I’ve seen the potential.
Back to Michael’s question: are the social media tools replacing this kind of interaction?
To a certain extent I have found that my connectedness has increased through the use of social media, twitter has connected me with all sorts of knowledgeable and influential people within the IT industry.
Internal connectedness is a bit different, but similar. We run a system based on Jive internally and my ability to connect across the organisational structure has been great. I’ve written more extensively on some of the topics I write about on this blog, on the internal system, resulting in a number of very valuable connections with highly connected people in the organisation.
I have to say, though, it’s still not the smoking corner. There’s still not the serendipitous moments that you get from a chat over some tobacco in a paper sleeve, and I’m not sure why. I’m sure some of it is because the level of honest and openness on the lies of twitter is nothing like the honest we’d display in a much smaller group. But I think there are other factors too.