What does your choice of work messaging platform say about you?
Gone are the days when everyone would be tied to the office email system. Different folks require different keystrokes, and today’s collaboration tools are every bit as likely to foster rivalry as they are teamwork. Some people flit from Outlook to WhatsApp and back at a whim, whilst others stick religiously to one platform only. So, which tribe do you belong to?
Slack’s origin as a gaming development platform isn’t lost on you; you cut your teeth in the online gaming arena, where your prowess in World of Warcraft was matched only by your insults regarding the sexual proclivities of other players’ mothers. Now you thrive in the Slackosphere, where you vent your spleen via Ermahgerd memes or block capitals, secure in the knowledge that your role as the sole Ruby developer makes you all but unfireable. Unfortunately.
Opinion is divided on dogfooding, the revoltingly-named concept of using your own product. Consensus seems to be that if you’re not the target user, it’s a bad idea. But, whether through peer pressure or Stockholm syndrome, you insist on using your company’s lashed-together mongrel of a tool as your sole method of communication, despite its lack of next-generation features such as attachments, formatting and punctuation. Aaand we’ll leave it at that. It’s not our place to speculate just how heavily masochism features in your life.
Communication isn’t really your forte, thanks to your dedication to doomed platforms. First, they came for MSN Messenger. Then in 2017, AIM went quietly into the night. Now, every night, you say a prayer to St. Rita of Cascia for a stay of execution for BlackBerry Messenger. Your colleagues, however, are praying for the opposite: an end to the bubble wrap popping of the dying keyboard on your 2006 BlackBerry Pearl and the dolphin-with-a-Geiger-counter clicking of its trackball. And ironically, you’re thought of as ‘the quiet one’.
The Card Sharp
“Trello! Is it me you’re looking for?” No, it isn’t. Your sense of humour is about as developed as the amateur-magician card tricks you bore your workmates with in the pub, but in the office it’s a different story. You are a digital Saruman, and Trello is your Isengard. Your incomprehensible, arcane decks stretch across four monitors; your colleagues live in confusion and fear as cards leap from list to deck with alacrity. Productivity has dropped to zero, and it’s all your fault.
Clearly, you were meant for better things. A writer at heart, you were cruelly denied a career path that would land you a Nobel, a Pulitzer, or even a £10 book token for having your letter published in the Reader’s Digest. Small wonder then that you rule your Confluence pages with an iron fist that would give even the Card Sharp pause for thought. But hey, you’re not going to let a few worst practices hinder your latest magnum opus.
The Feature Creep
Bet you didn’t know that you could send text messages from Hubspot? Oh wait, you did. And you’re its main advocate. It’s weird enough getting a text via Skype rather than a call, or a status update delivered via a messaging plugin for Dropbox — but not as bizarre as sending an SMS from Excel. Yes, using those obscure features is all very clever, but it’s also verging on the sinister side.
The Group Therapist
The natural enemy of The Dogfooder, you eschew every company-sanctioned form of communication in favour of complex WhatsApp group chats. Highly-sensitive sales information rubs up against salacious office gossip in labyrinthine chats that resemble a cross between a Telex machine and a telenovela. Like the Slack Panther, you’ve made yourself invulnerable — you could bring down the whole enterprise with your thumbprint.
At least BB Emma put her faith in an inherently bidirectional form of communication — but it’s all a one-way street for you. In fact, the only message you ever get on your 90 x 8 LCD screen is ‘LOW BATTERY’, sent repeatedly by the Feature Creep. He’s such a joker. But bizarrely, some of your colleagues worship you as a sort of überhipster: since your dress sense hails from the same era as your outdated but still working device, they just assume that you’re going the extra ironic mile with that snake-clasp belt and stonewashed jeans.
The Social Moth
The Group Therapist knows every workplace secret except yours, simply because you don’t have any. Digital floozy that you are, your every action or stray thought is disseminated across manifold social media platforms with a propagation rate that would rival the Andromeda Strain. Despite the fact that you’ve annihilated your company’s SEO by saturation bombing every channel — not just Twitter and Facebook, but everything else from Telegram to Weibo to Grindr — you’ve become another untouchable: you’re the only one who knows the passwords.
As Stephen Hawking reminded us on not-very-good Pink Floyd album The Division Bell, we need to keep talking. But in today’s fun and funky workplace, you’re more likely to hear the rattle of keys and the tapping of screens rather than human voices. It’s a bit like a monastery, albeit with more beer and far less celibacy.
Are you drowning in a sea of bad communication? Let us throw you a lifeline.