As people, we love to mix work with play as it helps us deal with the drudgery of work
Is this you sometimes? Come on. Confess. I am trying to figure out why you sometimes do what you do on LinkedIn. Recently, my friend and internationally celebrated social media expert Gautam Ghosh published a post on stopping spam on LinkedIn. Indeed, it is getting rather irritating to have to share your birth date to know your work forecast for 2015 or solve that math puzzle to show how smart you are or better still share you mobile number publicly (data privacy anyone?) for a whatsápp group on HR practices. And I agree with him completely.
What got me thinking though was why is the number of people who are engaging in the above activities in the thousands (35K in one instance)? Any brand would give their left arm to get so much enga-gement with such little investment. Not to mention those of us who blog or tweet always keep an eye on the number of views, shares, retweets and comments as such. I think three things could possibly explain what is going on here and the lessons maybe worth adopting in our workplaces.
What can spam teach us about employee engagement in the workplace? Read on to hear my hypothesis:
We need play just as we need work
Maybe that math puzzle is that play. Too many organizations believe that work is to be done with the feeling of drudgery and exhaustion. Most of us pretend as though we were brain surgeons in the midst of a complicated procedure. Lighten up! The world will not end if you don’t sell a few computers/soap/(insert your product line) today! Not for most of us at least. I find companies such as LinkedIn do an amazing job of inserting play into the work day be that through contests, talent nights or just Food Fridays. We all crave play for we get such little of it. Maybe that explains the math puzzle.
We love to know what is next
I can’t think of one logical reason whyanyone thinks that giving their date of birth (not even year) should allow someone else to forecast their career prospects this year. On the contrary, if the boss found you engaging in this behavior online, that would positively send your career spinning in another direction! That said perhaps we love to believe that forewarned is fore-armed and so we are willing to put our bets on seemingly impossible and highly imp-robably predictions of this sort. Take that you big data analytics gurus! We don’t need the rigor you are promising us at least not with our careers anyway.
We crave community and we fear being left out
What else can explain sharing your cell phone number on a public platform! Unless the people who are commenting are fake and this is only a call to action to inspire others to submit their cell number as well. I don’t even have time to check messages from people I know fromwhatsapp leave along random strangers accounting close to 35K or more! In our house, the phone remains the most ignored object and I tell people the fastest way to reach me is twitter - 140 characters or less!
So what is your excuse, errrr...I mean hypothesis for why people engage in the above mentioned behavior? Whatever your excuse, don’t expect me to participate in any of it unless of course you could tell me which character I am in the Matrix movie trilogy just by the first 3 letters of my name! (Please say Trinity - the leading lady!).