Coming to terms with being human.


Leveraging Your Relationships?

It’s a beautiful day outside. Too bad you’re staring out the office window. Thankfully, oh ecstatic joy, “You’ve Got Mail”! Scanning the From: line you see to your horror, it’s the boss. Opening the dreaded message you read the strangest email.

Dear Cog in the Machine,

It has come to my attention that you are friends with Neil Van Natta, the famous independent film director. I would appreciate it if you could recommend our company to him and set up an appointment for me to meet him. Do not worry, saying no will not affect your quarterly performance review in anyway.

Thank You,

The One Who Pays You

P.S. That review is scheduled for next week.

Are you having a strange dream? Is this an outtake from the film Bartleby? Maybe you have become the unwitting middleman in the process of relationship mining.
Yes, relationship mining. Companies are now picking through the address books, emails, and buddy lists of their employees. Why? To see which oh so social worker bee has a friend that could be useful to the company. The software used for this purpose can actually rank the strength of your relationships, sorting out the acquaintances from the best friends.

The multiple articles I have read on this subject have all mentioned the dreaded privacy issue. How will workers tolerate this tracking of their personal and professional lives? This is an understandable reaction. Is it the only one? Instead of calling for restrictions on this new form of data usage, perhaps we should embrace it. We can demand equal access to the information provided. What new innovations will informed, empowered users create with a world wide Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? Sizing up a potential date will move from the gut to Google. The Google:Relationships search will show every person the guy regularly talks to. Hey, the cached pages could reveal past loves. What power! I don’t even want to know who our Senators are acquainted with.
If you would like to check out one of these companies, go to Spoke. This is the tamest company I have found. They do try to keep things private. Definitely watch their Demo.

In closing, embrace information transparency. It’s a little uncomfortable knowing people can track your personal life, but it’s better than not knowing while they do it anyway.


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