Thursday, April 2, 2020

Have We a Dynamic and Creative Office Environment Yet?

"Tell him sorry but no. Homer, Virgil, and Milton all did it in 12. Big Dave don't break no rules."
--David Eddings, responding to an editor on a fan's request for more books set in the Belgariad universe, after he'd written a dozen books. (Possibly apocryphal)

I am, at heart, an introvert.

That shouldn't be a surprise to people who know me, and that my limit to social media is blogging* fits in with that background.

Of course, you can sit there and point out that I play MMOs, which pretty much require interaction if you want to engage with a decent amount of the content, and I'd agree that yes, you'd think that if I can play MMOs I can handle other things, such as Twitter or Discord.**

But I don't use other forms of social media, and I'm fine with that.

Twitter is too immediate and driven by emotion and the hive mind for me to utilize it well. As I've said before on numerous occasions --both in and outside PC-- Twitter would feed into my worst instincts by allowing me to shoot off a reply without thinking through it first. Whether or not you think positively of my opinions, my posts on PC aren't fired simply off-the-cuff. I write something, set it aside for an hour or more, and then come back and re-read it. I typically make some major changes, because my training and expertise do not lie in writing and grammar, and I also edit the content once my emotions have gotten back into a better state.*** With Twitter, that review period gets thrown out the window and it pretty much becomes "anything goes".

Discord --and related chat/video apps-- are not my friend. I look on the chat apps, including Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business****, as necessary evils in today's world. My actual job requires me to be available 24x7, which means that I have to respond to any texts or other alerts at any time of day or night. And because of that, the dreaded 3 AM text is a part of my life.

I've been on emergency work calls using Skype for Business that lasted 10-12 hours (don't ask), and I've been woken up at 3 AM for an emergency that required me to write code on the fly to fix a problem that was seen once about 10 years ago. So yeah, I tend to associate voice apps with work to an absurd degree.

But on top of that, I dread putting myself out there in an open Discord chat channel. It sounds silly, but I really do get a knot in my stomach when I have to get on Discord (or, in the old days, Ventrillo) for some reason or another. An MMO's party chat doesn't have my Spring sinuses clearly audible*****, and while I can't type as fast as I'd like during an instance, I don't mind that. After all, I'm supposed to be focusing on the task at hand rather than making some random quip after Archaedas says "Who dares the wrath of the Makers??!!" with "Oh, not me. I'll go see myself out now."


I realize that the entire point of the Blapril Discord channel is to provide a fertile breeding ground for creative synergies with fellow content creators, but for me that sounds too much like work. Especially for an introvert.

Besides, I've never promoted PC, and I certainly don't intend to start doing so now.

So, being both the introvert and the contrarian, I'm going to take a pass on joining the Blapril Discord channel. Sure, going outside of my comfort zone can be good in the long term, but I'm not going to break my internal rules concerning voice apps. For the time being, at least.


*And some obligatory Facebook.

**Or guilds in general, for that matter.

***Okay, confession time. I had a really hard time writing certain portions of One Final Lesson because of the emotions I got while writing. This extended into the review/editing period, when I try really hard to step back and properly edit the work for clarity and conciseness. On more than one occasion I said out loud (to an empty house) "This is nuts; I wrote this, dammit! Get a hold of yourself!"

****Teams is, for those who remember it, the Lotus Notes of 2020. Both Teams and Skype for Business, along with other old apps such as Sametime, are the bane of the modern office. I've been working from home for at least 17 years, and I really despise these apps because they frequently get in the way of work and collaboration rather than enhance them. And for people who opine that working in an office enhances collaboration, that only works if your coworkers are also in the same office. In a modern company where people may be located all over the globe, forcing people to come into an office just to then use Teams or Skype is silly, particularly when you can get distracted all the time in an actual office by just casual chatting with coworkers. (See: Office Space.) And on top of it, some companies use these tools to determine if you're slacking off or not, which will only get worse as the shelter-in-place directives spread over the globe.

*****The first time I got on a chat app for WoW, Soul asked me "what's up with your breathing?" And here I thought I sounded normal, until I realized that the microphone will pick up crap like my sinuses because it's a helluva lot closer to my schnoz than another person's ears.

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