A few weeks ago I posted something vaguely witty on Twitter. This is such a regular occurrence that I can’t even remember what it was. It was probably funnier in my head than it was on screen.
But some people responded to it. Some Likes. Some Retweets. These aren’t important to me (of course they are). I don’t need validation (of course I do).
Somebody liked it that I vaguely know. Someone I probably met on the Twitters. Someone who I wondered what she was now up to work-wise.
Turned out, after looking up on LinkedIn, that she was just into a new role. A new role that was very much in a space that related to a particular challenge that we were facing at work. Something that in her new employer she may be able to help us with. Something that in her old employer, not so much.
I got in touch. We met with some colleagues. Conversations continue.
Digital social networks allow us to hold large, loosely-coupled networks like this that would have been impossible to feed and maintain in times before. Digital social networks are the places where the water cooler stuff really happens. For many of those of us who have worked free-range in the last decade, this is nothing new.
Why on earth do I spend precious minutes of my working day posting mildly humourous guff on Twitter? Because it generates moments of serendipity that means I can do my job better.
The sad truth is that watercooler moments never really happened at the watercooler. Not for a very long time. And watercooler moments were at best a few people from the same organisation serendipitously finding answers. Now imagine that but without the constraints of organisation or industry or country. That’s the water cooler in the ether. For me, that’s Twitter. For you, it might be LinkedIn or TikTok. The place is irrelevant, in so many ways.