Our team is in a fluid state of communication. We have a physical office, but more than that we have a virtual one that we call “the backchannel.” This is where the bulk of our office talk takes place. It’s more than a water cooler, because we discuss the important as well as the mundane.
For many years we used Yammer, but the service was unreliable (even before Microsoft bought it). So we switch to a new one called SocialCast.
Both services employ hashtags for tagging of information, just like twitter. And because we are web citizens through and through, common hashtags have trended with our team over the years.
This is more than merely anicdotal information. You can learn a lot about your team by which hashtags get used most often.
So… are we #WIN? Or are we #FAIL? Let’s take a look at our hashtags and find out…
Some Are Obvious
All product names are tagged, so we have #standard and #notes. In fact, it may not be an accident that we named #notes with a hashtag.
Some Are Functional
Like #inbox-zero and #sales-update. These are straight work-related tags to give a status update on routine work that gets complete.
Some Are Instructional
Like #must-read and #backchannel-only. “Must Read” is important because we share so many resources and articles and links to other products that we love (and hate), that we needed a mechanism to let everyone in the company know that a certain link is required reading.
I think “Backchannel Only” describes itself. It can be for personal issues, or embarrassing ones. Or 8BIT related items that are not ready for prime time. Out of respect for each other, we honor this one.
Some Are Referential
We’re on a crazy ride and we may or may not write a book about all this one day. Therefore when crazy, interesting, poignant, or downright historic things happen with our business, we tag them with #book. Posterity!
Some Are Cultural
Some are very unique to us and our cultural DNA as friends and coworkers. Here are a few.
If one of us is going to be out of the backchannel for a long period of time, we use #offline. Or if we’re going to be working and we don’t want to be interrupted with TXTs, chats, or what-have-you, we say #heads-down.
Some Are Private
And I certainly won’t be mentioning them here .
Our hashtags evolve over time and serve a variety of purposes. They are one of the things that make working for 8BIT both fun and functional.