I’ve been telecommuting as a professional blogger from the day I graduated from college. When I describe my work environment to both industry people and non they are amazed that we can build companies like Weblogs, Inc. and Netscape.com completely from remote employees. I try to avoid the phrase “virtual office” because it makes the work sound trivial.
While I wear our effectiveness as a badge of honor (seriously, we work 3 times harder than anyone else in the field), there is a limit. Until last October I had been working from Nebraska with a very limited tech community. I moved to Las Vegas partially to cover events in town, but mostly knowing that fellow bloggers and techies would be flying in year round. Even now I’m plotting my move to LA to be even closer to people I’ve worked with in the past. Although the internet has made location trivial, physical interaction is still necessary. Even though our development teams are remote they still meet approximately every 1.5 months to keep development on track and start major projects.
Twitter has taken on an interesting roll in our (at least my) expansive office. It’s the pulse. It’s a record of people’s minor achievements and an ongoing conversation that has all the feelings of working in an office; you hear conversations in your circle of friends and catch pieces of ones where they’re talking to other departments. For continuous partial attention people like me this feed, which some would call distraction, is exactly what is keeping me on track.
I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned the excitement and enthusiasm you feel when you attend a conference. Seeing everyone’s new cool project gets you excited about what you’re working on or for starting something new. Problem is: you get home and the day-to-day grabs hold and sucks out all of your enthusiasm. I think the constant reminder from Twitter of others achieving will actually enhance the community and make us all more successful.