Creating a Virtual Water Cooler

Published Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:43 AM

The office water cooler enjoys an iconic reputation in the American workplace. It's the hub of office chit chat about must-see TV and weekend plans while simultaneously being the front-line of critical office information

Given the value of water cooler communications, remote employees and nomadic workers need to fill the void created by their alternative work environments. What's needed is a virtual water cooler.

Fortunately, the rise of social networking  makes sipping from the virtual water cooler a real possibility. Social media allows users to build professional networks and exchange business ideas virtually. Social networking can also provide inspiration, boost morale and mitigate feelings of isolation.

Many different networks exist, under two broad categories

  • Horizontal networks: Broad networks where anyone can belong. Examples include: Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter
  • Vertical networks: niche networks, often organized by profession (, policelink, linkedin) or by area of interest (babycenter, dogster, ravelry, [a knitting network]).

Spend time thinking about what type of network best serves your needs. Perhaps it's a broad network such as Facebook used in combination with a niche community focused on your profession.

Looking to "tweet" and "friend" a virtual water cooler network? We've assembled a collection of articles on how social media can help.

Commit yourself to building and managing a social network just as you would face-to-face office relationships. The Wall Street Journal recently declared that Facebook and Twitter have dethroned e-mail as the king of communication.

It's time to stop by that virtual water cooler and check in.

Do you make use of a virtual water cooler? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Bradley Eggers


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# Jose said on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:51 AM

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# Alamgir said on Saturday, March 17, 2012 6:03 AM

That's an inngeiuos way of thinking about it.

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