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Constant Touch Media For Virtual Team Building

Clive Thompson wrote about the idea of social proprioception a few days back. He says like proprioception which is the body’s ability to know where the limbs are, social proprioception enabled by tools like Twitter gives a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination. [emphasis mine]

Social proprioception is extremely crucial for teams and more so for
virtual teams. Here is my story of how Twitter has been helping us
build better teams. We are a small team of about seven people working
out of differnet locations. Apart from the usual benefits that Twitter
brings to the table, few of the other interesting observations are :

  • Newbies in the team usually lurk and  listen to the chatter from those who have been in the team for a while
  • In the process they learn who knows what, whom to turn to when they
    have a problem and general team dynamics – Essentially they understand
    how work gets done in the team
  • Knowledge sharing in the team tends more towards “flow” – Quickly
    being able to let the team know of a tip/trick and also “stock” it.
    Tools like twitter would bring in a new dimension to the “signals”
    aspect in Andrew McAfee’s SLATES model for Enterprise 2.0.

Constant and persistent conversations go a long way in building teams and tools like Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku are enabling these conversations in distributed teams.