William Gibson famously said 'the street finds its own use for technology'. This is true, as the television show 'The Wire' has shown us. It's even more true that the bored and underemployed find their own uses for technology. Presented here are just a few games for those who want to use social media without being social media douchebags.
LinkedIn Schadenfreude Games
Ostensibly, LinkedIn is a tool for networking, kind of a 'Facebook for professional adults'. While looking for pictures of drunk and or naked people doing embarrassing things on Facebook is a fun social media game for kids and HR personnel, LinkedIn can similarly be used as a source of Schadenfreude and other dubious glee.
The 'who's an independent consultant' game:
Notorious B.I.G. said 'You're Nobody Until Somebody Kills You'. Anybody who's been in 'the game' (whatever your game is) long enough has made a couple enemies. If you're feeling down, sometimes it's fun to look up your enemies on LinkedIn and look for those magic words, 'independent consultant', which 99% of the time means they lost their job (some people do in fact work as independent consultants, but the kind of corporate/political douchebags that are more likely to make your life miserable are, like balloon animals, not really suited to life in the wild).
You might find out somebody you really hate is now in your dream job. Now what're you going to do? Go down the list to the next asshole in your past, that's what you're going to do.
The Magical Disappearing Company Game:
This is one I've mentioned before. Again, everybody who's been around the block a few times has worked for a company that was shady (or, as Method Man might say, sheisty), possibly a small ramshackle mom-and-pop deal that was run like a family featured on the TV show 'Intervention'. You might not even want to put that company on your resume (although if the company has folded, what's your worry?) It is interesting to track down old co-workers and see if they include the company on their employment history. Usually, they didn't.
The Douche-errific 'Leadership' Blog Search:
On your LinkedIn profile you can provide a link to your website. Sometimes this website is a blog. While trench-level colleagues probably have techy blogs about stuff that's interesting to them (and maybe to you), managerial types are different animals. They provide the most laffs when the main subject of their blog is 'leadership', especially when in day-to-day life their leadership skills are raggedy at best. Then it's like reading that Martin Amis book 'Success' with the unreliable rich kid narrator who it turns out at the end is a complete wreck and has been lying all along.
I had a particularly fun session of this game recently when I passed a link to a douchebaggy middle manager's leadership blog along to a friend who also knows the D.M.M. in question. He didn't bother to see who was the author at first (nor did I say), so he had a good unbiased initial reaction, which in this case was: 'This is bullshit! Why did SDC send me this bullshit?'.
In the next episode: twitter, blip.fm, Facebook, and so on.