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I am a developer a fairly large firm of programmers (100+). Since there are several departments and several teams within each department; communication is an issue regarding: sharing of ideas, availability of resources/tools, use of good/bad coding practices, awareness of existing utilities, etc.

What social networks (Facebook/StackExchange) are out there that are used 'in-house' for work related communications?

What business cases could be used to help senior management see the value of a resource like this for increased productivity?

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SE is a social network? Really? –  Aaronaught Oct 21 '10 at 14:12
We have our own type of social network with SIGs related to work subjects, newletters, forums and so on. Being recognised as a contributing member also directly influences your promotion prospects. –  rmx Oct 21 '10 at 14:18

5 Answers 5

I may be old school when it comes to programming and the work environment but I cannot see ANY value in this to increase productivity. All that using social networks will do is increase the number and triviality of interruptions that have a disastrous effect upon productivity and the quality of the code that you produce.

If you want ideas for improving the work environment and productivity then get management to give all of the programmers private offices, twin/triple screen computers and comfortable chairs. These will all pay for themselves in very short order in faster development and higher quality products. See the data in Lister and DeMarco's book Peopleware.

I have to have the company chat program on my machine. (like MSN Messenger). This is a productivity killer and my status is normally set to "Away" just to get rid of the interruptions.

If you want to know about good/bad practices in development in your company then read the company coding standard document (you do have one, don't you?), use the version control system daily and read books like Code Complete by steve Mcconnell.

Stack Overflow is a great resource for getting answers to questions and there is a large group of very capable programmers who can answer most things - if you ask good questions with sufficient detail to allow a good answer to be worked out.

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+1, Couldn't agree more. The "Away" status doesn't fool for long; instead of annoying "Whats up?" interruptions you are bombarded with "You there?" interruptions ! –  Preets Oct 21 '10 at 14:44
Then is enhancing communication among developers a personnel issue? –  Adamizer Oct 21 '10 at 16:38

I would definitely say no they don't. Too many distractions.

As for your other question about something to use for in-house work-related communications, we use Google Wave. I know they're going to stop hosting/supporting it at the end of the year but I was told we can still set it up on our own network to keep using

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Increase development productivity? Generally, probably not - but I expect it would depend on the discipline of the individual.

On the other hand, I'd argue that developers who are engaged in their community - whether it be via user groups, conferences, forums or social networking sites such as Twitter - tend to be more well rounded and more aware of different perspectives, approaches, technologies, etc.

In the end, I think the highly engaged, passionate developer will be more productive and valuable to an organization than the one who is "number of lines of code" productive.

On my "third hand" - FaceBook is a waste of time :p

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Try Yammer - kind of like private Twitter only for people in your company (sharing same email domain).

I would definitely avoid social networks like Facebook when it comes to business-related communications. Not a good idea to mix business and personal (and even if it was approved, I think that it may be challenging to have it aid productivity).

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I am inclined to disagree. Research by Gallup points to increased productivity by mixing business and personal. gmj.gallup.com/content/127043/friends-social-wellbeing.aspx –  Adamizer Oct 21 '10 at 15:12
Anyone use CubeTree, Socialtext, and or Jive? –  Adamizer Oct 21 '10 at 15:39

IMO, industry-specific forum/Q&A sites like SO and SE increase productivity - indeed, they're increasingly the top hit in Search Results.

I also think that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Tumblr, MySpace are so full of incredible attention-seeking distractions that they're just bad news when you're trying to get things done. Oh yeah, and potential security threats too - XSS attacks etc.

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