Jan 16, 2009

Lifestreaming in the organization

Remember Twitter (that I blogged about earlier) or even things like Facebook news feeds and status messages? They along with other services (like Friendfeed or Plaxo) do something called lifestreaming. Actually not really lifestreaming (because they only capture what you want them to capture) but this post by JP made me wonder about how lifestreaming would impact the future of CVs and appraisals. As he says:

As the cost of such data acquisition drops, and as the cost of storing such data drops as well, the possibilities are tremendous. From an enterprise perspective, what the report represents is a part of the future of two things: CVs and appraisals. Nick’s work reminds us that you can now tell a story about what you did in ways you could never have done before. As with anything else, there are opportunities to game the “system”, but that is not what I want to concentrate on.

Because feedback loops of this sort are valuable as learning tools. As I learn more about what I really did with my time, I learn more about what I would like to change in that context; the feedback loop of “actuals” helps me do that. As I learn more about what I liked and what I disliked, I learn more about how I can keep doing the things I like doing; collaborative filtering helps me do that. As I learn more about what others perceive as things I did well and did badly, I learn more about how I can improve my strengths as well as my weaknesses; the feedback loop of “reviews” helps me do that.

In the past, whether it was a CV or a “performance review” or an “appraisal”, what went into the report was very subjective, very biased. As a result people didn’t like sharing the information with others. When the data is collected independently and objectively, this unwillingness to share goes away.

However, while the opportunities are tremendous, I personally don't think something would take off in organizations, unless the appraisal process loses much of the negative energy and linkage to pay that it's saddled with. But I totally buy into the idea of feedback loops and helping people learn and be inducted. The other question is, it might take away the mystique from certain roles and jobs, but overall that's a much better thing!