Archive for September 13th, 2010

Why not just add a video game to your car’s GPS?

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Microsoft just introduced “Outlook Social Connector” for all versions of Outlook. This nifty little bit of software will enable you to integrate  and view updates from your various networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace from the convenience of your Outlook inbox.

As you read an email from a friend or colleague, Outlook Social Connector shows you real-time updates about their activities on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or Windows Live Messenger. You can also add contacts and expand your social and business networks directly from the Outlook People Pane.

I don’t get it. I mean, I understand the appeal of social media, and I think that in many situations it has real value, but to integrate it into your Outlook? Like you’re not getting enough garbage pumped into your inbox already?

Most people I know already complain that the volume of email they deal with is an impediment to getting their real jobs done. And the highly addictive nature of email is mirrored by that of social media feeds. So adding more tasty distractions to one of your primary work environments (your computer) seems like a really bad idea to me. Kind of like moving your office into a bar, or a playground, or a museum. Or putting a miniature version of Tetris or Asteroids on your car’s GPS. Sure, you could try restricting  your attention to your budget spreadsheet or the road ahead, but you’ll probably fail. Pretty soon you’ll be checking out the blonde at the table next to you, or trying to kill alien invaders during your next drive across Wyoming.

You don’t see games and distractions right next to a table saw. Why would you want to add that to your email?