Spreadtweet is a Twitter client that makes a person’s incoming Twitter stream look like a typical Excel spreadsheet, giving the impression that an employee is working when they really are not.
You can tell the difference between Spreadtweet and a real Excel file by looking at the top of the screen. An Excel spreadsheet would not have “Home” and Replies” buttons, and it would not include a blank field with a “Send” button next to it.
If your company uses employee time tracking software (like RescueTime), look for an application called “Spreadtweet” in your logs. (The end of the name may vary slightly, depending on which version of Excel they are trying to mimic. In this case, I’m using the Mac OS X Spreadtweet.) A few minutes a day may be innocent enough, but using Spreadtweet may be indicative of other below-the-radar behaviors.
I don’t encourage micromanagement, and I strongly believe that a few minutes of downtime here and there ultimately increase attention and productivity. The real problem with Spreadtweet is deception. I would seriously question the honesty and value of an employee who had Spreadtweet up right in front of me and expected me not to know the difference.
Obviously, if Twitter is part of an employee’s job, or if your company has flexible working arrangements and/or a social media policy, using Twitter on the job may not be a concern. However, if they don’t have official permission and feel the need to hide their activities, what the employee is really doing is stealing. You are paying them for their time, and they are accepting the payment but not providing services for that paid time.
If you walk up to an employee using Spreadtweet, ask them to show you what they’re up to (in a non-accusatory tone, as though you believe they are really working on work). A more honest employee will admit their indiscretion and probably be shamed into not doing it again. If they genuinely try to convince you they’re doing work, however, I’d begin termination proceedings pretty quickly.
This entry was written by Marina Martin and is filed under Be on the Lookout, Featured, Social Media and tagged with employee time tracking, procrastination, RescueTime, scam, Spreadtweet, theft, twitter.