YouCanHasCheezburgers; or, Employees are Miscellaneous


ICanHasCheezburger, or at least sites like it, should have a place on your corporate intranet.

So Why should lolcats (pictures of cats with captions in the imagined/projected diction of a cat who uses IM/SMS a lot) belong in your Enterprise 2.0?

Developed by two individuals known as Cheezburger and Tofuburger, is best enjoyed without deep explanation – just start visiting the web site, subscribe to the RSS feed (this is the one which works best on my phone), or follow them on twitter. For those who need explanation, start here:

Because your employees are people too. In fact they were people long before you made them employees. As people, they have interests which only partially (or maybe even not at all) overlap with whatever it is you pay them to do (gasp!).

Part of the disconnect between the fun people have using web 2.0 properties like YouTube, Flickr, LiveJournal, MySpace, and (the darling of the moment) Facebook is the fact that they get to talk about things that are not properly corporate. Some folks react to this by worrying about wasted time and lost productivity, but I think that is absolutely the wrong approach – at least if you want creativity, innovation, dedication, and loyalty from the people you employ.

Sometimes laughing out loud at a Lolcat from ICanHasCheezburger does more for my productivity than a week of intensive sessions on strategic planning.

To put it another way, and borrow from Dave Weinberger, your employees’ [interests] are miscellaneous. Or, looked at from the other side, the things your enterprise might be interested in are miscellaneous. Trying to decide definitively upfront what’s on topic and what’s off topic on your intranet will kill, or at least fatally wound, any potential innovation which might happen there.

A few recent examples of miscellany from Optaros’ own Intranet 2.0. (Ok, we don’t really call it that – it’s just our intranet, but it is Enterprise 2.0 enabled – every employee has an internal blog, in addition to forums and wikis for projects/topics of interest, etc.):

  • And now for something completely different – a discussion from one of our user experience (UX) folks about Monty Python
  • A post from a senior developer on foosball strategy, complete with diagrams of optimal bank shots against which defenses are inefficient and difficult to maintain
  • Results of a cracker eating contest in the Austin office
  • Photos from the Swiss offices’ joint (Geneva and Zurich) Tennis tournament – our own Swiss Open)

The PEW / Internet Project recently released a report on hobbyists, showing that:

83% of online Americans have used the internet to pursue their hobbies


Relatively younger American adults are more likely than their elders to look for information about hobbies or interests online. Some 86% of internet users ages 18 to 29 and 88% of internet users ages 30 to 49 utilize the medium to pursue hobbies. By comparison, 77% of 50-64 year-old internet users and 62% of online Americans age 65 and older report using the internet to pursue hobbies.

So are these users, accustomed to researching online things of interest to them, going to be asked to stop cold and speak (and read) official corporate voice only when they hit your corporate intranet?

1 Comment

Comments are closed.