You come to work. You sit at your computer. You do your morning computer thing, which maybe involves a couple of things not directly (or even indirectly) related to work/business. You know, you read a couple of articles in the online local newspaper, or ESPN.com, or something like that. Maybe you have a blog and you're looking for a poster to answer, or you've posted a comment on someone else's blog and you want to see if they responded. Then it happens.
You launch the page, and bam! The site has been blocked by your company IT department.
That's what I discovered yesterday when I got into work. I went to try and check on someone I care a lot about yesterday, and found that I wasn't able to. I mean, technically I can, it's not impossible, but it's a lot harder -- and a lot uglier -- than it was two days ago.
It's an interesting development, because the fact of the matter is, I'm being watched. I don't know that, out of the couple of thousand people that work here, I'm being singled out, but it IS interesting to note that these sorts of sites -- which have been generically classified as "Personal and/or Social Networking Sites" by the web screening software -- are now blocked. If you were collaborating with a colleague on a blog, you wouldn't be able to do so now unless it had a private domain name.
That's fine, it doesn't stop me from actually reaching the sites, but it does stop me from being able to see the pretty formatting and pictures. It's like the early Internet now ... everyone's headers are blue, the only font is TNR, and the only fancy formatting allowed is bulleted lists. It's bizarre. It's weird to see my own blog with my custom header and this weird, not-very-well-formatted page. But, I can still, if necessary, see/read the posts of my friends and respond to them. For the moment, at least.
So, if I seem unresponsive, or don't seem to be as talkative as I used to, please understand that it's not because I don't like you anymore, it's because I can't respond as I used to (if at all) during business hours. I'll try to figure a way to get a message to you somehow, but please don't take it personally if it has to wait until my business hours end, okay?
I can't seem to get a message through to my DeviantArt page at all, so I'll have to update those folks when I get a chance.
What about you? Have you ever been screened out by the company "Big Brother" of sites you've grown accustomed to being able to visit? Why do you think those sites have been blocked? Is blogging at the workplace really that big of an issue and time killer? Have things gone too far? Is this company just being extreme? Sound off, blogosphere ... I really want to hear what you think.
Pretty soon we won't be able to use the bathroom until the company-specified break times. Things are gettin' bad, and I want to do something other than the corporate dance so desperately I can taste it.
Maybe I'll write books for a living instead. What do you think?