Monday, June 28, 2010

"Somebody's Watching Me"

We've all heard the song lyric by Rockwell and Michael Jackson, "I always feel like somebody's watching me." And it's true. We live in truly fascinating times. Technology allows us to do so much now - good and bad. What's more - technology allows what we do to be monitored - good and bad. We worry about "big brother" watching our every move via satellite technology, internet monitoring, phone tapping, etc. Very little is private in our lives any more. It seems like we leave a trail behind us every where we go - especially online. And we do, but we live like we don't. Somewhere in the back of our mind we wonder about it but not enough to change our habits. We think we're getting away with something. Big brother hasn't come for me yet, right?

What about "big boss?" During the Olympics, provided online streaming of the games. In their streaming player they had a "Boss Button." This button had one purpose - when pressed, the player was replaced by what appeared to be your computer desktop with an open Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This gave the appearance of productivity if your boss happened to walk by. Pure deception. CBS has the same feature for their online streaming of the NCAA mens basketball tournament games. When their "Boss Button" is hastily selected the player is replaced by what appears to be a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation. Again, not everything is as it seems. In both cases, the players were specific to Windows-based systems. I guess Mac users were out of luck. I know it's kind of funny, right? But it's really not good (unless you're fortunate to work for a boss like mine who allows some give during big events like these).

There are more examples of this. The Google Chrome browser has a "Panic Button" extension that you can add to the toolbar of the browser. The "Panic Button" makes it easier for you to hide all of your tabs at once just by clicking on a button. Another click on the "Panic Button" restores all of the tabs you have hidden earlier. You may also make use of "Panic Button" keyboard shortcut. Just press ESC to hide and restore all your tabs. This is obviously designed to allow the user to hide the tabs that they have open - presumably tabs that they do not want a boss, manager, or coworker to see.

What's interesting about this is companies are beginning to crack down on this "cyberslacking." There are myriad computer programs out there designed to allow for monitoring of an employees productivity while at work - employees who are utilizing an asset to perform a job for pay - not for pleasure. Social networks are destroying employee productivity. Time and money are being wasted at a higher rate than most employers think. Statistics show 64% of employees use company time to browse sites like Facebook. Programs like The Office Software (theOS) provide network-based productivity tools to help managers monitor employees and achieve increased productivity and enhanced security. On average, workers with an Internet connection spend 21 hours per week online while in the office, a little more than four hours per day. And on average, 26% of that time is spent on personal-interest websites. That amounts to roughly an hour per day, or 22 hours per month - per employee. This is simply mind-boggling. 

Getting back to Google, recently they did something pretty nifty - when you went to they provided a mini-Pac-man game that you could play. Hey, I'm not going to lie - I played it, and I told everyone on Facebook about it (that was when I was still on Facebook). That, in turn, caused me to lead many people astray, for they, too, burned some time on this game. Then I read this article, and I was dumbfounded. A company called Rescue Time did a study and proved several things statistically:

1. On that particular Friday (when the game was posted on the site experienced 36 extra seconds per visit. This doesn't sound like much, right?
2. This added up to an astounding 4.8 MILLION wasted hours of game play by Americans - most of which transpired through the work day (4,819,352 man-hours to be exact).
3. This, in turn, averages out to $120,483,800 in lost productivity. Millions of dollars. As RescueTime put it, "you could hire every single Google employee, including co-founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and CEO Eric Schmidt, and get them for six weeks for that much money."

In a word, crazy.

So often we think we're getting away with things like this. It seems harmless to hit the internet throughout the work day to check Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. But it really does add up, and if we're doing it on the companies dime then what does that make us? I've certainly been guilty of this in the past. It amounts to poor stewardship of time, and stealing. And you know when you do it that you're a little nervous someone will come around the corner all of the sudden to find you watching the "First Semester of Spanish Love Song" (and I recommend that you do watch this - as well as the "Second Semester of Spanish Love Song" - only do it on your own time.)

The truth is, we're not getting away with it. Others know, even if the boss never finds out. And you know. And God knows. If we (especially Christians) lived our lives with the understanding that God sees and knows everything, it would certainly cause us to think very carefully about wasting time and making wrong decisions - not just at work, but at home, at church, at the grocery store - everywhere.

A couple of passages to ponder:

Proverbs 15:3, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

Jeremiah 23:23, "Am I a God at hand, says the LORD, and not a God far off?
24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? says the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the LORD."

I wonder how different we would live our lives day in and day out if we truly believed that Someone was indeed watching us? No matter what, somebody is watching us. What do they see?

(eye in the sky)

No comments:

Post a Comment