Saturday, January 18, 2003

Mark Federman, Chief Strategist, McLuhan Management Studies

Just finished an interesting discussion with Franke James, one of the co-founders of a new game, Office-Politics. It's "the messaging game where you say one thing and do another. It's fun, free, and occasionally vicious." The game - that began on the web and is about to jump to print, voice-web, and television - replicates the real-life world of, well, office politics, in which many of us toil. Players are presented with "Daily Dilemmas" on which they vote (for example: You just stumbled on the boss's deep, dark secret. Do you tell everyone, or put the skeletons back in the closet?), and can attend "meetings" during which they can support the boss and virtual co-workers, or back-stab.

Now why would you want to put your digiSelf through the same Dilbertesque world as your physiSelf? What Office-Politics does is change the unobserved ground environment of real office politics into an explicit figure. In doing so, it makes us aware of the unseen, but sorely felt, effects and dynamics of the world of the cubicle dweller. By changing hidden ground to perceived figure, we gain a measure of immunity against the most potent, and sometimes damaging, ground effects by gaining new insight and awareness. Yes Office-Politics is a fun distraction from work. It may also be a sanity saver.