Text Document

WaterCooler: Exploring an Organization through Enterprise Social Media

Fulltext URI

Document type

Additional Information



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Association for Computing Machinery


As organizations scale up, their collective knowledge increases, and the potential for serendipitous collaboration between members grows dramatically. However, finding people with the right expertise or interests becomes much more difficult. Semi-structured social media, such as blogs, forums, and bookmarking, present a viable platform for collaboration-if enough people participate, and if shared content is easily findable. Within the trusted confines of an organization, users can trade anonymity for a rich identity that carries information about their role, location, and position in its hierarchy.This paper describes WaterCooler, a tool that aggregates shared internal social media and cross-references it with an organization's directory. We deployed WaterCooler in a large global enterprise and present the results of a preliminary user study. Despite the lack of complete social networking affordances, we find that WaterCooler changed users' perceptions of their workplace, made them feel more connected to each other and the company, and redistributed users' attention outside their own business groups.


Brzozowski, Michael J. (2009): WaterCooler: Exploring an Organization through Enterprise Social Media. Proceedings of the 2009 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/1531674.1531706. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 219–228. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA