Those in the know have no qualms about celebrating Excel, their favorite productivity tool, on social media.
When Alan Lepofsky has something to say about the future of work, people tend to listen.
As a lead analyst at Constellation Research, technology and business experts regularly fill large amphitheaters to hear Lepofsky explain what kinds of tools and processes will change the way they accomplish everyday tasks and meet long-term objectives. It’s worth nothing, therefore, when someone of Lepofsky’s stature takes to Twitter to post a statement like this one:
“I still use spreadsheets for so many things.”
Nothing more, nothing less. Now stop and think for about moment about what gets shared on Twitter. The things that “trend” are often negative, whether it’s the latest political controversy in the U.S. or the shocking error involving the Best Picture category at the recent Oscar awards. When someone says something positive on Twitter out of the blue, you know it has to be based on a recent experience — presumably, in this case, a great experience.
“One of the biggest myths is that spreadsheets could entirely be replaced. They aren’t right for everything, but (are) still indispensable.”
At the risk of reading too much into Lepofsky’s tweet, it sounds like the kind of thing many business professionals might say to themselves when they’ve recently turned to Excel to capture information, look something up, or solve a problem. Beyond simply validating spreadsheets at work, Lepofsky’s decision to share his feelings on social media speak to Excel’s varied use cases – a software that is often more of a platform than a niche productivity tool.
Equally telling were the responses to Lepofsky’s tweet, which were almost universally in agreement. Take a reply from “Kenneth,” a software executive who jumped in right away:
“Why should anyone have to feel guilty about that?” he asked. “Spreadsheets still have tremendous value.”
Then there was Steve Ronan, who describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “trusted executive advisor, making good companies great.” He got to the heart of the current debate around Excel and offered his own reality check:
“One of the biggest myths is that spreadsheets could entirely be replaced,” he wrote. “They aren’t right for everything, but (are) still indispensable.”
There are some things that are really best discussed on social media services like Twitter. There are also some things that should probably be directed instead in face-to-face conversations within a particular organization’s walls.
Occasionally, there are topics that belong in both spheres. This is one of them. Rather than merely “liking” or “retweeting” Lepofsky’s post, maybe it’s time to use it as the springboard for your own dialogue about how to continue using spreadsheets for multiple things, and even for processes you and your organization may never have considered before.
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