Monday, February 25, 2008

old dog, new clicks

Years ago, I did a gig at a "virtual" office that had no walls except four glass slabs housing the workings of a futuristic-looking server, an object of such curiosity in those days that visiting clients always asked to see it. "What if it breaks down," I heard a client wonder. "It won't," assured the management supe giving the tour. (It did break down, of course. But only when I was on deadline.)

It was memory of this that made me imagine the interactive floor at a big agency as kind of a futuristic Willy Wonka factory, all chrome and steel and glass housing for spinnning parts and uber-smart, uber-youth pecking at keyboards.

So it was a surprise to show up for my first day this morning and discover a warren of small cubes and dark offices, even smaller and darker than the office I spent the past four months complaining about. In fact, I wasn't given any office at all. Interactive is so crowded, I'm assigned to a cube. I sit secretary-style just outside my boss's (window) office and use an IMac with a monitor the size of a cineplex screen, so that gmail and posting are out of the question.

Most of my first day was spent writing copy for what looks like a web quiz to determine what is your body type, but in actuality, drives respondents to the same conclusion: that they need not just one diet product, but six.

Luckily, I'm an avid reader of DearJaneSample or would have outed myself as a digital poser, first thing. Reading my copy, the art director wondered which blocks were meant to be corporate, which meant to be Jane. Jane who? I thought, but remembered in time. The other term that almost tripped me up was "offline" which is how everyone refers to what I've always thought of as print and TV.

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