Dear AOL, Get Off My Lawn

[Obligatory warning: There’s no tech news to see here.]

It’s 4:56 here at AOL headquarters and the keg is a-flowin’, “Blurred Lines” is a-bumpin’, and I’m filing this story.

My corporate overlord has had a pretty good day. There’re new products a-launchin, new businesses a’integratin, and all around things are lookin pretty rosy for the media magnates in charge … Well, except for this.

Me, I’m just trying to file a story about a company trying to take the “Internet-of-Things” to China (aside… Can we please kill the phrase “Internet of Things”?).

Now I know my little would-be-story is nothing compared to a new Mapquest feature getting launched internally tomorrow (Sorry guys didn’t get the details, something about localization and commuting). But still, I need to concentrate. Photo Feb 06, 4 56 29 PM

Here by my desk there’s a Mapquest branded Claw game where you can use a mechanical claw to grab some corporate schwag (folks can actually open up the display and grab whatever crappy T-shirt they want).

People are currently milling around an astro-turfed open area — the newly christened “Brand Park” — drinking beer and munching popcorn while surrounded by upright desks (so hip) and more wasted electronics – like unused computer screens and iPads – than you can shake a stick at.

The floor echoes with calls for “Where’s the beer?” Someone, somewhere is forwarding a company memo (full text below) to Business Insider.

Meanwhile, this lowly reporter is just gonna sit right here… and wait for closing time. 

I’m a curmudgeon AOL. Get off my lawn.

As we discussed at the town hall, we care about you and the company – a lot. This morning, I discussed the increases we and many other companies are seeing in healthcare costs. In that context, I mentioned high-risk pregnancy as just one of many examples of how our company supports families when they are in need. We will continue supporting members of the AOL family.

We provide a wide range of benefits – including our 401k plan – and conduct open information sessions each Fall on all available benefits as well as any changes being made.  We will continue to do that.

The spirit of the town hall and the spirit of how we choose benefits are the same – we want to be open and transparent about the choices we make and why we are making them.

As I have said over and over again, our employees are our greatest asset. Let’s move forward together as a team. – TA