Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Never Stop being Amazed by People

People never stop amazing me when it comes to technology. Many let it intimidate them to the point where they feel unable to walk through a simple troubleshooting process. What also gets me is that these people have been working with computers for years! Why am I worked up today? I have to show someone how to change a default printer.

For all the flak that Microsoft gets they really do try to make simple tasks, simple. They even have a "Printers" button in the start menu for crying out loud! As an IT guy, who was in the middle of troubleshooting backup issues, it frustrates me when I have to stop what I'm doing to tell someone how to use this "Printers" section of Windows.

However, since I am Tall, Dark and IT, I put on a different set of lenses. I would much rather be bothered about a simple issue, than someone who tried to troubleshoot the problem themselves and REALLY hosed something up. I encourage people to not be intimidated and to try things themselves… but it really is a fine line between when to troubleshoot and when to ask the IT guy for help. I know that this lady didn't want to bother me with what she knew was a trivial problem but in reality, that's what I'm paid for.

I must appreciate that these people don't want to take up my time but they also don't want to make the problem worse. I am a big believer in teaching people how to fish, so I try not to be frustrated when they ask what hook they should be using.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Thoughts on Social Media

A couple of years ago I attended a class on how to use social media for a business advantage. It focused on building an audience by fulfilling a need. The instructor suggested using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools to advertise and build your brand but to never forget your intended audience (or customers). The strategy was very active; not at all passive. It made perfect sense.

I made a strategic decision that I could not put in a good amount of time to use social media effectively for the company I work for. I went through the steps of securing usernames and handles but never implemented a social media strategy. I did, however, develop a passion for using social media in my personal life. Not building a brand or making a name for myself, per se, but using social media to build relationships with people I would normally have no contact with.

There are many people I follow because they do fulfill a need; whether that be knowledge, comedy, or information. There are also people I follow because we're friends and we interact with each other.

Some of the people I follow  are no longer fulfilling my needs. I've evaluated my thoughts  about why I no longer value their social media streams and here are my conclusions:

  1. I am no longer their intended audience
    My thought is they are changing their intended audience to gain something; the jury is still out on whether it's more followers, more exposure, 'building their brand' or financial implications. It's also possible that my tastes and/or needs have changed and thus I no longer value their social media stream (more on that in point #4).
  2. They are trying too hard to fulfill or to create a need
    Everyone has met somebody who is trying too hard to be friendly. It's not that we dislike these people; it's just that these people don't come off as genuine. It's hard for me to value the opinion of someone who isn't genuine.
  3. I value the subject in short bursts, but not every 5 minutes for 5 hours a day
    In my opinion, social media is most effective when it's concise. I am a busy person and I enjoy reading my social media streams but I can become overstimulated on a topic rather quickly. A few tweets a day that are enlightening and or funny is acceptable.
  4. The need has been fulfilled
    I tend to follow people in which I share common interests. Sometimes their interests change and sometimes mine do. If I'm no longer interested in the subject I no longer have a need. Also, it's not uncommon for me to follow a brand in order to get customer service. If the service is complete, the need gets fulfilled by definition and I move on.

I understand the desire to 'build a brand' and get famous for my thoughts and opinions. I also understand that I am one of almost 7 billion people in a world that doesn't need one more schmuck on the internet who rams his ideas down other peoples throats. All that to say, I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of all of these things at one point or another. These are simply my opinions and they probably don't really matter.