This post originally appeared on Techburgh earlier this year. Thank you Andy for your encouragement and advice. I highly recommend Andy’s blog. You will learn something amazing with every post! That is a promise from me. Here is my very first blog post from March of this year:
Can we stop for just a minute?
Everyone take a breath. How much technology, information, statistics & convenience do we need? Will we be living in the world depicted in movies such as Wall-E, Idiocracy and Surrogates? Do we need more so we can do less?
I have to admit that I was hesitant to guest write for a blog called Techburgh. I poked around there and found things that I never heard of and will never use. I see references to technological wizardry that I will never understand. Then, I had an ‘Aha’ moment. If Andy walked into my world and looked around at over 400 bottles of American craft beer, listened in on my meetings where we discuss pairing chocolate beers with raspberries and cashews, or infusing an American craft beer with bourbon soaked oak, he might be a bit overwhelmed with it all too. He might be interested to learn a little more, but he’d be satisfied by just tasting the final product, rather than worrying about the sources and the methods used to bring that amazing beer to his taste buds.
I took those concepts above and shook them around in my snow globe of a brain, which led to a bit of personal growth on my part, or at least personal acceptance and understanding of just how technology has improved my quality of life. I am old enough to have owned an Insta-matic camera with a big square disposable flash bulb. I had a Walkman that was just a transistor radio and a cassette player. As a teen I fought to use the one telephone in my household which was on a 25ft cord enabling private conversations in closets and on porch roofs. I am also old enough to remember that my dad’s cars were all rear wheel drive, and that he would ‘can’ cucumbers, peaches and tomatoes to last throughout the winter. Today, I will gladly admit: I love my digital SLR, my satellite music on my XM Roady, my smart phone, front wheel drive and traction control, and the convenience of a fresh vegetable being a just few miles away year round.
So yes, change is good, new technology save lives, entertains us and helps us do the tasks we must do just a bit better. Now, enter the idea of social media, (which is what this blog is supposed to be about) location based services, cell phones that are smarter than their users, and placing your most important and previously, private thoughts all over the world through something called twitter or facebook. Again, I was hesitant. Wow, everyone can hear me think! This is a change that might not be so good for some. I will sit on the sideline here and see what this is all about. I don’t really want to be texting instructions to the staff, or accepting their texts for call offs. I surely don’t want to know whether they are playing Mafia Wars rather than working. I don’t want to be a spy or voyeur in this world, nor do I want to be spied upon. Can I get past this? Is forty-five the line for me, to say “Go ahead technologically advanced world, pass me by.” Is this a mid-life crisis? Will I have to hire a social media coordinator? What is a social media coordinator? Do I need an IT person? Wait, what does IT stand for again?
As I wrestled with just how much was enough, along comes another player to this game, foursquare. Here, this is really creepy stuff… Oh, good, this is exactly what I don’t like about this all, right in a nutshell. Why does anyone need to know this stuff? What is the benefit? Why do I care if someone is picking up their dry cleaning or buying shoes? Why would I want to tell anyone what I am doing and when? I hope most everyone is too busy for this one. It’s gonna #fail. Ha, ha, slang and a hash tag is creeping into my everyday lexicon. What is going on? I think I am actually getting caught up in this. (I hope I don’t use an emoticon before this is done.)
As a business owner, I realized I never accept status quo and I have to push the envelope daily, these social media leaders do the same. By the time I am done writing this there will be a new gadget or widget, a new platform, and we will all adjust. I had to hop in. I don’t want to be on the outside looking in. My personal makeup won’t let me. So here I am with a fan page, a few twitter accounts and now a foursquare ‘special offer.’ Most all it is for the business, but some of it is personal, too. I just put the foursquare application on my phone last week to understand it better, and I have to admit, it is fun. I am already the mayor of something! It’s not too creepy. If someone is going to creep on you, they can do it with or without social media. And hell, let them creep away, if they have nothing better to do. If you’re talking, you ought to want someone to notice, right? If you are bothering to type your innermost thoughts, check in, post a picture of your dinner, voice frustrations or give advice, someone better be on the other end of the ‘conversation.’
So hop right in, if you want, understand it or don’t. I am glad it is there and I don’t need to understand API, GPS, or 3G to get by. I just need to understand that there are many new ways of communicating out there, and that I, personally, love to communicate and that my business needs these channels to grow. Thank you ‘technogadgetry’ for giving me new avenues to share my thoughts, my living history, and a few swear words and emoticons. Oh, and the benefits from a business stand point are endless. Here is a living billboard! Social media has given us a free method for reaching a targeted audience, a way to embrace your fans, followers, and mayors. No matter what you call them, they are your customers. You ought hang out your sign in this virtual world, or the train will not stop at your station.
So the next time someone stops for just a minute, hopefully they will be checking in on foursquare, shouting something to someone, and adding something new to this world, and if you do your part right, it may just be about you or your business!