Archive for February, 2010

Okay, let me set the record straight. I am anything but a geek. Just looking at the picture attached to the blog, you can see I’m a grandfather sporting a good deal of white hair and some disturbing new wrinkles. (Same for the featured picture of “Blue the Wonder Dog.”)

I’m the news junkie watching the healthcare debate and yelling at the television for Obama’s healthcare initiative to leave Medicare benefits alone. I still need my 7-year-old grandson to reset the timers on the dvd player and the microwave oven. And he, Christopher, rolls his eyes at my dumb questions much like the many tech-savvy friends I seem to have collected.

I love talking with these “geek” friends (said with much respect and envy), who simply turn on their computers, go to an application, begin typing and minutes later are happily tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and creating websites. On the other hand, I spend hours agonizing and using trial and error just to set myself up with an application and add a driver. It took me hours to set up facebook, and I resisted Twitter until just recently. To add to my feeling of ineptness, many a tech guru predicts that there is more new technology on the way.

For a long time I pooh-poohed computer technology, mainly because I didn’t understand it and “I hate looking stupid” in front of others. Every time I asked someone with tech-savvy a question, the answer just added to my confusion. Turns out that, although “techies” have friends like me, they would much rather talk to another “techie” who understands the foreign language of “geek speak.” When a friend/techie explains something technical to me, it’s similar to me trying to explain my philosophy of life to a person who only speaks German. It’s glassy eyes and blank stare.

Putting age and lack of technological expertise aside, I have an avidly inquiring mind and am anxious to see our society move toward more “high touch” and less “high tech” relationships in our lives. Believe it or not, the social media movement is moving us toward that goal. The next thing in the evolution of technology will see these tech-savvy people actually using their cell phones to make telephone calls. (I’ve already mastered that one.)

And you know what? As members of the “baby boomer” era (ages 45-65), we actually have some radical skills and experiences to share. Really, we do. Throughout my career, I was a very good salesman, sales trainer, an international sales manager and business development specialist. I had my own advertising agency and a magazine publishing company for 16 years. My point is twofold…if you’re over 40 and not involved in the social media movement, you have much to offer. More importantly, you can learn this stuff!

The vehicle for delivery of product, service or idea has changed, but the psychology of the marketing concept is still the same. Branding and marketing are the end results for the company. Trust, need, product and closure are the primary considerations for the end-user. Social media features the same strategies that made IBM, Xerox, and others mega-corporations great for a time. There’s just no outbound sales force…only the electronic hum of the internet.

Social Media sites are the fastest growing communication tools ever. And they offer the new frontier to people desiring to sell, communicate and teach. So the simple fact-of-the-matter remains, if you’ve got a product, service, or idea you’d like to get introduced to the masses, the internet is the most cost effective and results oriented opportunity for business and professionals. The possibility of you being heard around the world are extraordinary and the playing field between big and small business is at last, level.

In the coming days and weeks I will attempt to give you my take on what makes social media effective. Although I appreciate the high tech development of websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others, they are the tools that work with the right strategy. And it’s the strategies where I’ll concentrate as long as someone clicks in occasionally.