Your Fear of Social Media—I Don’t Know the Technology


Second in a series on the fear some people in government, associations and nonprofits express when whey contemplate social media.

You’re not a technocrat. Neither am I. Welcome to the club. Quite frankly, none of us are.

We may be experts as to everything we do in our professional lives but now we are asked to create websites and blog posts and videos and audio. Yes, I agree, nothing in our training prepares us for doing any of this.

How are you going to do it when don’t understand it?

I drove a police interceptor when I was a police officer. I was considered an expert as to handling an automobile in all sorts of conditions.

That didn’t make me an expert at auto mechanics. If you offered me a thousand dollars and asked me to disassemble a ball-joint, I couldn’t do it.

But it didn’t stop me from operating a high-powered vehicle and do what I had to do.

It’s the same thing with social media. You don’t have to understand the mechanics; you just need to create what people want.

I knew little to nothing about the mechanics of radio and television production or writing for the web or creating websites. But I worked with people in my IT departments who “did” know how to do these things.

Interestingly enough, the people who helped me achieve proficiency in the mechanics of social media will tell you that it took me more than a little while to get this.

There are people within your organization who understand the mechanics and they are more than happy to teach you. There are people within your local community college who will assist you. There are volunteers in the community who will come to your aid.

All you have to do is to let them.

That won’t make the fear go away. I helped a variety of organizations create websites but when those whose knowledge greatly exceeds mine assist me, I seem to melt into a confused mess. I still have fears of screwing it up.

So now we are on the same level. I may know a lot about social media but the mechanics still seem intimidating at times.

So what do we do about it?

First l, get assistance. Let others show you the way. The books in the “Dummies” series are wonderful and inexpensive starting points on a variety of topics. They have books on WordPress, search engine optimization, web marketing and many other topics. They are written for beginners and they are relatively inexpensive.

Yes, you feel like a chowder-head when someone explains bandwidth or packets or RSS feeds. Many of us feel the same way when we take our cars into service and the mechanic tells you that your transmission doohickey doesn’t interact well with the flywheel powering your transaxle, but that doesn’t stop you from being a great driver.

Second, spend some money. There are professionals out there who will solve your problems in ten minutes and are well worth their fees. Instead of spending tons of time solving problems you are done in a couple of minutes. For the advanced stuff (and sometimes for more mundane issues) it simply makes no sense to waste time you don’t have.

Third, you (or staff) will be expected to grow in confidence and eventually do these things on your own.

Your 14 year old posts videos on YouTube. So can you. Grandmothers are creating websites on WordPress. So can you. People who have never touched technology are taking micro-recorders and recording their friends and family members and putting the audio on websites. So can you.

But the excuse that you’re “not a technocrat” doesn’t cut it any more. If I can learn this stuff, so can you. I’m not a technocrat and the people who have helped me along the way will tell you that it took me a while to get over my fears.

Best, Len.

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