Two words: Face Book (as I type this from my WordPress iPhone app) #goodbyeblog

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I was drifting asleep tonight and a story about a presentation I did at a client site back in the mid-nineties came to my mind.  I don’t recall the topic but it required outside Internet access for something that I was going to demonstrate.  Having Internet access in a conference room was fairly new and revolutionary of at the time.  Can you imagine a training center now without outside access?  Well actually with all the corporate security these days maybe you can…but anyway back to my story. 

Back in those days, trying to get a room setup with outside access for a one-off sales presentation was sort of like asking a client to have a popcorn machine installed in the corner.  Ain’t gonna happen. 

As I arrived at the client’s training center (and old schoolhouse in Charlotte), I realized the Internet access issue.  The only phone in the room was a speaker phone in the middle of the conference table that didn’t reach to the front where the projector was.  It was a hot summer morning in an air-conditionless school room, and I was beginning to sweat.

I needed either a long power cord, or a long telephone line…fast.  I had neither.  What I did have was a little time before my presentation.  I happened to spy a piece of dangling phone line on a service box outside an open window near the projector.  Sitting on the floor in the corner just happened to be an extra RJ-11 terminal connector.  You know, the kind from your house that you can actually twist copper wire down onto?.  The wheels in my mind starting turning.

I pulled the phone line in through window, stripped it down with my teeth, connected the terminals, and plugged in my laptop’s modem.  I was a little amazed when I actually heard tone come from my speakers.  I had figured the corporate PBX was going to make this entire effort a folly. 

After asking how to get an outside line, I dialed the 800# to pick the local call-in for 704.  Within a few short minutes I had the reassuring chorus of music coming across those laptop speakers as I shook hands with the AOL cloud (although we didn’t call it a cloud back then).  My presentation was a success and my client thought I was a bona fide rock star.

Now back to the future in today’s world of corporate network security.  Can you even imagine now my presuming to touch a client’s network or cabling without asking?  And that’s a good thing!   The complexities of our modern world and how things have changed just in my short career boggle my mind. 

Just today I was on a conference bridge by VOIP in GoToMeeting, discussing corporate firewall issues to teach a class on virtualization servers using Webex and a remote lab in Germany, to students in five different States (our latest rock star moment).

I often find myself wondering if sometimes all of this technology is really doing what it’s intended to do.  Making our lives better, companies more efficient, and jobs easier.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to bring back 28.8 dial-up!  But I cannot help wondering if we haven’t got caught up in the “technology for technology’s sake” trap and forgotten the real end goal here?

I think I was attracted to the technology training industry because in the end our ultimate goal was making complex subjects more understand and accessible to people.  Now if they would just get that popcorn machine installed so I could watch streaming HD video on the 65-inch plasma in our training center!

Ok, ok, alright… so maybe I missed my mark by a little bit.  After all, I committed this time (third time) to trying to actually become a regular, rather than sporadic, blogger.  It has been almost three months since my last (first) post on this blog.  I guess I’m comfortable committing to one post per quarter at this point.   Ugh.

But hey, I did start a Meetup in Pittsburgh about Social Media Marketing.  We already have 26 members and have even met twice.  It would have been three times but I was at a tradeshow this month in Las Vegas.  Second one this month, there no wonder I don’t have time to blog! 🙂  I’ve learned a lot and met some great people.

See our Meetup online at http://www.meetup.com/NewMediaMarketingPittsburgh/

Actually I had already written the first two posts when I started this blog, but those were more “stories” that had popped into my head one sleepless night.  I am considering now taking this blog into another direction as I continue my slow, steady, multi-year exploration of the opportunities of incorporating Social Media Marketing into a fairly stodgy, and yes even somewhat boring, IBM mainframe oriented company. 

So far, we’re Tweeting thanks to help from a progressive young man in our Toronto office.  We also have a Facebook Fan page, a YouTube Channel, and also a LinkedIn Company Profile and discussion group!   We even got the courage to put a Twitter gadget on the front of our website.  However several associates shot down the idea of promoting the FB site for fear of security and lack of a true vision and commitment to see it through.  Probably a wise move based on my Blog’s progress I suppose.  I continue to benchmark us against our competitors and colleagues and frankly I think we’re doing a better than that most, even if we’re not telling anyone about it! 🙂

Well, I guess I’ll see you in three months!  Stay tuned (or half-tuned rather).

Ok, well almost ten years ago now I got a call from a client asking if we offered any training services on “Blogs” for the Internet. Always interested in keeping ahead, I tracked down one of our Internet instructors and asked him, “ok what the heck is is a blog?  Is that some new protocol or related to LDAP or something?”

Grinning he explained, “Sure Blog, as in web log…a blog…get it?”. I rolled my eyes knowing this particular instructor’s open-source Linux background and how much he prided himself on these arcane little acronyms and geek-speak that non-techie business types like me never seem to understand.

Then I said, “what those silly life journals I see online?”  I mean, we do serious technical IT training, why would anyone want training on something as silly and trivial as something like MySpace or Friendster?  Well that was like 2001.

Fast forward to Present Day, if you don’t know what a Blog is now then you’ve been living under a rock!  More importantly, if you can’t understand the business impact and importance of blogging you’re about as smart as that rock! 🙂

That said, as a small business it’s very hard to jump into the blogging world professionally with all the limited time and resources.  I have been very hesitant to get started at ProTech because I’ve seen so many others get started and either not do it well or maintain consistency.  Add in all the Social Media and Web2.0 products into the mix such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin and frankly my head is already spinning.

Well after nearly ten years, I have finally decided that we’re never going to be able to do it alone.  We are currently looking to engage with a New Media Consultant to manage our blog’s technical content and online media marketing and strategies. I’ve also learned along the way that I better make sure to get our New Media Consultant is talking to our SEO Consultant who then should be talking to our Online Marketing Consultant and Webmaster (be great to find all of that in one person huh?)

Fingers crossed….stay tuned!

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The Senseless One

After a decade of reading other people's senseless personal blogs, it was time to enter the fray.

It is the hope of The Senseless One by contributing to the senselessness to somehow make his professional blog (when we finally launch it) more sensible.