Everyone loves the shiny new.
It’s true for technology, gadgets and software tools for sure. And it’s been equally true of social tools and social networking sites for several years now. Every new site launch gets hyped on Mashable and Techcrunch, every move is scrutinized. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to be in the front of the line when the shiny new arrives.
Perhaps if we spent more time polishing what we have, polishing our now, the shiny new wouldn’t distract us so much.
I get as distracted as the next guy. I’ll be the first to admit it. That’s why a couple of emails caught my eye today. The first email arrived mid-afternoon. I get notified each time someone views one of my EyeJot videos. Like this one I sent about the former Miss Meg Fowler in 2009. (She is now Mrs. Meg Tripp.)
I began talking about Eyejot in March of 2008, almost four years ago. Eyejot’s CEO and founder, David Geller and I have become friends during that time period. Four years is not a long time, but by today’s tech standards, it’s an eternity. Eyejot is old.
But when I watched that video above about Meg from August of 2009, the thought that ran through my head was this, “why don’t I use Eyejot more often?” There’s still nothing like it on the market. Why don’t I polish off that old toy and make it new again. Using it more effectively might yield greater results than playing with any new toy that’s come out in the last few months. And for some of you, it might even feel shiny and new.
Automation Isn’t Polishing
The second email that caught my eye was from iPhonesIntoCash. It was an advertisement for a new web app that automatically sends Facebook birthday messages. The app let’s you set up all of your birthday wishes for a year so you never have to worry about wishing your friends Happy Birthday on Facebook again. “Do you wish that you took the time to wish your friends a happy birthday,” their site says, “but always forget or don’t have time? Now you can for the whole year in one sitting!”
It’s certainly efficient. Their claim? “birthdayFB is a completely free app designed to make you a better friend, colleague, business partner, associate, client, you name it!” A better friend? I beg to differ. I don’t call that polishing an existing tool. I call it tarnishing it.
Perhaps if people spent more time on Facebook making it really work for them, mastering the little things that differentiate them from other people, owning the tool in a way that humanized it and personalized it, perhaps the shiny new wouldn’t hold so much appeal.
Personalizing Is Polishing
Utellit is an iPhone app in beta right now. It lets you send a voice messages to friends on Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Email. Built right into the app is an easy way see who among your Facebook friends is having a birthday and send them a personal voice message. I’ve been using it for months now and it works flawlessly. But it’s not about technology.
Rishi Khullar, Utellit founder and CEO, has been an amazing communicator over this time period. I look forward to meeting him face-to-face one day. And he is on a mission to chip away at digital detachment. “What drives me is the belief that I’m steadily chipping away at digital detachment,” he writes. “The vision is so big to me because it’s what I think makes life worth living – taking that extra step to make people happy.”
What Utellit helps you do is polish the now of Facebook and Twitter and SMS and Email by adding a shiny touch of personal communication that deserves your distraction.
There’s a lot of shiny new coming out all the time. I don’t want to miss the next great thing anymore than the next guy. But perhaps where most of our focus should really be is on polishing what we already have.
Wow — I didn’t even remember writing that post until I clicked through and remembered why I was so hot and bothered about it all. Crazy to think that’s almost 3 years ago now. 🙂
Jeff Turner says
It was a good memory to go back and relive. 🙂 You make me smile.
Lisa Heindel says
Excellent points, Jeff. I was frantically searching for a tool recently, posting to FB groups for help and googling like a mad woman. Fortunately, someone in one of the groups pointed out that I already had exactly what I needed, I just didn’t know how to use the software completely. That was a huge wake up call to me.
Slow down, review the problem and and see what tools I’m already using that can solve my issues instead of rushing for the new, the untried, the untested. Trusty old standbys are called that for a reason.
Jeff Turner says
I’m surprised more than I like to admit that I have stopped using something that still has great value.
Yesterday my MacBook Pro, which has been showing signs of a logic board problem, froze on me two times in 10 minutes. So, I decided it was time to take it in. I fired up a spare Macbook Pro we had at Zeek and began a migration of data. I post the lengthy time it would take on Facebook and Paulo Elias said that if I had used SuperDuper and a removable drive, I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Well, SuperDuper is exactly what I use to back up my computers. I had not had to “use” it in so long, I simply forgot that one of it’s features is that it creates a bootable mirror drive. Problem solved. Right in my hands the whole time.
Mastery is hard.
We are in a moment in time I will refer to as “OverKill” … As someone who makes their living teaching the uses of Social Media platforms to small businesses, I am ready to slit my wrists every time someone asks …”Well, What About XXXXX?” referring to some Shiny New! I have to bite my lip and use politically correct language to say .. “Are you F’n Nuts!? You’re having trouble logging into Facebook right now, and you haven’t posted a useful Blog in 4 weeks, and you think you can learn (Insert Shiny New Here)!”
I have Coached youth sports for over 25 years, from T-Ball to High School Varsity (3 different sports even), and no championship team I coached was ever built with first creating a firm grasp of “The Basics”…Catch the ball, throw the ball, hit the ball … With a ratio of 4 Social Media “Gurus” to every 1 Potential User, we are in a Steroidal period of Too Many Gurus, not enough Indians”!
For Christ’s Sake people! Learn the “Basics” first! Then I dare you to learn all the Shiny News! Because no one can =(
TheRECoach (Totally Frustrated)
Jeff Turner says
I feel your pain, my friend.