I spend so much time with content creators who use New Media on a day-to-day basis, that my views on the technology are distorted. And therefore, since last April, I’ve made it a point to step outside of the fishbowl to speak with “normal people.”
On Monday, I had another opportunity to do so at the Tustin Chamber of Commerce. I was invited by Tony Ventimiglio to be a guest speaker during his talk: “Sales and Marketing: Back to Basics.” The room held about twenty people, whose occupations ranged from insurance sales to a local print shop owner.
After my fifteen minute session, enthusiastic hands shot up to ask great questions. One woman said that she shared a name with a famous country singer, and therefore, “Googling” her name revealed music albums as opposed to her financial services business. I suggested that she take a play out of the David Meerman Scott handbook, by adding her middle name to all correspondence.
But the best question/comment of the morning came from a smartly dressed gentleman with white hair and a white mustache. “I’ve never used Google,” he said, matter-of-factly. “What I hear about blogs isn’t good. And podcasts,” he chuckled, “I don’t even know where to start.”
“You’ve never searched for anything using Google?” I asked.
He shook his head. “No.”
Truly blown away I blurted, “Wow! I’ve never met one of you before!”
There’s a lesson in here. Although this New/Social/Web2.0 thingy is gaining steam, millions of people still need introductions to the basics. A quick poll revealed that only one of the twenty subscribed to RSS feeds, nobody listened to podcasts, and only three used Google Alerts.
So, while the fishbowlers are pushing really cool stuff such as Friendfeed, Seesmic, UstreamTV and Twitter, we all need a reality check. There’s a huge audience out there who can benefit from using New Media technologies in their businesses. They just need a basic introduction. To the high-rollers in the fishbowl, teaching the basics may not be sexy, but I’m telling you that this crowd is thirsty for learning about this stuff.
Want proof? Yesterday the Chamber called asking if I’d be the Keynote Speaker at their next “Power Lunch.”