Last week, I was busily launching scribbles— creating a website, making a Facebook page, obtaining a Hotmail address, updating my profile information, and connecting communications.
I’m not technically savvy. My skills are limited to pushing buttons, pulling down menus, randomly typing, and cursing until I get the desired result, give up or break the functionality. When using the email program ExactTarget, I was so exceptional at muddling settings the ExactTarget help desk had me on speed-email. Once a week, I’d receive an email, which started “Dear Julie, we’ve noticed you’ve been trying to…”
Until a few months ago, I used a GoPhone. It opened, closed, could be used for making and receiving calls, and had a game, which required pushing buttons to make a snake slither through a maze. My Windows Phone is a monumental step up. By waiting, however, to purchase a smartphone, most of the challenges with earlier interfaces have been ironed out.
Learning how to setup and use my smartphone was a breeze with polite prompts and easy-to-use menus. Within days, I was snapping pictures, posting to Facebook, updating contacts (which magically uploaded to my phone), syncing my Hotmail and Outlook calendars, and downloading important applications like Lol Cat, X-Ray Machine, and Talking Hamster.
I had similar experiences when creating the scribbles web site and Facebook pages, and then setting up the connections between WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Hotmail, and my three different Windows Live accounts. It’s all very courteous. I felt as if “Ask Jeeves” was looking over my shoulder, whispering in my ear:
“Would you like to connect your Twitter account to your LinkedIn page?”
“Please provide permission by giving your name and password.”
“Consider adding a ‘Like’ button to your blog.”
“If you sneezed in Kirkland, do you think someone will say ‘gesundheit’ in Seattle?”
While I’m thrilled I was able to develop and push my sites live within a week, I can’t help feeling my pushing buttons, pulling down menus, and clicking on approvals created a house of cards. If I change one setting, everything is going to tumble down!
I snapped the picture to the right at the Puyallup Fair on Saturday. It’s one of the many displays done by a local grange.
I’ve always been fascinated by these displays because of the amount of coordination and cooperation necessary to create them. They start with boxes of produce; cans of fruits, vegetables, preserves, and meats; bunches of flowers; crates of eggs; bags of seeds; bottles of wine, etc. and then turn these discrete items into a vibrant, engaging, cohesive display. It’s like the web: Millions of pages of content, pulled together to create a compilation of information, news, commerce, and entertainment.