Friday, August 15, 2008

Suggesting solutions we don't use ourselves

I've been in far too many meetings, it's always a meeting, where someone suggests that we just need <technology>pick one</technology> as the solution to what the customers are wanting. I thought of this today when I saw this quote buried deep in an article about social features being built-in to the major blogging platforms: The Next Social Networks Will Not Be Powered By Blog Platforms

...features such as forums are old school...

I smiled as I'd been in a meeting discussing forums not too long ago. The conversation went something like:

Person X: What we need here is a forum...

Me: Forums aren't used too much anymore. The conversations have moved to other venues.

Person Y: A forum would allows us to...

Me: How many of you actively participate in forums?

Room: **silence**

Person Z: So when can we have this implemented?

The same thing happens with online learning. The solution is often:

Person X: We need to build an online course. It must be very dynamic and engaging, and have a high wow factor.

Me: How many of you have ever taken an online course?

Room: **silence**

Person Y: Let's build it in Moodle...

Okay, color me clueless. Why do we think other people will be jumping up-and-down over the opportunity to use stuff that we personally find a total bore? If we're going to do this stuff we should at least have enough respect for our customers/learners/clients to kick-the-tires ourselves. We must be the ball.


john said...

Totally agree about offering services that your group doesn't even use themselves. This post makes me wonder about individual's trajectory with social technology. Are forums old school for those who have been in this for a while, but new school for those who are just beginning their experience with online communication past email? For those just beginning their journey into using online tools, would you suggest that they begin with these older tools, or trying to start with the latest and greatest whether or not they have a feel for the progression of the technology and the preferred methods of communication?

John Fries said...

I think that one can benefit greatly from studying older forms of web technology. Very often a great idea is found by updating an out-dated mode of communication.