While most people don’t like to admit it, we are all sometimes tech challenged. And often times, we don’t want to seek out help because, well, it might make us seem computer illiterate. But being tech challenged is nothing to keep secret. There is help available. That’s what web designer and tech support guru Jade Moniz, who recently launched YourTechMama .com, does. By providing tech support and tutoring, she helps the tech challenged among us.
Like it or not, technology is vital to all our careers in this digital age. “Maintaining a strong online presence is critical to small businesses’ success these days. If your business is not online in 2015, you’re not in business. This means having a professional website and consistent social media presence,” says Moniz. “Regardless of your industry, it’s important that you become comfortable with the technology required of your current position and any position you hope to hold in the future. Your comfort level with technology could very well be the deciding factor when it comes to getting hired or promoted.”
With the inundation of technology, it can be overwhelming. So, being challenged is no reason to be embarrassed. Face your tech fears head on. “If you are tech challenged, it simply means you don’t possess a clear understanding of the technology you are using. Your peers definitely know when you are struggling and usually try to either help you figure things out, or completely ignore your lack of knowledge. Either way, it is embarrassing and you might end up as ‘that guy’ known for not checking your emails, miss out on an invitation to a party or have issues job searching. Our lives are driven by technology and if you aren’t on board, the train still moves ahead,” Tanya Kelly of Technical Network Associates points out.
So what type of tech are most people intimated by? “I find that most people have difficulty dealing with their smartphone technology,” notes Kelly. “Connecting multiple email accounts, social media accounts and learning how to use a new phone is very challenging. Simple things like setting up a home wireless network (with security enabled) or complicated tasks such as setting up a media server for your home can be so far out of the scope of knowledge most people have! A good resource is actually YouTube. You can learn just about anything by watching a video.”
And managing your social media accounts doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. First, learn about the various networks and social media language. “Educate yourself,” says Kelly. “There are so many online articles and free courses to help you learn more about social media. From the ‘hashtag of the day’ to posting calendars, the list is endless. There are also many automated posting services that make the process simple. You can set up your social media posts for the day, week or month with a few clicks.”
If you need more help, outsource. “If you are a business owner, social media can be very intimidating and time consuming if you don’t know the ropes,” says Kelly. “Hiring a social media marketing consultant is a very cost effective solution that might help you grow and promote your business more effectively. They can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per month, depending on frequency of posts and the size of your company. If money is tight, find an employee at your company who has some social media knowledge to get you started or have a social media marketing consultant set up a schedule for you to follow for your posts.”
Typical Tech Glitches 101
-Down and out. “’My website isn’t working’ is a common issue that is generally resolved with verifying the customer renewed their domain name (URL) or paid their bill. Credit card numbers expire, people don’t update their email addresses, etc.,” explains Kelly.
-“I can’t get online.” “This could be a modem, wireless router, network or ‘didn’t pay your bill’ issue,” says Kelly.
-Listen to the symptoms. “If your computer is constantly freezing, don’t ignore it. System slowness may be a sign of an underlying hardware issue so you should get it checked out by an expert ASAP,” says Moniz.
-No access–“I can’t get my files/can’t get to the server.” “This could be anything from a server issue/outage to Internet outage to the drive not being mapped. It is generally a simple fix,” says Kelly.
Tips on Making Technology Less Intimidating
-Keep it simple. “Don’t overwhelm yourself with multiple ‘unknown’ forms of technology. For example, don’t try to learn how to use your new smartphone, smartwatch and Bluetooth in your car and connect them all at the same time,” suggests Kelly.
-Shift your perspective. “New technology just tries to make doing the same thing faster and more convenient. Instead of handwriting letters, we email or text. Instead of going to the store, we shop online. It may not always seem like it, but technology really is trying to make our lives easier,” Moniz points out.
-Ask a friend. “Have a trusted friend, family member or business associate ‘train’ you on the particular piece of technology you are struggling with. It’s free and private; and you won’t be as embarrassed if they keep your secret,” says Kelly.
-Don’t spread yourself thin. “Don’t feel like you need to be on every social media platform. Research your industry and only create accounts on the platforms that will benefit your business,” offers Moniz.
-Back up, back up, back up! “I can’t stress how important it is to have up-to-date backups of your data. So many crises can be averted by having a good backup system in place. If you’re not sure how, hire an expert. If your computer ever crashes, it will be well worth the investment,” says Moniz.
-Have some fun. “Play! Don’t take technology too seriously. If you’re not sure about how to do something, keep trying until you figure it out. The best way to learn how to use your computer or smart phone is by using it,” suggests Moniz.