Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Puzzling over semantics as technology sizzles

Marius Ciortea went to a Lunch 2.0 last week in Silicon Valley. Afterwards, he noted that someone at the lunch was not familiar with the acronym "SEO" (search engine optimization).

Robert Scoble recently observed that some software developers make some assumptions about their users.

I went off to the Google Friend Connect page and started filling out the form. It said I had to load two files up to my server. One problem, though, I didn’t know how to do that.

Now I can hear you yelling at the screen “you need to FTP them up to your server.”

One problem: most people today have no idea what you just said. I forgot all about FTP back in 1996 and didn’t think I’d need to know about it again.

These serve as reminders - don't assume that everyone at an event knows all of the stuff that you know.

On Facebook, I shared my own story when Marius' tweet showed up there:

[O]ne teenager brought her boyfriend to a church choir, and the boyfriend had to ask what the Lord's Prayer was when we got to that part of the church service.

Now to the outside observer, I'm sure that things looked strange - why is a guy, standing in the church choir in a choir robe, unable to recite the Lord's Prayer from memory? (Luckily, it was printed in the hymnal, so that was pointed out to him so he could follow along.)

I bet there's a similar situation for the Lunch 2.0 event. Perhaps the person attending the event was just starting to explore personal sharing on the web for the first time, and therefore never had reason to try to optimize searches, unlike someone who has been involved on the web for years and wants to ensure that his Empoprise-BI blog becomes well-known as a leading, individualized service for business news that offers a fresh perspective, as do all of my Empoprises blogs, such as my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog, my Empoprise-MU music blog, and my Empoprise-NTN NTN Buzztime blog.

I seem to have strayed from my original topic. So anyways, I'm sure all the Lunch 2.0 people were nice to the person asking about SEO, but these events serve as a reminder that when you give a presentation, you have to remember the person who is just walking into the room, and your topic, for the first time and is eager to learn more.

Don't call him/her a stupid newbie. Or I'll rm * -rf you from my lists.
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