You know how it is...you call your IT help desk, or website administrator, and ask what you think is a simple question, like: How do I get my blog posts to show up on Twitter. If you get an answer that contains six acronyms and three other technical terms, and you still have no idea how to get your blog posts to show up on Twitter...you're probably being buffaloed. There are a number of possible reasons for this; maybe your IT buddy:
- Doesn't want to deal with your question at the moment, and bewildering you will make the question go away.
- Doesn't actually know how to make your posts show up on Twitter, and doesn't want to admit it.
- Is anxious to impress you with his vast knowledge of the world of tech-speak.
- Is brillian with computers, bu has no people skills.
What to do? If you have received your answer in writing, you have the option to look up all of those confusing words and terms (try NetLingo.com, or the Berkeley Library). If you don't have time to do this (probably you don't, or you wouldn't have asked your IT buddy for help in the first place), you can simply insist that your IT expert slow down, and use plain English. Yes, you can do that, and most "technical" concepts can (and should) be explained in layman's terms. If your web administrator or help desk personnel really know their stuff, they will be able to explain what you need to know in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. Insist on it.
As time goes on, you will also need to update your internet vocabulary. You'll be able to do this by subscribing to tech blogs in your feed reader. Keep in mind that there is usually more than one "correct" way to do anything technical, and even the geekiest of geeks does not know everything. Remember that technology is changing and developing on a daily basis, and even the experts often have time keeping up. Don't be afraid to ask questions - it's the only way to learn.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.