Monday, June 25, 2012

IT guy calls social media “magic” to explain it to dumb charity colleagues

Dumbs down social media


Wes Snidely, the IT coordinator at the Metro Community Foundation, says he is meeting with great success calling social media “Magic” instead of a group of web-based and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals.

Snidely, 22, is the only IT person at the Foundation, which raises money to help a wide variety of community initiatives. He provides computer and database services and looks after the Foundation’s out-of-date website. Since he was hired last year all his colleagues have been asking him about is social media.

“They all want to know about it – the CEO, the fundraising manager and even the communications manager. They’re like all in the 50s and don’t know jack about it,” Snidely said. “They think I do because like I’m way younger than they are.”

But Snidely says he was unsuccessful trying to educate his colleagues about the 300-odd social media platforms and how to use them.

“Like, I told them that social media technologies take on many different forms including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking,” recalls Snidely. “Then I told them that there are six different types of social media, including collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs like Twitter, content communities like YouTube, social networking sites such as Facebook,  virtual game worlds like the way cool  World of Warcraft, and virtual social worlds like that funky Second Life stuff. Man that is hot! Always makes my netbook crash, though.”

However, his explanation, which included a really cool multimedia presentation that he worked on for four days straight, was completely lost on his audience.

“They asked me to repeat what I said again, but slower. Then the communications manager thanked me for explaining it to them, pulled out a mickey of whiskey and started drinking right then and there. They just didn’t get it. Man, it was bad. Way bad.”

That’s when Snidely got the idea to dumb down the whole thing into language that even the CEO could understand.

“These guys were like so dumb they reminded me of characters I saw in Disney movies when I was a kid. And that’s when it hit me, man. That’s how I could explain it!”

Snidely called the same group of colleagues back together and told them that everything he had told them before was a lie, and that all social media was in fact “magic”. That was much more successful.

“I said to them, dudes, I shouldn’t be telling you Muggles this but all social media runs on magic. You know, the Harry Potter kind,” Snidely said. “They broke into smiles, started listening and in an hour they understood everything I had been telling them. It was amazing.”

Snidely said Facebook was run by good elves from the Kingdom of Light who wanted to communicate with people in order to save them from bad guys who had like a really wicked cool bad guy name that couldn’t be spoken, but sounded like “Zuckerberg”. He told them Twitter was in fact a digital spell and potion log and that YouTube was somewhat like the Magic Mirror in Snow White.  

“I basically told them that I was a wizard and that everything I do was magic,” he said. “That really worked. Not only could they actually understand what I was proposing but also Janet the finance director started treating me nicer and stuff because she thought I might turn her into a frog or something.”

Snidely was able to get the Foundation to invest in a new way cool website and a full suite of social media “magic”. He also got a no-questions-asked expense account to invest in further “magical potions and spells”.

“Dumbing it down for these  guys was the best thing ever. I have a nice new office. Some new computer gear. People leave me alone. I even think some of the girls who work in events are beginning to like me. Like, this has become a dream job.”

Snidely says he plans next to explain planned giving as “evil magic” and launch a career in fundraising.