Sometimes how you frame the situation makes all the difference. For instance, I’ve often tried to explain our service and expertise that helps businesses and nonprofits ‘harness’ the power of the internet. That sense of control is comforting, especially with something as important and fast-changing as the internet. For many businesses, it’s the crux of their marketing and communications, and feeling out of control of one’s strategy or progress can be disconcerting (to say the least!).
I read an article in the NYTimes the other day (online version, yes after my 20+ free articles had been used – no I did not pay for it…I know, I know) that framed it the other way: putting the internet to work for you. The sense of empowering the internet to do things for you, versus harnessing the internet’s energy under your personal control, was edifying to me.
The service that spurred the article is called ifttt.com (if it) and showcases a wonderful sense of high level corporate-style management over one’s internet life. Instead of doing all the muck-work of logging in to Facebook a zillion times per day and scanning all the recent posts and such (who has time for that, honestly!?) – one simply sets up triggers and recipes that cause things to happen. So, you can set up a recipe such that when you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, it automatically grabs the photo in question and puts it in your Dropbox photos folder.
Handy? That’s an understatement. Brilliant and freakin’ fantastic was my reaction! The possibilities for empowering the internet’s many wonderful tools and experiences to be ‘put to work’ for you – in a sense, to be made actionable and relevant – is like a breath of fresh air in what has become a crowded competition for our shrinking reservoir of free time. With more and more of that time spent on the internet, it has seemed to spiral a bit out of control – maybe this is an example of a step back towards a more relevant, productive, and human relationship with the internet?
Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/858296