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Taking a break…in Ireland!

I'm looking forward to exploring Galway on my own. Looks like my kind of town!
I’m looking forward to exploring Galway on my own. Looks like my kind of town!

Hello readers,

As of the date this post is published, I will be taking a bit of a break here for a while. As I write this, I’m about to leave today for a 10 day trip to Ireland. I’ll be in Dublin for half the week, and then in Galway and the Aran Islands for the other half of the week. I’m very excited, and even a little nervous. I haven’t been out of the US since September 2000, and Ireland is a new country for me to visit. I’m sure I’ll get over the culture shock quickly, and I usually understand the accent as I have my GPS set to an Irish male voice speaking. ūüėČ

Understandably, this is the first real vacation I’ve taken where there’s no husband or son, and no¬†tech comm conference involved¬†in many years!¬†The history geek in me is going to be let loose to enjoy and soak up the culture!¬†While there, I will still have my handy-dandy iPad, and if inspiration hits to write a blog post or curate a cool article, I will. But it’s not a high priority. I’ll also have my handy iPhone, and I’m planning on taking plenty of photos and video, and most likely much of it will end up on social media.

I’m still waiting for my final grade for my Rutgers course. I still haven’t heard back, and I think much of it has to do with Rutgers’ servers going down for long stretches this past week due to cyber-attacks. (That’s very reassuring, isn’t it?)

I also have a lot of exciting things going ¬†on once I return from my trip coming up, which I’ll discuss more when I get back. Some of the news isn’t official yet, so I have to wait to say anything, but I’m anxious to share with you!

salthill2
Salthill beach, here I come!

So, enjoy your first half of May 2015. I’ll be missing the warm weather of New Jersey and the late arrival of Spring while it’s expected to be cooler and rainy in Ireland. I guess the tradeoff is that even in the cooler weather, Galway City is just a 20 minute walk to the beach, so I can literally saying that I plan to have some beach time! ūüėÄ It’s time for some rest and relaxation–the rest of 2015 is going to be busy, so I need to re-charge and clear my brain for a bit!

Talk to you soon!

 

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Online Student Again! Part 10: 5 Ideas to Transform Your Digital Marketing

Cat_McGonigle_HP
Professor McGonagall shows the simplicity of transformation when talking about digital marketing.
Get it right, Potter!

I’ve finally finished¬†the last module of the Rutgers online course on digital marketing! In some respects, it feels like I just got started, but in other respects, it feel like I’ve been doing this a LONG time, and I’ll be happy when my test and capstone project have been turned in so I can get my weekends back again! ūüėČ

This last module was taught by Mike Moran, who also taught the second module about SEO. The topic of this last module was five ideas to transform your digital marketing.

Mike started this module with a pep talk to the class by validating that the class would probably feel overwhelmed by the flurry of content that’s been thrown at us through all these modules so far (uh, yah, you think so?) and how transitioning from learning to actually doing will be¬†scary (no, Mike, it’s TERRIFYING!!). But Mike reassured us that we have learned plenty that we should be able to employ these new tools to be effective, and the best way to truly learn is to DO some of these actions to gain some confidence. (Well, I’m gonna try, no matter how terrified I am about all this!)

To prove his point, he said that it’s usually the CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) and CIOs (Chief Information Officers) who usually have the shortest tenures as C-Level executives at an average of four years because they can get overwhelmed with this stuff, too! They both have digital marketing in common! So it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you shouldn’t run away from it, but rather face it head on! Mike said nobody’s an expert in digital marketing–not even any of the instructors from this whole course! (You could’ve had me fooled!) Things change so often that the instructors can’t keep up either, and so even they can be nervous about this stuff, too. “You will never learn enough to be comfortable. If you are looking for comfortable, then this is the wrong profession for you!” said Mike. (Sounds like a tech comm statement!) You can feel nervous and still do this! If you are doing this right, you will make mistakes, but the trick will be learning from them. Mike encouraged us that we are up to this, because this is not the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. (Good point, dude.) Make sure you share your fears so you don’t feel so alone. (Dude, have you read this blog?)

After this pep talk, Mike made a segueway into the five ideas that would transform digital marketing.

1) Big data is the biggest change in marketing

The world has changed from traditional media to social media in the last twenty years, and the contributors have grown exponentially, while the response time has shrunk from days to minutes. It happened because of Moore’s law–transistor density doubles every two years, and costs plummet even more sharply. This has¬†resulted in drastic changes in everything that technology touches, including marketing. So, theoretically in 5 years, today’s $500 iPad will cost $50–but that’s not what’s going to happen. We’ll have wearables that will be taking over.

Mike defines Big Data with the 4 “V”s:

  • Volume – The obvious large amount¬†of the data
  • Velocity – It’s up to the minute because it changes every minute
  • Variety – It drives the IT people nuts because you keep needing something new
  • Veracity – Nothing else matters if you can’t trust its accuracy

He then outlined that Google knows a lot about us, namely who we are, what we are interested in, what we buy, and who are friends are. Amazon knows a lot about us, too, when we are on its site, such as where we came from, which ads we’ve seen, which products we have already looked at, and it knows our previous purchases. ¬†Mike then extended it to what marketers know when we are at the mall. Soon enough, there will be face recognition which will tell¬†us gender, age, ethnicity, and maybe identity. Some of this is already in play with the use of free wifi in a store can happen because marketers can recognize your phone in that store.

It’s not just about how marketers are using technology with your phone. It can also be how consumers find out information about the products they buy. For example, in the near future, there can be RFID tags on a milk carton. An RFID tag can be on the milk jug when the cow is milked, then a new RFID tag is created when the milk is placed in the carton, then the dairy ships the carton to the store, and the consumer can see facts about the cow and its shipment to decide whether to buy the milk based on freshness, antibiotics use, and how the milk was cared for during shipment.

Mike continued by saying that Big Data is changing the market. He pointed out that according to IBM, 98% of the data in existence was created in the last two years. We think of that as e-mail, photos, and social media, but with omnipresent security cameras and sensors on almost every item in the supply chain, it’s not hard to conceive of the notion that in five years, 98% of the world’s data would have been created within the last two MONTHS. (Holy Big Brother!)

In the end, it’s still marketing! Mike said that you need to target your audience, understand what they care about, and connect with your message, because if you do, you improve your image and drive sales. The difference is how you do it! Digital marketing is actually good, because you can see the results of things instantly in such things as Google Ads and yank them quickly if they don’t work in a matter of hours instead of a much longer period of time like risky traditional marketing. The risk is much lower, and the ability to test more to find the right thing is much easier.

2) Your marketing must attract your market

Your target markets are ruled by the business that sees your ads, and you won’t even know how it happened. Attracting business is mostly about opting in. Mobile works the same way–coupons can be sent to people who are nearby searching for you, or who checks in, or becomes the Mayor on Foursquare. To target your message, digital marketing rewards pull over push, as Mike put it. More often, markets find you or you give your customer permission to search, download apps, opt-in for emails, subscribe to your blog, or follow you on Twitter to provide customers with a means to find you. Mobile makes the experience more interactive, because your customer might look at a review online before purchasing, or might write a review shortly after purchase. Because of these kinds of interaction, you need to be part of the conversation because things are so transparent now, and you need to be making sure that you are engaged and listening to what customers say. You can start to understand what customers want through digital marketing because digital marketing is direct marketing–you can see what your customers do when they interact with your marketing message and website. The customers vote with the click of a mouse or tap of their finger on a mobile device! Web marketing is the biggest opportunity of direct marketing you could have if you use your analytics tools. Websites are to sell stuff!

So, how can you drive demand for your products? Increase your conversion rate, increase your traffic, or better yet, both! Brand awareness is not the decisive factor here, it’s SALES, so sales¬†needs to be the focus.

You need to decide your conversions–would they be through online sales, making store, partner, or dealer location information available, making it easy for customers to make phone calls, create affiliate links, or allow customers to download a whitepaper, or even something as straightforward and simple as filling out a contact form?

To track offline conversions to the web is most easily done by contacting the customer. Mike advised that if the customer switches channels, it’s good to draw the customer back by doing things like offering a special phone number, providing a coupon that can be printed to present at the retailer, or make the product specifications available to print out and bring to the dealer.

Website visitors come to websites to learn (research products and services), shop (compare offerings and prices), buy (check out and purchase), get (check order status), and use (get technical and customer support) through the buyer journey. But you can look at this same journey path to measure value. Examples of this would be helping the customer find the right product during the learning stage, seeing how many customers that view a product actually put it in their cart during the shop stage, see how many actually check out during the buy stage, and the multiply the difference by your average revenue to see what the actually impact on revenue is. Each stage is a micro-conversion. You have to decide what your buyer’s journey is going to be and how you are going to adapt it for that journey. Some sites lead to offline activity, so you need to account for that.

3) Your marketing message must be welcomed

Mike asked, “How do you connect with your message?” His answer was that relevant content will be passed along by search engines, linked by other websites, and passed along by your customers in social media and mobile. It’s really that simple! You need to concentrate on creating high quality, truly informational content, because if you do, you will become influential. Influence marketing is a matter of identifying the most persuasive ideas, and getting your customers to, as Mike put it, “sing your song.” An example would be authors asking certain people to review their books to help promote it, like asking Oprah to feature it in her book club. Campaigns alone are costly with huge swings, but if you have a fan base, then with both campaigns and engagement, your consumer interest will go up.

To measure influence, you can look at a Klout score, but you look at how many people they influence and what they are influential about. If they don’t appeal to a group that you are targeting, then you don’t want to work with that person. Influencers have relationships with each other. Some players have a lot to say, but no influence, and others are quieter, but influence many. Mike calls targeting that influencer the “D-list approach”. ¬†He says to use the long tail for blogger outreach because A-listers are hard to reach who get dozens of pitches every day. Your pitch might not break through, but it would with a D-lister.

4) You must respond to your customers

To connect with your message, you must change your message in reponse to what your customers say (tweets, likes, comments, blogs, product ratings) and do (search, purchases, page views). ¬†If you’re unresponsive, customers will burn you publicly with the customer reviews. Your solution is to accept comments and trackbacks on your blogs, allow your products to be rated and reviewed, and staff your efforts with enough people to respond. Not taking these steps gives off the impression that the company doesn’t care, and any negative commentary must be true–this is anti-influential!

By responding to customers, you can change your products, your content, your prices, your policies, your experience, and then change them again as needed to help increase your conversions. It’s a great feedback loop! Part of that is testing, and seeing how customers respond, and then adjusting accordingly, like doing A/B testing on your website. The more you test, the more you can find what works and will create greater conversions. By doing all these things, you’ll be surprised at how smart you will look! Mike made the profound statement of, “The reason you’re not confident about how to start is because you think it’s on YOU to know what to do. What I’m saying is that if you set up the feedback loop, it isn’t on you, it’s on the feedback loop.” This relieves much of the pressure that you have to come up with the perfect idea.

One of the things that makes it hard is the speed expected to expedite things. The slower approach is typically the “waterfall” approach, in which requirements and structure is documented meticulously to get to the end, but it’s too slow because by the time you get to the end, the requirements have changed. Mike made the analogy that “waterfall” is like baking, because you know what you want up front, precise measurements and preparation are needed, and nothing is done until the end. It’s not as easy to do. In contrast, the Agile process is, Mike contends, is like making soup–you can experiment as you go, you can see what’s working and what doesn’t by adding ingredients as you go along, but it’s at its best at the end. This is more flexible and faster. So, marketing and IT should be soup–something you can change as you go along. (I guess the expression of “No soup for you!” doesn’t apply here!) Mike’s message was not to do everything at once. Start small, do a little at a time, like make only one YouTube video and see how it goes rather than decide to plan out and produce 10 videos at once that could flop. See how the first one goes, and adjust accordingly.

5) Marketing ain’t just for marketers anymore.

Customers don’t want to hear from marketers, so you need to get help. Customers aren’t looking for copy anymore, but rather for information from the experts in your company that can solve their problem, and that might not be you.¬†Marketers must teach people–namely those experts–how to operate in public. There will never be a blogging department, and the PR team must teach the rest of the company to do PR through social media. You can teach them what you know, let them do their thing, and mentor them when necessary. There will always be some element of risk involved in getting others involved, but there is risk even without getting others involved. Your job is to help set parameters to minimize the risk of errors as much as possible. These experts are a big asset and to use their expertise is free! It’s all about internal marketing as much as it is about external marketing.

Another overlooked segment is reverse mentoring–there are lots of people who understand traditional marketing but don’t understand how to use the digital tools, yet younger people understand those digital and social media tools, and¬†would benefit from learning more about traditional marketing. Traditional marketers should take advantage of learning from the digital literacy of the younger ones to start learning how to take better advantage of these tools. In fact, mutual mentoring is even better!

Another obstacle to tackle is how to persuade your colleagues into joining into this digital marketing mentality. Part of that will involve more of that internal marketing that you need to do as you do with your other company colleagues. ¬†One way is to work on getting the message to come from the top down, meaning an executive puts forth the idea of what needs to be done, but this can be difficult to implement consistently. The alternative is to get department heads to get together to find a common ground to implement actions, but that generally doesn’t work well either. The solution is that you have to admit that some business units are more important than others, and work with those. Mike gave the example of the Security Council of the United Nations enforcing rules on various countries, and targeting specific groups as needed. Using a scorecard to motivate teamwork and publicizing the results internally of how these things are implemented can be helpful in getting that cooperation, as it’s tangible and driven by data. You can slowly change organizational behavior by changing the rules, setting benchmarks, reviewing business unit scorecards, demand improvement, and repeat the process again with a new agenda or raising the standards of the one you are working on.

According to Mike, if these five ideas are implemented immediately, and things are put in place to start making it happen, you are much more likely to succeed. Take it one step at a time, but you need to act, or you won’t benefit from all the new information attained in this course. (Yes, all 10 modules!) You can’t run away from digital marketing, so it’s to our benefit to move forward with all this information and succeed!

Amazingly enough, this five-step summary was a good way to end things. Mike showed that digital marketing is not magic. (Now you get the Harry Potter image reference above?) It brought together all the main elements of all the rest of the modules together in a comprehensive way to implement them. Heck, I started using these steps immediately with some people I work with both inside and outside of my job, so I guess this course helped.

BUT WAIT–THAT’S IT! I GOT THROUGH ALL 10 MODULES!

I still have to take the final exam, as well as create and submit my capstone project, so I will be working on those for the next two weeks or so. Wish me luck, because my grade will depend on those! I’ll report on those as I complete them!

So what do you think? Do you think these five steps are the key, or is there more to consider? Comment below.

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Online Student Again, Part 4: Mobile Marketing, AKA Dang, I haven’t kept up!

kids-and-cell-phonesAfter the confidence¬†I had emerging from the Social Media Marketing module of my digital marketing course, I felt I could ride that wave of confidence into the next module about Mobile Marketing. ¬†From what I could tell, I wasn’t wrong to be confident. After all, I’ve been writing about m-learning and mobile topics on this blog since the beginning, so I figured that I would have a good handle on this topic. ¬†I did, but I was quickly reminded at how fast mobile technology has been growing even in three short years, and how I still need to do much more to keep up, if not catch up.

The module was taught by Christina “CK” Kerley, who is a very animated speaker on mobile marketing topics. She provided some great real life examples that I could easily related to. What struck me the most was how subtle mobile marketing can be and how it can be used in ways that we already take for granted, and the technology out there through mobile devices that are probably under-utilized by some, not only in marketing, but also in other mobile applications. One thing that I agreed with her about in regards to mobile is that at one point, everyone thought they needed an app for their service or product, and that’s not necessarily the case. ¬†I agree that websites need to be optimized for mobile–something that I need to do with my own e-portfolio when I get some free time in the next year. But an app has to have a purpose, and it doesn’t mean that it’s solely a glorified version of your website in tiny form.

The technologies that fascinated me the most had to do with geofencing, NFC, and RFID technologies. An example of this would be something like this:¬†you had the Starbucks app on your phone, and as you passed by a Starbucks, your phone would send you a notification for a coupon off a drink–but only if you were in the vicinity of the Starbucks. My brain started to spin with the possibilities of how to use this, at least in m-learning. She also talked about how the proliferation of QR codes and augmented reality were coming about, and how wearables were going to be playing more of a part in mobile marketing. I knew all about these from Marta Rauch and her talks about Google Glass, and such, but I think there were some additional features that I hadn’t really thought about before this way.

All in all, it got me excited about mobile technology. Not that my interest in mobile had ever gone away–just sidetracked. ¬†We really do take our mobile tech for granted–I know I take mine for granted! I think that whatever my next stage is, I surely need to figure out how to get mobile technology into the mix, whether it’s writing or designing for mobile, or whatever. My passion for mobile has simmered over the years. I think the dark side of content strategy lured me over for the past year or two (not that it’s a bad thing), and I lost sight of where I wanted to go. If I end up starting my own business, then I need to think¬†about incorporating those mobile skills again. Seriously, three years ago I talked about mobile in terms of m-learning mostly, but I knew it was the next big thing because mobile use was growing. My thinking was correct back then, and deep down, I know it’s only going to grow and get more complex in time. ¬†I feel like I’ve already fallen behind! So, I need to try to get up to speed on this technology again, and try to push forward, whether it’s in content marketing or something else. I appreciate CK lighting the fire under me again!

Moving on from there, the next module will be about content marketing. OK, folks, here’s the crux of it all, and I’m fearful of it. This is the topic that drove me to take this course because it’s all that I hear about in the content strategy world. We’ll see if I come out unscathed from this topic next week.

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Stage 2 of non-pudding brain: It’s official. I’m a student again.

"Ah, glad to see that you are working on stretching your intelligence, TechCommGeekMom. Now, when you are done, you can help me with this equation on this board..." --The 12th Doctor
“Ah, glad to see that you are working on using¬†your intelligence, TechCommGeekMom, and not becoming a pudding brain like the rest of your human race. Now, when you are done, you can help me with this equation on this blackboard…”
–The 12th Doctor

As I stated in my last post about my resolution not to be a pudding brain in 2015, and understanding that in order to get ahead in the next year, I need to learn something, and learn something new. It’s been mentioned before that content marketing is the skill emerging most in content strategy jobs, and so I need to make myself eligible to get on that bandwagon. I have a strong customer service/client services background, and my career has steered me into content strategy, but what I lack is a basic¬†understanding of¬†marketing, especially digital marketing.

I looked at many programs, and there are a LOT of good ones out there. During my¬†process, I needed to figure out what would give me the most bang for my buck in the shortest amount of time, so that I could hit the ground running even while I was in the midst of my coursework. It would be best if it was online and part-time, obviously, since I’m still working full-time for the moment. (My contract doesn’t expire until the end of April.)¬†I also looked carefully at curriculums to see what topics would be covered that would satisfy the gaps that I think need filling in my skill set.

Rutgers_Scarlet_KnightsAfter discussing the options with my husband, who reviewed some of the choices I had narrowed my list down to, I can now say that yes, I am officially a student again. I have registered to take the Mini-MBA certification coursework in Digital Marketing at Rutgers University. It starts at the end of this month, and finishes by the time my contract ends. It covers several topics that I have some familiarity with, but not enough experience or actual training of any kind.

I’m excited to start classes. I’m fortunate that an online version of this coursework was available, and being a veteran online student, this is ideal. I find that I actually do much better in an online format than a classroom format. Online learning isn’t for everybody, and I’m a person who enjoys listening to classroom lectures, but find it very difficult to take notes during one. (Hey, it’s hard for me to take notes or write social media posts during presentation events–why do you think I learned to type so fast?) My brain is a little slow to process and summarize concepts quickly then write them down, so online learning is usually great because if there is a video or audio recording, I can rewind the recording if I didn’t catch something, or take my time reviewing slide presentations. Online discussions can be¬†as¬†animated as live conversations. I’ve often found that online class discussion threads are great writing exercises as they force you to truly think and strategize what you want to say in a way that encourages plain language and clarity to all readers.

The other thing I’m excited about with this class is that the online format is for MOBILE!! Part of the tuition goes towards a new iPad to deliver the coursework (or you can get a discount on the tuition if you already have an iPad, like I did). I tried to use my iPad when I could during grad school, and it helped when I would try to get papers done during my lunch hour, or review information on the go. This time, it’s different. Everything is being delivered to a mobile device, so it’s automatically going to all be on mobile. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out. I’m still an iPad aficianado, and have often promoted the use of iPads and tablets as learning tools (look for early TechCommGeekMom articles about the topic), so now’s my chance to do it myself!

So, I’ve made my first big, bold move for the year. Pudding brain will be erased, and some new information and skills will be attained in order to better my chances¬†in the job market later this year. This is how I chose to invest in myself this year. Conferences are still good, and I’m not knocking them, but when I am done with this, I will have a small credential that will boost my resume. ¬†Maybe I’ll get to a conference later this year, but in the meantime, this will be my educational focus. This is part of the¬†mini-reinvention of myself. I might end up in another straightforward content strategy/web publishing job later, but having these additional skills can only help, not hurt me. I’m glad I have my husband’s support in this (he’s going to be a weekend and weeknight widower again for a short time), and I’m hoping that the tech comm community will support me in this endeavor as well.

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One Morning with Google Glass Was Enough for Me!

Here I am with my Google Glass package, sad that the experience wasn't more, and the price was significantly less.
Here I am with my Google Glass package, sad that the experience wasn’t more, and the price was significantly less.

As disappointed as I was that I’d have to return my Google Glass because it really wasn’t in the budget, I knew there was a 30-day trial to use Glass, so my husband suggested that perhaps I should give the trial a whirl, and if I still liked it, I could purchase it¬†again later when the price goes down. I wasn’t keen on the idea because I was afraid that if I liked the product enough, I’d be reluctant to return it. Despite his encouragement to try Glass first, my husband didn’t help the cause, as¬†he’d constantly be emailing me negative articles about Glass.

Nonetheless, I decided that I’d forge¬†ahead and give Glass a try. I didn’t even last one morning.

Upon receipt of my Google Glass, the Glass didn’t have enough charge to even set up my account on the device out of the box, so I had to charge it overnight. Even with an overnight charge, it was only at 88%. Something’s not right with that. You’d think that with such a small device that a) there would be just enough charge in it to set it up, at least, and b) that charging it overnight would put it at 100%. So, not a good start, but by the next morning, 88% was enough power to be able to set the device up.

Now, I hate to compare apples to oranges, but I couldn’t help but make mental notes of how much the experience was nothing like dealing with an Apple mobile device. Yes, I know that Glass is not a smartphone, but it does connect to one’s smartphone, after all. I’ve done the¬†set-up of my son’s¬†Android smartphone (and I will admit, I’m no Android expert) and set-up 4 iPhones and 2 iPads over the years, so I think I have a good idea of what a good out-of-the box experience should be. ¬†I’m also fairly adept at figuring out new technology, and have been the “tech person” in my family for decades, even before digital technology was mainstream. Add to those credentials that I am a technical communicator, so figuring out how to set a digital¬†wearable device should be par for the course.

When I used an iPhone for the first time, I could figure out everything instantly. Apple walks you through set-up directly on the device, and nothing extra has to be done on another device paired up to it. Google Glass had some directions in the viewing screen (for lack of a better term), but it took me a while to set the device up so that it could connect to my phone and read the QR code that the app had to read to connect and activate the account. I had also read the Google Glass online help files on my laptop as I was doing this. It’s not a good sign, to me, if I have to read the website simultaneously while setting the device up. Even then, the directions weren’t that great. It assumed that everything would go smoothly, so set-up would be a snap. However, mine was not, and I couldn’t find any answers to problems I had.

Eventually, I did figure out how to get Glass¬†set-up. I was connected to my Google account, and ready to go. It was early in the morning, and I decided to try it¬†out, let me son see how it worked, and my husband was curious to see how it¬†worked, too, even if he was the naysayer against it. ¬†Because I didn’t want to accumulate too much personal content on the device, I tried to be careful about not taking video or photos, as I needed to learn how to download apps and manuever the device first. ¬†My son liked what he saw, and I had him do the instruction, “OK, Glass, Google Minecraft,” and it did. He liked it. But, being that he is a rambunctious 12 year old boy, I didn’t want him wearing this expensive device for long. It was then my husband’s turn.

polish-chicken-11
This is a Polish chicken. And this is what my hair looked like that morning (more or less).

Before I could try to instruct him on how to manuever the device, my husband decided that he already knew how to use it based on viewing the Saturday Night Live skit¬†from a while back. I scolded¬†him for just trying to do things randomly, and I wanted him to give them back to me if he wasn’t going to give me a chance to explain how to use them properly–based on my limited knowledge at that point. The next thing I know, he proclaims, “OK, Glass, take a picture.” ¬†In full glory, in my rumpled NJIT pajamas, angry face, and Polish chicken hair because I had not gotten ready for the day, he had a photo of me. I was not happy about that. He then asked, “If I wanted to send this, what would I do?” At this point in the story, he and I differ on the account, but since it’s my blog, I’m telling it my way. ¬†He started to say, “Would you say, ‘OK, Glass, send an email…’?” and when he realized that he’d actually be sending an email, it opened up to¬†THAT PHOTO. ¬†“Oops!” he claimed, and tried to back out of it. He did say, “Cancel,” a few times, but nothing happened. But somehow, the photo did get sent, and it was sent to the first person listed on my Google + list, whom I don’t know personally! How embarrassing! I had to get on my laptop later, and send a note to her in Google+ explaining the situation, that I wasn’t sending a photo of a crazy, angry bag lady on purpose, etc. ¬†By that time the Glass was confiscated, ¬†that was enough to get me on the wrong foot with the device even further.

After everyone had left for school and gone off to the office, I had a little time to myself to try to figure more about this. One of the biggest flaws I saw¬†with this device is that it’s not intuitive. As I mentioned, the set-up was not smooth at all. I found that I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to delete the photo or the Google search from the Glass unless I reset the device back to factory settings. That can’t be right. ¬†Additionally, I couldn’t figure out how to get to a screen to add apps. Again, that doesn’t make sense. So, I went back to the Google Glass Help online to try to figure that out. I couldn’t find any instructions on how to add apps. Additionally, I saw that there were less than two dozen apps available at all! Geez, that doesn’t seem like a lot. I know that this is a product that’s still in development, but you’d think that after a year, Google would have more apps than what I saw.

So, when I took into account how the product wasn’t intuitive, had very few apps, had no ability to delete things (I was able to delete the photo in my Google account via my laptop, but shouldn’t be), plus the exorbitant price, I succumbed to what my husband had been telling me all along. It wasn’t right for me. ¬†So, I called Google to ask for the return labels so I could send it back and get my full refund.

Believe me, I was really frustrated with this product. Although my family thought it was cool, they also felt that it wasn’t so easy to figure out how to use it seamlessly, and we’re all fairly technical–even my son. But for something that was the price of two new iPad Air devices¬†or laptops that had much more functionality, I had one funny pair of electronic eyeglasses that didn’t do a whole lot. ¬†The experience was disappointing, and I didn’t want to pursue it further–that’s how frustrating it was in one morning. ¬†To quote my husband, “If Apple had come out with these instead of Google, it would be cheaper and it would be a completely different experience.” This is coming from a guy who’s very reluctant to use Apple products in the first place, and he even came to this conclusion. The sad thing is, he’s right. When watching that SNL skit again after this experience, my experience wasn’t too different, except the character in the skit got apps on his Glass, at least. The scary thing is, that skit was done a year ago, and nothing has changed since that time!

Despite this less than stellar experience with emerging technology, I think if the price came down significantly, the intuitiveness of the product was better–including understanding how to delete content and add apps, and there were more apps to use, then I’d definitely reconsider getting Glass again in the future. The product isn’t ready for primetime, in my opinion. Even the iPhone had more features on it when it first came out in the first year than this has. ¬†I initially¬†got interested in Glass¬†after seeing my friend, Marta Rauch of Oracle, using them, and seeing her presentations about the product’s many capabilities. I wouldn’t have rushed to purchase the product and have a chance to use them if I didn’t believe that there was a true potential in the product. I think Marta has more of a chance to play with them and see the potential because she uses them professionally as well as personally. Part of her job is seeing how Glass can be integrated in projects and products that she’s working on at Oracle. I don’t have any such projects or products I’m trying to develop. ¬†And as I said, I do think there is potential for a wearable smart¬†device.

I don’t think Google Glass in its current state, however, is the product for me right now. Once some of these issues are fixed, I’ll see about giving it another try. Believe me, I’m really disappointed, but at least I can get my money back, and Google is being fairly cool about me returning it. And yes, I’ve given them this feedback–twice.

Do you think I didn’t give it a chance? Do you think I was crazy to even try it in the first place? What do you think about such devices?¬†You can put your response in the comments section below.