|MyYahoo: Subscribing to feeds doesn’t get any easier than this. Or does it?|
In my long and varied experience giving presentations, workshops, and coaching to help people wrap their brains around today’s online media, I’ve noticed a pattern that helps me predict who will really “get it” and use it well, and who doesn’t.
The people who “get it” in a useful way, and who are most likely to benefit from online and conversational media, start experimenting right away with using a feed reader and posting comments (whether to blogs or Web-based forums, not e-mail lists).
I always emphasize these skills in my presentations, and give people clear, basic instructions and resources for taking these steps. The ones who try these out quickly tend to become more able to teach themselves nearly anything they want about online and conversational media, and find ways to use it to be more effective and efficient in their jobs and projects of passion.
Sadly, the people who don’t take those steps generally don’t seem to progress much in their understanding and use of online and conversational media. I worry about this, because it could indicate:
- A deficiency in my educational approach (always a possibility).
- Remaining significant usability problems with these tools — which I could see was an issue a year or two ago, but services like MyYahoo have certainly made subscribing to feeds dead easy, and commenting on most blogs generally couldn’t be simpler than it is.
- A generally passive mindset that will cause most people — even those interested enough in online media to attend a session on it — to be left farther and farther behind as media evolves.
I’d estimate, based on checking back with participants in several of my presentations, that only about 5% of people actually start experimenting with these cornerstone skills within a couple of weeks of my session. That seems disturbingly low to me. (In contrast, for my coaching clients the adoption rate for these skills is 100%, because I basically require them to do it.)
What do you think? Should I be concerned about this apparently low skills adoption rate, or is this somehow normal? Is there some obvious deficiency in how I teach these skills and communicate their importance that I could correct? Am I somehow mistaken about the “cornerstone” significance of these two skills?
Please comment below. This is bugging me, and I’d like to address this issue more constructively if I can. I have a busy speaking gig lineup for the coming months, and I worry that I’m letting my audiences down.
UPDATE: Read my next post on this theme…