The optical illusion in technology

You know that optical illusion where you have to decide whether you see a young woman or old one? That’s how technology and social media seem to me. It all depends on how you see it — and it’s truly not one thing or another.

Reach guests directly

When I put together this month’s Uniquely Pittsburgh on Kennywood, Nick Paradise, director of public relations and social media, says that to him customer service starts with social media. (Not that surprising, when you see that social media is part of his title.)

Paradise says that it’s a great way to have a conversation, to hear the thoughts of Kennywood’s very loyal and engaged guests. He uses it for public relations, guest relations and customer service.

“We try to leave no stone unturned and use every tool in the toolbox to reach our guests,” Paradise says. “And, of course, engage with them at the park level, to ensure that they have the best Kennywood experience that we can possibly offer.”

So that’s our young woman — on to the old lady.

Break through the electronic fog

In the cover story this month, Tacy Byham, CEO of Development Dimensions International Inc., stresses the importance of face-to-face communication and I couldn’t agree more. She’s even globe hopping to the outer offices in order to better articulate organizational changes.

Then, I attended Duquesne University’s Entrepreneur’s Growth & Networking Conference, where I heard about how you want to break through the electronic fog of email.

Picking up the phone and not being afraid to meet somebody new face to face, was part of the message from Scot Teachout of Peak Performance. (On a side note, Teachout also led an interactive lesson on how to network better, which was really fun.)

Communicating via technology is full of ambiguity. Some experts exclaim how it’s ruining our day-to-day interactions, but others say it’s the best way to connect with your customers directly.

How much you and your company use social media and electronic communication probably depends on your personal preferences, but like an optical illusion, I think it’s a good idea to take a step back and see it both ways.