This Web thing just might be useful

Cynthia CloskeyGeneral

I posted this video on my personal blog, My Brilliant Mistakes, a few days ago, and got a lot of response from my writerly friends. It’s funny because it’s true!

Actually, it really is true. The person in the video is writer Dennis Cass. His first book has just come out in paperback, and although he’s a social media neophyte he’s trying to figure out how to market his book — no easy task.

So he made this video, posted it on his blog, told a few friends, and it went viral. Today, his paperback is ranked #297,848 on Amazon; that’s not Oprah-level, but it’s quite respectable. He succeeded! See how easy it is to master the Web?

Of course, it’s not really easy at all to master the Web. But it is easy to build successes and build upon what you’ve done, and to extend your reach. Cass himself wrote about this on his (new) blog, reacting to the response he’s received and all the new worlds that are opening before him.

Substitute internet stuff for the car stuff and this is how I’ve been
sounding to people for the past two days. I know: it’s genuinely
embarrassing. But I can’t stop. Even when people are telling me that I
should be embarrassed. Even when people are saying, “Yes, Dennis. The
internet is amazing. It’s 2008. We know.”

don’t know why it’s taken me so long to absorb this message. I’m hardly
a Luddite. I’ve used Amazon to sell used CDs to guys who live on Army
bases in Canada. I’ve written stories about machinima. When I balance
my checkbook, I use Quicken; I don’t tie knots in yarn. But for some
reason it took this silly little YouTube video for me to truly
understand. Like I think I get it now. Technology isn’t a tool; it’s a
religion, right? Is that what we’re doing here?

But Cass isn’t the only one who feels like he’s just now “getting it.”

Just this morning I gave a talk to business executives, providing an overview of blogs and other social media and highlighting how it might affect their business and customers. Near the end, one of them said, “Here I thought I was all up on the latest stuff, and I’m finding out that I’m a couple of generations behind.”

The thing is, new technologies arrive daily, on the Web and elsewhere. You don’t need to go chasing after every little one, though. (For one thing, you’ll have to choose between keeping up and getting your actual work done.)

What’s important is that you remain open to new ideas and give some of these new gadgets a try. Stay alert and keep exploring. At the least, you won’t be left completely in the dust, and at best you might be the next thing that everyone forwards to everyone they know — just like Dennis Cass.