Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pick-up Trucks and iPods

A few years ago I was out looking to buy a used truck, I thought it’d be good for towing my boat and for occasional trips to Home Depot or, more likely, the dump. My then 7 year old daughter loved riding in the trucks, so I used to take her with me to go for test drives. When we stepped into one particularly handsome Ford, I asked her to roll down the window; she looked quizzically at the hand crank attached to the door, back to me, and then proceeded to press the middle of the crank thinking it would magically open the window. After a few more attempts, she turned to me to announce the window was broken…

I was taken aback, but after a while I realized that she wasn’t being spoiled, rather it was simply the fact that she had never actually seen a hand crank window. Once I explained it to her, she actually thought it was fun to crank the window up and down, and soon thereafter I witnessed the odd juxtaposition of looking over at her cranking the window up and down, all the while listening to her iPod.

I shook my head…

At the most recent IECA ( conference Executive Director Mark Sklarow presented a session on social media, and how it’s presently impacting, and will continue to impact, our profession. While I fully expected to see many of the newer consultants in the room, what was heartening to me was to see many of the more seasoned members of our profession join in. These more seasoned consultants obviously understood that while they have the traditional way of working with, and reaching out to, families down, they knew that times were changing. As I watched more and more seasoned professionals delve into the new social media in the weeks following the conference, I knew that the session was effective in its message. To me, however, what’s even more important than that is making sure that the newer consultants know that it’s a two way street. That we have a lot to learn from the more seasoned consultants about personal connection with their clients and that nothing can replace the human aspect of our profession.

At Loeta we certainly have embraced the internet and the new social media and have incorporated all of it heavily into our practice. We produce an e-newsletter, we are constantly expanding our presence on the internet through Facebook, this blog, Linkedin and our website, and, yes, we Tweet. Obviously we love the fact that we can keep people abreast of what’s going on through these various mediums but to us it’s important to make sure that this is balanced with the phone call to (or visit with) parents who are distraught about their teen’s choices or by spending some one on one time with a teen struggling with school or friends. We understand that we can reach thousands of people through the new social media, but if we don’t treat them with respect and dignity and can’t connect with then, it’s all for naught.

It’s all about balance; kind of like a hand crank window and an iPod.