These days there are plenty of lists covering helpful social media tools such as CoTweet, HootSuite and TwitPic. Lists like this one. And this one. Here is a very different list of tools to get your message across that may be new to many power users of social media. Note: these things might require a change in behavior to some of the social media obsessed. But keep an open mind folks, some of these might come in handy.
1. The Telephone. This device works as follows: you enter a unique access code to connect directly with an individual and after connection you have a human, voice-based conversation. Unless you call AT&T Customer Service in which case there is a 20 minute wait and no such conversation is possible. Note: with the exception of calling AT&T conversations are when people speak; moving of the lips and voice transmission are required.
- Social features include Party Lines and Conference Calls.
- More personal than social media since it provides important context and nuance for discourse.
- Real time updates — like when your wife calls every minute to remind you to pick up milk and other items from the grocery store.
- Opt-out functionality for recipients: don’t pick up the phone.
No video capability (separate device required)
2. The Handwritten Letter. This powerful tool is when a human uses an ink or lead-based writing utensil to inscribe information on paper (made from ground-up and flattened wood pulp). The paper is then put into an encasing called an “envelope” upon which a sticker is placed which verifies remuneration for the delivery service.
- Long delays in data transmission show people that you can afford to wait.
- No one sends handwritten letters so they generally are read
- No APIs or Plug-ins are required
Data creation and transmission are a multi-step process involving writing utensils (commonly used in the last century), stamps (purchased at local/centralized letter dissemination offices) and saliva.
3. The Fax Machine. This novel device transmits messages in close to real-time with only minor delays. Inputs and outputs are in paper format so there is a physical representation of your message (like a hologram but with fewer dimensions). Currently only lawyers use the fax machine but given information overload on social networks – due to over-sharing – it may be ripe for wider adoption. No one knows about the fax machine, so it can be your secret weapon. Whenever I receive a fax at the office, I read it immediately.
- No one uses it. Fax messages are read because they are novel.
- Works great for direct messaging to an individual.
- No check-ins, badges, avatars or profiles are required
- Limited “social” functionality provides decent privacy protection of messages (except when read by nosy co-workers)
- A numerical access code must be entered in an interface that is non-intuitive to social media power users.
- Data transmission sounds like a wounded animal.
Note: if you use the fax machine people will either think you are a dinosaur or really, really clever.
Try some of these tools and see if they have an impact on your business. Any other “emerging” tools you think others ought to know about?