Saturday
December 20, 2014

Don’t Worry About Keeping Up, With One Big Exception

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Don’t Worry About Keeping Up, With One Big Exception

It’s hard to keep up with latest social media site or this week’s most popular app. Tech expert David Pogue says you can ignore most of it, but there is one item you absolutely cannot neglect online.

At the 2013 International Builders Show in Las Vegas this January, technology writer and reviewer David Pogue combed through the latest online advancements and sorted out the ones to which audience members ought to direct their attention.

Pogue, who regularly writes about technology for The New York Times and Scientific American, said that even he has a hard time with the pace of innovation.

“It's too much for even me to keep up with,” he quipped. “How are you supposed to keep up?”

His entertaining keynote speech kicked off with some of the most interesting “shiny objects” out there, mostly the byproducts of new app development. Pogue praised light-hearted apps that help users learn to play and share their love for the South American wind instrument known as the ocarina as well as more industry-specific apps, such as those that help  property owners control and monitor indoor temperature and security systems. The one thing these apps have in common is the constantly-improving hardware on which they’re designed to operate. 

“People say they are like a phone and a laptop in one, and I don't agree,” Pogue said, noting that smartphones are more than the sum of their parts. “Sorry, your laptop does not have a compass in it.”

But the Internet isn’t about to go all-app. Pogue predicted success for sites that can integrate social into their mission statement. He specifically called out domystuff.com, prosper.com, and goloco.org, which succeed in this measure by “matching up people who have never heard of each other but have very specific things in common.”

Returning to what audience members should take back to their businesses after the conference, Pogue said not to worry about the latest and the greatest innovations, unless you enjoy using them.

“With one big exception: User reviews,” Pogue said. “[Potential customers] depend upon other people's reviews more than they depend on your marketing.”

Pogue noted that while Yelp started out as a restaurant review site, it’s expanded to include almost everyone. And he warns that, with Facebook’s new graph search functionality, they’ve gotten into the review game as well.

“You need to worry about Yelp and now — as of two days ago — you need to worry about Facebook,” he cautioned. Pogue suggested that, in addition to asking satisfied customers to review you on Yelp, you should also “have a Facebook account so people can recommend you.”

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