I can remember watching my dad trying to log on to e-mail after a Sunday lunch back in the late nineties and thinking “give it up old boy – new tricks are no place for an old dog” I would watch him read a “how to” manual, turn and stare at the computer screen over the top of his glasses, edging closer and closer until his nose was a whisker away from the monitor, then he would, very precisely with one outstretched finger hit a single button on the keyboard and wait. A quick glance to the guide in his hand and then another eternal stare. The screen flickered. Then slowly, as if he was Philippe Petit walking between the twin towers, although moving slower, the mouse would be etched forward. Click. And then again. Click. Nothing.
The profanity’s that one would hear spluttered and mumbled under his beard would scare even the most veteran of soldiers. Throwing his chair back in disgust, the “useless, waste of money” now scrunched up users manual, was lobbed aggressively towards the recycling bin. “A waste of bloody time this internet thing. Never catch on. Whats the point?” He knew fine well what the point was. And that is why each week when we all arrived for lunch, there would be some improvement; little by little he was getting it, and getting better at it.
Now when I visit his house, there are more gadgets shining at me from his wrist and from his desktop than at the latest tech conference in San Francisco. Never to go anywhere without his latest iPad, he is constantly posting on facebook and filling up the memory on our phones with photos he shares with the family whatsapp. A resilience not to be defeated by change; not let new innovations pass him by and to not let us kids wind him up each Christmas about still using a ghetto blaster (without trying to be retro!)
I now find myself in a similar situation. Sat down after dinner each night trying to educate myself on the ever changing world of social media: posts, tags, shares, likes, groups, blogs, vlogs, snapchats, tumblrs and flickrs. And then to discipline myself to actually use it rather than download the apps and think that will do.
I have worked in business since leaving University and have been aware of the impact of social media and the potential it offers. I have used it on and off. I was an early adopter of facebook when I moved away from Edinburgh to London and this was THE way to stay in touch with my friends and keep up to date with what all of my vague acquaintance’s were doing with their children. I have set up accounts on the latest “cool” thing that my niece tells me (she will never let me forget my embarrassing confusion between twerking and tweeting – enough said) With all these apps on my phone, I have still struggled to make it a part of my daily routine. Even in my last role, when it was an integral part of my Director’s life, more so than President Trump, which meant it had to be an integral part of everyone’s life, I just couldn’t commit 100% and so would leave it up to the marketing department and the team who worked for me.
Since taking the plunge to launch McCabe Electrical Management, there has been no option but to use social media as a means of marketing and to make it as important as eating. Connecting with people on these sites, joining the various groups, designing effective adverts, and keeping it alive and fresh on every platform, can be the difference between taking the kids to Greece in the summer or loading the car and driving to the grandparents in Aviemore. I can run a P&L account as well as the next person, I can provide professional service in a few different sectors, but starting a business today is a much about what you are able to do online as it is about the product or service you are delivering. So I must now add Social Media guru to the list of key skills to have any chance of competing in the marketplace. Game on.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter must now be part of our everyday lives at McCabe Electrical Management. So much to do. So much to learn. But I am getting there. Slowly at times, but each day is a school day and each night’s reflection is positive. My wife still looks at me like I did at my dad, and I still think to myself the same as he did “I am NOT too old for this shit!”
So please, if you have the time, follow this blog, like us on facebook @mccabeelectricalmanagement, follow us on Instagram @mccabeelectricalmanagement (I know – they could be the longest usernames EVER!) and follow us on Twitter @memlondon. Also keep an eye out for some educational and some fun video’s on youtube.