Social Media and a Flat Screen TV

It was the early 1960’s. Uberstein’s Drug Store in Cleveland Heights, Ohio had a vacuum tube testing machine. Vacuum tubes are what made electronics of the day actually work.

Whenever there was a problem with a radio or a television in the house we’d learned that a quick way to save money on repairs was to test the tubes, replace the bad ones, and voila… once again the radio would play or the TV would work.

When a simple tube replacement didn’t produce the desired results we would call the TV repairman, or we could “take it in.” Within days we would once again be enjoying our TV, Radio, or those new Stereos.

The writers at describe the vacuum tube this way. “It is the most important single piece of equipment introduced into electrical engineering during the twentieth century. Its development has produced a new engineering art called electronics, which has given us radio, long distance telephones, sound motion pictures, public address systems, television, radar, electronic computers, and industrial automation.”

I realize that the days of analog vacuum tubes are gone and the world of digital technology is upon us.This was never so clearly defined as this past weekend when my patience ran out with my 40” flat screen TV (which I cherish).

Ever since I got the TV last Christmas the screen kept getting darker than it should when watching a scene that was dark to begin with. At times this “glitch” made my beloved TV nearly unwatchable. But this past Friday I discovered a solution and the problem no longer “darkens” my door.

My oldest son, James, visiting from Boston, suggested I check for a “fix” on Google. Hadn’t thought of that. I discovered that others had experienced the same frustration with this model and resolved the problem with a free software download from the manufacturer.

Wait a minute. A software download to a TV set? That’s crazy. That’s like trying to make a telephone call on your computer. Oh, wait a minute. That is the way it works today.

I downloaded the software update to my computer and transferred the files to a flash drive.  (Something else I never would have dreamed of a few short years ago) I plugged the flash drive into the back of the TV. Waited for the software to load and in fewer than five minutes a ten month problem had vanished.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know about employing a remote software fix… I didn’t know I didn’t know about it.

Not knowing… is the challenge business owners are facing when it comes to another technological reality, and I’m talking about social media marketing. You don’t know what you don’t know about social media and it’s probably going to take time and additional knowledge to get to the point where you do.

The TV repairman is a thing of the past. Maybe you can find one in the Yellow Pages. The Yellow Pages is the perfect example of a once vibrant but now outdated 20th century marketing tool.Today the Yellow Pages is nothing more than a novelty, or a bridge to the past for those who find change unbearable. It is a 20th century solution.

If you’re in business you should stop looking for a 20th century solution to a 21st century challenge. Who knows? One hundred years from now Social Media Marketing may have gone the way of the vacuum tube. But until then this novel and profitable way to interact with your marketplace provides you the best opportunity to leverage your marketing dollars and level the competitive playing field. 

If you’ll excuse me… I have to go back and look at my TV. It’s working wonderfully.

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