Archive for the ‘Is it really that simple?’ Category

I’ve had my Paypal account for AGES. I also haven’t used it in AGES. I attempted to login a couple of days ago to send someone some money and, for the life of me, could not remember my password. I tried the password reset via email, but the link that came in the emails just kept redirecting back to Paypal’s main page. With a request in to their helpdesk, the suggestion that came back was to phone in to have this resolved sooner rather than later.

Today, armed with the last 4 digits of the bank account I’ve got hooked into Paypal, that’s exactly what I did. It was easy, painless, seamless and fast. The steps:

1. I phoned their customer support line. The automated voice was able to confirm who I was using the last 4 digits of my account number.

2. Once I was confirmed, it automatically (and instantly) sent me an email with a password reset link… and it actually worked!

3. I clicked on the link and the automated system gave me a 5 digit code to enter into the page I was on.

Paypal Password Reset

4. Once I clicked “continue,” I was brought to a page to reset my password and security questions.

5. Voila! All logged in and all under 5 minutes.

If you’re using an automated system in conjunction with your website, make it this easy and people will appreciate it almost as much as a talking to a person… almost.

Either way, password recovered, payment made and one happy Paypal customer served!

What made this worth blogging about? Well, for one it’s always nice to shout out companies when they’ve done something right, especially for an area they might not otherwise hear much about (like password reset processes and experiences) and I think it’s an example for the rest of us to strive for. There were no wait queues for the help desk. I didn’t have to press 1 to speak to an agent or try to explain my entire issue to three different people because I phoned the wrong department. They kept it simple, clean and fast. Thanks Paypal!

Here’s a second-hand stat I heard today:

“95% of your tweets should be about product or promotion.”

To which I respond:

“Would you rather be an interesting person someone met at the party? Or the annoying announcer nobody wants to listen to?”

Social media isn’t hard people. Quit trying so hard to make it hard. Be yourself. The organic (and way more lucrative) opportunities for your product or promotion will come. Just quit trying so goddamned hard. Or if you must, put that energy into being the life of the party instead.

pink ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

Last December, I saw a Facebook status update for cancer awareness that I didn’t like.  I didn’t like it because I didn’t think it was effective.  I conducted a little experiment with my own Facebook status to see if I could improve on the idea.  You can read more about it in my blog post entitled “How I’m doing my part to find a cure” but the gist is that I encouraged people to share their cancer stories on my Facebook page.  For every story shared, I would donate $2 to the Canadian Cancer Society.  The experiment was quite successful.  I had over 40 stories shared and enough people jump in and match my donation out of their own pockets to bring the total donation up to a whopping $500.00.  All from one Facebook status and a desire to just do a little bit more.

Today, one of my Twitter mates, Michelle, took it upon herself to revive the idea on her Facebook wall.  Inspired by Breast Cancer Awareness month, Michelle has made her status update the following:

Here is my cancer awareness post: Facebook says I have 666 (yikes!) friends. Instead of telling me your bra colour or where you like to leave your purse, share a memory of someone in their lives touched by cancer by commenting on this status or leaving a note on my wall between now and November 30. For every comment I will donate $1 to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Now, if you know Michelle, please go share your story on her Facebook page.  I would love to see her make a $666 donation.

At the beginning of the month, another of the Calgary Twitterati, Jillian Walker, posted a blog post about her encounter with breast cancer.  A brave and inspiring move, she told the story in detail from discovery of an unusual lump in her breast through to surgery and recovery.

We’re not all cancer survivors, and many of us still (thankfully) haven’t been directly impacted by cancer.  But just because we may not have a personal story to tell on the matter, doesn’t mean our participation in a campaign as important as this one can’t have an impact.  Online social networks give us each a voice.  It’s easy to forget how little it takes to go a thousand steps further than we’ve ever been able to before today.

The point here is that we have a chance to be better.  Everyday, we can live our lives better, we can share and inspire others better.  It doesn’t take much, just a little creativity… and everyone’s got at least a spark of that in them.  Before you jump on the next meme, think about what’s behind it.  If it’s something silly, have at it.  Enjoy.  But if it’s something that is genuinely attempting to accomplish a goal as important as cancer awareness, please give the subject matter the respect it deserves by at least taking a second or two to think if your participation actually makes an impact, or if there’s a chance that you can make it better.  Without the effort from each of us as individuals, the whole will never get better.  Help out those you’re trying to support and just be better when it counts.

If you’d like to find ways you can help, from volunteer opportunities to making a donation in Alberta, the Canadian Cancer Society page has the resources you need.  If in another province, try visiting the homepage and navigating to your province and the “how you can help” tab from there.

Related articles:

As we each reflect upon our lives, whether it be relationships, business, finances, exercise routines, eating habits and so on, we seem to always ask ourselves one question:

What could I have done better?

It’s common to want to improve areas where we noticed weak spots to strengthen our overall game, but what if we flipped this around and asked ourselves:

What did I do right?

So many people are still trying to figure out this ‘social media thing’.  It’s new, it’s overwhelming, and the rate at which things change is scary.  Examples of what not to do are abundant, but how do you know what you can do right?

  1. Take a look at your existing business and identify your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  2. Spend some time analyzing these areas and why they are your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  3. Take what you’ve observed and apply them when you begin to engage in social media.
  4. Tweak and adapt as necessary to meet your objectives.

Chances are if you’ve had success offline, you’ll have success online. There are always the basic dos and donts, but they’re nothing more than acting in a publicly socially acceptable manner.  The rest is up to you.  So take a moment to look at all the things you do right and then rinse and repeat with social media.

Social tools provide me with insight into the people that use them.  Being able to connect with a musician I have been following for over a decade via his blog, Twitter, etc. is something most of us would never have experienced before.  I appreciate the added layer to the guy behind the music.  It’s an opportunity to gain some insight into how he thinks and what he cares about, which to me adds so much more depth and meaning to what he creates.  This is also the approach I take when reading blogs from those I follow in social media, and friends and acquaintances I keep up with along the way.  Having insight and being able to converse on their blogs, Facebook pages, through conversation on Twitter… it makes my experience with these people more meaningful.  But where I use it to create value in my own life, there are those that choose to be destructive in their interactions.

I just read this post from Matt Good’s blog called “Trying to Pull Chairs Out of the Floor.”

I’m disgusted (though not surprised) that anyone would use the opportunity and direct links to others that current communication technologies allow us so ridiculously.  This has been on my mind as of late with a myriad of conversations I’ve been seeing, the post above is just adding to a long list.  Why does the fact that we can now say whatever we want, to whoever we want, whenever we want  mean that we get to neglect the fact that the people we are talking to are people too?  The social web is becoming more human, and yet it’s making us less so.

Seriously people, there’s constructive feedback, there’s making quality connections and then there’s being dumb and insensitive.  A lot of which is coming out on these tools.  It’s easy to get sucked into this kind of behaviour, so this next bit is as much a reminder for me as it is for you:

Quit taking something good and turning it into your playground for petty games and grade school politics.  It’s your opportunity to impact somebody directly.  The impacts of what you put out there are hard to measure.  We don’t know how far our actions and words can reach, but the web today takes everything… EVERYTHING… and amplifies it by at least a thousand times..  So if your one of these berating fans, or engage in these petty childish games I keep seeing, do the rest of the world a favour… grow up and be accountable or just shut your mouth.