Collaboration optimize

Is there a better user support tool than the Internet?

Do you remember the user support days before the Internet? Is there a better tool for user support professionals than the Internet?

Do you remember the user support days before the Internet? Is there a better tool for user support professionals than the Internet?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have stacks and stacks of old computer books and manuals, many of which have tattered pages and torn covers indicative of that well-used and often referenced favorite book. Others have some vital pages tabbed and notes written on the pages. And with every release of any number of application software or a new operating systems, more and more books were always a must. PC Secrets, DOS Tips and Tricks, Power DOS, etc., are just a few still on the shelf.

I thumb through them and reminisce once in a while, and I'll even pick up a trick or two, but they're seldom used anymore. In fact, even though I bought a reference book for our Vista upgrade more than a year ago, I don't think I've opened it more than a few times.

For me, the Internet has, for the most part, replaced the need for those manuals. I can't imagine going back to the days of having to sift through any number of manuals trying to find an elusive answer to a problem; it's much easier finding it with a few choice Internet search key words. Even reading about new features is easier on the Internet.

What made me think about this was a recent trip to my local computer super store. I noticed quite a few people buying the types of manuals that I used to buy. I'm not talking about training manuals, but the reference manuals -- the ones that document everything from A to Z. Many were undoubtedly being purchased as gifts. And I wondered how many would go unused. If someone bought one for me, other than thumbing through it a bit, I'd probably never use it.

With the Internet, no more calling manufacturers for drivers or software patches. Having immediate access to such things is another huge time-saver. TechRepublic is such a great resource for me. And the ability for remote access, not only to my own computer but to allow for remote troubleshooting, is all made possible only with the Internet.

Has there been a better gift to user support professionals than the Internet? Not for me, there hasn't. In fact, I don't think I'd even want to do the job without it.

How about you? Do you think there's a better resource for user support professionals than the Internet? If so, what would that be?

Do you still have stacks and stacks of old manuals? Do you ever reference them?

P.S. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever greeting you'd prefer.

9 comments
gbhall
gbhall

I go so far as joining internet help groups (my favourite - TechSpot), and I heavily contribute - NOT because I am JC himself, but because I learn an incredible amount that way. Just browsing the internet does not work as well as getting actively involved with world-wide users and world-wide problems, and following them through to (hopefully) a successful conclusion

Jaqui
Jaqui

no there isn't. but when you go looking for that solution you need, how often is it from a corporate site about the product? and how often from a community posting on a site like TR? I'm guessing 95% or better on the community site. Most company's do not support their products well enough to answer the real world issues faced daily with those products. or, if they do support them, the information is so hard to find on their website it takes less time to find on a community site.

DadsPad
DadsPad

the more valuable the internet is. In the IT field, it is your gained knowledge that allows you to sift through the internet fodder to find the information you need. Do not forget that specialty fields, like medical and legal, have their own technically oriented websites they use. TR is one of ours. :) Merry Christmas

santeewelding
santeewelding

Be well, yourself. You may forget, in either case, manual or internet, the other half. Your self. Which means all the more attention thereto.

Joe_R
Joe_R

.....[i]The Last Lecture.[/i] So I've been reminding myself about that very thing. I higly recommend the book.

santeewelding
santeewelding

I know of it, have read of him, and saw a video appearance by him. Longer thinking with fewer words is what happens to me.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Re: The original blog piece: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/helpdesk/?p=333 Has there been a better gift to user support professionals than the Internet? Not for me, there hasn't. In fact, I don't think I'd even want to do the job without it. How about you? Do you think there's a better resource for user support professionals than the Internet? If so, what would that be? Do you still have stacks and stacks of old manuals? Do you ever reference them?

mvpatrick
mvpatrick

The internet is #1 for me, but you must sort through quite a bit of information. And I am grateful for sites like TechRepublic also.

p.j.hutchison
p.j.hutchison

In the past I did use Books, course materials, help files with the applications and so on. The biggest problem with them is that they become out of date or do not go into enough detail or didn't cover your problem. Internet is great, you can search it, you can ask questions on forums and knowledge bases are updated regularly. These days its invaluable to any IT Pro.