Information delivery, how and when you want it

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I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information that is now available at our fingertips. Sure, we’ve always had resource guides and encyclopedias, but can you honestly recall how many times you’ve reached to your bookshelf BEFORE doing a web search?

I will admit that I’m still a bit “old school” when it comes to some information. Yes, I am one of the few that still reads the instruction manuals. Even then, many instruction manuals are not even the printed version, instead you get a link to a website, or even a CD or DVD.

Granted, the online versions of manuals do have significant advantages. Embedded how-to videos, up-to-the-second manuals that have the most recent information, and a few less pounds of paper to pack around.

But to really embrace how we gather information nowadays, you need to talk to some kids. This week, my daughter received a new smartphone (an older generation phone that was on sale to replace a broken one). In the box was a quick start manual, a few cords, the phone, but no manual.

So, as we are working through the setup, a question came up on how to set a certain feature. And since this was a father-daughter project, she was doing most of the work. As I was looking for the website, before I could find the address, she had already used a search engine with the question and was playing a video that showed her how to set the feature. It was truly eye-opening.

Now, everything used on the Internet should be evaluated first, but the point is my daughter accessed an instructional video in seconds that gave her the exact information without having to pour through a long manual.

How many of you use the Internet as an instruction guide? Do you look for instructional videos before looking to the manual?

For me, it’s always the manual. But I will admit, if I’m stumped, I will go looking for videos.


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