Social Networking: We ARE the Help Desk

In a world where attempting to get help either means listening to a recorded message telling me how important my call is and providing me with a list of numerical choices, or a web page URL, where “Help” usually leads to an FAQ and an endless loop of pages which seem to never quite address my problem, I often long for the old fashioned “warm body”, who can provide direct assistance. There’s nothing quite like knowing someone upon whom you can call with a quick question, i.e. a personal contact or personal network. Or, perhaps there is: consider the power of an online social network.

Last night, I was working in Wikispaces (using Firefox browser) to develop content for an upcoming discussion about embedding resources and how embedded content might serve learner needs in a higher education environment. Since many sources of videos, sounds and other dynamic content now provide the embed code, it is easy to copy and paste it into your WYSWIG editor or use a ‘widget” as you are building your content pages. Wikispaces provides such a widget and it works well. However, I failed to use the tool provided and copied embed code for a video directly into the page editor. When I tried to preview the page, it presented a series of lines across my page and a faint box which must have been where the video should have appeared. When I tried to go back to the editor and remove the code, I could never gain access. Thinking that my page was most likely destroyed, I thought that sharing my mistake with others via Twitter might be a good thing to do. I hoped that by sharing this information, I might prevent someone else from loosing valuable time and work. Having posted my Tweet, I tried accessing the page with the Safari browser and I was able to resolve the problem, and I Tweeted about that solution as well. The big surprise was that in that very brief time span of about ten minutes, I received a Tweet offering help. Not just from anyone, but from the “mother country” of Wikispaces. WUWT? Now I cannot speak about the service which Wikispaces provides via their help link, but this welcome contact broke the mold of my “help” experience and it gave me new insight as to the power of a network and in sharing both problems and solutions in an open environment. The fact is that anyone who read my Tweet could have responded. In this case, help was just one post away. I’m converted. I’ve once again discovered that through the power of social networking, WE ARE THE HELP DESK. I may never click on a “help” link again. :=)

PS: Kudos to Wikispaces and to all of you who provide your help and links to valuable resources. Viva la network.

Photo credit: justindc under creative commons attribution


  1. Bud,

    Interesting, informative, inspiring! We have met the help desk, and it is us!

  2. Thanks, Richard. You've managed to paraphrase what I took a whole page to share.


  3. Thanks for the share. Keep posting such kind of information on your blog. I bookmarked it for continuous visit.
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