By Terry Doherty —
Have you ever fallen in love with a social media tool, only to discover that within a year the company that created it goes “poof”?
For me, that platform was Springpad. It was the perfect blend of Evernote and Pinterest for writing notes, creating project boards, curating content, and overall sharing.
I loved its flexibility, I loved being able to share notebooks and get updates on great content. I had everything in one place, organized in a way that made sense to me.
I loved Springpad and sang its praises every chance I got. By the end of 6 months I was “all in.” Then June 2014 came and Springpad went “poof” and now I’m singing the social media blues.
Every day we hear about the next great thing. It is hard to know what has the staying power and what will be a flash in the pan. Following these three tips can protect you from getting caught up in a temporary relationship.
1. Look at what you already have that works for you.
What does [insert name] do that your existing tools don’t? Shiny and new is always exciting, but tried-and-true has value, too.
- Any new tool is going to cost time as you learn its capabilities, determine if it does what it says it will do, and assess the best way to apply it to your needs and goals.
2. Take it for a test drive.
If there is a way to try the tool that doesn’t require you to reformat/reprogram your data, give it a try. This may duplicate some of your work for a while, but this is a test drive. Don’t abandon your existing systems yet.
- Many of these tools launch for “free” and later, when they’ve proven themselves, add a “pro” level for a fee. Take advantage of “free” to test it out.
- Some offer just a 14-day free trial. For a brand new product, that may not be enough time to fully evaluate it.
3. Watch, learn and wait.
In addition to your own evaluation, do some research to see what other users are saying. Set yourself a tickler to check on the product’s development about 8 to 12 months after you started using it.
- Look at the Community Forums and FAQs on the company website. What kinds of questions are being raised? Are they being resolved or do they hint at bigger issues?
- Check other tech review sites. These are the folks that test lots of stuff, and they run each one of them through their paces.
These tips are not foolproof – something can always happen – but they will help keep from feeling like you’re always chasing the next best thing. If you do get in a situation where a social media platform or app does you wrong, go back to these three steps.
Protect your existing data first. That’s the most important thing. Then, take your time. Do some research.
You chose that deceased app/platform for a reason. It had capabilities that were a good fit for you and your goals. Don’t compromise on those. Google “products similar to [insert name]. That will give you a list of options that you can study.
Take a few test drives. Don’t feel pressured to pick [new name] because it has lots of buzz or big-name endorsements on its website.
Now it is your turn. Do you have a favorite platform or app that you couldn’t live without that went “poof”? Did you find an alternative – or something better? I sure would love to know about them. I’m doing a lot of research these days!
About the Author: Terry Doherty is a voracious reader with a keen analytical eye and a lifelong passion for writing. Combine a passion for reading and kids, a natural affinity for analysis, and a love of solving puzzles, and you’ve got Terry. Before becoming a Mom in late 2001, she spent nearly 20 years as a research analyst, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and analytical program manager with the federal government. She has drawn on her acclaimed expertise as a national security analyst in her roles as senior editor and publishing director for an independent house; and mentor for both her consulting business & flourishing literacy nonprofit.