Technical Product Service Demands Social Networks

Technical Product Service is a fancy name for anything that requires a skilled technician or engineer to effect a product repair. In the grand old days of consumer electronics, when the Hi-Fidelity system was the center of home entertainment, skilled, lab-coated technicians would troubleshoot your amplifier, receiver, or tape deck (!) to the component level. I was one such skilled technical servicer. I have come to the conclusion, based on my past experience as a professional trainer of technical specialists, and in my current experience as an IT industry product strategy sector analyst, that the current upheaval and innovation in Social Networking may be poised to have a huge impact on the way professionals get things fixed, how they apply their trade, and how laypeople get complex issues resolved.

In those days, as fast as technology was changing in the late 1970’s, even the most advanced and innovative new technologies, such as the VCR, were based on discreet components. Even the first, very expensive CD Audio players had only a modicum of customized integrated circuitry. It was very much the case that any repair one might effect, from that time in to the mid 1980’s, was a case study of one’s education and skill as a technical journeyman.

I used to teach national service classes for thousands of consumer and commercial electronic technicians; the stakes were high, as productivity depended on fast and accurate diagnostics. This was before the advent of the internet, and collective knowledge was typically dispensed via bulletins, national convocations, and the very nascent electronic pre=PC era BBS systems. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

All of my instruction during those years always included basic tracks on electronics, as revealed by the Horowitz and Hill reference book for electronic education, “The Art of Electronics”. Many of my colleagues subtly berated me for wasting precious time in regional and national trade events, as to my covering remedial ground. I always pointed out that I was not merely reviewing the standard syllabus, but I was gathering a body of collective mythology that often permeates complicated subjects, like electronics and its applied science, troubleshooting.

What does this have to do with today’s sexy, topical issue, i.e., Social Media and Social Networking? If you will bear with me and read on for one more minute, please. Continue reading

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