I am a photographer, but my day job includes email and social media marketing. I am constantly reading books about business improvement, and especially social marketing in an effort to stay abreast for my day job and also my photography business. The book I am currently reading is “The Now Revolution” by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. I am not finished reading it, so this is not going to be a review of it. Watch for that in a few days, along with a chance to win a copy of the book. Rather, I wanted to address one thing I feel is a shortcoming in this book.
I love the author’s, I really do. Both are well-informed, good people who have a wealth of knowledge. I respect them a great deal (one reason I am reading the book). But the one shortcoming I think made it’s way into their book really has me ruffled – Microsoft Tags. Similar to a QR Code (2D barcode), these can be useful in some applications. But for a book, they just plain fail. Why?
This is a good question actually. Indeed, when I first cracked the cover and saw them, I thought “cool, a book using some new technology.” But then I started reading the book. When I would come to a Tag, I’d have to get my phone out, fire up the Tag app, scan the code, then try to look at the content on my small phone screen. Worse yet, if the tag initiates a download of a PDF, that’s all it does. The PDF doesn’t load, and even if it did, the screen on my phone is too small to mess with a PDF. No, most of the content I am being directed to is stuff I am either going to email to other people, print and use, or possibly include in a Powerpoint. None of which happens easily via this implementation. There is enough room next to each tag, I am forced to wonder why the author’s didn’t include a shortened URL or some other means to get at the content. My iPad is always next to me, it would have been awesome to be able to just go to the iPad, type in a quick URL, and see the PDF in question. Then I could easily view it, email it, save it off to Evernote or do whatever I needed to with it. But no, instead I am forced to fumble with my phone (file management is not all that great on an Android phone) and get aggravated.
This is where I am left – aggravated. Which is such a shame, because that could overshadow my enthusiasm for this book (it really is awesome, and I am only on page 60). Not one to let silly things like this annoy me for long, I skipped ahead through the book and created “The Now Revolution Tag Companion” – a one page PDF that lists the page number where a tag is found, and a quick URL to get to the content on your iPad, laptop or desktop (none of which support Microsoft Tags). This isn’t rocket science. If you know the page number a tag appears on, just replace “z” in the following formula with the page number – http://tinyurl.com/nowrevy. So the tag on page 5 would result in a URL of http://tinyurl.com/nowrev5. It’s that simple. Or you can just download the PDF. Either way, this should make the content more useful.
I applaud Jay and Amber for trying this. I never would have thought about it being a problem either. But now that I think it is, here’s a solution.