My wireless router got routed this week prompting me to read through reams of replacement options online, a search which began at Best Buy with its 76 selections and turned to Amazon, adding another 1,895 alternatives. Each of the various versions sport a suffix of letters, numbers, and a sprinkling of specialty benefits; combined they create a cornucopia of confusion with titles like: Wireless-N 150 Router with 4-Port Ethernet Switch.
In danger of a mental hard drive meltdown, I sought safety in a standard novice solution – research by way of user reviews. Some extolled the ease of installation while others incited indignation over how insanely difficult it was to get the same wireless unit working; there were reports of ridiculous ranges, both long and short, righteous and ragged reliability. Feedback fanned the full spectrum for every device, but sans consensus it was impossible to sense which suggestions were sound.
What could (or should) have served as the ultimate IT Help Desk, turned out to be as useful as a floppy-disk. Was it a system or user error?
My community of commentators was well-intentioned, but navigating the notes, positive and negative alike, revealed a reason to place the remarks in context of the critic. From a lack of know-how, to the modems and Internet providers pushing the signal through, there are too many factors to fashion a real review of one piece of the larger technology puzzle.
An online community can provide powerful pointers to brands and individuals alike, but it takes intimacy to truly understand who you’re interacting with. The familiarity formed once trust is earned allows an added level of learning; a participant’s comfort opens the opportunity for them to confide the circumstance behind their answer. Without the added context, the “insight” is as useful as a ruined router.
As you get ready to boot-up your weekend, make sure to power-down any lingering effects from the five days of work.