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TECHNOLOGY

6 Signs You're a Tech Neophyte

Look, you don't need to learn to code. But you do need to convey to customers (and the rest of the world) that you have a good grasp on technology. Start here.
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I know. With everything else you need to do in a day, boning up on your technology credentials probably won't ever float to the top of your to-do list. That's OK.

What isn't OK, however, is making seemingly small tech faux pas. At best, they'll make you look a little silly and out of touch; at worst, they'll chip away at your credibility with customers and partners.

To avoid the newbie label, check this list to make sure you're not making these mistakes:

1. You use an unusual font in your email signature.

If you are using a swirling green font that looks like custom handwriting in your email signature, know this: it's very likely that people are seeing garbage--or at least not what you intended. The trend is to go lean and mean, so many people turn off the HTML formatting for email. The best signatures are those that are simple and just include pertinent info.

2. You don't have a unique profile background in Twitter.

Here's another dead giveaway. When you go to someone's profile page on Twitter, if the background image is the default wallpaper for a new Twitter account, it's a sure sign the person is not taking their social media marketing seriously. Twitter offers many unique backgrounds, but the best approach is to design your own in Photoshop with custom branding and upload it.

3. You just had a blind copy fail.

I love when someone forgets to blind copy because it can be a goldmine of new contacts for me--many of which the sender probably did not intend to reveal. Nothing says "I just started using email" like copying everyone you know or, even worse, replying to all by mistake. It's always a good idea to do one last check on who is getting your message before hitting send.

4. You don't have a custom Facebook URL.

Here's one that's quite revealing. If you own a company and have a Facebook account or business page but haven't registered the Facebook address yet, you're behind the times. Also, it makes your accounts harder to find. To register the user or business page, just go this site.

5. Your business presentation is not online.

Still using Microsoft PowerPoint? That's a newbie mistake right there, although there aren't that many good desktop options around. But an even more revealing faux pas is when you don't have the presentation posted online for people to revisit after the meeting. I like the simplicity of a site like SlideShare; better yet, just use Google Docs Presentation.

6. You don't sync your files.

We're living in the age of Dropbox and Box, where every file you create can sync immediately out to the cloud. This includes photos, slideshows, your music, and just about any file you create on a computer these days. Not syncing is sign of a tech neophyte. I'm still waiting for the day when syncing is not needed, though--when everything you do is online already.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2014

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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