I’ve always considered myself a “practical technology user,” adept at mastering the latest and greatest on a strictly need to know basis. For example, I still can’t program a Tivo or download a movie on my ipod or operate the family Wii because I have no interest in the activities enabled by those technologies. But I can code HTML, create a mini online video, create a Google group or post on virtually any blog platform because mastering these skills lets me indulge my passion for engaging in discourse online, communicating my ideas to a broader audience and educating lawyers about solo and small firm practice.
Yet even while I’m facile with technology when I want to be, it’s still time consuming. So lately, I’ve delegated much of my behind the scenes tech administration to my virtual assistant. Whether it’s creating a form or updating a social media profile or even figuring out a feature of new online data base, I no longer take the time to figure out how to do it myself but instead, let my VA handle it (and no, I don’t outsource content creation, ever, in case you wondered). Many times the answers to my questions are fairly obvious and I feel lazy for not having taken the time to figure it out myself or idiotic for having asked about something so basic. In addition, I’ve noticed that my own tech skills are growing stale because I don’t get as much hands on practice using many of these applications since I have someone else to do the work for me.
As technologies become more user friendly, most lawyers feel that they ought to be able to figure them out on their own. And certainly, when you start a firm and have more time than money on your hands, the user-friendly characteristics of today’s Web 2.0 technologies are a godsend. However, as your firm grows and becomes more financially secure, even the few minutes here and there that you spend creating a database or setting up a new list or updating a social media profile or formatting a newsletter collectively amount to time that you could devote to other activities – whether generating more revenue or doing pro bono or spending more time with family or friends.
The first rule of technology is that it should liberate, not enslave. Relying on an assistant, even to the detriment of improving my own skills, is a small price to pay to harness technology and leverage my time so that I’m free to do far more than I otherwise could if I had to master it all on my onw. Maybe that makes me a technology moron, but at least I’m a happy one.
Update: I see that my virtual assistant has submitted a comment below. Thanks, Tina!