Do-it-yourself has been a longtime tradition for many of us. We’ve picked up many skills as we have assembled new furniture or equipment; painted, cleaned, or serviced items in our possession. Now, the digital age has opened up a whole new world of self-learning possibilities. We may have the latest hardware and software, but not know how to use it to do the simple or complicated tasks we want. Sometimes our lack of experience and knowledge in this part of our lives can make us feel helpless. We don’t need to panic. Help is available and it is almost always online. Here are several resources that I use to get help online.
Most software programs and platforms have their own built-in help menu. I use these especially when I am using new or updated software.
Sometimes I do a generic search for help by putting my question in one of the search engines: Google, Yahoo or Bing. The search engine comes up with a list of possible websites covering the topic. After doing this a few times, I have learned to be as specific as possible in the words I place in the search box and I often include the current year in the search to be sure that I get information that is the most up-to-date. For example, if I want to learn how to upload photos—I might put “upload photos to Facebook from computer 2011.” The search engine will do a filter based on all those words and give me the best list of website posts to choose from.
There are a few websites that I also check: Ehow.com and About.com. These sites have useful information about many topics including technology, computers, mobile devices, software, etc. I type my question into their search boxes and usually get very good information. I also go directly to YouTube and type in the question to find video instructions. It continues to amaze me to find helpful videos on just about anything I ask.
Occasionally, when I am working on something technical and I get stuck I turn to a “forum” related to the platform or program I am using. For instance, this blog uses WordPress. When I was setting it up and now when I am adding a new component and I get stuck, I go to the Word Press Forum and search on the topic to see if others have already asked and answered the question. If the question has not been covered, I post it and eventually–often right away—others answer it. Sometimes it takes a little back and forth until I resolve my issue—but I get the help I need.
Where do you find help for your technology questions?