Hands across the ether

I had a problem. The friend who had created and hosted my website for the past dozen years was closing his business. The server would go dark Friday. He let me know Monday. I felt more concerned about whether he would find a job than whether I could find a company to host the site. But since I make a living as a PR and social media strategist I thought I’d better not let all of those work and writing samples vanish into the ether.

So I called a national web hosting company whose name sounds like granddaddy and discovered that while it could host a site, it couldn’t migrate my pages to a new server. Nor would it offer much in the way of help, should I decide to go it alone.

So I did something I’ve only read about: I signed into LinkedIn and reached out to members of several groups to which I belong. Within a day I counted half a dozen recommendations, from big players to small local shops, all from people who have used the services. One person who has since become a connection, Diane Walz of Good Life Care in Sarasota, Florida recommended someone with whom she’d worked. The person was local. She specialized in WordPress projects. And, as Diane said, she’s nice.

Local, competent, nice. As Rick Hunter used to say, works for me.

So I emailed Robyn Dombrowski of Creative Heads on a Wednesday afternoon and got a quote. It seemed reasonable. So did she. After receiving the logon credentials she started work late Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon she had the site up and running. I’m testing it now and everything seems to work. She’s tweaking what doesn’t, including the email system, which now runs on both computer and smartphone.

This is the way social networks should work. They’re much more than a collection of pictures, posters and opinions. They’re a conduit to people with real world experience, the kind that keeps your business and your life running as smoothly as possible.

Someone once said the mission of all of us in public relations is to “be useful.” Social media is no different. We’re here to help. In a world complicated by devices and deadlines, it’s nice to see that philosophy in action.