30 May 2007

Exploring New Technology 6: the Help Desk

This hysterical video demonstrates that the Help Desk is often still a new technology, or at least a new resource,to many.

And here, again, is that dichotomy between the technologists and the "rest of us." But if you notice the technologist in this video is fully connected to the user? Is it me, or is the "guy from the help desk" just helpful, not condescending?

This incredulous notion of the truly helpful helpdesk surfaces as well in Sunday's New York Times with a piece about what makes Apple's Stores so successful. Quite simply, it is the emotional connection users make with the help they are offered from the resident "geniuses" (Apple's helpdesk). According to the article, the help provided or rather, the feeling that help is just around the corner, results in an unprecedented retail phenomenon: “People can just walk in, absorb the fumes and feel like the smartest technophile in the world.”

Isn't it interesting that the library does not incite the same phenomenon? That a place where information is at your finger tips without requiring a purchase and help is ever present and always free is still often considered obsolete? Often I would suggest that we need an image change or need to represent ourselves better but in this instance, but not this time. Wouldn't it seem that the Help Desk model is based on the Reference Desk concept? Wouldn't it seem that even the Apple bar of Geniuses is based on help in human form, much like what you find at any library?

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