Yes you can Wow the World with your online presence
Ask Oakland technology guru Anca Mosoiu and she’ll show you how
By Wanda Hennig
Do you Twitter, Facebook and have a bunch of people following your daily blog?
Are you diligent about posting your updates on LinkedIn? And do you know how to work your Web site?
Most people who didn’t grow up with computers in the classroom fall into one of three categories when it comes to effectively using the widgets, gadgets, apps, Diggs, Stumbles and social networking components that get you giddy keeping up with the names, let along how to use them. (And yes, I’m speaking for myself — and most of the people I know.)
1) It’s something you’re hoping will go away if you ignore it. And up until now, you’ve ignored it pretty effectively apart from e-mail, surfing the web, paying your bills and making purchases online, and what you can do with your cell phone.
2) You’re sort of into some of it for fun. Like, you finally signed up for Facebook — and how could you not, when there are now 200 million registered users worldwide? But a Facebook hobby page or a Facebook business page. What’s that?
3) You genuinely want to know what’s available and how to most effectively use it — because: A) you have a need (you’ve been laid off or think you could be); B) you want options; C) you’re a boomer and have what it takes to be entrepreneurial by way of experience but the goalposts have shifted and now, your financial survival depends on being fully in the game.
Self-professed tech nerd
If you live in Oakland, you’re in luck. It you live further away, don’t despair. “I’m an optimist. I believe we can be whatever we need to be and do whatever needs to be done as individuals, as a society and as a species,” says Anca Mosoiu, a self-professed technology nerd who is conscious of the fact that technology — or rather, not knowing how to make it work for you — is dividing society into those who can opt in (to the new social networking order that’s dictating success in the 21st century) and those who are kept out by lack of knowledge, often fear, and not knowing where to begin.
To this end — and being something of a community activist (I met her on the steps of Oakland’s Lakeshore Library when we both answered a neighborhood call to collect signatures to keep our libraries open and she’s on the board of the Oakland Neighborhood Center) — she is putting her money where her ideals are and setting up a technology hotspot and salon in a storefront on 14th Street in Oakland (Tech Liminal — or www.techliminal.com).
Sustainable and socially responsible
The MIT grad and multidisciplinary software product developer and technology solutions architect (Confession Of a Boomer: I have no idea what this means and, relief, she says I can be fully effective online without ever knowing) is a firm believer in, to quote her, “the thoughtful application of technology solutions to solve human problems in a sustainable, socially responsible fashion.”
While working with large companies (she has Visa, Cisco, Razorfish, Juniper Networks, Sun and Sony on her resume, among others) designing sophisticated technological solutions, she saw the benefits and experienced the rewards of taking the time to sit down, one-on-one, to explain things to da people.
“I love technology, especially the transformational aspect. It’s so exciting being able to envision something and then program a computer to create it. It’s like an art form. And to me, the information age we’re in now is the equivalent of the industrial age — so much opportunity,” she says.
Helping people accomplish goals
But not for those of us who can’t do what we need to accomplish our goals. Putting regular people onto the playing field is what Tech Liminal is about. I was in consternation when I met Mosoiu on the library stairs — in the process of trying to put together my website on WordPress and puzzling through why I should be doing what, and how.
Like most things, it’s easy when you know how — but when you don’t, no amount of time spent trying to solve a problem helps.
“You’re not stupid because you don’t know,” Mosoiu told me that day, patiently and with humor explaining a few things until they made sense. A week later she was equally patient when I sat with her in front of a Mac at Tech Liminal for 90 minutes as she fixed things in my WordPress dashboard, added things, and helped me begin to understand the workings of my site.
Mosoiu came to Oakland from Rumania with her parents when she was 9. One of the funny “new immigrant” stories she tells relates to how she learned English, and about the United States, watching TV. “I’d be sitting there and I’d hear someone say ‘The Flintstones will be back after this important message’ and for the first two years, I thought the ads were the important messages,” she laughs.
After five years in Oakland, the family moved to the Midwest. After graduating from MIT, Mosoiu got a job in Boston. In 1996 a work assignment brought her back to Oakland. She saw what she was missing, returned to work, resigned, and moved back here.
KISS versus NYNS
I’d say the two key secrets of her teaching success are that she operates by the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle, explaining enough and, yes, making it seem simple — and also the NYNS (no, you’re not stupid) principle; that is, making it OK not to know, and teaching you in the process.
Yes, Mosoiu is self-funded and yes, she needs to turn a profit. Her plan is to continue doing corporate consulting until she makes the cash flow helping individuals and small businesses. Right now, her hours are by appointment: (510) 220-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But keep checking her Web site.
Abundance and possibility are in the air. (I feel it as my site comes together.)
(See her blog at http://www.anca.tv/blog)