Fear of the Online: Online Bank Accounts, ATMs and Social Media

August 4, 2010

imageI have noted, on the part of many Funeral Directors, some hesitance in fully embracing Social Media as the valuable business tool it is proving to be. As the baby boomer generation prepares for their final stage of life they bring to the death planning process the same sense of gusto and excitement with which they have celebrated every other stage of living. The children they will someday leave behind grew up in the age of video games and the Internet. The Web is an undeniable part of their culture and firmly ingrained in their daily lives. There is no going back for them.

Recent studies have even shown that most people thirty-five and younger prefer social media over face-to-face networking. Most currently spend more time on the Web than they do with other former pastimes. To properly honor the baby boomers and appeal to their offspring, modern funeral directors need to be routinely reviewing and even brainstorming social media platforms and tools that can further enrich their business offerings and customer relations.


We can all understand why some people are more hesitant than others about social media. Over the past few years, Internet developers and online policing authorities have been working very hard to get some of the bugs out thereby reducing whatever security risks that may exist. Like everything else face in the twenty-first century, nothing will ever be perfect. We weigh our options, exercise the best of care and caution and then we go forward, because it makes sense to do so. In business, we often must accept a few calculated risks – our own business survival may depend on it.

Just the other day, I read a blog post by Chad Catacchio, entitled ?Study: Half of social media users fear ?revelation of secrets? in which it was reported that – in a new study by a privacy research firm- half of the respondents said that they fear ?revelation of secrets? as a consequence of using non-secure social media sites. In short, many people still do not trust Social Media and a large number of them actually fear it.

But, we?ve all been at this same place in our social history many times before.

?No Machine is Going to Dole Out My Money?

This all reminds me of the arrival of the first ATMs (Automated Teller Machines). I still call them ?MAC (Money Access Computers) Machines.?

Oh My Gosh! I remember my parent?s initial reaction to hearing about MAC machines for the very first time.

? What?! A machine will dispense MY money and reconcile MY bank accounts? I?ll ever let that happen? A MACHINE??!! No way!?

This was a typical reaction when these first automated, remote access tellers arrived on the scene. In fact, I remember hearing of their launch during the summer when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon. Things were getting a little too complicated for the older folk a little too fast.

You don?t even want to know what my grandparents thought about these newfangled gadgets. No way were their savings coming out from inside of their feather mattress to go into these darn things. In fact, I don?t think they ever used an ATM during their golden years. Not once.

Well, it’s been over 40 years since the first ?MAC machines? came into being. The first modern day remote access, automated teller machine was introduced to consumers in 1969 by Chemical Bank. During my college years in the mid 1970?s, I relied on the local ?MAC Machine? that was near my dorm to draw out my spend money. I visited it, regularly. Of course, I did. I was a typical college student prone to ?pulling all-nighters? and ordering pizzas very late at night, three to five times per week. Making bank deposits? That?s something only my parents would for me to replenish my late night pizza fund when it ran out ? each week. Eating pizza can become a very expensive addiction for an eighteen year old. And, even more expensive for his parents, I must admit.

ATMs are not only still around, but are doing many more things than they were originally designed to do. There are too many remote access features to mention in a short piece like this, but most of us already know that ATMs do just about everything, but open cans of cat food or take out the garbage.

Online Banking Rocketed Us and Our Banking Habits Deep Into Cyberspace

If it hasn?t been enough just trying to get used to using ATMs on a 24×7 basis for the past forty years, we have also been able to do our online banking over the Internet for nearly half of that time.

Over the years, ATMs have been vandalized, stolen, reprogrammed and scammed in so many ways that it would be hard to think of other ways to violate them to steal our money and irritate more customers. Likewise, online banking systems have too often been compromised and our personal checking and savings accounts have been hacked along with our personal identities and account numbers.

Life Was Swell; Then Came the Hackers

Frankly, I never thought twice about remote access ATM security issues back in the 1970?s. No one I knew in those days ever mentioned running into computer theft situations with the early MAC Machines, even though many were very skeptical about them. The fear for most was much worse than the reality, because the stakes were high (life savings) and the threat of wrongdoing usually accompanied those stakes.

I must say that my family and I have had many problems with remote access banking activities since then and especially during the past ten years. Many more people we know have, too. These bad experiences have been generalized to heightening our fears about anything that runs off a remote desktop access computer network.

Each time, we have had a problem with online banking; we have also gotten a bit angrier at the ?hi tech? world. This is VERY real anger. Or, is it really just fear of the online?

Regardless, these unfortunate incidents never seem to stop us from continuing to conduct our business over the Web. The thought has never even crossed our minds. There is no way that we would ever give up our online account remote access to once again be restricted by limited and often inconvenient drive up window banking hours. Nor, do we ever expect to order a full year?s supply of paper checks and blank deposit slips, anytime soon.

Online, remote access banking has become an accepted way of life for most Westerners, if not all of us. It?s become as routine banking online as it is to get up early, every day and walk the dog. When bad things happen to our remote access bank accounts, we usually treat them as major inconveniences and not as deal breakers. We usually just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again. What else can we do?

From Which There is No Return

Few people I know have ever abandoned ATMs or online remote access banking after they’ve had a problem. Why? Because it’s gosh darn, too convenient. That’s why. There are just no reasonable alternatives available to us that would not significantly alter our already hectic and on-demand twenty-first lifestyles. We?d have to make major adjustments to accommodate going back and forth to the bank during their set operating hours and paying our bills by mail. These things most of us are just not prepared to revisit. So, we take our chances and continue our online, remote access banking activities.

The purpose of this discussion is to show that an analogy exists between online, remote access banking and Social Media, which is also a remote access function in which our security is often put at risk. What Social Media is going through in its period of relevant infancy, online remote access banking also went though and continues to in 2010. And, it has not only survived, but has flourished by becoming an even greater resource than it was originally designed to be.

And That Goes For Social Media, Too!

No matter what studies may tell us about the fear of social media; it doesn’t seem to deter us from going back online, day after day. The fears? The threats? The harsh realities?. No matter what comes our way, we can ?take it to the bank? that none of these modern day conveniences are going away anytime soon.

We will only demand that institutions and those working with technology repair any system breaches and protect us from the new ones, sure to arrive. Hackers are sharp people and they are persistent ones. Our systems will always be tested, because they can be. There will be victories and setbacks on both sides, with us stuck in the middle. This is a game of technology “leap frog,” but the public will remain on board, regardless of whatever may happen from day to day. Retreat in modern day living is rarely an option. We go forward.

Andy Gaur, CEO of RiaEnjolie Inc. (www.RiaEnjolie.com), a New Jersey web page design company specializing in professional looking and affordable websites for most small businesses, is very well attuned to the world of traditional and social media. ?It is much better to be cautious and practical when thinking through your Social Media activities, rather than simply avoiding – out of fear – using Social Media to improve your lives,? says Gaur. ?If you don’t jump on different things ? like Social Media – that show promise – you may end up shortchanging yourself, when it comes to modern day conveniences and end up living in the dark ages for far too long. We live in very exciting times and life is just too short NOT to want to make it easier on ourselves by embracing many of the newer technologies and their purposeful applications.?

Funeral directors should heed this message and offer all the wonderful tools our modern day have given us to honor the deceased and comfort the living. We only get once chance to send off our loved ones in ways that will make our last remembrances of them out a smile on our faces that will last a lifetime.

About the Author:

Marc is currently the Director of Social Media at RiaEnjolie, Inc. (www.RiaEnjolie.com), a NJ based Web Developer specializing in professional and affordable websites for small businesses.

Connect with Marc on Cdsocial: Marc’s Profile

Read Marc?s full Bio at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marclevineica.com.

Connect with Marc on Twitter: icanewfriend

Please Visit The First Funeral Industry Social Network: http://cdsocial.com/cdsocial-network


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