It has been my experience that parakeets, and many birds for that matter, resist change. Give them a new toy, and they will get up in the farthest corner of the cage to get away from the intruder for a day or so. One morning when you get up the new toy will probably be savagely attacked and destroyed by Tweety.

The reason I bring that up is my wife calls me Bird Man because of my reluctance to change. I prefer to see it as being discriminating.

For instance, when we go to Sakana, I get the 10 Spice Salmon with extra sauce and a Kirin. No deviation. At Macayo’s, I get the veggie fajita; Nello’s has a killer 10-inch European pizza, and you have to love Bass on tap. At Z Tejas I get the Ceasar Salad with Ruby Trout and at Rock Bottom, I always order their Ceasar Salad with a SunCatcher light. You see, I am not a Bird Man; I just have a discriminating palate.

So what does all this have to do with computers? The other day I received an e-mail from an old friend who I ran track with in high school, and he asked me if I was on Facebook or who I was on Twitter and what my MySpace page was, and I realized that being the Bird Man has prevented me from exploring these social networking sites and benefiting from what they offer.

I did not want to let my old friend know that I was a bit behind the times so I signed up for Facebook and Twitter immediately and realized that there are some real benefits to these sites.

Facebook not only gives you a vehicle to communicate with friends and family, but there are some pretty fun games you can play. One of my clients the other day was playing “Farmville” in Facebook, and it looked like a lot of fun. She plays with her family all over the U.S. as a way of keeping in touch with her kids and grandkids.

You can look up old friends and colleagues on Facebook and reconnect with long-lost souls. If you have a business, Facebook is a marketing tool that allows you to get information about your business in front of your target audience. You need to be conservative in how often you talk about your business and not bombard your “Friends” with business stuff all the time or they will “Un-Friend” you (yes that really is a term. In fact, it is the Word of the Year for 2009. I am not making that up).

Every time you write something on your “Wall” all of your “Friends” can see it and comment on what you wrote provided they agree to be your “Friend.” Facebook will check your e-mail address book and ask if you want to send out invitations to be your “Friend” to people listed. How much fun is that? And a great marketing tool as well.

Twitter is another way to market yourself and your business and to keep in touch with family and friends. People can “Follow” you on Twitter so that when you “Tweet” (post something) they will receive it in an e-mail alert or one on their cell phone.

2010 has been a breakout year for Bird Man. In two months I have completely revamped our company Web site, joined Facebook and Twitter and, along with my wife, have started eating a lot of raw organic food. Who knows what is next? Maybe I will order something other than the Cobb Salad at PF Chang’s.


Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services and lives in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to or call (480) 753-7667.

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