Mobile Dependency

I left home to go pick up the Schrecklet from school the other day and after leaving our neighborhood, I realized I left my purse at home. Without any hesitation I kept driving…without my license…without my credit cards…without my lipstick!

Technology speaker, Gina Schreck, Social Media for business, mobile technology

Mobile Dependent…& LOVIN’ IT!

It is a one hour round trip and I knew I wasn’t planning on stopping at the store so no worries.  I would drive safely or ditch any police officer that tried to pull me over-HA.

After another minute went by I wondered if I would have turned around if it were my cell phone that I had left behind.  ABSOLUTELY I would have.  An hour without connectivity?  Egad! I am finding that more and more we are dependent on these mobile devices, from making reservations on the fly, looking up show times for movies or finding the definition of a word to win the debate on what LUCIFUGOUS means. (You’ll have to click to look it up yourself.)

Even a year ago I wasn’t as dependent on this mobile life-manager as I am today.  Now my calendar is here, my business email, I take lots of photos and store them here (temporarily before sending them to my computer, Facebook or someone else), get directions and navigational help to get to my appointment, and so much more.

Now the million dollar question for our business is, how can we capitalize on this mobile-dependent trend?  What are you doing now to reach your community with products, services, or content?  Can it be delivered to a mobile device? Does your website have a mobile format? If it is too text heavy with buttons that are too small to click on from a mobile device, customers may get frustrated.  Are you using all of the functions of your own phone to streamline your own life? If you are still carrying around iPods, cameras, CDs, etc you may need to learn to use your device more effectively (see my last post for more ideas).

I used to say, “people will not leave home without these THREE things- wallet, keys and phone.”  Now I have to say it is down to TWO!

How about you–are you more dependent on your mobile device than ever?


Let us help you explore ways to capitalize on the mobile-dependent society we live in.

SPINNING SOCIAL PLATES: Using Facebook LISTS to manage personal & professional connections

Gina Schreck, Social Media for Business, Technology expert, technology speaker

Spinning Social Plates

We want to stay in touch with family and friends, but is it wise to use one social site to manage all of our connections? We have our professional contacts sharing business tips and our best friend from junior high school posting photos of herself on her boat. This can’t be good for our professional image.  Many people create two accounts on Facebook to try and separate the two groups but find it starts getting confusing when they have friends that become business contacts or or vice versa. What’s a person to do?

Relax. Although you do have one life to live, social sites like Facebook allow you to segment that life into LISTS for easy brand management as well as time management.  Aside from the fact that creating two accounts goes against Facebook’s terms of Agreement, this is just too hard to manage.

You can take all of your contacts on Facebook and place them into LISTS like FAMILY, SCHOOL FRIENDS, BIZ CONTACTS, CHURCH. You can get even more segmented by breaking your professional contacts into LISTS such as, ASSOCIATION CONTACTS, WORK CONTACTS, perhaps even TOPICAL EXPERTS. This allows you to then go in and customize your privacy settings to ensure everyone does NOT see everything.

I can place photos into albums and have some albums set to only be seen by FAMILY list members. I can customize my settings to ensure anything that gets written on my public wall (Your main profile page on Facebook) on my wall is only seen by ME. It’s also good to remember that the newsfeed or status updates you receive are only seen by those who are connected to the person sending the update. So if my business client is NOT friends with my daughter, the post I read about her homecoming dance is not seen by my client.

Lists will also help you save time when checking in and reading the updates. You can log into Facebook and choose to only read the updates of those in a particular list.

To place your Facebook contacts into lists, simply go up to the ACCOUNT link at the top right, select EDIT FRIENDS and then you will see a CREATE A LIST button at the top. Setting up the lists and adding friends to them does take some time, especially if you have lots of connections already. The key to maintaining this, is to add people to a list right when you connect.

Before long, your plates will be spinning smoothly…at least until Facebook changes the setting again 🙂

Share how you keep your lists organized or how you have set your privacy settings to manage this double life we all live–Me, Myself & I are all interested in hearing your ideas!


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GRAB YOUR KIDS & SMALL PETS: Smart Phones Take Over the World

Last night as I drove home from the airport, I got to thinking how many gizmos and gadgets I had sitting in a pile (my new tech museum) in my office that were now rendered useless because of my phone!  Just eight short months ago, the new Google phone entered my life and at the time I had no idea it would reek so much havoc among my other gadgets.

Gina Schreck, gadgets, technology speaker, technology business, conference speaker

Gadget Graveyard

I used to bring my TomTom GPS wherever I went not only to talk me through directions to my destination, but to tell me what time I was expected to arrive (which became a sort of game to see how many minutes I could shave from the initial projection).  I had grown quite close to my GPS, even naming her Gloria Petunia Schreck.  But now, Gloria has been replaced, or RIGHTSIZED, by my phone’s navigational system.  My Nexus One (Nexie for short) pulls up the location, gives me turn-by-turn directions, with a slightly more robotic voice than the old Gloria, but it gets me there all the same.  It even allows me to play the “shave the minutes” game.

I have a fabulous 10 megapixel Nikon DX camera that I would somehow fit into my purse whenever we went on trips, or I would carry around in my car, because you just never know when you might see something picture-worthy.  Now, Nexie is snapping pics and videos that are almost as good with the built in 5 mega-pixel camera everywhere I go.  My big Nikon camera has not moved from my dresser top in months.

I have just about every iPod version Apple has put out: The original fat white one, a tiny green nano that clips on your shirt, a yellow bigger nano with a video screen, a metallic Shrek green wider bodied model and more. They sit in my office museum. Nexie has music downloaded onto it and with a sync application that brings songs from my iTunes library right in.

Videos no longer need a DVD player, we don’t need to carry a digital voice recorder, video games don’t have to be played on a dedicated device like DS players, no separate calculators, flashlights, pedometers, or travel alarm clocks are needed, and even webcams are not really needed with the new iPhone 4’s forward-facing camera.

Last night I was reading in USA Today’s travel section about Holiday Inn rolling out its Mobile Key, that allows guests to bypass stopping by the front desk when they check in.  After making your reservations, you are sent a code that tells you your room number and then opens your door.  Check out the video demonstration here:

Now as Tom Bodet would ask, “Will it leave the light on?”

With so many mobile apps being developed and our devices doing so much more more than make and receive phone calls, it’s no wonder we call them MOBILE DEVICES instead of just CELL PHONES.  What does all this mean? Is it like iRobot, where our phone will rise up and take over the world? Well if it will cook dinner for me, I may not mind.  But what it does mean is that the trend is not stopping any time soon.  Our devices will get smarter and do more, but how will you use this trend and the power it has to reach new audiences, in your business?  What services can you provide through these devices?

Gina Schreck, Technology speaker, social connecting, social media for business, mobile technology, trends

I’d like to make a hotel reservation please.

I know one thing for sure, those who learn how to develop the applications and programs that we continue to load, will be in greater demand than ever before.  Sign that kindergardener up for app development classes NOW!

Will we still carry these devices around in our purses and pockets or will we soon wear them? Let your imagination run for a moment and share your creative ideas on what else can be replaced by these SUPER SMART gadget killers.

@Gina Schreck

Let us help you use today’s technology to connect and engage YOUR community!

Virtual Events for Business: What are they and how are they different?

When you hear the words “Virtual Events” or “Immersive Environments,” what comes to mind?  Geordi from Star Trek? Perhaps a giant question mark since they sound so foreign?

Gina Schreck, Social Media for Business, Virtual events, technology speaker

I’m Attending a Virtual Event

Many of us participate in virtual events regularly via webinars and streaming video events, and if you want to get technical, even a conference call is a virtual event.  Now what comes to mind are probably visions of sleepy office scenes with participants multi-tasking while a speaker drones on and on in a monotone voice (no, I wasn’t on that call with you yesterday!).

Virtual events have become a necessity in business today, for meetings, learning and more. There are different virtual platforms for different uses and we tend to get stuck with one or two because it’s easier than learning how to use new technology.  I have used many webinar platforms such as GoToWebinar, WebEx, AdobeConnect and ReadyTalk.  While webinars do allow for participant chat, the platform is typically flat (few if any can run video clips without the possibility of hiccups) and we have all learned how to multitask during the webinar, only tuning in if we are called by name or asked to complete a poll or other activity.  I have found the platforms that allow for participants to use annotation tools and actually write or use draw tools on the slides can be more fun and engaging.  When I tell participants to “draw on the tech tool you use most” they go crazy, marking all over the slide.  It is fun to watch!  People will try to write with the freehand draw tool instead of chatting, which is GREAT because they are actually engaged.

I’ve also been involved using hybrid virtual event systems such as Unisfair, On24, and InXpo, where they combine video streaming with slides, audience chat, a few social engagement pieces, and some cool 3D conference entry points where you can see the different breakout sessions being offered.

Gina Schreck, virtual events, technology speaker, social media for business

Virtual Hybrids

These are extremely engaging for larger conference events where you have keynote speakers and breakout sessions.  Attendees can be both live and remote or you can host the event completely for remote attendees.  They allow participants to pop into the sessions they want to attend and skip the sessions that are not relevant to them.  These platforms are for one-to-many communication.  The speakers deliver the content and the attendees can interact via chat.

The most engaging, in my not-so-humble opinion, is the 3D immersive environments.  I say this for several reasons, one being the environments are so different from anything you have probably used, that your brain is trying to grasp what is going on.  You are hearing each person speak with 3D sound, which means the people on your right are heard on your right (if you are wearing a headset or have good computer speakers), and the person on your left is coming through in your left ear.  The person’s avatar who is standing further away sounds quieter than the avatars right next to you.  The avatars are gesturing when they speak and their little cartoon lips are even moving.   These avatars gather in conference rooms, open-air amphitheaters or possibly a build that resembles the inside of a computer as someone points out the changes that will take place in the new product roll out. Another reason 3D immersive is more engaging is the simple fact that there is so much going on visually.  Participants are not just looking at slides on a computer screen (although sadly many people load up boring slide decks in virtual environments just as often as they do at face-to-face events).  Participants are IN the environment.  They are moving their avatars around and taking in all the amazing visual surroundings.  All the other participants are avatars in the same shared environment and they are looking at the same documents, slides, or even white board.

Gina Schreck, Virtual Events, Social Media for Business, Technology speaker


There are many different 3D immersive platforms and not every 3D environment is created equal.  I have found Second Life, Teleplace and VirtualU to be some of the best for business and learning events (many will have other opinions and by no means is this list comprehensive so please chime in with more that we should check out in the comments).  Without going into too much detail, here is why:

SECOND LIFE– Most people have at least heard of this platform, but many have only heard the strange social networking or personal gaming side of the platform. I love the flexibility of Second Life; the ability to change and create your environment to enhance your outcomes.  Avatars are more realistic looking and can be customized until your heart’s content.  This picture here shows an education conference that was built around a desert theme and the creativity was MIND-BLOWING!

Some of the downsides to Second Life are the intense graphic nature of the program (gaming computers are ideal, but most of today’s PCs have great graphics to run the program) and the fact that this “world” is most like our real world, in that anything that you can think of, you can probably find in Second Life somewhere.  I tell people that virtual environments are event and destination driven.  You log on and attend an event or go to a specific location and when you are finished you log off.  If you start wandering around and looking to see what else is in this environment, you will find some strange places and people, just like you would in our real world. (Trust me, I’ve been lost in New York before!)

TELEPLACE– This is a great platform for people new to the 3D immersive idea.  It is great for business meetings and is most like a webinar than any other that I have seen.  You do have simple business avatars (or you can choose a lego-man body with your photo in the square head-see photo of green lego-man here) and you enter the business office or conference center.

Gina Schreck, Virtual Events, Technology speaker, social media for business


The choices and customization of avatars is very limited and your environment is less flexible as well, which can be a good thing for some businesses, who are a little tech-skiddish.  With Teleplace, you download a small program (much like GoToMeeting) and within 10 minutes you are ready for your meeting to begin.  You can share video, websites, documents and slides, which makes it great for small group meetings and corporate training classes.

The downside to this tool is they are not set up for event pricing (one event this month, two next month and perhaps none the third month). They require annual licenses and it is a bit pricier than other platforms.

I believe we will continue to see greater adoption of virtual events as travel becomes tougher and budgets become tighter, but also as technology becomes more and more engaging to use.  Dive in, learn about these virtual options, but then attend one for yourself in each environment to see how you could use them.

We host regular webinars and meet weekly in our Second Life campus for business discussions, classes and professional networking.  You can join us for FREE on Thursday nights 6pm (PT)/9pm (ET) by clicking on this link to begin setting up your account-it will place you in our campus when you are finished with the set up.

Gina Schreck, Virtual Worlds, Technology Speaker, Social Media Second Life, VirtualU

Gina Schreck


Gina Schreck

Let me know how we can help you and your organization use today’s technology to build your business or manage your brand.  Contact me on Twitter @GinaSchreck or email me