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?

@GinaSchreck

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

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!

Social Sharing: Important Trend or Evil Plan to Take My Crown?

“I’m watching Biggest Loser.  I joined a local kickboxing class this week and will try to lose weight with these contestants!”

“Eating at my favorite deli for lunch- the best egg salad sandwiches in the world!”

“Anything by SEAL is a favorite song”

Technology expert, social media for businessPeople want to share their life experiences with other people.  Whether they know each other or not, they feel someone else out there wants to know this information.

We want to connect with others and new technology tools are allowing us to do that.  We can find people who like the same music we like, who go to the same places we go and even those who are reading the same books we are reading or television shows we are watching.

Initially you may not see the purpose in all this social sharing, but it is a trend that continues to grow.  A trend we cannot ignore.  Sites like GetGlue are allowing people to rate movies, books, artists, TV shows and more.  Fans comment and you earn stickers for “checking in” and can be elevated to GURU status if you can answer questions on the particular show or topic.  The game-like concept fires up my competitive juices.  Who doesn’t want to be THE OFFICE guru?

If you are familiar with Pandora Radio, you may have noticed that while one of your favorite songs is playing, you will occasionally see the face of one of your Facebook friends who shared that this is also one of their favorites.  We have the ability to search for and connect with others who like the same music we do.

We can even share how our weight loss plan is going with the Tweeting Scale.  When you step onto this smart scale (or idiotic-blabber-mouth scale) it will upload the data to your computer or mobile device, and if you’d like, it will send a tweet telling the world how much you have gained or lost.  WHY?  WHY would someone want to share this kind of information?  Because we are social!  Because more and more, people are looking for ways to find and connect with their tribes, their posse, their peeps!  Before you shake your head and shrug off this strange behavior, let me ask you to consider this “case-study.”

On Foursquare, one of the geo-location sites I wrote about last week, I began checking in here and there just to learn more about it, but really didn’t see why people were going through the trouble… until I became the “Mayor” of my daughter’s high school.  The surge of power became more than I should have been allowed to handle.

I was then checking in everywhere trying to see where else I could dominate.  Two days after my first Mayoral appointment, I got wind of a dad who dethrowned me.  Who was this man who ripped my crown from my head?  How did I let this happen?  I went to work.  I checked in every time I dropped the Schrecklet off for summer sports conditioning and within a week I was Mayor Schreck once again.

This GAME engaged me.  It caused me to take action.  It caused me to go a little crazy, but I have hopes that my title will somehow help the Schrecklet during her freshman year!   When the surges of testosterone subsided, creativity started to flow.  I started to explore other ways we can use these game-like tools to engage our community, our audiences, or our customers.  How can I get my customers to GO MAD trying to learn new bits of information as they earn points or stickers?  How can you get your customers to fight over who gets to be KING or QUEEN of your business, if only for the day?  Can you invite your community to share knowledge with one another?

Instead of shying away from these sites, log on and start playing.  How will these new tools and trends shape your business?  How can you tap the power they have to engage and turn customers into RAGING FANS (Ah Perhaps this is an idea for a follow up book to Ken Blanchard’s RAVING FANS. )  If we study the trend in Social Sharing, we will discover ways to tap this wave and get on board!

Happy Sharing~

@GinaSchreck

5 Brand Management Tips to Be More Responsive in Your Social Community

Social Media, Facebook Twitter for Business, Technology speaker, Social media training, Gina SchreckI had a great stay at the W Hotel in San Francisco last week.  I was there speaking at a conference and like I always do, I share my experience with my community through various social sites.  I checked in using FourSquare, I added a glowing review on TripAdvisor, and of course I sent more than one tweet on Twitter about the cool “Chill Pods” and great food at the hotel.

Not a peep back from anyone at the W!

Now I certainly don’t post my comments about companies, good or bad, just to get a response from them, BUT when your organization has over 7 different accounts on Twitter and a Facebook Page set up, you would be wise to have SOMEONE listening!

The opposite happened this morning when I posted something on Twitter about checking out a social sharing site called GetGlue.  within minutes Ami was in touch with me via email (she had to do a little work) with more information about their company.  She said, “I just saw your tweets about GetGlue (thanks!) and wanted to reach out… let me know if I can get you anything else.”

Ami, is the business development director for Get Glue and SHE ROCKS! She was listening.  She responded with more information (which I will use in an upcoming post on Social Sharing) which immediately moved their company up on my radar and I will be talking about her and Get Glue to others.

So how did she do it?  How can your company be more responsive on Twitter and Facebook?  Try these 5 Brand Management Tips:

  1. Set up a Google Alert for your company name (be sure to include different spellings, multiple words in quotations, and with or without spaces to grab every post).  I have one set for “Getting Geeky” as well as “Gettn’ Geeky.”  Google will send you an email alert notifying you when someone talks about you, which you can receive as they occur, once a day or once a week. How long do you want to wait before you get that notification?
  2. Set up an alert through Social Mention. Again set up an alert for your name spelled without spaces (example: Gina Schreck AND Ginaschreck; Synapse3Di AND Synapse 3D) to get those mentions.
  3. Create a column on TweetDeck, Hootsuite or other third-party tool you may be (should be) using to monitor your brand on Twitter.  Obviously if someone is referring to you with the @ symbol before the name (@GinaSchreck) it comes to your mentions column, but what if someone talks about you without using your Twitter handle?  Have a column set for that.
  4. Check in on your Facebook PAGE at least twice a day–morning and afternoon.  Unfortunately you do not receive an email letting you know someone has posted a new comment on your PAGE.  You have to go to the page, or watch via Hootsuite or other tools. Answer any question, thank people for their comment or address concerns promptly.  If you are getting hundreds of comments per day, you can summarize a response to a string of comments, but let people know you are there to be of help and that you appreciate their engagement.
  5. Lastly, MONITOR…hourly if necessary. Depending on the size of your organization, you need to be checking that Facebook PAGE, scanning Twitter Town for mentions and even conversations regarding your area of expertise or service, and like Ami, be ready to respond quickly!  You never know, that quick response could just be the fuel for some great word of mouth advertising!

If you or your organization need help creating or managing your social presence, give us a holler…Im just a tweet away!  @GinaSchreck

Session Notes & Links from ASTD (American Society for Training & Development)

Thank you to all the FABULOUS learners at ASTD’s international convention in Chicago.  Here is a recap of my session with links and a few of my slides and side rants (thrown in for your entertainment value!).

The title of my session was, “Using Today’s Technology for the Game of Learning!”

If our goal is to engage learners and make learning fun again, it may be time to look for ways to take learning OUT of the classroom and put it into the hands (and devices) of the learners.  Let’s get them involved in the process, from telling us what they need, to co-creating content for BIG FUN learning.  In order to involve our learners, we have to be willing to step off of our thrown …or podium and remember that WE are smarter than ME!

These are the folks “FORMERLY KNOWN AS YOUR AUDIENCE”

Repeat after me, “I will not stand in front and read BORING powerpoint slides to my audience as if they were mindless idiots!”  That mantra, repeated daily, will help you shift from standing up and dumping information to truly engaging the brains of the people in your audience.  There are technology tools that can help engage, teach and even thrill your teams as they are learning …even outside the classroom walls BEFORE and AFTER a learning event!

WHY should you worry about changing the way training is delivered in your organization?  Well part of it has to do with the fact that our learners have changed!  We have 1-yr olds trading stock on e*trade for goodness sake.  They are tech-savvy, impatient, have ADHD, and they have a lot to contribute!  Here are some statistics:

We need to use some of the tools that are already in the pockets, purses and backpacks of our learners (and I’m not talking about bandaids, chewing gum or tweezers here!).

One of my favorite tools is the fabulous FLIP camera. Get creative and get others in the driver’s seat creating content!  Involve customers, vendors, and of course employees!  Some of the ideas shared included giving sales teams cameras and having them create a 5 minute learning video to teach the other teams about a new product roll-out.  Have a few of your best customers create a short video showing a “Day in the life” of that customer to show your customer service teams what it is like in your customer’s world.  Have executive teams or senior members of the organization share 3 things they know now that they wish they would have known when they first started in the industry or at your company.  These learning videos can be loaded on your own website or on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo (both set to private).

Create podcasts within your organization (simple audio recordings saved as MP3 files).  Interview team members and capture their knowledge to share with others.  Download audio books and have them available on MP3 player for people to check out.  And for those of you concerned about the risks and hazards of having these tech tools available to employees, LET IT GO! Reading your training manuals can give people paper cuts and looking at boring Powerpoint can cause brain damage so this is much safer and less expensive than those worker’s comp claims.

 

We discussed ways to take geo-tagging apps used for marketing or games such as FourSquare or GoWalla and create learning treasure hunt games.  You could leave envelopes at different locations with blog posts or articles in them for learners to find using a geo-location list you give and their mobile devices.  By adding the element of competition you will turn learning into a fun and fast-paced race to learn!  This is very much like the popular geocaching game for treasure hunters, only the real treasure in your hunt is big nuggets of learning!

 

 

For another dimension of fun, you can use augmented reality tools such as LAYER to embed pieces of information or content from your learning programs into specific locations.  By tagging the content to the location, you can send participants out on a hunt for information using mobile devices.

 

 

 

With barcode scanner apps on many of today’s mobile devices, look for ways to add 2-dimentional bar codes on objects that will provide more information to learners.  You can place barcodes on walls within a building that bring the company’s story to life, or provide safety tips to learners.  This picture shows a barcode placed on a tombstone that brings up information on the deceased.  You can create your own content-loaded QR tag at http://QRtag.net – go ahead and try it–it’s FREE!  I think I will be making a t-shirt with a tag on it that takes people to my website :))  How can you use this?

With iPads, ipods, smart phones, Kindle readers, and more gadgets popping up daily, make a commitment to learn more about these new mobile learning tools, and do share your ideas here for the rest of us because WE are smarter than ME!

Be sure and check out the SocialKNX on Facebook where I always share tech tips for BIG learning and building BIG biz.  I encourage folks to post questions there or their own GREAT tech tips!

It was great meeting so many wonderful people this week at ASTD and I look forward to more BIG learning and BIG success stories!

@GinaSchreck
President & Digital Immigration Officer
Synapse 3Di