Tech Trends for 2010: What Had Us All Talkin’?

In the world of social media and technology this year, there were many tools that stood out, or commanded lots of our attention, but we took on the top 5 that we felt really impacted business or had many of us trying to figure out how to be more strategic and effective with them.

Donna Gilliland, of MOST Training, and I managed to keep our chat under an hour.  (Hard to do if you know either one of us)  We broke it down into 5 segments with each under 10 minutes.

TREND 1: MOBILE FOR BUSINESS

Sometimes referred to as the THIRD SCREEN, our mobile phones, and now tablets and other mobile devices, have made it easier than ever to work from ANYWHERE.

 

TREND 2: FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS

Facebook made headlines, it seems like, every day!  From ever-changing privacy settings, to the movie, The Social Network, Facebook became more than simply a virtual high-school reunion.  From the annoying Farmville gamers to every news station and retail store telling us to connect with them on Facebook.  We end the year with a move that just may be the end of email as we know it.

 

TREND 3: CLOUD COMPUTING FOR SMALL BIZ

While most people still do not know what this term actually means, cloud computing and the apps that many of us use without realizing they are cloud based, have begun to change the way we do business.  From storing our photos and slideshows, to sharing and collaborating on documents in the cloud, these tools are saving us time, money and lots of frustration.

 

TREND 4: VIDEO FOR BUSINESS

The pocket video camera and the 5-year-anniversary of the launch of YouTube have changed the way we search for and share information.  We no longer need expensive video production crews to create and share content.  This trend is great for business!

 

Trend 5: iPADS, READERS and TABLETS

2010 was truly the year of the iPad, but overall, the readers & tablets have changed the way, and the frequency in which we consume content.  Business is being done on the go and consumers want content they can take with them with ease.  We will continue to see these “Magical” devices appear in our work environments for years to come!

 

What do you think were the top tech trends of 2010?  What did we leave out or put in that you don’t agree with?  Share your thoughts and predictions with us!  Did you notice that the word “Twitter” was not mentioned?  It’s still going strong and growing faster than ever, but nothing of great note happened in Twitter Town in 2010 (In my not-so-humble-opinion!).

Gina Schreck

Gina is a Social Media and Technology FREAK!  Her and the team at SynapseConnecting can help you make sense of today’s technology and use it to build your business and manage your brand! Give us a hollar if we can help- 877-978-0887 or of course on Twitter @GinaSchreck

LEFT BEHIND: The Painful Price of Not Keeping Up With Technology

My 75-year-old in-laws came to visit for Thanksgiving and by the end of the weekend, I was feeling, both guilty for not helping them immigrate into the foreign land of technology earlier, and inspired to learn even more about technology trends and new tech tools as I…. get older.

Technology Social Media Expert, Gina Schreck, Technology Trends

Seniors and Technology

My mother-in-law was complaining about the fact her bank was starting to charge her $8 a month for not using their online banking features.  Online banking was both scary for her to consider doing and sad for her to think of not being able to go in and visit Kim and Diane, her favorite tellers.  She doesn’t like talking to the tellers through the drive through window and would never consider trusting the ATM to deposit checks or withdraw money.  How would she be sure it posted to her account correctly?  Who would answer her questions she might have on her statement?

She said the other day the clerk at the department store where she regularly shops, asked her if she downloaded the coupon that was offered on their Facebook Page.  I can just imagine the blank stare my mother-in-law gave that 16-year-old, who probably could not fathom anyone NOT being on Facebook.  My father-in-law chimed in with his disdain for the word “apps.”  “I’m tired of hearing about this app and that app.  Everyone acts like we understand what that means!”

Imagine waking up one morning in a foreign country.  You do not speak the language and cannot read the signs posted around town.  You have currency that no one accepts and you own tools that don’t seem to work any longer.  This is the feeling many seniors have today.  They are digital immigrants.  They may have immigrated voluntarily or perhaps they were sent over kicking and screaming, but they are foreigners in a foreign land.  Although a Nielson study showed that those 65 years and older pick Facebook as one of their top internet destinations, I believe it is because they are trying desperately to access their family that left them in this foreign land so they can slap them!

With one boomer turning 65 every 8 seconds starting this January 2011, there are some things we can do to ensure we are not leaving anyone behind feeling isolated and lost.  As a business owner, I also want to make sure I am not throwing around lingo and techno-jargon that makes digital-immigrants more confused and isolated.

Here are 4 steps we can all take to help others and stay relevant ourselves so we are not LEFT BEHIND:

1. Commit to learning one new technology tool this month.  Whether it is sending text messages to your family or taking a class (even via YouTube) on a new video editing software or starting your own blog.

2. Commit to teaching someone one new technology tool this month.  Show your parents how to download a photo from an email or better yet how to sign onto FLICKR and browse your family albums.  Download a sudoku or crossword puzzle app on their phone or iPad (you might not want to call it an app!)

3. Browse through the TECHNOLOGY category in the iTunes library or on YouTube to find a podcast you enjoy that discusses technology trends, and subscribe to it.  Commit to listening to one podcast per week to stay up on the latest lingo and tech terms…like APP or CLOUD COMPUTING!  (Some of my favorites are from the TWIT Network-This Week In Technology- just search for TWIT in iTunes Podcasts)

4. Find and subscribe to one technology blog.  Go to Technorati and browse a category that interests you and then send that particular blog to your eReader or receive it as an email (if you wouldn’t get overwhelmed by one more email).  I like getting them sent to my Google Reader which ends up being a customized newspaper for me.  If you own an iPad, download the free and OH-SO-AMAZING app, FLIPBOARD and “flip” through the pages of your favorite blog posts and magazine sources each day.

Share some of your tips to stay relevant and keep that GREY MATTER  from getting too GRAY!

If you are working with seniors or want more resources, info, and products with senior-friendly features, check out this great site: ElderGadget

If your organization needs help bringing folks across that digital divide, give me a hollar, I am your Digital Immigration Officer! @GinaSchreck

36 1/2 Ideas for QR Codes and MicroSoft Tags in YOUR Business

QR Codes for business, QR Codes for learning, Social media for business, Gina Schreck, Technology Expert

QR Code

According to Wikipedia: A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scannersmobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the acronym for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[1]

I like to think of QR Codes as Hyperlinks on our physical world!  They are no longer just black and white and Microsoft Tag has come along and added a few more features that make the little codes even more flexible.

QR codes, Gina Schreck, TechnologyI have been seeing more of the colorful Microsoft tags on the backs of cereal boxes and around town.  These require a separate scanner app from Microsoft (free download on any smart phone-look for Microsoft Tag Reader) and can be customized into pictures that are very cool.

Microsoft Tag can provide data on how often and where the tag was scanned.  You are also able to change the data source without having to change the tag.

Here are a few scanner apps that people have voted as their favorites for QR Codes (be sure and share yours in the comments):

Android Platform: BarCode Scanner (I use this and find it to be the fastest); QuickMark for Android (Both FREE); Google Goggles works for QR codes as well (FREE)

iPhone: Optiscan for iPhone (known as fastest for iPhone -$1.99);  NeoReader (Free); QR Reader (Free); Google Goggles work for scanning as well.

Blackberry: ScanLife Barcode Reader (Free); QR Code Scanner Pro (vibrates when code connects AND Free); NeoReader (Free)

QR Code, Gina Schreck,

QR Code Made From Lego (by LarryStraining)

Here are my favorite QR Code Generators:

ZXing: I like this one because you can embed content (memo), a URL, Contact info, and even a calendar event!

Kaywa: Like above you can choose to embed a URL, text content or contact information, but UNLIKE ZXing, you have to choose one.

TIPS: The more information you put into your QR code, the more complex it will be. The geometric pattern will be denser, and could be more difficult to accurately scan and interpret.  Shorten your URL using a tool like bit.ly to add some analytic features and see how many people are going to the site you sent them to.

36 1/2 Creative Uses for QR Codes or MS Tags:

QR codes for business, unique uses for QR codes, Gina Schreck, Technology expert, social learning, mobile

Sweet Code

1. QR Code on food products to take you to nutritional information.

2. QR Code on produce to tell you where the product was grown.

3. QR Code on items that need assembling taking you to a website with detailed instructions and a video!

4. QR Code inside a book taking you to a website where updates are available.

5. QR Code at zoo or museum to bring up videos or additional information on subject.

6. QR Code at conferences for handouts, exhibitor information and more.

7. QR Code on T-shirt taking prospective clients to your website, Twitter page or a video link for a fun surprise.

8. QR Code on business cards instead of cramming more info on there!

9. QR Code on health club door taking you to a site with great healthy recipes or trainer tips

10. QR Code on paper products with quick and easy recipes for families obviously on the go!

11. QR Code on sticker for laptops, phones, & other important gadgets that get left behind with your contact info.

12. QR Code on a rubber stamp for envelopes, stationary or even your forehead taking people to special promo pages on your site.

13. QR Code at the end of an article taking people to a bonus video.

14. QR Codes providing clues for a treasure hunt.

15. QR Codes around a school yard taking students to learning content (while they play!  SNEAKY)

16. QR Code on art piece taking you to artists portfolio.

17. QR Code at the end of a video on YouTube taking viewers to more fun content.

18. QR Code on wedding invitations or favors taking guests to online photos of the couple.

19. QR Code hidden in product or on raffle tickets – most go to fun content site and one goes to YOU’VE WON page!

20. QR Code on a bus stop bench with links going to car dealers website or eco-friendly sites.

21. QR Code on a grave site to take you to a page telling about the deceased.

22. QR Code on clothing tags taking you to designer websites or sites to provide styling tips.

23. QR Codes around an organization that take you to videos revealing the history or story of a company.

24. QR Code hidden in posters or marketing material that takes you to a special discount code.

25. QR Code on fingernail art taking you to a Facebook page or a nail salon website.

26. QR Code on dog tag taking you to a video sharing dog’s contact info or dog’s Facebook page :))

27. QR Codes on plant stakes to provide growing tips, plant origins, and coupons to fertilizers or gardening supplies.

28. QR Code on belt buckle taking you to your contact info or website.

29. QR Code on cupcakes or cake taking people to a special page with photos or videos featuring the guest of honor.

30. QR Code on car windows at dealer lot to allow shoppers to see video of car features when dealer is closed, or if they want to browse on their own.

31. QR Codes on menus taking people to a video of chef explaining the unique ingredients used.

32.  QR Codes on mailers that are sent out to take prospective customers to a video of you telling them why they should work with you.

33. QR Codes at the end of proposals that take people to a video of you addressing the potential client by name and giving the benefits of working with you.

34. QR Codes at the end of each book chapter with bonus audio or video content.

35. QR Code on business cards taking people to a white paper or free product to download.

36. QR Code on accountant’s business cards taking people to forms they need.

36 1/2. QR Code tattooed on your child…If lost, please return to… OK maybe not!

Now that I have your brain engaged here, what other ideas can you add?  What are creative places and uses you have seen?

A 12-Second Lesson on Why You Should Start Your Own Blog

Gina Schreck, social media for business, facebook for business, technology speaker

Don’t Get Caught with Your Goods Inside

Today I got a notice that 12Seconds.tv was shutting down.  If you had never used this service, it was basically Twitter on video.  You created a short (well, 12-second) video message using your webcam or mobile phone and it went out to your friends.  There were many people who spent a lot of time crafting and creating thousands of these short diddies and many people who created at least a few of them, and now… bye bye.  They are allowing folks to download or pull their videos off of the 12Seconds.tv site until October 22.  I had signed up for their service when they first launched 3 years ago but never actually used it (that’s probably what did them in! They would have had WAY more traffic had I just gotten on board!)

It is sad to see an innovative company close their doors but it is a good reminder to all of us who post great juicy nuggets of our content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other site other than our own… that your content is not your own unless it is on your own site.  Sure you can post to Facebook and Twitter and every other social site in the universe, but let it also have a home on your blog.  How many people thought there would never come a day when MySpace wasn’t king?  Who can imagine a time when we wouldn’t be loading all of our treasured memories and content on Facebook? Your photos…your videos…your content.  Be sure you have a back up plan just in case Mark Zuckerberg decides to pack it all up and move to Farmville!

Farewell 12Seconds.tv may you REST IN PEACE!

@GinaSchreck

SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE: Making time for social media

Time for social media, social media for business, making time for social media, social media training

Time Squeeze

Yesterday someone sent me a question that really got me thinking.  It doesn’t take much to send my brain off on a 2-hour tangent, but this was a question we all struggle with.  Her comment and question was this:

“I am marginally involved in social media, but, like most of us these days, I’m so busy taking care of the “have-to’s” that there is little time to devote to keeping things current on Facebook and LinkedIn.  I recognize, however, that I always manage to make time for the really important things.  How important is social media? “

Now I am no life coach or productivity expert (that made me laugh just typing it!) but when it comes to prioritizing activities around social media here are some questions you must FIRST ask yourself:

  1. What are my goals?  What am I trying to achieve in my work and personal life (if they are separate?)
  2. What activities must I be engaged in to get me to these goals? If your goal is to move into a leadership position (which hers was) then personal and professional development are essential activities.  If your goal is to start your own business, then networking, learning to market and sell become essential.  So we must first identify the activities.
  3. NOW- what are the best ways to perform these activities? What tools can I use to do these activities better, faster, BIGGER?  If your goal is to learn management skills, take a class, but also find and connect with other top leading managers and leaders on Twitter to learn from the best (go beyond the book).  Network with others in management classes on Facebook or LinkedIn to share knowledge and accelerate our learning.  Through social media you can create your own mastermind group of experts where you can listen, ask questions, and grow faster than you could on your own.  You are also putting your name and expertise out there creating more opportunities for yourself.  My oldest daughter is a zoology major up at CSU and I have encouraged her to connect with and learn from others in her field on Twitter.
  4. Lastly, what are those other “HAVE TO” activities that I am filling my day with and how can I re-prioritize or become more efficient while doing those?
    If you are spending 2-3 hours attending meetings that are not productive…ask for agendas, call in instead of attending live, etc.  If you are spending too much time on email, commit to becoming more efficient with that by creating rules and telling people to send you messages only when necessary- no FYI messages.   And at home how are you spending your time?  If you are spending time watching television at home, well then….. YOU HAVE TIME!

Social media tools are just that…TOOLS.  They can help you perform some of these activities on a much bigger scale and less myopic than other activities (ie- going to Chamber lunches or Association meetings)  (Yes, I am anticipating the hate mail on that comment), but the bottom line is you have to start with the end in mind.  What are your goals and how can social media tools help you reach those goals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this~ What are YOU doing to make time for social media? Is it working for you?

Let us help you set those goals and find the right tools to get there FAST!  We help organizations use today’s technology to connect in meaningful ways with their communities.

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.