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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | SmartPhone
Tag Archive - SmartPhone

Driving by Faith, Not by SmartPhone

“Sometimes God sends angels to pick up your car and put it where you need to be,” my husband observed after a recent adventure where I looked for a new place, the roads had different names, and I got to the right place but have no idea how it happened.

So, today, as I took a road trip with 4 teens to a place I visited one time 2 years ago and successfully managed to get us wandering residential neighborhoods instead of a college campus, I was nervous. But I had my SmartPhone, so if I got lost, the mapping would help. Even so, I scoped out maps, and my husband printed out 7 different views of maps to help me get them to the conference on time, without our losing our way.

This morning, I was still nervous and turned off my phone to conserve battery power until I need it. (Translated: when I got lost.) As we started, I warned our other teen passengers, “One thing. Sometimes when I’m on road trips and merge into busy highways, I have chats with Jesus where I ask him to help me find a spot for my car. It works, and I don’t have problems when I do that. So if you hear one of my chats, you know what I’m doing.” Then I reminded them if how Nik Wallenda had a chat with Jesus while he walked the highwire over Niagara Falls. I told them my conversations sound a little like that.

Then, half an hour into our drive, I realized I didn’t have my phone. My son searched for it and couldn’t find it. He called home, and it was lying on the kitchen table, where I had left it.

The others, perhaps hearing of my spatial challenges, thought we would turn around. I wasn’t wasting an hour’s gas and running teens late because of my bad sense of direction. So my son took the maps folder my husband organized, played shotgun, and we didn’t get lost a single time. I heard that still, quiet voice inside telling me, “You need to walk by faith, not by sight.” OK fine. Hope that lasted when I did get lost.

I was still worried about my solo drive home – it was 4 hours, which is plenty of time to make wrong turns and end up in the wrong state.  This was the first time since our vacation a little over a year ago when my husband deliberately took us far enough into the Smokies that I had no cell phone reception that I couldn’t check any electronic media for an entire day.

As the drive began, I heard the still, quiet voice again – I needed to walk by faith, not by Smartphone. Sometimes, I get so dependent on the memory in my phone that I forget to use my own brain. As I ate lunch alone, I remembered 25 years ago when I wandered Ireland, Scotland, and England alone, with no cell phone. At least once, I went a week without contacting anyone back home or at school who knew me and thought nothing of it.

How times have changed that now a 4 hour car ride untethered feels odd.

When I got home, I reconnected, just like the Borg would re-attach to the collective. But perhaps, I remembered that there is a place for faith and gut instinct.

Maybe we all need a little more faith.

The Flinstone Car or the Hummer?

Hummer H3photo © 2009 Anatoli Axelrod | more info (via: Wylio)
Does your new web marketing plan look more like a Flinstone Car or a Hummer? Which will better drive business success?

The Flinstone Car can move from Point A to Point B. It’s cobbled together, with a website engine from Bedrock and a marketing chassis from Rockville. The social media steering wheel is strapped to the car with a dinosaur bone that doesn’t quite fit right but works just well enough to let the steering wheel turn the stone wheels.  The website engine is really a couple of guys running under the car, and they have trouble when they get into search engine gravel pits. Barely reaching Point B from Point A gets the job done.

The Hummer was custom designed so its parts work together. The website engine is up to whatever tasks are needed, and the Hummer glides across search engine gravel pits, beating all its competitors to the finish line. The social media steering wheel is finely tuned to help the car shift directions whenever needed. Equipped with the latest technology, the Hummer can go mobile or video whenever needed. Getting from Point A to Point B is never a problem – if you don’t watch out, the Hummer will venture to Point Z and find you business on the other side of the planet.

Will the Flinstone Car or the Hummer carry your business further?

Do you know someone who’s getting Flinstone Car quality work and paying Hummer prices for it? I do.

Maybe you know someone who knows the Flinstone Car won’t work and the Hummer is too expensive. Guess what – there’s a budget-minded smart car that can also get your business further than the Flinstone Car.

If your business marketing feels like a cobbled Flinstone car and you would like to get a smoother vehicle for the 21st century, let me know. I can refer you to a great team that can meet your needs to better drive your businesses’ marketing – with web design, smartphone apps, blogs, video, social media, and more so you can best reach your customers and grow your business.

Are You a 21st Century Pioneer or Old Timer?

Not quite ready for prime time 21st century jargon? Do you wonder what terms and customs mean?

2011. Old: say two thousand eleven for the year.  Younger: twenty-eleven.

Cloud. Old: cumulus clouds in the sky. Younger: opportunities for users to share files and programs over the Internet.

Easter egg. Old: a treat-filled egg found during a hunt at Easter. Younger: hidden treat that can be found in a movie, book, video, or computer game. It includes inside jokes or special treats for those who find them.

Email. Old: trendy way to communicate. Younger: text and dm more than email. If you send them email, make it short. Less is more. More is never read.

Handle. Old: used with your old CB radio. Younger: Twitter.

Hashtag. Old: possibly an illegal substance. Younger: conversation topic used globally on Twitter.

Interruption. Old: don’t look at that phone when I’m talking to you. Younger: check phones for texts, messages and more during real life conversation. This is their normal multitasking in a connected world. They set SmartPhones on the desk or table during meetings to use as needed. 

IRL. In real life. Acronym to distinguish from virtual world.

Mobile hotspot. Old: possible title on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Younger: device that lets you create a Wifi hot spot for other Wifi capable devices.

Pandora. Old: myth. Younger: music platform where you choose what you want to hear.

Talk to someone. Old: real live conversation. Younger: in real life or by way of Skype, chat, tweet, dm, or text.

Time. Old: watches and alarm clocks. Younger: phone. 

Tweet. Old: possible continence problem for perimenopausal women. Younger: verb form of how people communicate on Twitter.

What did you watch last night? Old: TV. Younger: ustream, Netflix, or Youtube on a computer, iPod, phone or iPad.

Work Day. Old: 9 to 5. Work and personal separate. Younger: Work may not be one job; it could be 2 or 3, and one of those could be being a solopreneur. Work  and personal merge into meeting the needs of both as needed, and sometimes with interruptions on both ends.

Your wallet or your phone? If a robber mugs you and asks, your wallet or your phone, old answer, phone. Younger: wallet. 

Younger or older, if you understand what others are thinking with certain terms, it will help us all work together as teams.

What other older/younger differences in terms do YOU see? Comment below.

What, Why, and How of QR Codes

At yesterday’s Indiana Social Media Summit/Smackdown, 1 Indianapolis attendee wore a t-shirt with a giant QR code printed on it, challenging friends to scan his  code. Last night, I tried explaining this to a friend who is neither a geek nor a marketer. He had never heard of QR codes. That’s when I realized most normal people don’t know what QR codes are or how they will be used next year. 

What are they?

You may have seen the graphics attached to packages, on flyers, or in other information without realizing what they are. These are 2 dimensional barcodes.  They were developed in 1994 for use by car manufacturers as a Quick Response code.

Why do people use them?

If you scan a QR code into a SmartPhone or other device, you access information faster. Instead of manually typing in a web address, I can scan in the code and immediately get to the website. It can be set to immediately provide the scanner with contact information and text. Imagine the possibilities for your business card.

Think of this as a faster way to get coupons, special offers, and more.

Marketers love these because they can measure ROI on different parts of a campaign. Put a different QR code on different media branches of a campaign. They can then measure response rates and make smarter purchasing decisions in the future.

Artists are including QR codes in their artwork so those who scan the code can access new information, Easter eggs, and more.

At yesterday’s Indiana smackdown, trophies were given to statewide winners. Evansville’s Ameristamp Sign-a-rama donated the name plates for the trophies and included the QR codes of winners beside each winner’s name. A QR code can be included on any printed material or signs. Some business owners print and post them to better reach their smartphone customers.

How can I get started?

The first step to printing something with a QR code is to generate a unique code for your information or website. If you Google “QR code generator,” several options will be listed. Mashable recommends considering  Kaywa, iCandy or Stickybits.

Right now, 1 in 4 Americans uses a cell phone with applications.  By this time next year, 1 in 2 Americans will have a SmartPhone.

Smart businesses will find ways to use QR codes to better reach their customers. The smartest ones will find new ways to use them.