Category: Technology

woman searching the Internet on a laptop computer
LearningMarketingNudge BlogTechnologyTools

Chirp, Chirp, Tweet, Tweet – why YOU must start using tools like Twitter

woman searching the Internet on a laptop computer

Anytime, anywhere, anyway – most of us can’t get enough of the web

In 2012 the web headlines self-proclaimed that “the web is dead.” (Yes, even the web couldn’t help but share this with itself) It isn’t that the web is really dead, it’s just that we are using it in different ways. Mobile has played a big part in changing this dynamic as we demand just the right information and support without extraneous “stuff.”

How are you searching the web?

In 2000 I was a recruiter at XO Communications. One day another recruiter saw me conducting a web search and informed me that I was using the wrong search engine. She told me to type in http://www.google.com and in an instant my virtual life changed forever. The simplistic design of the page was a relief to my ADD mind and it seemed to bring up pretty good results.

However, in the past few years that has started to change…if only in subtle ways. Often we don’t trust the first page Google results anymore. After all, most have used some kind of SEO method vs. gaining front page based upon real value as determined by users.

So, what do we trust?

More often than not we trust people, groups and organizations that we know or that we have identified as sharing common interests.

It is time to recognize the importance of tools like Twitter.

I’m an avid Twitter user. I will admit to having 4-5 accounts. My accounts differ depending upon my purpose – one for my work persona, one for my entrepreneurial endeavors, one for just me being me and another for a hopefully hobby someday soon.

Twitter for Searching, Learning and Connecting

Twitter isn’t just for telling us what you like to eat, what you are doing right now or for promoting your product. It is a searching, learning and connecting tool!

I see a lot of friends and entrepreneurs using it just to push information out. They are missing out on easy, quick, and valuable ways to connect to more people, keep up with the pulse of the market and finding out the best way to meet their needs as well as their friends, customers, families, etc.

Communication, after all, occurs when there is an exchange .

Benefits

Friends sharing info with each other

You share and learn with people on and offline. Take the same techniques to Twitter and other social tools!

So, here are some of the benefits I’ve gained from making Twitter a part of my personal learning strategy:

  • News – you can search by any topic and find out the latest and greatest from any possible perspective you can hope for …and more.
  • Emerging Trends  – connect to thought leaders, magazines, colleges, think tanks, etc. You’ll be the first to know about what the new trends are and bring that knowledge and insight to your job, your entrepreneurial pursuits, your circles of influence and even parenting! I’ve saved money at work just by knowing a few facts that I found on Twitter. In other words, Twitter can help you know WHAT you should be learning in your field.
  • Inspiration – yes, a lot of people share daily quotes from every possible past president, prophet, author, etc. But, like Pinterest, you can get ideas and inspiration from what others are creating and designing as well.
  • Thought Leaders – yearning to learn from great thought leaders? They are all on Twitter. Ok, they are at least paying someone to tweet their stuff. It’s a great way to keep up with what they are saying and get connected to products and resources they think are important. Just this week I bought a book from Daniel Pink (author of A Whole New Mind and Drive – books I love and highly recommend) that I hadn’t known he was writing. I found out this information on Twitter.  Note – the book  just arrived at my door tonight and so I’m rushing to finish up this post!
  • Crowdsourcing – lately we’ve heard some great examples of how products, companies, and individuals have come together with other like-minded people to accomplish awesome things and help each other achieve their goals. Don’t think that Kickstarter.com benefits from Twitter? Crowdsourcing tools rely on tools like Twitter to spread their ideas and gain contributors for projects.
  • Like-Minded – are you into obscure sci-fi classics out of print? What about rare stamps? Perhaps even a nitch of a nitch? You can find them on Twitter. You can connect, share and grow with others that are interested in the same nitch!
  • Community Building – want to get more out of it than just searching and following? Start joining in conversations, make lists of different sub-group areas you’d like to hone in on, and be there to congratulate others are their accomplishments, successful product launches or their great tweets!

    Don’t be fake. Seriously, create conversations!

I’m not oblivious to the fact that Twitter is just one tool. Facebook, Pinterest, Squidoo, LinkedIn, Scoop.it, Paperli …the list goes on.

They aren’t technology tools. They are communication tools that happen to leverage technology. They are only as useful as the person operating the computer keys.  (-:

Tweet with us at @nudgevillage !

Logo for Stack Attack
Technology

Villager Matt – The Stack Attack – Computer Repair

Welcome Matt!

Website: http://www.the-stack.net/

We’re excited to welcome Matt to Nudge Village here on the site and in the Facegroup where he is already sharing his website and thoughts!

stackattack

Matt is an A+ and Dell certified computer technician with over 12 years experience in the IT industry with extensive experience in repairing/servicing PCs as well as solving networking issues.   

He’s primarily located in the Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC area, but would probably be able to give you some tips virtually as well!

Check out his website to find out more!

Welcome to Nudge Village Matt!

Photo of Ladd
BloggingTechnology

Villager Ladd – Emerging Technology Blogger

Website: http://laddsnewtech.blogspot.com/    Ladd

Ladd started his career as an accountant, but quickly moved into the field of IT and has been working as an IT Solution architect since that time.

He’s started a blog to share what he knows, what he’s learning and what to look for in the ever emerging field of technology.

Check back at his blog each month for more info and to ask questions.

Welcome to Nudge Village Ladd!

InnovationTechnology

Innovation and Market Shifts – at warp speed

Recently, Adobe announced that it would no longer work to support Flash on mobile devices. On October 3, 2011, it announced it was also going to acquire PhoneGap – a tool that is used to take one piece of content and output it to all the major mobile device platforms.

 

Let’s not assume that Adobe is going to take over the world, but they’ve done a great job keeping up with the needs of the market. (Remember, Adobe acquired the Macromedia Suite – Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash – which has been the primary suite used by web developers around the world over the last 10-15 years).

Adobe isn’t the only company fighting to stay on top of the market. WordPress (blog, website and content management technology) has continually added templates (including purchaseable templates created by power users) and newer blog technologies like Tumblr and Posterous are even more forward building in widgets/gadgets that make their sites perfectly situated for leveraging social networks and information sharing with like minded individuals. Think Twitter with larger text limits. Drupal and Joomla are now the primary sites for serious web developers and constantly innovate with their templates.

Blogger, not to be outdone, has just added a powerful dynamic template. The new twist allows any user of the page the ability to display the page in a way that meets their personal viewing needs.

Pinterest has taken the world by storm as a kind of Delicious (popular bookmarking site) on steriods – you save what you like and others can view what you like and “re-pin” items they like. Driven by pictures vs. text links. Great way to share ideas, get more exposure to your product and ultimately find more business contacts.

LinkedIn, the online networking site, has made great strides with the groups and sharing features. I posted a job posting to a group of designers and was able to provide a friend 30 applicable resumes within 48 hours of the posting.

So, what of all this innovation and keeping up with the market?

No one can keep up with it all. What is popular today may be outdone tomorrow.

Keep a few points in mind while navigating this landscape:

  • K.I.S.S.– Keep it Simple Stupid. It’s time to go back to basics. Take out extraneous eye candy, complex designs, and convoluted implementation. The design needs to be simple for customers and for you…especially since you could be switching to different tools each year (or sooner).
  • Don’t jump too fast! – See a flashy new tool? Want to jump in and use it for your website? Not so fast. Create a test site/account and fill it with fake content. Test it with other gadgets, find out how it looks on your mobile device, see how it works with your day-to-day use. Make a list of all the functionality that is there AND that seems to be missing. Compare it to your other site or product. Is it really better? Is it better in some ways and not in others? What are you willing to give up to have it? We all have our own list of technical requirements and sometimes something new won’t help you.
  • Tools aren’t necessarily the answer– we’ve got hundreds of technology tools to choose from for websites, project management, photo management, social networking, online communities, photo editing, and more… I used to work for a boss that had me try out new tools every day of the week. It started to detract from my day job. I started to realize that tools are there to assist us, but they aren’t the point. They should support your business. Not the other way around – unless you are selling tools.

The market will keep shifting thanks to continued innovation. That will bring great possibilities for us all. Something that will best meet your needs may not have been invented yet, but is soon forthcoming.

The key is to stay true to your roots while being willing to test new ideas and technologies, but remember that you don’t have to use them.

Good luck!

Screenshot of Pinterest boards
MarketingTechnologyTools

Using Pinterest to market YOUR stuff!

Pinterest has taken the world by storm in the past few months and those of us working day jobs for organizations don’t even realize the revolution in the creative world this site has created.

What is it?

It is essentially an online space where you get to scroll through pictures of crafts, architecture, places, organizational ideas, etc. and hit a “like” button or actually “re-pin” the pictures to your own space in whatever categories you create. It becomes an online space where you collect all kinds of ideas that YOU like and want to have as reference. Delicious, a popular bookmarking site, allows you to save links. This allows a picture along with a link and comments.

So, why should you care?

If you are creating and selling any of the following, you need a Pinterest account:

  • Photography
  • Paintings or Drawings
  • Crafts
  • Greeting Cards, stationary, etc.
  • Knitting
  • Sculpting
  • Unique furniture
  • Design Ideas
  • Consulting in any creative arena
  • Architecture
  • Coaching
  • Food Sales/Gourmet Products
  • …the list goes on

Why should you do it?

It is yet another avenue to market your product and ideas. Why? Exposure. As you expose your product to more people, especially through pictures, it becomes more and more likely that the right people will get exposed to your work. And, as the right people are exposed to your work, those that follow them with similar interests will get exposed to your work. Over time you get more and more exposure to your target audience.

Another reason you should do it – your competitors are already there. Stay at home women have already figured this out and regularly re-post products and ideas of their friends who are leveraging the site to earn money selling their stuff. Many companies are already paying friends to re-pin items. Yep, some people are making their living re-pinning on Pinterest.

How do I start?

Here are some basic steps to help some of those that are a bit gun shy.

1 – Sign up for an account at http://www.pinterest.com

2 – If you have a Twitter account or a Facebook account related to your business/idea, connect using that. It makes it easy to re-tweet or post on your wall. I have set up a connection between the Nudge Village Pinterest account – http://www.pinterest.com/nudgevillage and my Nudge Village Twitter account – http://www.twitter.com/nudgevillage.

3 – Go to the top of the screen and select the “Add” link.

Screenshot of Pinterest

4 – Select from the options provided.

Screenshot of PInterest

Here’s an explanation of each:

  • Add a Pin– this allows you to add a link to a webpage that you want to share. Use the link directly to the page that has a picture. Pinterest is a visual site and is driven by “pinning” pictures, even if you are hoping for them to go to the site to find more informaiton.
  • Upload a Pin – this allows you to upload a picture. This option is 2nd best. Why upload individual pictures when you can have your product online in a place where others can order it.
  • Create a board – it is unclear why this option is offered along with the first two. This is essentially a separate task where you create your own board (I call them buckets) that enables you to start collecting related interests in one area in your account.

5 – Add a pin, or two or three! – start pinning your own products and assign them a board (i.e. “My Artwork,” “My Photography,” “Schuh Photography,” etc.). Keep yours in a separate board than all of the other items you might start pinning or liking created by other people.

Screenshot of Pinterest boards

Why pin my own stuff?

This will help some of us identify what is yours and we’ll come onto your site and re-pin it to ours – thereby exposing it to a broader audience.

6 – Start searching the site – take time to search the site for things you like and practice re-pinning them to your own site.

7 – Start following people with similar interests AND that you think would be interested in your products or services. If you follow them, and re-pin some of their items…they may start to notice. If they like what they see, they will start re-pinning your items as well.

Again, broadening your audience at the same time identifying people that are your actual target.

Steps #6 and #7 can actually be a great way to start after you get a login so that you can see the power of the Pinterest site at work.

Oh, and PLEASE connect to http://www.pinterest.com/nudgevillage and follow us. We’ll look at your site every few days and re-pin anything related to your business.

Take a look at some of our current boards (buckets). You may see your product or service already represented, but don’t let that stop you from starting your own! It takes two to tango! (-:

 

RWL Tech logo
DesignNudge BlogTeachingTechnologyTraining and Development

Villager Cheryl – Learning Solutions

Web Address:  www.readwritetechnology.com
Portfolio:  http://readwritetechnology.com/cms/content/portfolio

RWL logoWhat motivated you to start your own business? I started my business with virtually no experience or knowledge of training.  I started working with people who have disabilities and wanted to use assistive technology to access computer technology.

There were no user friendly manuals or instructions for the products so I started creating my own.  I found that I had to address quite a few different people, their needs and their learning styles. Through trial and error I learned a lot about what makes people learn and what motivates them to transfer that learning in meaningful ways in their lives.  I ended up going back to school to validate what I already learned through hands on activities and real life experience.  I came to realize how learning can transform people’s lives.  It proved to be a rewarding experience that I wanted to continue developing in my life.
When did you start your business?  1994

When did you realize you had a talent/interest in your particular area? I started to realize that I had a talent for creating meaningful learning experiences when I became a premiere partner with a voice recognition technology provider and they started seeking out my services for the majority of their big clients.

Check out Cheryl’s portfolio
Do you do this full-time or part-time? I currently work full time but am working my way toward early retirement in the next five years.
What lessons have you learned along the way? What would you tell someone just starting out?I would encourage people to learn to work hard to change the paradigms that currently exist around learning.  We are in a transitional period and those who really understand what motivates, inspires and helps people learn will be rewarded with transformational experiences that make a difference in the world we live in.

How do you market your business? Networking

Can we come back and interview you again in a few months to find out what “next steps” you’ve taken in your business adventures?  Sure