Today’s Instagram Moment

Thursday and Friday were not fun days, blog/site-wise... Thankful for a good host. Working on a post now - scary that our livelihood can be so easily toyed with.

Fly on Lufthansa and share your itinerary on social networks

airplane

Social Media and Customer Service are working hand-in-hand, as companies discover new ways to incorporate new media into their marketing and business plans.

Lufthansa Airlines has recently introduced MySkyStatus. When you go to the MySkyStatus page, you simply input your flight information and your Twitter and Facebook pages will be updated automatically with your flight schedule information, including departures and arrivals.

I’m sure it won’t be long before most US airlines implement something similar.

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Dial2Do: a simple way to update Twitter, Facebook and your blog

on phone

There are a lot of ways that you can now send emails and update your Twitter, Facebook and blog. Smartphones make it easier to do so when away from your computer. What if you don’t have a smartphone yet, or access to all of the handy apps that are available? Or what if you do, but want a quick easy way to do it?

Dial2Do is a free site that does these things for you. You call a number. Say what you want posted, then finish with “Twitter”, or “email” etc. They transcribe it and take care of the rest.

From the site:

Dial2Do lets you do common tasks by just calling a number and speaking. Use it to send EMAIL or TEXT messages, record REMINDERS to help you remember things, post updates to your TWITTER or JAIKU stream and LISTEN to your favourite internet content. It’s easy and handsfree..

For more info: watch the tutorial video here and read the FAQs.

Note: There are currently 26 countries that this site works in [though it only works in English]. See the listing on the FAQs page.

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The Do's and Don'ts of Connecting with your kids on Facebook

family-portraitphoto: cole24_

A few weeks ago, I sat down with teenage techie Jordan Drake,19, who broadcasts a podcast on technology, as well as a live call-in radio show and website, called Digital Life Radio. Since Jordan scored his first job (and a Macbook Pro) from Rush Limbaugh when was 16, he’s been working professionally helping people make technology work for them.

Because Jordan is a computer genius, and a teen, I asked him about the protocol for parents who want to connect with their children on the popular social networking site Facebook. “Facebook can be a great way to show your kids that you want to connect on their level, but it can also be a sure fire way to embarrass them if you’re not careful,” Jordan says.

First, a parent who’s not familiar with Facebook must expand his/her vocabulary with a few Facebook terms.

Friend: (n) a person with which you have connected and have mutual access to public information. (v) to request to become “friends” with someone. (ex: “I’ll friend you on Facebook”) Past tense: Friended. I’m not lying, people actually say this!

Wall: (n) the front page of a Facebook Profile, where friends (see above) can post notes, links, photos and videos.

Status: (n) the statement at the top of your profile page where you post what you are doing at the moment! You can also integrate your status update with Twitter, but that would require a whole new menagerie of vocabulary words!

Facebook: (n) The actual Facebook website. (v) To send a message, write on one’s wall, or otherwise connect on Facebook. (ex: “I don’t have time to talk right now, just Facebook me later”)

Here are Jordan’s suggestions for what and what not to do:

Do:

  • Be honest with them about what you are trying to do. Let them know that you are trying to communicate with them, not “spy” on them or encroach on their space.
  • Talk to them beforehand, and ask their opinion. You don’t want to be shocked when your child refuses your friend request!
  • Approach your kids’ friends only if you know them personally, and would feel comfortable doing so in real life. Would you strike up a conversation at the mall or church? Go ahead and “friend” them, but don’t be too disappointed of they don’t respond.

Don’t:

  • Do anything sneaky in order to gain access to your child’s Facebook Profile, always be honest and open.
  • Approach your kids’ friends whom you do not know in person, or wouldn’t strike up a conversation with in public
  • Fill up your child’s profile page with comments from you. Keep in mind that they still need to have space and protect their “cool cred.”
  • Post embarrassing photos or stories about them without permission. The 2 year old bath tub picture? Probably not a good facebook photo! Now once they are married with kids of their own, post away… the more embarrassing, the better!

Jordan is a homeschooler, and noted that the parent/teen Facebook interaction may be different in different family situations. Homeschoolers seem to be more likely to socialize as families, and therefore be more comfortable interacting with their friends’ parents. The bottom line is to communicate with your teen; find out how he/she feels about you being on Facebook, and what boundaries and guidelines you want to set for your online connection. And most of all, express that you love and respect your teen, and you want to use technology as a way to deepen your relationship. I bet you’d be surprised how fun it’ll be!

How do you use technology to connect with your teen?

When Sarah isn’t winning “Tech Mom of the Year,” she blogs at www.reallifeblog.net , and is founder and editor of www.HighCountryMomSquad.com. Find Sarah on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reallifesarah .

Jordan Drake, teen, podcaster, tech genius and all around cool guy, produces a podcast and radio show at www.DigitalLifeRadio.net and Tweets from www.twitter.com/jdrake90 .

Social Networking Basics

photo: luc legay

Many people have debated the worthiness of networking online and the many social networking sites that have popped up online in the last couple of years.

Social Networking is something that you already do. Any gathering of people is a social network. Online, the premise is no different: gather some people together, find common interests and go at it.

How you go at it, or what you go at, is up to you.

And if pimply-faced teenaged boys scrubbing around Facebook and MySpace are all that come to mind when you think of social networking, then think again. Social networking is an excellent way to expand your web presence and glean information.

The entire social networking experience can be overwhelming if you don’t take it in small strides. Don’t rush around signing up for every networking site out there. If you eventually do, that’s up to you. But to start, try picking one or two and try them out. Don’t just sign up and expect it to all fall into place either. There is an active role you must take to make them relevant. Hence the social part of social networking.

For instance:

You can follow 1200 people on Twitter, and unless you jump in and participate in the discussions, you’ve gained nothing from having those 1200 people at your fingertips.

StumbleUpon is of no use if you don’t download the toolbar. Part of the interaction comes from  clicking that Stumble! button in the toolbar and finding sites that other people with your same  likes have discovered.

Let’s consider some of the benefits to online Social Networking:

They have been used to help people find places to live, roommates, reconnect with old friends, get rid of unused items.

But it’s not just for those obvious issues. One of the new and exciting things I’ve come to love about online networking is the ability to shoot a question out there and quickly find answers. Researching something? Ask your network. Need to gather a quick snapshot of opinions? Ask your network. Looking for a job? Ask your network.

Some of the social network sites, like Twitter and Plurk, are basically worldwide conversations, that offer instantaneous results. Others, like digg, StumbleUpon, and Kirtsy are more passive – you indirectly interact with each other through checking out each others likes and dislikes (these are also referred to as Social Bookmarking sites). Even Flickr has groups that connect people with common interests – from knitting to strange hair.

And when you really get the hang of social networking, there is even a browser, [Flock], for it.

There will always be people who don’t understand the appeal of online networking. Some people may even be afraid it will take over their lives or that it is only for teens and coed. It’s not for everyone.

But for those of us who use the computer for research, and work, it can be an invaluable tool.

And, I’m willing to admit, a wonderful distraction.

[If you’d like to dip your feet into the Social Networking pool, or already have, feel free to add me on Twitter and StumbleUpon.]

What Social Network sites do you use? What have you learned from using Social Networking sites?