21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Mobile Connectivity Solutions for Social Media

November 18th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

I love technology and technology loves me. I’m the guy who walks in the room and the computer refuses to do the thing that made you call tech support in the first place. There are more computers than people in my house. I’ve been online longer than most MySpace users have been alive. You would think I have some sort of crazy smart phone, but I don’t. I use a very basic Samsung M300. It’s the free phone you get when you sign up.

Going Mobile

Can you effectively stay connected to social media with a basic cell phone and a generous (unlimited) text messaging plan? Facebook and Twitter have the functionality, but is it still cool, interesting, fun, and effective on a basic phone with a tiny screen and no QWERTY keypad? I’ve set up mobile access to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Follow me and find out how effective it is.

Why am I doing this? Being a dad takes a lot of my time. My computer time is limited. I’m looking for the pebbles and the grains of sand to squeeze between the boulders. Using public transit means waiting and sitting. When I don’t feel like listening to music or watching a video podcast, I can send tweets and check in with Facebook.

Facebook Text Messaging Options

Send Text to 32665 (FBOOK)

What do you want to do? Send Text
Update status is at john’s party
Message msg john smith whats up?
Get profile info srch john smith
Get cell phone # cell john smith
Wall post wall john smith happy bday
Poke poke john smith
Add a friend add john smith
Write a note note this is a mobile note
Comment on your status comment status followup

You don’t even have to type in your friend’s full name to send a message, get profile info, poke, write on their wall. You can type just enough to uniquely identify that person. For example, if I wanted to send a msg to Ernesto Brown, I can just enter “msg ernesto b hey, what’s up brownie?”

You can also set up which notifications go to your phone. Currently, I have messages, pokes, and status updates of a few select friends going to my phone.

Twitter Commands

Send texts to 40404

The offical Twitter Commands can be found in their help pages. Twitter is well-suited for text messaging since your tweets need to be 140 characters or less. You definitely want to fine-tune which events trigger a notification. You will get a LOT of text messages if you don’t pare it down to essential information. I only have direct messages going to my phone for now.

A New Paradigm

Accessing email on my phone is an exercise in frustration, but so far, the mobile versions of Twitter and Facebook have been good to me. If you really need to get in touch with me, sending me messages through Facebook and/or Twitter is, in some cases, more effective than calling, emailing, or instant messaging me.

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What Does Social Media Mean To You?

September 15th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

I’m with Jeff at Daddy’s Toolbox. Social media has replaced nightly TV. I don’t feel there is much worth watching on TV these days. The things I used to think were worthwhile aren’t so anymore (with the exception of hockey games and Family Guy). Like Jeff, I would rather spend my spare time on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve been online since 1992. The internet looks very different, but we still use it for very similar purposes. I searched for information. I stayed in touch with people I already knew. I looked to make new friends. Internet porn is almost as old as the internet itself. There. I said it. I said “PORN” in a blog post. All it takes is one mention of “PORN” and you become a spam magnet. Just ask Jeremy at Discovering Dad. Spamdora’s Box is already open. If comment moderation slows down, you’ll know why.

Where was I? Oh yeah, social media. I don’t even use instant messenger and I got sidetracked.

Jeff’s post and some recent email conversations with some old friends got me thinking. My friend Pat has been online since 1994. He’s extremely tech-savvy, can build an entire website in Notepad, assemble a computer from parts, troubleshoot Windows (that alone deserves praise!), and gets along with technology in general. However, he flat-out refuses to go anywhere near MySpace and has put signing up with Twitter, Facebook and  LinkedIn on his procrastination list.

There are times when I feel cutting-edge, and there are times when I feel like I’m only Web 1.6. Pat and I email each other and have “conversations.” Instead of replying in one big block of text, we reply to each other’s emails paragraph by paragraph. We keep track of who’s saying what by the presence or lack of >’s.

We rarely send attachments in our emails. Back in the day, attachments were unwieldy, requiring you to manually encode and decode them. We simply posted files up on our web servers or FTP sites and put the link in the email.

I have benefited a great deal from using social media. What Classmates.com charges money to do, you can do for free on Facebook. I’ve had some great Tweet sessions. StumbleUpon continues to send traffic to my blog.

But all this takes time. MySpace and Digg are like gym memberships. I’m beyond inactive on those sites. I check in with Facebook and LinkedIn periodically. I don’t post nearly as many photos as I should to my Flickr account. If you ask nicely, I’ll Stumble your page or site. I also use Entre Card to promote my blog. All of these sites take time to work. If you’ll excuse me, someone has added me as a friend on Facebook. I’ll need to sign in and confirm them.

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