Thursday, September 9, 2010

App x 250,000 = Too Much

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm still turning to my laptop if I want to get information from Wikipedia, look up a word on, or shop on eBay.

I have recently deleted my Wikipedia,, and eBay apps from my Blackberry. Yes, it may have to do with the memory getting low, etc., but I am determined to erase pointless apps from my life.

Are you?

On August 28, published a strictly informational article on the App store reaching 250,000 apps after being open for a little over two years. As always with the online space, I wonder "is it too much?" How much "stuff" to we truly need to do with our phones?

It reminds me of college friends who have announced, "My phone only makes calls and texts and that is all I need it to do" then being forced into buying a data plan when they need a new phone. They just don't want it. And I understand.

If an app on my phone is going to hinder my ability to make calls, send texts, and/or receive email, then I don't need it. I truly don't. I am limiting my app craze to my email service, a GPS, the weather, and an RSS feed app (along with Facebook and Twitter of course).

And I really think those are enough.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Bookmark Realm

Who knew bookmarks would become business tools?

As a writer, I have always recognized the need for unique and interesting content. In the newspaper industry, it is a daily task of brainstorming to find that human interest story or procure a great op-ed. With the internet, it is gain interest--gain followers, and it is instant. Instead of optimizing a published paper for a specific region or niche, it is SEO. It is the digital space.

There is something to be very excited about here.

And I am excited. I bookmark everything I find interesting online. I am personally guilty of accumulating a gazillion bookmarks online (always have been) and spending copious amounts of time organizing my bookmark folders. I am behind when it comes to bookmarks. I signed up for Digg in January and have yet to use it.

I read a recent blog entry by "Conversation Agent" Valerie Maltoni ( called "How to Use Delicious for Content Ideas". Now, I don't personally need content ideas, simply because I am interested in a huge range of topics/tags. However, this post is directed toward businesses who want to be in the digital spaces, but find it difficult to consistently post intriguing content geared toward a specific subject.

Tagging is the crucial part of how Delicious and Digg work. Tagging is also how SEO works. There are so many Web 2.0 applications out there--some worth signing up for, some not--but, think of all the content out there as well. Utilizing Delicious or Digg or bookmarking technologies is a brilliant idea when you are in charge of a company's social space (ie in charge of raking through the muck to find status-worthy articles, etc.).

Through bookmarking, you can also begin to understand SEO at a basic level. Some have called bookmarking sites the new search engines. At you can see how writing unique content and utilizing tags and keywords can translate into popularity and exposure, or "Optimization" for your content.

For PR professionals, it is a way to1) track what is said about your company 2) research news outlets and 3) find new venues for news.

Finally, the incredible community aspect of the Web is that I took what one person blogged about and commented on it extensively in this space. In return, I give her a link and exposure. Why? Because her blog made me think. It was interesting. And now it will rise in the ranks of search engines and bookmarks.

I have admittedly been behind on the bookmarking 2.0 tools. Personally, I find it difficult to sign up and continue to use zillions of utilities. But, c'mon, browser bookmark folders are just too overwhelming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Methods of Communicating: The Sender and Receiver

"Communication is...appropriate or inappropriate, never good or bad. Communication is always based on the realities of the sender and receiver. The closer the shared realities, the more likely the shared symbols will be congruent and thus more compatible." --P.S. Perkins, "The Art and Science of Communication"
I came across this quote while reading through the mentioned book for work, and it struck me as very important. On a side note, the book is a good resource. It brings up a lot of points that most people don't realize when involved in communications.

The book was written in 2008, so I had to wonder what Perkins would say about the current online environment in regard to effective communication, especially in the workplace. After searching online to get her viewpoint, I found this very interesting flow chart from someone who referenced the book. Dan Zambonini, a partner at Contentini, designed and posted a flow chart to his blog "The Januarist".

This chart helps you determine whether to use in-person communication or online in the business world. This issue has been raised by my fellow classmates in the past. "Is it appropriate to e-mail a follow-up instead of a phone call?" etc. Honestly, I'm not sure if the professors even knew the correct answers. The main issue for students and recent graduates when it comes to communication appropriateness is the process of getting a job.

It's a sensitive thing, communication. As a professional, it can be a "make or break" issue. Thinking back on Perkins' quote, the answers may become clear. The main aspect to consider is your receiver's "realities". Are they technologically involved to the point where it would be inappropriate to call an office phone, assuming they get their email on their PDA? Or is it inappropriate because they are the owner of a business and have little time to take dozens of calls? Truly, the flow chart is a great help in this matter. The first question it asks is, "Quick response needed? (Urgent)".

The quickest response possible is to ask someone in person. Then, you think of distance issues. So, second, is to call them (probably on their cell phone as it is usually with the person). Third is to text. Fourth is to email. (IM comes in here, too, but IM is being used less and less these days). This is how communication tends to go, that is, when you are in business with someone or have a relationship with them.

So, when trying to get a job or follow-up after an interview, it is a delicate matter and should almost always be dealt with by email. Letters are very classy and personal, but decisions are made quickly today, and a follow-up letter may be read a week after a decision is made. Phone calls are, in my opinion, viewed as "bothersome" today. People are very busy. Emailing gives them a "notification" per se, but gives them time to answer. It is the perfect communication tool, and has been for years. Now that everyone can get emails on mobile devices, it is possible for email to be immediate as well.

When thinking about the appropriateness of your communication, to "paraphrase" Perkins, put yourself in your receiver's shoes. You may want an immediate response in your shoes, but what does their day look like? Do they share that reality or sentiment? A phone call in the middle of it may be a frustration and ruin your chances.

Then, Perkins mentions congruency and compatibility. If you are a business owner writing to another business owner, the compatibility is already in place. However, much of a college graduate's communication is usually incongruent and learning to handle it professionally is a useful skill.

We always emphasize writing and communicating for your appropriate audience. So, we word things certain ways and speak in a certain manner, but do we use the correct method? This quote and Zambonini's flow chart made me think about the appropriateness of communicating with others as well as the method to use.

(P.C. Perkins is the founder and CEO of the Human Communication Institute, LLC.