Category Archives: technology

Social Media- Friend or Foe?

End of May Update: May has turned out to be an ugly month- what with a minor fender bender, nothing that goes right, crazy, annoying co-worker who has no sense, and lots of family in town – anyone can go crazy.  So, I have a caveat to this post that I started writing in April when my life was full of just my kids, life, and work.  Social media is and can be my best friend.  It is the only place where I have a sense of control, where I get to be creative, and where I get an outlet from this crazy world.  Granted, it’s still overwhelming but I learned something new- I get to control what I engage in and which buttons to click and what to read.  Wow!  When the world around me is spinning out of control and I have no control at work or at home, social media provides me a creative solace. Ahhhh!

Only recently, about 8 or 9 months ago, did I get sucked into the blogging world and all that came with that.  I am not sad I got “sucked” into this world because I have met some great people and also been able to stay in touch others I would otherwise not be able to stay in touch with.  But, with technology comes all the trials and tribulations associated with social media overload.  For example, I am connected 24-7.   This means, I am constantly in touch with people if I choose to look on my iphone or on my computer.  It is a huge investment of time – more than I probably give anything else in my life which of course, makes me sad.  In fact, it took me two weeks to write this post and over three weeks to write and prepare the previous one on Top 30 Must Haves for First-Time parents.  Great information but time consuming to write and even more time consuming to share out but once it is done, it feels rewarding especially when you get comments or likes.

In any case, writing a blog on my own domain, tweeting (which I never did before getting into this bloggy world), and two accounts and a page (getcluedin) on facebook later, I feel overwhelmed by social media.  On most days, I have my full-time job, my other full-time job of being a mom, a part-time job, and now social media has become a job to me as well – instead of a hobby or just for fun, I feel like social media has become a tasker and another job in this already busyworld of mine.  Additionally, I have had some social experiences as a result of my new hobby- all reasons which lead me to write this post.  Friend or foe? I will let you decide but for me, social media and networking can be more of a foe than friend especially these days when things are so busy at work and in life as well.

Friend?  Here are some advantages to social media and these fall into the “friend” category:

  1. Blogging- Blogging for me is a fun, creative outlet- all social media really is an escape to reality. Creative writing is fun and my blog is an expression of me.  I am lucky, I have only one blog to invest my time in- Get Clued In! 
  2. Facebook- Without facebook, I would not be in touch with so many friends and family members across the globe.  It’s so easy to share pictures, stories, and never miss a beat of those I care about.  Some may criticize facebook for its lack of privacy but my privacy settings are pretty solid.  I am not publicly searchable to the world.  More importantly, those who I want to see my business get to see it.  Those I do not, may still be my friend but get limited access.  I control who I let in and at what level.  This is much better than twitter in my opinion.   In my profession, and today’s world, I cannot be an open book to everyone. 
  3. I created a separate persona on facebook recently which is another advantage- this is for my blogging audience and blogging friends only and so I keep my personal and family life separate from this one.  I also created a page on facebook for Get Clued In!  This way, I was able to place a widget on Get Clued In so readers can see that page and friend me as Get Clued In through networked blogs.  So, again, Facebook is my friend for simplifying things a bit and helping me keep my persona separate from the real me.
  4. Twitter- For me, twitter is more foe than friend still.  I only started tweeting last fall because I felt I had to – to get into the blogging world and my readers can stay in touch with me.  I use twitter to stay in touch with my local mommy and blogging friends and to advertise my postings on my blog which often get re-tweeted- this increases my reading audience.  This is the friend side of twitter. 

Foe?  Here are some things that I consider the disadvantages to social media and for me, reasons to perhaps cut back or try to figure out a schedule of use.

  1. Social media feels like a job instead of a fun hobby- Blogging has its hazards.  Well, for one, I am up writing this at midnite when I should be sleeping.  When I was initally blogging just for fun, it was just that- fun!  It was a safe, creative outlet and I did not get much traffic.   When I was doing this for fun, I could blog when I wanted and about whatever I wanted.  No one really saw it so it did not matter.  Now, ideally, I should post something once a week and if I am guest blogging like I do at Denverparent and its Financial Friday series, I may be a regular and need to come up with more- the pressure is on! I have to remind myself that time is not the enemy, but rather my choice of doing too much.  So, if a week goes by without a posting, I have to just let it go and forgive myself but it is tough and again, it has become more of a job than a hobby which is a huge negative to me! ps.  This post took me over 2 weeks to write!  Ugh
  2. The need for self-sensorship- Dangers of blogging these days is not just the threat of lawsuit, copyright infringement, etc., (see Disclaimer) but recently as I learned, it can cut even deeper.  Feelings can be hurt and offense can be taken by the expressions on your blog or other social media so, now that I am writing openly, I have to be more careful and therefore, self-censorship is necessary … again, this cuts into the “fun” of the whole experience but is an important lesson as well. 
  3. Facebook and social media can be an invasion of privacy.  Enough said on this one and it’s not just the medium (ie. facebook and twitter) but the blog as well.  Everything is out there for the world to see and shared, and your life can seem like an open book.  If you are a private person, social media and blogging may not be right for you or could bring stress and angst to your life.   Another issue for me is that I tend to keep all the facets of my life separate or compartmentalized.  I have compartments for everything, and if I feel that worlds are colliding or unnecessarily infringing on another aspect of my life, that to me is an invasion of privacy. 
  4. Tone is very important on social media.  In addition to censorship, tone is also important as well because something on your wall can cause issues with someone you were friends with over 20 years ago.  But in the same vein, especially on twitter where you are limited with words and characters, you cannot explain yourself and tone plays a role here too.  Unlike face-to-face interaction, social media takes something away and it is harder to explain yourself or get to truly know someone or even get to know them.  Social media and E-mail should never substitute for a face to face conversation or telephone call.  This whole issue can cause stress and anxiety and again make social media feel more like a foe than a friend (see #2 through 4).
  5. Twitter is also time consuming.  I want to interact more and more on social media because of the wonderful people I met but again time is a problem and finding time to do it all.  I do think Hootsuite(R) has made it easier to see all my social media on one page or one website but it is still tough.  there is always some forum or some twitter party going on but I cannot do much of it at all.  When I do, I feel guilty for not spending time with the kids because I do not see them much as it is.

Overall, I love that we are all connected and how quickly we can all get information but for me, with so much, it can be overwhelming and I need to refocus myself.  I have to focus and prioritize daily.  With two jobs outside the home, my family including young kids, and all the things I try to do socially and now on social media, I feel finding balance is the key.   For now, social media is a foe because I feel like I am not balancing anything well but who knows?  Ask me tomorrow- I may feel better about things and then it’s a friend.  ha! 

What do you think?  How many email accounts and blogs do you operate?  How do you find balance?  Please help and leave us a comment to let us know.


The Social Network- what’s all the hype about?

photo credit: copyright SOCIAL NETWORK

I just finished watching the movie, “The Social Network” and I gotta say, it was well-made and a good movie.  Like the Enron movie,  it was informative and entertaining and since it’s based on a true story of a social media network we all use daily, it is true to life.

As a computer geek in a former life, I also enjoyed some of the software and coding lingo.  I went to school with people like this!  This movie delivers what it promises- the story about Mark Zuckerberg and the invention of Facebook- the hottest social media and network on the planet! 
I rented this movie from Redbox but Netflix releases it on February 7, 2011, as well and I am sure soon it will be on instant queue.  So there are opportunities to watch if you can’t see it in discount theaters or rent it. 

Iphone 3GS- Review of the Usefulness of the Apps

It has now been almost 4 months since the Iphone 3GS entered my life and it has certainly changed it. It has changed the way I do e-mail, the way I do work, and the way I drive- yes, even affects the roads I take at rush hour! The Iphone is amazing! Here are the top Apps four months into its use:

Email- obviously, the E-mail button is priceless. It beeps and shows the number of unread emails I have in my inbox and this tool is invaluable.

Voice Control- Did you know you can hold the button on your iphone and get Voice Control – You can say “Call 1 – 800 – (and the number)” and it will dial it for you- nice!

Google Maps- the best App you can have in a busy city like Denver, LA, Chicago, and the list goes on- it tells you which roads are “RED” or “YELLOW” or “GREEN” so you can determine which roads you take to get home or to work. It is my best friend as I leave work and let me tell you, has saved me minutes to hours! Of course, if you are in a city where there is traffic everywhere, this App may not help you but a helicopter may. There’s gotta be an App for that 🙂

Vlingo- this is a great tool to update your social status without typing on the road or anywhere you are- voice recognition software takes care of it and you can proof it before posting on twitter or facebook. You can also do voice dial here and search the Internet (like Google or Dragon) and even search for an address or location. If you search for an address or location, then it will take you to Google Maps. From here you plot where you need to go and voila! You are on your way!

Shopper Lite or the Premium- This is a great tool for all you bargain hunters and shoppers out there. I just discovered it. It gives you all the local stores, the hottest deals in the area, and sale flyers for each store. You can even do a search for a specific item. So, if you are looking for a specific product, type it in and it will give you the best place to get it in the area. Nice!

The Weather Channel- This is obviously a useful App as you make your plans for trips or just how to dress for the day and more importantly, how you dress your kiddos.

Peekeez- this is a webcam “peeker” (AKA- the Nanny Cam) – you specify the webcam to use through software on your computer, and then you can view that webcam and if you go premium you can even record what is going on at home while you are away. Used appropriately, this is a great tool for parents who need to see their kids. You can share your webcam with friends and family too!

Emoji Free- is a great App which lets you add smiley faces, other symbols and just have fun. You have to make a change in your settings under Languages to make it work but then it incorporates into your keyboard. What a fun tool to have- text away!

Google Voice- if you are the lucky few to get invited to have Google Voice, you can send texts, receive texts (straight to your email if you want). This is a great thing because if you are about to exceed your monthly text or minute limit, you have an option to call people without worrying about paying extra. Along with Google calendar and Google Search engine, this is another great tool to have.

Phone Flicks- if you have a netflix subscription, Phone Flicks for free lets you keep track of your queue, add movies, and conduct most transactions on netflix with your account.

Starbucks Mobile card- I love this – you can instantly keep track of your mobile cards, rewards, and add cards/remove them, add money, and at some Starbucks, even scan the card on your iphone instead of whipping out the card. Nice!

Kayak- If you have heard of the travel search engine, it now mobile and you can compare airlines and costs side by side with ease from your iphone. I can’t believe the flight I bought a month ago is now $40 cheaper- DERN IT! But yes, Kayak can send you notifications too!

PrinterShare- great app if you want to print from your iphone to a network printer – with the proper permissions you can print anywhere!

Jotnot- Yes, you can scan and fax documents. They give you an allotment for free ones and then you have to buy per page. But, not bad!

IRelax and Sleep ELite- These are noise machines and relaxation sounds to sleep – it is like travelling w/ sound spa or noise machine w/o actually packing it in your $30 per bag checked luggage. I love mine and it drowns out the hotel noises.

All in all, I am very pleased with the Iphone and while AT&T sucks with phone service, I do like the Iphone.
In the Game arena, I enjoy Uno, Drop Four (connect four), Words with Friends and Sudoku, but there is so much more out there to do and learn


Best Iphone Apps and Most addictive – PART TWO

In my previous post I wrote about the top 15 apps after three weeks of owning the iPhone. As promised, after 6 weeks of owning the iphone, it is time to write another installation of the most useful apps. I am also going to factor in the most addictive. Here goes:

1. Words with friends- this one is free or for 99 cents you can get it ad free. This app is addictive. It is essentially scrabble with friends and/or strangers. You can have a billion games going at once which is fine since it can take days or weeks to finish a game. The game has some flaws because words can be spelled that are not words and yet dome words that are in the dictionary are rejected so be prepared for that. WARNING: If you get this App, you will not be able to put it down and the world around you will become almost non-existent so be prepared!

2. Shazam – this us a cool app to help you find out song you’re hearing but do not know the name or artist. It let’s you download it and even gives you a tour schedule. Pretty cool.

3. Camera One is an app and turns your iPhone camera into a more functional tool but I do not know what all the buttons do so need an instruction manual. Hopefully I can find it through the App store or google – that is the only flaw of this thing but the features appear cool. There is even a timer on this camera!

4. Irelax- is an app that is a sound machine, lullaby-maker, and alarm clock all wrapped up in one. When I travelled to D.C. a few weeks ago, I had to download a sleep machine. It is Free and called SLEEP MACHINE. There are tons of white noise makers on the app market and they all work great but I gotta say, a friend got me turned onto IRelax and it really is the best out there. The options are endless and it is easier to use than most of the other white noise or sound machine apps out there.

5. Urbanspoon- I really like this over yelp and the SHAKE feature lets you turn your Iphone into a “restaurant” slot machine… be careful what you land on. If you are not in the mood for Polish food.

There are tons more apps that are useful. I like Mapquest and google maps and really love having GOOGLE CALENDAR right there as my home page Application to quickly check the calendar, and I love and Wikipedia. All in all, I have had a great 30 days with the Iphone. I was even to shop online and quickly find what I needed on a HOME DEPOT App. is available on line but the features are a bit limited. I wish I could stream daily episodes of “The Daily Show” and other shows on the iphone like I can on my laptop or PC but for some reason, I cannot do that yet – I think Apple does not let you run Adobe Flash Player because they’d rather I pay 99 cents on Itunes and purchase the episode rather than watch it for free. This upsets me a bit but I am not surprised that Apple does that. In any case, I will just have to Tivo my episodes and do my best to convert them for the iphone.

As far as service goes, AT&T is an okay 3G network. I wrote a blog on that. But, did you know AT&T rolls your minutes? This is a bonus for me since my usage varies with how much I travel in a month. Stay tuned for more App-reviews to come…


AT&T is not the best 3G network – a review based on my trip to the East Coast

I have had the Iphone now for four weeks and unfortunately, as you all know, there is a monopoly right now with who can carry the iphone – AT&T. This is quite unfortunate but Verizon is not on the 3G network and Sprint has something better-4G. I used to have T-mobile and while there were dropped calls and what not, I really miss the service and prices. Rumor is that this year, 2010, will see T-mobile getting the Iphone next. I hope so, because I think I would switch to them as soon as I could.

Recently, I made a trip to D.C. and the AT&T coverage out there was horrible. I hear that out east is Verizon country but when I had Tmobile, it worked great out east. AT&T had no 3G where I was and I could not get on the internet or the phone during the time I was involved in a hearing. In any case, my experiences with AT&T thus far travelling has been piss poor. In Colorado, it may work out okay but I would have to agree with others that AT&T does really stink.

Ah well – for now, I am stuck with them and the Iphone – don’t get me wrong, I love the Iphone and all it has to offer but the service needs to match the technology and in this case, AT&T is a poor match for the Apple Iphone.