Using technology to stay connected

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So I’m writing this post nearly 4000 miles away from a little city in Spain called Granada. These days, one doesn’t have to be at home to stay close to the events of the week or even to work. With modern technology, specifically social networks, I am able to not only sufficiently complete my work remotely abroad from Spain, but I am able to stay up to date with my social circle and inform my family of my doings and whereabouts. Here are some of the tools I use and how I use them while traveling and working abroad…

Twitter: Without a doubt my favorite and most efficient tool. In the past, I kept a log of my travels via a blog, but it turned into a narrative of cathedrals and bars. I think the best parts of traveling are the little things you encounter, the things you don’t really remember to put in your blog. By connecting Twitter to my mobile phone, I can let my family and friends live my travels as they happen in real time simply by tweeting my experiences for the entire world to see. I did however run into a bit of trouble though when I promised my family I would tweet that I was safe as soon as I was done running with the bulls. My phone ran out of euros and I wasn’t able to let anyone know I was safe, chaos ensued and my parents and girlfriend started calling hospitals in Pamplona and everyone thought I had died. Have no fear I’m still here and am NOT writing this post from 6 feet under.

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Skype: In my opinion, this is the best video chat application on the market. Not only can you chat for free Skype to Skype, but for mere fractions of a penny I can call anyone in the world. Skype has given me the ability to stay close with my family and friends without costing me a dime. As a messaging utility, Skype is fast, robust, and lightweight. Skype also allows me to have the ability to SMS anyone in the world for some outrageously cheap rates. Another amazing snippet about Skype, they have opened their communication protocol for others to use. In laymen’s terms, other software engineers can integrate Skype’s VOIP technology to offer even more incredible features in the future.

Wikitravel: This is without a doubt my favorite website for traveling. Everyone loves Wikipedia, but Wikitravel takes it a step further and specializes the information strictly for traveling. Don’t k

now where to go for the weekend? Simply hop on Wikitravel and start surfing until you find that hidden little gem nestled deep in the woods or on a beach miles from civilization.

Facebook: This is an obvious one. One of the depressing parts of traveling is not knowing what is going on at home. Facebook’s mini-feed does an incredible job of making me feel like I am still sitting on my couch in East Lansing. Through traveling, I try and friend nearly everyone I meet. I have established my network around the world which I will be able to rely upon in the future. Too often people limit themselves to a close social network, my intention is to establish small networks all over the world and leverage them all as one. The possibilities are simply endless, upon my return next year I will have friends in just about every country imaginable.

David Hilton finds a Social Tool in Twitter

Headshot for the ages...

Headshot for the ages...

Time to break the proverbial ice and introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. My name is David Hilton and I’m one of the new interns here at Ingenex Digital Marketing. This is my first blog post EVER, so don’t judge me too harshly if this reads a like a “noob” wrote it…because that is exactly what’s happening. My fellow interns and I were hired to learn and experience the world of digital advertising and so far so good. I’ve learned a lot in just one week by reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and I’ve looked online at some of the marketing concepts mentioned in the book in order to gain a better understanding of how a digital agency like Ingenex helps their clients.

It’s interesting to me how easy it is to market a company efficiently using internet tools I usually take for granted. Like Facebook for example. I use it to connect with friends and family, share pictures, and find people I haven’t seen in a long time. Companies have taken advantage of Facebook by adding their businesses to the site through viewable profiles and creating applications for people to use that can result in a possible sale. Even CEO’s are creating Facebook accounts every day to better connect with customers. I used to hear about Facebook all the time on television and in the news. But, lately I haven’t heard anything about it. Not even a peep. No, lately I’ve been hearing a lot of tweets about a new and more popular social networking tool. And yes, pun intended.

Last night I was watching the Orlando Magic put the smack down on the Boston Celtics. During the broadcast I couldn’t help but notice that the commentators were constantly talking about Twitter. They must have mentioned it over 30 times. Even Charles Barkley was talking about how he had one. Also, as I finished the New Rules of Marketing book earlier yesterday I came across a section about social networking and how Twitter can help to keep customers updated with their favorite companies. Even earlier that day CNN was talking about how viewers can follow Wolf Blitzer’s Twitter to find out more on stories he will be covering or if he’s currently buying groceries. What have I been missing? Usually I adopt a social networking tool long before the media does! Not so with Twitter. They beat me to the punch.

twitterSo what exactly is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to create tweets: micro-blogs that are limited to just 140 characters. Think of it as a constant Facebook status update, but without the clutter of wall posts, profile updates, etc. And did I mention it’s incredibly easy to sign up for it? I just did a few minutes ago and it only took me about 2 minutes. I even added people from my g-mail account to my new Twitter account instantly and I am also tracking some celebrities right now such as Kevin Smith.

So, maybe your still wondering just how the heck can this be used as an effective marketing tool? Well, let’s go back to Kevin Smith. Twenty-one hours ago Kevin Smith posted this: “ThatKevinSmith: One month from today I’m on Carnegie stage: http://www.tinyurl.com/carn… Hoping in tomorrow’s update, we’re under 1k left to sell.” Now, I had no idea that he would be at Carnegie doing a stand-up routine until I saw his tweet. He even mentions that there are only 1,000 tickets left to sell which establishes a call to action. And, to top it all off, the post is personal. Kevin Smith wrote it himself and didn’t have to pay a cent hiring an ad agency, PR person, or marketing firm to announce this information. And it’s not just his fans that will receive this information. News agencies, radio stations, blogs, podcasts, and anyone who is a follower of Kevin Smith on Twitter will receive this information and report it to people at NO COST. This is what marketing is all about now and this is why Twitter can be such an important tool. In 140 characters or less you can reach a wide audience and accomplish your goals for practically nothing. How cool is that?

So, I urge you to join Twitter and immerse yourself in this powerful tool. I’ve been a member for 20 minutes so far, and already I feel like telling the world about my goings on throughout the day. You can do this right from your phone as well, making it possible to update your status at any time, any where. This tool can also have the potential to allow business people to start writing their own blogs pertaining to their company and job.

As I get more acquainted with Twitter and other social networking tools, I will continue to blog about new and exciting things throughout my time here at Ingenex. This blog was more about “testing the waters” I guess, especially since most of you may already know about Twitter. I’m sure it’s fun to hear a newbie’s thoughts on the subject anyway, but as my experience grows so will these posts. I hope to meet a lot of you in the coming months and make sure to follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, and now Twitter. Thanks for reading!

David H.