You have enough New Year’s resolutions to keep up with in ’08, so don’t let your goal of learning about the latest gadgets get in your way. MediaSauce is here to keep you from falling off the virtual wagon. Here are 10 technology resolutions that are easy slam dunks for your list of “must do’s” for 2008. You don’t have to take on all of them, but be brave, roll up your sleeves, and challenge yourself to just a few. Believe me, you’ll thank us for it later!
1. Set up a Gmail account
Gmail is Google’s free email service. Not only do you get five gigs of storage (yes, five!), but you can send huge attachments and forward your other email accounts to your Gmail account. And, when you reply to email, Gmail will automatically reply via the account and email address the original email was sent to. Gmail is super easy for mobile use and even has a built in chat feature.
Try It: Gmail
2. Post Pics to Flickr
Whether you use your cell phone, a digital camera, or even an old-school film camera, digitizing your photos makes it easier to edit, post, and share them with friends and family. Rather than attaching huge images to emails, why not post them to one place and invite others to view them? Don’t have web space to host your images? Flickr to the rescue! Flickr is a free online photo sharing site that allows you to upload and share your pictures with anyone and everyone (or limit access to only those you’d like to allow to see them). It’s easy, fast, and works with any kind of device (you can even quickly upload pics from your phone!)
Try It: Flickr
3. Try Microblog
You’ve probably heard of blogs and maybe even write one. But sometimes writing a whole blog entry can be cumbersome. Why not Microblog? Rather than writing 500 words, microblogs limit you to just 140 characters encouraging quick, succinct posts that can be informative, entertaining, useful, and just plain fun! There are several microblog sites available, most of which have about the same features. They’re free and easy to use so give one a try!
Try It: Twitter Jaiku Pownce
4. Set up a Google alert for your name or your company’s name
Want to know what’s being said about you or your company on the Internet? Using a Google alert will ensure that you get immediate notifications (in your email) any time a key word gets mentioned in a blog, a web site, a news story etc. Google alerts are easy to set up, but be sure to be specific in your terms. Using a Google alert for a term like “Internet” or “architect” will yield more results than you can manage.
Try It: Google Alerts
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Here’s how it works: Perhaps there are several sites that you like to read (newspapers, magazines, blogs, business partner sites etc.) but you’ve grown tired of forgetting to read them, finding the links to the sites, or visiting the site only to find that there’s nothing new to read. RSS solves this problem. An RSS reader remembers and checks sites for you, alerting you when there is new content on your favorite sites and letting you preview (or read full versions) of the sites without having to look up every link or visit every site.
Try It: Google Reader
If you’re a Mac user try RSS Desktop Widget
6. Share a YouTube video
Viral Internet content is the stuff of legends! It’s the video that begins small and gets passed to millions of people. It’s the web site that goes from no traffic to thousands of visits simply by being passed from person to person. To understand how viral content works you really need to participate. To get a taste of how it all works go to Youtube.com, pick a video you like, and use the “Share” icon below the video. Recommend something fun or informative to a few people you know and check back on the number of views of the video (you can see this below the video on the YouTube page).
Try It: YouTube
7. Really use your cell phone
We all carry powerful communication devices in our pockets. Today’s average cell phone has 100 times the computing power of the largest room-filling computer in the 1970′s and yet most of us only make use of a few features. This year, do more than make phone calls. Send a text message, download a new ring, check a stock quote, or take a picture/video.
Try It: iPhone
8. Join a social network
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Spock, or Plaxo, social networks are all the rage. But rather than being fads, social networks can actually be very useful technologies for creating new contacts, sharing information, finding new employees/partners, and more. Make this year “The Year of the Network” by singing up for one of the following social networking sites.
Facebook (no longer just a site for college students)
LinkedIn (a networking site for professionals)
Spock (a slightly more social version of LinkedIn)
Plaxo (a combination of online address book and social network)
9. Put less than 20 words on PowerPoint slides
Not all technology is good technology – and even good technology can be misused. We’ve all sat through presentations in which the speaker has crammed an entire 30 page annual report into a dozen slides with text so small you’d need an electron microscope to read. Be the rebel of your office by breaking away and following the lead of today’s best public speakers! Make a resolution to not use bullets and loads of text in presentations, but to instead use powerful images and evocative key terms that will engage your audience rather than leave them all leaning forward and squinting to read your slides or snoozing in the back row.
10. Play a video game
In the United States, there are four gamers for every one golfer. Video games are no longer the domain of pimply faced teenagers. Nintendo Wiis are in retirement homes; Baby Boomers are buying Nintendo DS’s “Brain Age” to stave off Alzheimer’s and keep their minds nimble. But more than just being fun, video games encourage new kinds of problem solving, learning through failure, and lots of other great skills that we can all benefit from. This year, rather than passing the controller to the nearest teenager, give a video game a shot. You just might learn something!
Try It: Wii and Nintendo
Â About the author:
Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins is the Director of Emerging Technologies for Media Sauce, Carmel IN. She’s a pink-haired, tattooed, mother of triplets who plays video games, surfs the net, and predicts the future of the Internet. She can be reached at sarah dot robbins at mediasauce.com.