So much technology, is there enough time?

I like toys.

Let me clarify, I like tech toys. Gadgets. Gizmos. Shiny blinky things. I can sit for hours playing with electronics. My kids hate me come birthdays or holiday time.

I just got a new Motorola Droid, and I’ll be honest, I love it. I mean, I love it, really. It’s changed my life. I barely use my home PC anymore. I am constantly amazed by the thousands of applications I can quickly download that serve no purpose other than to let me say to people “check this out!” In the middle of a sporting event, if a debate arises about a trivial statistic, I can search Google for the answer, simply by speaking the question into my phone. Now that’s cool!

The Motorola Droid

But professionally, my job is to be connected. And by connected I don’t mean reachable by phone or email at any time. I need to constantly be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now FourSquare – which I’ll get to in a minute. The Droid let’s me do all of that with the tap of my finger. I can snap photos while walking across campus, and in the span of a minute, I can Tweet those photos, upload them to Facebook, and place them in our Picasa Photo Gallery.

Now, I’m not selling anyone on the Droid in particular, iPhones are just as powerful and have plenty of the same benefits. And there are other smartphones that do the same things. These “toys” are not necessarily for everyone. But for people who communicate for a living – PR and Marketing folk – these types of tools are not just fun, they are imperative. They open possibilities we never dreamed of 10, 5 or even 2 years ago.

I can communicate instantaneously via streaming video, photos, social media, email, text, etc. That’s important because the people I am talking to – students, faculty, staff, media, prospective students, community members, etc. – all get their information in different formats and from different sources.

It’s a lot to take in. But if I neglect any one of those formats, I am missing an opportunity to connect with someone. So technology allows me to not miss a beat. And that voice search feature? I can find answers to questions that come up in meetings in a matter of seconds, research competition over coffee or find a recent news story while walking downstairs.

But today’s technology doesn’t just create new toys, it creates new on line applications. And part of what we have to do is determine which ones are worth our time. The newest “hot thing” out there is FourSquare. I’ve been toying with it in my personal life trying to figure out what all the hype is about. I’ve been pretty skeptical of it. But more and more people are on it. So while I’m not seeing much use for me personally, with the guidance of some FourSquare evangelists, I’m starting to see the value for companies, such as retailers or restaurants.

Imagine thousands of people telling their friends via a “check in” that they are at your establishment. That’s pretty powerful. Now imagine incentivizing people to visit your establishment and then them telling their friends that they just did so. Even more powerful.

Not sure yet how we will use FourSquare here at SDSU, but I am certainly starting to see some possibilities. And they may emerge during SDSU Month. And that’s really what I’ve come to realize about all of these emerging technologies. Rather than asking “why,” they allow you to ask “why not?”


Filed under Events, New Media, University News

3 responses to “So much technology, is there enough time?

  1. I love my iPhone more than I should love any object. There. I said it. In public.

    It just makes my life so much easier! This is not to spark a Droid vs. iPhone debate. I’m sure I’d love a Droid too. I like anything that simplifies my life — and my smartphone definitely does that!

  2. blockgreg

    After leaving the office tonight a couple people sent me notes telling me I had a typo in this post. So from the parking lot, on my Droid, using the WordPress app, i fixed the typo. Case in point!

    Thanks @san_dyego and @lpverzosa.

  3. Dear Colleagues

    The good news is that technology has moved forward over the past 50 years at an amazing pace … but the main use is for really trivial activities. The data flowing over, around and through the technology is not much better than 50 years ago, and it might be argued a whole lot worse. The singular focus on corporate profit, stockmarket prices, GDP growth has been a disaster for the United States which has a crumbling infrastructure and too many people who are best described as lazy and hedonistic. If only we could get the data about socio-economic progress and performance to be value based, and as well presented as the entertainment and stock market data that sits on top of these amazing mobile devices.

    I am game to try to do it. Anyone want to help?

    Peter Burgess
    Community Analytics (CA)

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