You’re Using Your Phone To Make Calls?

At the beginning of the year, I read this article by Brad McCarty about how smartphones are no longer for calls but for notifications.   As a publicist who came of age in the early 90’s, this trend is mindblowing to me. I spent countless hours making and taking calls in order to secure coverage. I remember plenty of days when my boss would be tethered to her phone (we didn’t rock cordless then) from morning to evening. My runs for lunch and coffee were very common.

Some of you young’uns may not understand the irony – we all crave phones like oxygen, yet we do not use the voice feature as the prime reason to have a phone.  Phone was once synonymous with talking.

I used an Inbound/Outbound Call Log for two decades.  If someone left a voicemail, I would write the message down on this pad.  I just realized I haven’t purchased one in a few years.  Now info gets to me via email, Google Voice transcription, tweets, Facebook messages, Skype, IM’s, and BBM’s.  I don’t have to write it down, because it’s already written on my screen or phone.

Pay attention to these paradigm shifts.  Not only do you want to be able to tell your grandkids that you looked in the newspaper to find out what was playing at the local cinema, but you also want to make sure that when these things happen, you stay in front of it by monitoring the conversations.  That’s how you will know about the new possibilities. There’s nothing worse than being late to the game as it relates to changes in your industry.

As a side note: I guess you don’t need to call folks anymore because you probably know where they are (Foursquare), what they are doing (Twitter), and what they are thinking (Facebook).

Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk is one of the more popular GTD programs (getting things done).

Here’s the way I use it.  Once I have RTM’s Milk Sync loaded on my Blackberry, I will add the Remember The Milk gadget to my Gmail account.  Gmail is always an open tab on my browser, so having a to-do list visible at all times, keeps me on point.

When I enter a task on Blackberry’s native task app, RTM’s MilkSync will sync it to my Remember The Milk account and make visible on the left margin of my Gmail page via the gadget.  It also syncs to the smartphone’s native calendar app as well.

You can download MilkSync for a free 15 day trial, and then they suggest you go Pro, which is $25 yearly.  You don’t have to upgrade, but then you don’t get the sync capabilities, which is what makes this program special. But, I am not one to pay for apps.  It’s not really my thing…especially a task sync app.  I usually write my calendar and to-do items on my At-A-Glance appointment book.  I’m very old school when it comes to scheduling.  But let me tell you, once you get started on the free trial period, it is addictive.  It is so easy to whip out the smartphone and add a task.  If I’m in the NYC subway and I remember something important, I used to have to dig in my briefcase and grab my book and pen and write it in.  By the time I get all of that out of the bag, I might forget what I have to write down.

I know what you’re thinking, if you have Google Mobile Apps on your phone, then you can add to your Google Calendar by entering the items as tasks.  Boom, instant sync. True, but you are not always going to be connected to the Internet.  I often enter tasks when I’m in the subway and there is no wi-fi down there.  I have been using this for a few months now, and I find that I am getting alot more done.  Even little personal tasks get taken care of, because if my phone is in my hand (which is often), I will remember to add it to RTM.  So if it’s imperative that you remember to set up a Google Alert for a client as well as dropping by the store to pick up some EVOO for your wife, this is a program worth paying for.

Interesting Links For The Week

Happy Memorial Day – the unofficial start of Summer!  Here are some articles from the last seven days that I read with interest.  Many thanks to Techmeme, Ask The Publishing Guru, TechCrunch, Social Media Today, and MarketingProfs.

Holiday Inn to test smartphone as room key?

What is a fictomercial?

LinkedIn as Twitter client?

Here is how you import your Twitter favorites to your Facebook page.

Employees at the biggest corporations in America cite their  favorite social network at the job…LinkedIn (by a wide margin).


If  information creation or dissemination is a part of your job and you don’t have a smartphone, then what are you waiting for?  Get rid of that old cell phone. Today’s technology makes it easy to network and work on the go.

Case in point.  I was on the bus on my way to a TV interview taping with a client and the producer emailed me for more information.  They needed to write the opening for the segment and they needed a different angle.  Where was my laptop, you say?   A smartphone fits on a belt, which is much easier than wearing a device on the shoulder or back. And why carry all of that when you don’t have to?  I have a Blackberry.

I clicked on the  GMail app and found a couple of press releases that I sent out a few weeks ago.  I copied key points from each press release and pasted in a reply email.  Mini crisis averted.  Plus the producer was pleased, since she only had to wait 10 minutes.

If I only had a regular cell phone, I would have had to write something once I arrived, which would have been an hour after she wanted it.  The producer would have looked at me like I had two heads.  And who knows if she would have taken my calls again? Or imagine if I didn’t see the email until I got to the studio?  Love that push email.

I know most people are already on board, but this is for the few remaining stragglers.  There are many of us who are solo practitioners that have no administrative assistants. Being able to search, copy, paste, and send while out of the office will be mandatory soon.  The person waiting for the info is not going to accept the excuse, “I was away from my desk” much longer.

So please, Get Smart(phone).

What Is Google Voice For?

I read something on FriendFeed last week, in which someone wondered what Google Voice was for.  He had been sitting on it for awhile, trying to figure out why he should use it.    Here’s one reason:

Last month, my main office phone line went dead.  I couldn’t figure it out, but I didn’t panic.  I have Google Voice as my official biz number.  My calls still came in, and I when I made calls, my biz number flashed on the recipient’s caller ID.  No one knew I was experiencing a major phone catastrophe.  Plus I didn’t know the line hadn’t been working until 12-16 hours later since the problem started in the evening, and I had been primarily on the cell phone during that time.  I could have missed many important calls.  But thanks to Google Voice, disaster was averted.

With Google Voice, you are able to assign one number to a bunch of different phone devices.  My number rings my cell phone , my VoIP, and my office line (when it’s working).  And Blackberry (as well as most smartphones) has a Google Voice app that enables you to “call” from your GV number, instead of  your cell number.

Google Voice makes it easier to stay in touch when other forms of technology temporarily fail you.  I don’t know about your job, but in mine, staying connected is vital.

And don’t forget, voicemail messages are transcribed and sent to you via email and/or SMS.  Which is great when you are in meetings (or movies).

And it’s free.

Just don’t ask me how to use Wave.