08NTC: What's Hot in Technology Today

Yesterday at the 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans, New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue opened the event with his three lists of tech items he thinks will revolutionize the way we communicate with each other in the near future.

#1 Telephones Are All The Rage
T-Mobile's Hot Spot @ Home
Basically, there is a choice of 5 cell phones with cellular and wireless coverage. All calls are free in wireless hot spots, including calls abroad. Customers can make a call in wireless area and move to cellular area and call remains free.

Grand Central
One phone number will ring all of your phones (home, cell, work etc) at the same time. All phone calls can be forwarded to the same voicemail box as well.

Google Cellular
Essentially a free 411 directory service. Consumers can send a text message and get a text back with name, address and phone number in 5 seconds. Consumers also can get weather, flight info., stock quotes, movie showtimes, definitions, driving directions, unit conversions, and currency conversions.

Transcribes voice messages to text on cell phones

#2 Movie downloads killed Blockbuster?
More and more consumers are going online to watch their favorite movies; however, Pogue doesn't believe that the death of DVDs is nigh because:
1. the selection of films that consumers can view online is usually and will remain small because of copyright issues with film production companies.
2. films online don't have the special features one would usually find on a DVD, like deleted scenes, extras and subtitiles
3. Only 50% of Americans have high speed internet in their homes.
4. film viewing online is usually poor quality and not high definition

#3 Web 2.0 will save us all!

Social media is the new wave of the future, and get used to it, whether you like it or not. Nearly 75 blogs are created every minute. While Pogue said that Web 2.0 is in its "Neanderthal beginnings," it is not only a way to get rid of the middle man to get infomation out to the masses, it is also allowing people to get to know it each other in ways not allowed before. But, there are also problems with social media as well, such as copyright, abuse, no fact checking, and the old saying that what you put online, stays there forever.


Ordinary people giving loans to other ordinary people

Find carpooling buddies in the neighborhood online

Names says it all. Beneficial for those parents who want to safeguard their kids

Brian Reich, principal of EchoDitto and co-author of the new book, Media Rules! Mastering Today's Technology to connect with and keep your audience, couldn't agree more with Pogue.

"Social networking is a functional part of my life," Reich said. "Everything we do today can be done online, whether we go to the movies, learn about new restaurants, search for new jobs or homes. We feel a need to stay connected and engaged."

In a workshop later in the morning on how to efficiently use Web 2.0 in a communications strategy, he said that there are over 3,000 social networks to work with today and organizations have to find the one that suits them best. By that, he means that the more well-known networks like Facebook and MySpace aren't for everyone. The lesser known networks are usually the ones that have worked best for organizational communications strategies.

"Every single social network is unique," he said. "If you are going to be involved, you have to figure out how they are going to work for your audience."



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