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Social Networking Brings Us Together

According to the Facebook statistic page, there are currently more than 500 million active Facebook users. Simply by posting a picture and writing a bio, people create their viral “self,” and interact with “friends” behind a computerized screen through the tips of our fingers. They relay messages through comments, status updates, and chat box messages, totaling over 700 billion minutes per month.

Some argue that’s a lot of time spent without actual human contact, maybe too much time. They worry these actions could lead to a generation of isolation, where individuals who no longer value face-to-face communication; where individuals are no longer “connected” to each other.

I, however, beg to differ.

Although we may be interacting increasingly on an online platform, that doesn’t have to mean we are headed towards isolation. It goes without saying that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, give people the opportunity to instantly communicate with loved ones, and keep in touch with the high school buddies they thought they’d never see again. But it goes further than that.

As a generation, we now have the ability to instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the world. If time travel is the quickest way from point A to point B, then social networking users may be bending time and space without even knowing it. Add in Google Translate, and this opens up an endless amount of possibilities in terms of learning about other cultures and expanding our self-consciousness. Breaking down language barriers is unarguably a step towards global connectedness.

Social networking sites also give us the ability to let family members and loved ones know we are “OK” in the case of an emergency, especially if unreliable phone lines and methods of transportation aren’t accessible. In fact, in the case of the most recent Japan Tsunami, social networking is reported to have saved many lives.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Fukushima power plant left thousands of people dead and many more missing. The disaster demolished buildings and rail lines, left telephone networks congested, and caused electrical black outs, cutting off communication between those who needed it the most.

However, by utilizing web-based sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Mixi, people all around the world were able to get instant updates on the statuses of friends and family, as well as donate to those in need. Those involved in relief efforts even took to Twitter and posted information about emergency phone lines for non-Japanese speakers to tsunami alerts, altered train schedules and lists of shelters for those left homeless.

As technology advances, we will continue to realize the Internet’s potential as a way to connect humans and put power back in their hands.

This is especially the case with the new buyer and seller market-oriented website Zaarly. With Zaarly, users are able to find what they want in their area, say their price, and get it. There’s no waiting in line and no managers trying to sell you what you don’t need. Users utilize a Twilio powered  phone number to connect instantly, get what they ask for, and get on with their day. It’s that easy.

Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis, agrees. We are connected:

“While there are so many technologies at this time that isolate us from our fellow beings, social networking tools have shown their ability once again to unify us as human beings, and to bring out what is most altruistic and empathetic in our natures.”

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HOW TO: Put time back on your calendar using technology

Managing work, school, family demands and trying to squeeze in a social life can be difficult these days. Savvy users of mobile technology are discovering that properly integrating certain mobile apps into your life can save valuable time in your busy day.

If you’ve ever uploaded a photo to Instagr.am or checked Twitter while standing in line for coffee, you understand the freedom and time-saving value provided by 21st century mobile technology.

And even though you can’t put 25 hours in a day, there are more ways than ever to maximize each of those 24 hours.

Manage your calendar and t0-do list

Services like MobileMe enable you to access and manage your email, contacts, calendar, photos, and files all online. You can add an event to your the calendar on your phone and automatically sync to the calendar on your laptop and desktop via the cloud.

Several different to-do list and reminder apps, such as the Evernote app, let you do everything from recording voice notes to jotting down those brilliant ideas in the middle of the night to taking pictures of whiteboards in your office that you need to refer to later.

And if you need to share files between home and office, the Air Sharing app enables you to make your phone a thumb drive. You can view slideshows, documents and PDFs and more.

Build relationships

Several hot new group chat apps such as Beluga enables you to keep in touch with groups of friends or family all at once. Group messaging apps make it simple to communicate with the people you want to communicate with. You can quickly create and reorganize social circles, on the go, according to the situation. And that communication is as private as you want it to be.

Travel with ease

The Kayak app can help you locate the best deals on hotels, air fare, car rentals — and even help you save money by enabling you to look up baggage fees.

TripIt trip planner keeps all of your travel plans in one spot, so you can quickly retrieve confirmation numbers, addresses and itineraries from your phone.

Further your education 

Remember the days of Encyclopedia Britannica salesmen going door-to-door trying to sell you dozens of volumes of books? Well now all of those books can fit in your pocket.

You can find a plethora of education apps ranging from first grade math to graduate level physics. A new app called Voxy lets you incorporate learning a new language into the flow of your life.

And if you’re in school, or your son on daughter is, the MyHomework app will ensure that you always remember the due dates for papers and homework assignments.

Shop til you drop

You can use apps like RedLaser to do comparison shopping and find the best price. The Amazon app provides one-click ordering and allows you to make quick purchases on Amazon’s site. Target offers an app that allows you to scan the stores weekly ad instantly, see clearance items and buy products without even getting in your car. Yowza shows you coupons from stores near you using GPS, and there’s no need for clipping — the barcode appears on your phone screen. And you can pay for everything electronically using PayPal.

Manage daily activities 

There’s an app to manage every part of your day — from alarm clock apps to help you wake up in the morning to relaxation apps to help you fall asleep at night.

You can keep track of your password, bank account numbers and other important information using 1Password. Manage your finances with iXpenseIt, a smart and handy tool to log, track and manage your daily expenses and budget.

Prepare a meal using Woman’s Day Cooking Assistanta personal cooking assistant that includes meal ideas, cooking tools, and more to make cooking easier. Or don’t feel like cooking? Urbanspoon can find a restaurants in your area, complete with reviews. And after dinner you can use the QuickTip Tip Calculator to determine the appropriate tip you should give based on the amount of the bill. And even locate the gas stations with the cheapest fuel prices using the Fuel Finder app.

If you constantly find yourself sitting inside your house on a Saturday afternoon, use the free Geodelic app to search for shops, attractions and restaurants in your area. The app also senses what your interests are and will suggest places to visit in your town. And you can find your way around using Google Maps.

For a busy person, Zaarly is the perfect app. Even if you can’t afford hiring a full-time assistant, Zaarly can help you check some mundane tasks off your to-do list. Whether you’re looking for help personally (buying weekly groceries) or professionally (market research, data entry), Zaarly can connect you with people to provide the work you need, when you need it, at the price you’re willing to pay.

Now, if only there was an app to help you download all these apps…


Can Twitter Be Bad For Your Relationship?

photo by: Mike Baird

A survey released in April 2011 from the online dating site OkCupid shows that the use of the social networking site, Twitter, can be harmful to couples in romantic relationships. In 2010, TechCrunch announced that Twitter had over 100 million active users and it’s safe to say that number has easily doubled since then. That is over 200 million users that could be in risk of an affected relationship. Could Twitter users be in danger of having their relationships cut short due to 140 characters?

The OkCupid poll, which included over 830,000 of their users, compared how long relationships last for people who use Twitter every day versus those in a relationship who do not use Twitter often. The poll indicated that those who “tweet” daily and actively have slightly shorter relationships. Is it because users are diverting their attention toward quippy comments and away from their significant other? The poll was not conclusive enough to reveal the root cause and there may be more than just one. My guess is that Twitter has shortened the attention span of users and have altered habits outside of social networking. Maybe people have become so consumed by what they read online and on their phones that their human interactions and encounters have suffered.

photo by: LGEPR

These results have no bias between age groups or different genders according to OkCupid. They state that, “Frequent tweeters have shorter real-life relationships than everyone else, probably via some bit.ly hack. Unfortunately, we have no way to tell who’s dumping who here; whether the twitterati are more annoying or just more flighty than everyone else.”

But don’t be too worried about your tweeting, posting, skyping and friending.  There are definite ways to avoid an early version of “the talk” with your partner. Below are three different ways you can easily use services on your phone to strengthen your relationship.

Ways Technology Can Positively Progress Relationships:

Although it may seem that some technologies may affect the relationships around you in a negative way due to attention diversion, there are different applications that can boost your relationships as well. These applications handle every detail that goes into a perfect day, night, or weekend with your loved one:

photo: Krystal International Vacation Club

Jetsetter has recently released a smartphone application which allows you to find “travel sales right on your iPhone” or any other major smartphone platform. The application gives you daily deals of up to 50% off on popular hotels, spa vacations, weekend trips, and plenty of other romantic getaways from the daily stresses of life. I used Jetsetter last year to plan a spring break trip down south to Cabo. The hotel was beautiful, saved a ton of money, everything was perfectly planned, and my girlfriend and I could not of been happier.

Are you looking for something local to do with your partner? Download Siri Assistant for your iPhone. Siri will help you book restaurants, movies, taxis and more. The application gathers answers and actions from your favorite brands and companies. All you basically have to do is download the application, and simply speak into the phone what you are looking for. Such commands can range from “Get me a taxi” or “Book a table for two at a good steak house” to “Who’s playing at Staples Center?”. This is really convenient when you are on the go . Siri Assistant’s interaction with your voice is really superb and saves you ample amounts of time.

Too lazy to do it yourself? Why don’t you have someone else get what you need, like a personal assistant. Try Zaarly. Zaarly is the ultimate tool for finding services, goods and experiences right from your mobile phone.  From a late night bottle of wine for a romantic evening, to a weekend vehicle from someone around you, or maybe even a Starbucks cup of coffee to give you some additional energy for your workday.  Request what you want, what price you are willing to pay, when you need it by and in no time you will have people ready to fulfill your offer.

How else can you make sure your relationship isn’t cut short by a tweet — use technology to enhance your relationship, not to replace it.  Once you’ve got that under control, turn the phone off, put it on vibrate (or whatever it takes) and cherish those around you.


How New Moms Use Technology

Being a new mom can be scary. Having a baby in 2011 is totally different than it was in 1976. Should you create a Twitter handle for your unborn child? How many Facebook ‘likes’ will your new baby pics get? Is there an app to help you keep all of your immunization schedules and physician appointments organized? Should you create an online scrapbook? Can you use Google calendars to schedule baby play dates? Will Barbie dolls be replaced by holograms?

Okay maybe the Barbie hologram is a stretch for now, but technology has dramatically changed the way parents raise their children. Take new mom Marcie Inzer for example. Marcie blogs everyday. “It’s a great way to connect with others and hear what other moms are going through,” Inzer said.

Whether you’re taking six weeks off work, or staying home full time with your child, the Internet provides a whole new outlet for connecting with other moms. So you don’t have to feel like you’re on an island. They may not make an instruction manual for kids. But with blogs and forums online, you can post a question, connect with moms near you having similar issues and find immediate answers to your questions.

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Scrap the scrap book  

Remember growing up when your parents had to take photos to get developed, and then put each picture in the pages of a scrapbook. Four years later the scrapbook would get lost, then you could never find the pic you wanted. If only there was a Google search bar for real life. Now with blogs and social media sites, you can keep your entire scrapbook online electronically. Easy, fast, and searchable. Keep pics and milestones organized and quickly share everything with friends and family with a few mouse clicks.

“My blog is the closest thing my baby will have to a traditional baby book,” new mom Marcie said. “I hope that my daughter will be able to go through the blog when she’s older and read about how much we love her and the fun things we do together.”

Amazing. Kids that grew up in the 70s and 80s don’t have that luxury. My baby book is lost in the abyss of my parents attic somewhere. And my siblings and I rely on our aging grandparents for stories about our childhood. Marcie’s daughter won’t have that problem. Everything will be online.

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Save time and stay connected  

Having a new baby can monopolize your schedule. You won’t be sleeping a solid eight hours for the next several years. Scheduling happy hours with your girlfriends takes a lot more planning. Shopping trips at the mall are probably few and far between. But technology in 2011 makes all of that easier.

“I use the Internet for basic email, Facebook, online shopping, couponing, and finding fun activities to do in the area,” Marcie said.

New moms like Marcie use email and Facebook to stay connected to friends and family, even when getting out of the house can be hard sometimes. And she stays away from frumpy mom jeans by keeping up with the latest fashions online.

Just about every second of your day as a new mom will be accounted for. Technology can help you stay organized and make the most of your time. Manage your calendar online with Google calendars, so your husband and other family members can quickly check reminders from anywhere.

Groupon can help you quickly find the best deals in your area. RSS feeds and Twitter can aggregate your custom news feeds so you quickly and easily see what’s most important and relevant to you. High speed Internet has enabled services like Hulu and streaming Netflix to provide you with in-demandTV shows and movies on your schedule. And electronic to-do lists have enabled people to manage their lives online.

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There’s an app for that 

Smart phones have empowered new moms to manage their lives on the go. Apps like Remember the Milk can keep your grocery lists prioritized and make shopping simpler. Instagram enables quick and easy photo sharing. Foursquare can help you keep up on your friends location and see all the fun they’re having without you. As your child grows up, game apps like Angry Birds can keep them occupied and sitting still long enough for a haircut. Dragon dictation app will let you translate spoken word to text, in case your hands are full but you want to make a note.

New app Zaarly can help you with a wide range of parenting needs. Zaarly enables you to outsource the actives you don’t want to do, or need help doing.

New to the area and looking for a sitter you can trust? Zaarly it. You would pay top dollar for a reliable sitter so you and your husband can have one night to yourselves without worrying. Want to find a gently used stroller rather than buying a new one? Zaarly it. A set of parents in your neighborhood with teenage kids would be happy to sell you their good-as-new stroller at a price much lower than what you’d pay at Toys R Us.

Too tired to clean your house? Zaarly it. Trying to find the impossible-to-get hot new toy this Christmas season? Zaarly it. Zaarly is the crutch your mom wishes she had when you were growing up.

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Plan for the future

Being a mom in 2011 is exciting. Technological advances are providing new outlets to stay connected, save money, improve efficiency and be a better overall parent.

You can manage your child’s finances, enroll them in actives and programs to future their education, and stay in touch with them as they grow up and leave the house. And who knows, you might even help yourself in the process.

“Blogging just started out for me as an outlet or hobby because I enjoy creative writing, but recently I was hired by a local business that focuses on baby/mom products to blog for them as well. I am so excited to contribute to my family income by using technology and doing what I enjoy!” Marcie said.

Marcie used technology to improve her parenting skills, and turned the blog into a professional opportunity that she can do from home with her baby. Technologic.


Rock your Friday night with location-based apps

It’s the end of the week. The weekend is almost here. Before it starts, we’re going to give you some ideas to help you rock your Friday night.

– Use Foursquare, check out the places that are “trending” nearby and invite your friends there for a good party.

– Use Yelp to discover the hottest night spots in your city. Pick one and go there.

– Use Twitter and tweet “What is hopping tonight around here?” and wait for some replies. You’ll quickly get some suggestions.

– Use Zaarly to snag tickets to a nearby concert or comedy show. Just post what you’re willing to pay and someone will bring their tickets to you.

– To end your awesome night and to satisfy your late-night hunger, Zaarly a cheeseburger.

Before you go out this weekend, use your apps to help you find the best places to go for the experience you want. Or, heck, try going somewhere you’ve never been. You never know – you might just have the best Friday night ever.


Increase Small Business Profits With Mobile Technology

With the saturation in today’s market, small businesses need to shine among other competitors in order to attract more customers. This can be partly achieved by using proper marketing techniques which includes providing discounts and offers. Small businesses can also increase their brand’s value by catering to a niche market first, and once it gains popularity among the group, then can cater to a larger market. If you run a small business and need some help boosting your company’s credentials, you can use our unique application, Zaarly.

Zaarly is a web and mobile application which is popularly known as the next-generation’s online marketplace. As buyers are given more privileges than typical marketplaces, Zaarly will soon have a large user base, making it perfect for small businesses. Users also love the simple and intuitive interface. As a seller, you can cater to the needs of Zaarly users to help increase your popularity. On Zaarly, users post their offers online and our system notifies you if any offer is from your area. Then, you are allowed to bid with other sellers and the winning seller is allowed to sell their services.

Foursquare, an online location-based social network, can be used to monitor the number of people who visit your outlet. Using this data, you can give discounts and bonuses to your customers. Very frequent visitors attain the status of ‘Mayor’ of that venue on foursquare. You can encourage customers with ‘Mayorships’ to visit your shop more often by providing them with bonuses. Such ‘Mayors’ will also spread the word about your outlet to their friends. You can also try giving discounts or freebies to customers who refer your services to other customers.

On Zaarly, monitor users’ postings and provide them with the best deals you can offer in order to win the bids. If you own a restaurant, watch out the for the late night deliveries, for they are high-paying; if you run a cab service, regularly monitor our site for ride requests; if you manage a venue, watch out for ticket requests and so on. If you maintain good relationships with your customers and provide them with good offers, people will prefer your services to others.

Using social networking sites like Twitter can help you find more potential customers. Implementing a social media marketing strategy is also a good idea. While customers buy your products and services, you have to earn the customer’s trust. This can be done by directly interacting with your customers on Twitter. If you own a restaurant, set a search for food and your city, or search for food and your cuisine. Search for moving if you have a truck or search for weddings if you have a reception space. You can interact with these people and provide them with your services. If you have no problems, you can also recommend them to use Zaarly. Using this free method to attract customers is much better than money backed internet ads, which are considered by many to be annoying.

A proper combination of marketing and service can be used to win your customers easily. A well executed social media marketing strategy will also help to increase the popularity of your business. Monitor Zaarly regularly to attract more customers by providing them with shocking deals. Following these methods will help you increase your profits and your popularity, and help you on your road to become a major player in the future!