Five Cool Things Technology Has Done For Me

Being part of the #MySmarterCommerce campaign with IBM, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about all the ways the internet, technology, and probably more specifically, social media, has changed my life.  Sure, everyone’s life has changed with the invention of new technologies.  If we don’t know something, we just “Google it”, we use our smartphones for everything and connectivity is always at our fingertips. But for me, the coolest thing about social media is the random connections I’ve been able to make and the advancements for myself and my career.  Here’s my top five favorite things technology has done for me (so far!).

1) Saved my LDR (that’s long distance relationship for those not in the know). Living in NYC while my sig other was in Buffalo for nearly two years wasn’t easy. But thanks to Skype, Facebook, email, texting and even Seamless Web, we were able to connect in more ways than ever possible.  In the olden days, LDR’s didn’t stand a chance, with the lack of cell phones, painfully slow process of letter writing and non-existent internet even couples parting ways for the summer pretty much had a “see you in September” mentality.  Modern day LDR’s stand a lot better chance.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch Going The Distance.

2) Got me on CNN! About a year ago I was up late one night perusing Twitter when I received a tweet from a CNN producer asking if she could DM me.  Unsure whether it was spam I quickly checked her out and she seemed legit.  After a brief direct message exchange on Twitter and a few emails, I was confirmed as a guest the next morning on CNN as a social media expert.  I credit this to a winning combo of my Twitter presence and my personal blog presence.  I later found out that one of the writers was a big fan of The Allie Zog Blog, which surely helped my cause! 🙂

3) Got me most of jobs to date. When I first finished college, I distinctly remember spending several days stuffing envelopes to mail out to job prospects.  Yes I literally stuffed envelopes, sending my resume, best clips from the college newspaper and a lengthy cover letter to every magazine, newspaper and random publication I could think of.  I think I heard back from like 2.  Do journalism majors still do this?  I HOPE not!  That was the first and last time I ever MAILED anything to apply for a job.  The last few jobs I’ve had have been obtained by a combination of personal introduction, Twitter connections, online job boards and again, this blog.  To this I say, good riddance envelope stuffing!

4) Connected (and reconnected) me with friends old and new. As cliché as it sounds, I still love social media for the simple fact that it’s allowed me to stay connected to people from my past, often re-connecting me to them after years of silence.  If you’re like me and left your hometown at 18 with not many returns, you may not have been the best at keeping each touch with high school pals.  I doubt I even had any of their phone numbers or even email addresses after college ended but thanks to social media I’m able to find out  where they are and what they’re doing and in most cases we’ve been able to “catch up” without actually having to see each other or even speak on the phone.  In addition to re-connecting with old friends, I’ve had a lot easier time staying connected to new people I’ve met along the way.  In the past, if you met someone casually at an event or even through a friend, you probably wouldn’t stay in touch, but these days, after I meet someone new, I usually find a friend request or new follower in them a few days later.

5) Given me important information such as “where should I eat tonight” “how can I get Lumineers tickets” and “where can I buy a hot yoga towel.” You know – the burning questions that before Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc were just so much harder to answer!

These are just a sampling of the many ways in which I use one part iPhone, one part Twitter and two parts my imagination to make my life easier everyday.  I’d love to know what technology and social media has done for your life.  Share with me in the comments or on Twitter using #MySmarterCommerce.

#spon: I have been invited by IBM to share my honest thoughts and experiences around Smarter Commerce, and as part of this collaboration, IBM may provide me with product, access, content or other forms of remuneration. All opinions are expressly my own.

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Makes you think…

Today was an emotional and strange day in the world of celebrity and news. We lost not one but two legends. One was tragic yet somewhat expected and one was seemingly out of the blue, although many people said they weren’t surprised by it.

The craziest thing about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and even Ed McMahon a few days ago is that I found out about all three of them through twitter. Not once when the stories were unfolding did I turn on the radio or the TV, and for the most part I didn’t even visit any major news sites. I literally followed the entire thing on twitter, noting who got the stories first and who was most accurate. Breaking News On (@breakingnewson) seemed pretty quick with updates and the celebrity bloggers and other celeb enthusiasts were quick with Retweets, updates and opinions. It was a true testament to the changing times that I essentially needed nothing more than my phone and twitter app to be completed up to date on Michael Jackson’s death. I saw a quick tweet at the end of my work date that mentioned him being taken to the ER but didn’t pay much attention to it in the midst of the Farrah mourning. Then, on my hour train ride, I settled in and checked my twitter stream, only to find out that history was being made. I teared up a few times from a combination of the obvious sadness of the death of an undisputed music legend, and also a bit from the impact of just getting all this info and reading all these people’s heartfelt messages all while sitting silently on the LIRR. At one point as I was deep in twitterland, I considered announcing MJ’s passing to my train car, or striking up a convo with the sleeping businessman next to me, but decided that would be too odd. It just felt so weird to be finding out such dramatic news while the people around me seemed to be clueless (at least those not on their phones). I also found it fascinating that TMZ legitimately broke the story first, followed by other celeb bloggers and less credible sources, and further more, they were totally on point. Next came the LA Times and finally after a few others came CNN. A lot has changed from the days of tuning into CNN because it was the ONLY source of 24 hour news around…

I just wanted to write something today to honor the deaths of three people who were legends in their own way. Putting all personal stuff aside (personal stuff which everyone has in one way or another) Michael Jackson was one of the greatest entertainers our generation has ever seen. Ed McMahon was a household name that everyone loved. Farrah Fawcett was the embodiment of sexy and in her final days became an inspiration to us all with her brave battle. Although I never met any of these people and do feel that sometimes it’s crazy the way the public obsesses about celebs that they know nothing about personally, I think that these three people clearly impacted the world, and for that, they deserve our blessings. My thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones tonight.

On a completely unrelated note, I am off to Fire Island again this weekend, and plan on writing an epic post (or maybe event multiple posts) on my experiences there so far. I know, I’m a slacker!