Text Messaging for Help Line Service Providers – Health Education and Public Assistance Call Centers

Text Messaging is a Great Way to Help Those In Need

The growing usefulness of text messaging as a communication tool originally stemmed from wanting to keep in touch with friends and family. It has quickly grown to a way of interacting with businesses through mobile marketing, voting on tv shows like American Idol and more recently as a two-way method of communicating with organizations offering assistance and help.

We’re seeing it used by organizations who want to provide health advice and sex education services to teens and young adults, as a way of preventing those in desperate times who are contemplating hurting themselves or who are simply distressed by uncontrollable happenings in their surroundings, like the oil spill or natural disasters.

The three main benefits of offering text messaging as a help line service are:

1) The ability to be able to receive and reply to text messages anonymously.
Not all text messaging software providers have this option, so ask first.

2) Text messaging is more teen and young adult-friendly than phone calls or email.
A Pew study found that 63% of all teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives, including their parents. Also, nearly half of all teens send and receive text messages with friends daily. 39% of teens never exchange e-mail.

3) Efficient information exchanges.
Responders can be assisting multiple people at once and also have the ability to send back specific information via text message that doesn’t need to be written down. For those with smart phones, a link to more information and data can be sent quickly, making the experience seamless.

One of our text messaging for helplines clients is the TALKWITHUS campaign. Here are some promotional pieces for those, including one from the Surgeon General.

Talk With Us Helpline – Oil Spill Radio Spot

Kellogg’s Special K Box – A Great Place for Customer Service via Text Messaging

I am a big fan of Special K, it is definitely my favorite cereal in the world. I also happen to be a huge fan of white space in design, so while admiring a small box of Special K while enjoying a bowl of it, I noticed all of the various ways they encourage customers to contact them. Honestly, I can’t think of any reason a sane person would be upset with Special K and I applaud Kellogg’s for providing so many ways to contact them, only they’re missing the single most utilized mobile channel: Text messaging. It is user-friendly, immediate, works on 99% of all mobile phones and is the preferred method of communication for all mobile consumers in the U.S.

Kellogg’s Customer Service:
Invite your customers to text you with their questions or comments. You’ll not only get more of them, my bet is that you’ll get more positive comments, not to mention you’ll have the ability to send those mobile users additional information, promotions, mobile web links, etc at the point of consumption without asking them to:

A) Remember to visit your website later.
B) Be placed on hold.
C) Spend time and postage to send you a letter.

If you’re looking for help in getting set up, let us know. Using our technology we can equip your customer service reps to receive and respond to text messages from your customers efficiently. And, as of this posting, the short code 237325 (CEREAL) is available. We can get you set up and running as quickly as possible.

Noel Chandler
CEO, Mosio, Inc.
Interactive. Mobile. Engagement.
www.mosio.com

3 Reasons Fast Company Needed Text-to-Screen Text Messaging Services for Q&A at Innovation Uncensored

From from @Water - Gary & @ellmcgirt galvanizing digerati, entrepreneurs, in... on Twitpic

Fast Company Could Have Benefited from Using Text Messaging to Let Audience Members Ask Questions

I want to start by giving a big thanks to the Fast Company event team. Thank you sincerely for bringing together such an amazing group of people. Your event was truly motivating and I was in no way disappointed. There simply isn’t enough time to go to all I want, but I go to as many conferences, workshops and seminars as I possibly can and Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored conference in San Francisco yesterday was one I was very excited to attend. As to be expected, the all star cast of speakers inspired, provoked thought and raised questions, plenty of them. I hope those who didn’t get to ask their questions found it to be as insightful as I did, but a few reactions to what could only be seen as “rejection at the mic” made me wonder how long those individuals might have been upset, noting that text messaging provides several simple solutions to a more engaging audience experience.

I was definitely not the only one who had questions they wanted answered.
So much of the talks were about data, about social media and what customers were thinking about brands. Time constraints made it difficult for those who wanted to ask a question to get theirs asked. It happens. But, I personally saw at least 3 people who were visibly upset that their questions didn’t get asked. Why? Because it takes guts to walk up to a mic and prepare to ask a question in front of a group of people. To then be denied the opportunity to do so isn’t just unfortunate, it’s embarrassing, an insult to the effort.

Looking around at any given moment, I saw 1 in 5 people looking at their mobile phones. Opportunity!
Here are 3 reasons Fast Company should have gotten rid of the Q&A mics and enabled audience members to ask questions via text message.

1. Everyone gets to ask their question.
For every person who walked up to the mic, I bet there were at least 5-10 others who would have loved to asked theirs. The presentations were incredible, why wouldn’t anyone who spends money to go to a conference have questions for at least 1 of those presenting? For anyone wondering “If there wasn’t enough time to get to 6 questions, how could there be enough time to answer 30-60?” The truth is, there isn’t. But to the gentleman who clearly wanted to ask a question of the Virgin America CEO and was upset he didn’t get to: not only am I sorry your question got unheard, I’m really curious what it was. You were obviously upset. If Fast Company used text to screen for Q&A, I would have at least had the chance to gain more interactive knowledge through the intelligent questions of others in attendance.

2. An opportunity has been missed to receive and respond to those people forever.
It was obvious that the success of every person who spoke was powered by passion. Each speaker could have spent as much (or more) time responding to questions than they did speaking about their topic. My gut tells me that each of those people, if they got to see a list of the questions asked at the event, would have taken the time to respond to them if they could.

3. Questions and answers provide a post-event bounce that extend the experience.
Nathan Hubbard (Ticketmaster’s CEO) said one of their goals for the future was to provide a powerful event experience before, during and after an event. By enabling attendees to text in their questions, Fast Company could have provided that experience for past, current and future attendees of their events. All speakers at the event are busy people, but why not send them the list of questions people wanted to ask, let them respond to those questions after the event, post the questions and answers on www.fastcompany.com and share the knowledge in an innovative way? Doing so adds to the live event rather than take away from it.

As I said before, the event was truly incredible and I will attend again, but I couldn’t help mentioning that a simple (and yes, still innovative) technology without the need for a mobile app or Twitter accounts could have been utilized to give Fast Company more out of their Q&A sessions. They are, in my opinion, one of the most important and interactive elements of the conference experience.

Noel

Photo Credit: @Water via Twitpic

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How to Get Positive ROI from Mobile Worker Text Messaging Software in Less than 300 Words

Mobile Text Messaging = ROI in Business Communications

This morning I received an email from a VP of Service (let’s call him Robert) at a company that supplies, installs and supports office technologies with a team of sales reps and service technicians out in the field on client visits.

It said…

“Noel,

In 300 words or less – please give me the ‘Mosio for Dummies’ explanation of what your product does and how I can get an ROI on paying this amount each month.

Robert”

My reply…

Hi Robert,

In 167 words (290 if you include the 2 customer testimonials below my name)…
Our customers use Mosio’s FieldForce to exchange text messages with mobile workers from our secure website. These companies, like most, use the phone, email and other communication tools as well, probably like yours, but text messaging enables them to save time over phone calls, leaving, listening to and jotting down info from voicemails when they are giving status updates, asking questions or placing orders.

Simply put, it combines the time saving elements of texting (which 73% of mobile users do) with a hosted software solution for managers, dispatch or support in a business communications setting.

Positive Return on Investment:
Our customers are seeing ROI by noticing a huge reduction in the amount of phone calls and “voicemail tag” with their workforce out in the field. Many Mosio clients launch the system to a smaller, test group and then roll it out to everyone after that to see how it goes. I’ve listed two client testimonials below which show anecdotal ROI stories from happy Mosio clients.

Noel

“Mosio’s FieldForce has been great for us. It enables us to maintain regular contact with our associates without spending a lot of time tied up talking on the phone or returning calls.” — Tim Gross, U.S. Remodelers

“FieldForce offers a convenient and effective way for our merchandisers and managers to communicate when they are out in the field or in stores where there is a high noise level.  The quality, price and value of the service are excellent.  The program was very easy to set up and the Mosio Team is friendly, dependable and very responsive. FieldForce has proved to be an asset to our company in providing excellent Customer Service to our customers and employees.  ” — Sherrie Arnold, ATA Retail Services

His reply to my reply…

Noel- you did very well.  I will forward this on to our Director of IT for his input and let you know if we are interested in further discussion.
Thank you very much.
Robert

I appreciated Robert’s challenge as well as his response. We love Directors of IT and anyone else making decisions in technology for their companies, but we designed our software to have the lowest IT footprint possible. Mosio is web-based, secure, uses the text messaging capabilities of any mobile phone with text messages sent or received from any internet connected computer or tablet. ROI is the most important part of any business technology. Whether or not you use Mosio’s FieldForce, using text messaging to communicate with your workforce will absolutely provide you with cost savings over phone calls and voicemail.

With Event Mobile Messaging, Every Seat is Front and Center

With Event Mobile Messaging, Every Seat is Front and Center
(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Ashley Spade, part of our “Consumer Viewpoint” guest post series about all things mobile)

Corporate events and conferences can be a great learning experience. They can be, but often they aren’t.

They can be huge, hard to navigate and poorly planned. Or, events and conferences can be a great source of information about an industry, an opportunity to network and a learning experience for everyone from executives to interns.

A company where I interned as an undergrad went the extra mile to help us get the most out of each conference. The company, overall, was great with human resource management, so I wasn’t surprised to find that they cared so much about making sure the conference was an enjoyable and informative experience. They listened to feedback about the previous conference, which I didn’t attend, but understood to be poorly organized and difficult to navigate. So, for the next industry event, the HR department hired a mobile event messaging service.

Staying Informed

The conference I went to was gigantic. There were easily thousands of people in attendance and I, being an intern, was intimidated. I knew I needed to glean all the information I could from this opportunity but felt overwhelmed by the thought.

The event messaging was a lifesaver.

I’d been to a few lectures, panel discussions and sporting events at school that used mobile messaging and Twitter to keep us informed. Even if I couldn’t physically be there, I was able to stay up-to-date with the happenings.

With mobile event messaging, or even Twitter updates, you’re able to still get the main points of a lecture, the responses of different panel members to the audience’s questions, or even a play-by-play from your favorite sports team.

It’s like being there without being there.

The conference I attended during my internship was big enough that I had no chance of making it to see even half of the speakers, discussions and panels. With the event messaging, I was able to plan out beforehand which speakers I wanted to listen to and make myself an itinerary. Then, I relied on mobile messaging to fill me in on what I was missing. If the schedule changed, I knew immediately. I got timely updates from other talks and intriguing questions and answer feeds.

Audience Interaction

Not only does mobile messaging keep everyone in the loop, but it can also inspire participation. At conferences where the entire event is covered by messaging and polls, audience response questions and surveys encourage conference-goers to get involved and keep everyone involved, even if they’re not in a particular session. There’s a definite feeling of community and connectivity, plus a few talking points during lunch.

Give Event Text Message Alerts a Try

If you feel overlooked, overwhelmed or generally uninformed at company or industry-wide conferences, you might talk to your HR department about hiring an event messaging service for the company. Even just keeping yourself and your co-workers involved can make a huge difference in the amount of information you’re able to retain.

Try attending a conference or event that’s covered by messaging or Twitter updates, whether by yourself, with co-workers or with the whole company. You’ll easily be able to tell the difference, feel more informed and more connected.

About the Author:
Ashley Spade is a law student in Chicago. When not pulling all-nighters at the library, she spends her time scouring thrift stores for vintage fashion treasures, reading case briefs while on the treadmill at the gym, and volunteering for local animal shelters. Follow the adventures of Ashley and her furry sidekick, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First, on twitter: @ashspade or check out her fashion blog: www.beltsandbangles.com

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Reach More People Using Text Messaging with Text Message Software; 31% Prefer Receiving SMS [STUDY]

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A new study from Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals some incredible statistics about the increasing usage text messaging in US mobile subscribers. A few key points:

55% of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call.

Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day.
(Read: 55% of those between 18-24 years old would rather get a text message than a phone call).

Text messaging users send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily.

For businesses looking into text messaging services for their customers or employees, this research offers even more data that SMS is not a channel that can be ignored. Implement text messaging into your business services and you’ll be connected with more people the way they prefer on their mobile devices.

 

Instant Gratification: Why Getting Texts from Your Favorite Companies Benefits You (and Why More Businesses Should)

We communicate differently than we did twenty years ago; or even ten years ago.

For 12-17 year olds, texting is the main form of communication; in fact, it’s more popular than face-to-face, phone calls and emails combined. The average American teen sends over 3,000 text messages a month. And, though 25-35 year olds make up a relatively small portion of the population, they are responsible for a large number of text messages sent in the US.

In short, texting is huge.

Many providers of goods and services have caught on to the trend and are now offering free coupons via text messaging services. If the trendy new frozen yogurt shop wants to get the word out, using a text messaging advertisement business may be their best bet.

Our cells are never far away and we check them even if we don’t suspect we’ve missed a call. Why? Maybe because we’re obsessed with our phones.

Consequently, text advertising makes tons of sense. Just as our communication habits have changed due to technology, marketing and advertising must also change to keep up with our latest tendencies. Text message advertising is a timely and effective form of advertising that’s especially suited for a generation that’s constantly on the go. The sooner a consumer hears about a deal, the sooner they can act on it, which drives immediate business and revenue.

How?

Cell phone users send a six-character code to a business, which essentially tells them: “Hey, I love your frozen yogurt. Keep me updated on it!” Once the business receives the code, the sender can later receive alerts, announcements, promotions, links and coupons straight to their mobile device.

Consumers receive information straight to their phones without the hassle of email and computers or standard mail and postage rates. Advertising companies no longer have to spend crazy amounts of money.

The Results

Recent studies show that text advertising reaches a massive audience. Taking advantage of a free coupon via text doesn’t require a smartphone, installation of any apps or even Internet access. The only absolute requirement is a text-enabled phone – pretty much any phone on the market – and a standard text message plan.

Why More Businesses Should Text

Cell phone users value real-time advertisements and are more likely to act on an ad that implies a sense of urgency. You also target a specific audience, so if your business operates in a college town or if you sell products that are geared towards teens, texting is one of the best ways to get their immediate attention and keep them hooked.

Text advertising businesses also offer real-time event coverage. If your business is conducting a conference, fundraiser or gathering, keeping your attendees and outside consumers in the loop can be difficult to do without spending a lot of money. Text message marketing allows you to keep users updated, run a mobile conference website with an itinerary and stay in touch after the event.

This service is especially useful for smaller business that may not have a big budget for advertising. Pricing for these services is considerably cheaper than that of standard advertising methods. You also have the opportunity to reach your direct audience and only send information to people who ask to receive it. Your advertisements, then, will never fall on the wrong people, arrive unwelcomed or go unnoticed. Talk about bang for your buck!

About the Author:
Ashley Spade is a law student in Chicago. When not pulling all-nighters at the library, she spends her time scouring thrift stores for vintage fashion treasures, reading case briefs while on the treadmill at the gym, and volunteering for local animal shelters. Follow the adventures of Ashley and her furry sidekick, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First, on twitter: @ashspade or check out her fashion blog: www.beltsandbangles.com

How to Report Text Message Spammers from Your Mobile Phone

Spam sucks and on your mobile phone it’s even worse. The process to report spammers used to be as big of a pain as spam itself, but in February 2010 the GSM Association launched a pilot program using the (even shorter) short code 7726 (which spells out SPAM on your phone’s keypad). I use AT&T, which participates in it and I’m not entirely sure of the other carriers in the U.S. who do, but all of them should.

I Here’s how you use it:

1. Copy the spam message you get in your phone.

2. Text it to 7726.

3. Copy the phone number you’re receiving a spam from and wait for about 10 seconds.

4. You should get a reply from your carrier asking you for the phone number. Reply to that message with the number.

I have found this to be quite helpful and in fact I have yet to get another spam message from the phone number who sent it in the first place. It’s entirely possible that the spammers are simply changing numbers, but being able to do this from my phone is convenient, simple and empowering.

6 Great Mobile Apps for Law Students

As a law student, your time is valuable. From coursework to time spent in the library, organizing your time is paramount to your success as a student and soon-to-be lawyer. No matter what facet of the law you’re most interested in, from international arbitration to criminal law, these mobile apps (almost all of which are free) can help you organize your busy schedule.

ABA Journal

Free to download, the ABA Journal application features articles and breaking news from the leading publication of the American Bar Association. Users can stay apprised of legal news that is updated through the day, read articles, and delve into one of the more than 2,500 legal blogs in the Journal’s directory.

The American Lawyer

Similar to the ABA Journal, this app (also free) allows you to view articles from the monthly magazine, as well as annual surveys that rank law firms by amount of revenue and personnel. A definitive legal publication, The American Lawyer app is a leading news sources for those in the legal field.

The Constitution of the United States

Available with audio, this app features the U.S. Constitution in its entirety. Explore the federal government’s relationship with the 50 states and their citizens. The app features a searchable index, a table of contents, and information about the Constitution’s ratification. What better way to stay apprised of legal precedent on the go, especially at the bargain price of 99 cents? (Android) (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

Evernote

Another free app, Evernote allows users to quickly take notes, create to-do lists, share files, and record audio notes, among several other features. Whether you’ve already packed up your laptop after class or are struck with an idea when no paper is available, Evernote can help you keep track of ideas, questions to ask your professor, or the name of that reference book you need to find at the library. Evernote is also available as a desktop application, allowing you to sync information between your desktop and mobile device.

Dropbox

Free for use, Dropbox is another app that is available in both a desktop and mobile version. A file-sharing system that can help keep you organized between home and the lecture hall, Dropbox allows users to access and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and export files. Work with classmates on the go, knowing you can access copies of class notes while the originals stay safely at home. Signing up for a Dropbox account is necessary, but it only takes a few minutes.

Black’s Law Dictionary

At $54.99, this is the costliest app on this list but also the most necessary. A go-to source of information, Black’s Law Dictionary provides legal definitions for law students and lawyers. The terms are also accessible to those not even studying law. Important to have on your bookshelf at home, the mobile app will help you accurately cite sources without having to lug the book around with you.

While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a start towards staying more informed as a law student. Save time and room in your messenger bag by downloading some or all of these apps and help secure your place at the head of the class.

Have any more that you’re using? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author:
Ashley Spade is a law student in Chicago. When not pulling all-nighters at the library, she spends her time scouring thrift stores for vintage fashion treasures, reading case briefs while on the treadmill at the gym, and volunteering for local animal shelters. Follow the adventures of Ashley and her furry sidekick, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First, on twitter: @ashspade or check out her fashion blog: www.beltsandbangles.com

Eight Mobile Apps for Nursing Students

Mobile technologies have been in the healthcare industry for awhile now, but with the mobile phone more popular than ever, it makes sense that those in school can use technology to their advantages. This guest post about mobile apps for nursing students is from Jessica Bosari who writes for Allied Health World.

Eight Mobile Apps for Nursing Students

Nursing students have dozens of iPhone and iPad apps from which to choose. These apps provide quick information on everything from medical terms to medication guides.

Epocrates

The Epocrates apps come in three different levels. You can purchase the Essentials Deluxe app for $199 per year, Essentials for $159 per year, or RX Pro for $99 per year. If you’re a student on a budget, they also offer free apps like RX Free and Mobile Resource Centers Free. All of the apps provide up to date information about caring for patients.

Davis Drug Guide

This $39.95 app provides the latest information about medications on the market today. The more than 5,000 listed medications are easily cross-referenced. You can customize the app with bookmarks, and the app provides access to the latest drug information from the FDA.

NCLEX Lite

For .99 cents you can have a portable quiz card system on your iPad or iPhone to help you prepare for the NCLEX. The app will provide randomized questions and answers so that you can practice with fresh material each time you take a new quiz.

Eponyms

Eponyms is a free app that contains hundreds of definitions and descriptions of medical eponyms. You can search the index alphabetically, or look or specific terms individually. Searching for a general term will bring up results that include that term in the description or in the title of the eponym. This is an excellent tool for a nursing student who needs to look up eponyms quickly.

Nursing Essentials

This $5.99 app is an overview of many of the topics a nursing student would need to access for almost any part of the program. It includes photos, diagrams, lists, and descriptions divided into different classification. There is a respiratory section, cardiac section, neurological section, and a section for medical emergencies. The overall assessment section provides standard information that is useful in the classroom or at the bedside.

Micromedix Drug Information

This free app helps with drug names and classifications. Nurses can search through hundreds of drugs that are currently in use and click on a toggle button to see under what class each medication falls. The only problem with this app is that it takes you back to the home screen when you close it and open it again rather than remembering where you were. Otherwise, it is a handy, easy-to-use drug reference tool.

Nursing Central

This $159.99 nursing app is like having a complete nursing school manual in your iPhone or iPad. It contains information about diseases, drugs, and testing that would be important for any nursing student. It also includes 60,000 medical terms and access to a comprehensive online database.

Five Minute Clinical Consult

For $99.95, this app provides simple guidance for handling hundreds of different kinds of medical conditions. It also includes diagnostic tools and sections devoted entirely to pediatrics. The app does not need an internet connection to enjoy full access to all of its features.

 

Jessica Bosari writes about technology for nursing students at AlliedHealthWorld.com The site helps students find the medical career information such as the average medical billing and coding salary.

 

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging in Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services (Arik Levy, Laundry Locker)

Arik Levy, Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Laundry Locker.
Having a professional job and working many hours, the inability to get my dry cleaning and wash & fold done used to drive me crazy.  With a background in operations and technology I knew there had to be a better way.  In 2005 I came up with an ultra-convenient locker based service model that would allow people to drop off and pickup their dry cleaning on their schedule, at their convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This service is called Laundry Locker® and we are changing the way the world does laundry!  We have quickly become the largest cleaner in San Francisco with service in over 150 apartment buildings, numerous parking lots and office buildings, as well as 6 always open, self-service retail stores.

* You implemented technology in a pretty cool way at Laundry Locker. Tell us about it and how it helps customers.
Technology is fundamental to Laundry Locker®’s success.  As a self-service business, it is imperative that we build trust with our customers.  Our custom built, industry leading technology, gives us the ability to track every garment from the second an order is picked up to the time it is delivered.  This ensures consistent, reliable service and we open up much of our data to our customers to give them the visibility into what we see.  We provide full transparency including pictures of every single item and the ability for customers to mark up the pictures to let us know about issues with their garments.  This is an industry where customers are craving technology; they just don’t know it because it doesn’t exist.  Not only does the technology that we use improve the customer experience but also improves our bottom line.

* How do you see text messaging benefiting your industry?
Text messaging gives our customers the flexibility to transact with us in the most convenient way possible.  Our customers can place orders via SMS, receive alerts when their order is ready and we have more functions coming soon.  Customer service is key to our industry and the stronger relationship you can form with customers, the more successful you will be.  The mobile phone has put a computer in everyone’s pocket and we plan on leveraging that to its fullest. Technologies like mobile payments and NFC embedded in phones is super exciting.  We see some huge opportunities here.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?
I think I found out about text messaging in a bar. Expecting to find a missed call on my cell phone telling me where my buddies were, I instead found a text message; “We’re at the back bar.”  Brilliant!   Text messaging has made voicemail a thing of the past.  Got a message for me, just text it over.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

One of the most exciting things about mobile phones is that now the customer is always connected.  Their response times are quicker and they expect the same from their service providers.  Companies that can react in real-time and provide customers with the information they want, when they want it, will have a huge competitive advantage.

* What advice would you give any business owner implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?
The more channels of communication you open with your customers, the more difficult it becomes to manage the customer experience. For us, before we implemented mobile technologies, it was imperative that all our mobile interactions were seamlessly integrated into our existing customer experience system.  Our inbound text messages come in just like an order over the web and outbound text messages have the same traceability as our emails.  Without this level of integration, you will have a disparate view of your customer and you will be unable to react when they communicate using a different channel.

* Any other thoughts about mobile?
Apps and the mobile web are changing the game in every industry, even dry cleaning.  I think the new Motorola phone with a docking station is super exciting.  The smartphone  is the new laptop.  I can’t imagine the world without my smartphone, and 10 years from now we won’t believe that a basic iPhone was a sufficient device.  I recently heard about a billboard in NYC that was just a simple QR code.  The first day it was up, the QR code was scanned over 50,000 times!  Mobile technology is advancing every day and successful companies will be the ones that embrace it best.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?
I have an unlocked iPhone running on T-Mobile.  While I compromise on internet speed, not dropping calls anymore is worth the trade off.  My favorite app is CardMunch.  I just emptied my drawers of 1000+ business cards, scanned them in a matter of minutes and they were hand transcribed, digitized and loaded into my Google contacts, for free!

To learn more about Arik Levy or Laundry Locker, you can visit the Laundry Locker website or on linkedin.

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging for Teen and Young Adult Health Services (Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon, Scarleteen)

According to a new report by Nielsen Company, US teenagers have been cited as the fastest growing audience enamored of mobile content. While that might not seem like a huge surprise to many reading this, a popular reason we get calls from helplines and hotlines about integrating text messaging into their services is decreasing phone call volume. Scarleteen is one of the most popular teen and young adult services online, so we asked Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon to answer a few questions for us regarding mobile technology and text messaging as it relates to teen and young adult health services.

* Hi Stephanie and Alice, thanks so much for your time. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do.

Scarleteen is an online comprehensive sexuality education resource for teens and young adults. Like many of the others that work with Scarleteen, we are volunteers at the site. Between the two of us, we work the text-in service, answer questions at the boards, answer questions in the Sexpert Advice column, and have written articles. Alice also works outreach at a local teen shelter.

* How do you see text messaging helping teens and young adults learn about health and sex education?

Text messaging can be especially helpful for teens and young adults because it reaches them at their level. This generation is more mobile than in the past, reaching them individually on their cells is a good way to keep their attention and also keep them in proximity to important info. It also means a way of finding answers to questions quickly, and knowing it’s from a source they trust rather than just trusting what they might have heard somewhere.

In general, other places embracing text as a way of outreach can be helpful in its own, as it allows us to reach generations in ways that they feel more comfortable communicating.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?

Alice: What got me started in text personally…. I was finding that with a busy life I didn’t have a lot of time for answering in depth questions on the boards, so when we started doing text I saw it as an opportunity to scatter my Scarleteen work into small portions throughout the day and night.

Stephanie: Actually, I was a little reluctant, as I didn’t do much texting myself. But I had some time free when they were offering the webinar, so I figured I might as well get trained in case text was ever short handed. But I also found it fit better into my always hectic schedule – so now I love working that area.

* How have mobile phones and texting changed how your organization offers support?

Text messaging can offer real-time support where a teen or young adult may otherwise not have a way to get that. It’s especially handy for a teen or young adult who is out in the world, away from their computer, and needs advice or guidance regarding purchasing a pregnancy test, obtaining emergency contraception, reporting or getting services regarding a rape, etc.
* Advice you’d give to organizations considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?

Offering a text service can be really helpful, and it’s really pretty simple. As you go along, you’ll see what questions tend to come often, and what responses you give more than others. Setting up template answers saves a lot of time, and having an idea of what boundaries you’ll expect from users ahead of time helps things run smoothly.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?

Alice: I have a Blackberry Curve, and my favorite two applications are Pandora Radio and Yelp.

Stephanie: I have a Sony Ericsson MP3 phone, so no apps but love the music.

* About the Experts:

Alice: I am a hard working single mom of a wonderful 4 year old boy named Nolan. I reside in the Seattle area where I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker of many assorted jobs. I have an intense passion for sexual health, domestic violence prevention and supporting pregnant and parenting teens. I also love reading, writing for fun, baking, blowing bubbles and hanging out with close friends.

Stephanie: I’ve spent most of my time for years working with children and adults with special needs. After 4 1/2 years of hard work and studying, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Now I teach for an alternative education school. It’s a wonderful challenge. I continue my work with Scarleteen and sexual education, as I remember what my sex ed classes were like and hope for much better for the students going through those courses today. When not in my classroom I’m usually found with friends and family, continuing writing, reading, exploring and traveling.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

Donate to Scarleteen: help more teens and young adults

The Costs for Developing a Mobile App: “How long is a piece of string?” Best. Analogy. Ever.

How much does it cost to develop my app idea?

A thread was sent to me recently from the Silicon Valley iOS Developer’s Meetup, called “How much does it cost to develop my app idea?” and it’s definitely worth sharing again. While we love mobile apps at Mosio, the apps vs mobile web debate is pretty one-sided over here: the mobile web wins for most business uses. With Shoes.com stating 85% of their m-commerce sales coming from the mobile web, not mobile apps, it goes to show that it all really comes down to your company’s goals weighed against your resources. I’ve never truly heard of an organization with unlimited resources, so it makes sense people are trying to quickly ballpark the cost of building a mobile app. If you truly look at the needs of your company, odds are that you probably don’t need a mobile app right now. Even though this statement goes against the goals of iOS developers, I’m betting quite a few of them might agree.

Here’s how the thread starts:

“I have an idea for a simple app, how much would it cost to have that developed?”  Someone else replied “that’s a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?'”

“How long is a piece of string?” is given as a humorous answer, but it’s actually a pretty good analogy.  Imagine you walk into a store where they sell string.  You might have this sort of conversation: (see full mobile app development analogy here)

Benefits of having a Mobile Website

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Neil Jones, head of marketing at eMobileScan.

Mobile websites are the latest craze, since they can be accessed through smart phones which have become a vital part of our lives. Smart phones and tablet computers are the hottest selling items today, and website owners need to have their websites noticed through these devices. This is possible by having a scaled down version of a website, called a mobile site-the scaling down helping to make the details legible in as appealing a layout as the regular website on a laptop or desktop screen. With devices like the Blackberry, iPhone and various other Android mobiles, the laptop is not even necessary since these devices conduct all the activities with the same precision despite their small form factor.

Mobile websites, though essentially a miniature version of the website, do incur an expense, and this will mean cutting other expenses out of the shoes string website budget. The question is to see whether the mobile site expense justifies the cut in online marketing expenses or reducing the SEO consultancy costs. This is easy to find out, after knowing what benefits mobile websites bring with them.

Benefits

  • A rapidly growing market available-The number of mobile users is increasing fast, and an increasing number of internet capable smart phones and mobile devices are being launched. With all these available at affordable prices, the number of mobile users is bound to increase, and when the mobile device can conduct all the functions of a desktop and laptop computer, a mobile site makes sense. Doing so now, will give a head start over others and the site can be tried and tested well before competition heats up.
  • Will increase brand visibility- When huge amounts are spent on online marketing tactics like a pay-per-click campaign or SEO consultancy, a bit of additional effort can help to plug the gaps left by them, since some users slip through the paid efforts when they use other search engines and in many other ways. The effort in the form of a mobile website will help mobile users find the brand more easily and make all the information about it more accessible.
  • Bringing the brand within the grasp of the customer- Google’s Adwords campaign claims that pay per click helps to get in touch with prospective customers as soon as they search for the website’s products and services. This had seemed difficult a year or two ago when it was important to be in front of a desktop or laptop computer. But with mobile connectivity through smart phones and other devices, this is actually possible. Wi-Fi is available on domestic flights, shopping malls, and many public places, which makes checking of mobile sites even easier. In fact mobile sites would score over traditional websites which would not be very clear, and the potential customers would actually hit upon your mobile website just as they look for it.
  • Mobile sites can lead – Having a mobile website before others in the field can be a big plus. Besides being accessible through mobile devices, it can prove to be a way to score over others since it can be a winning point in online marketing strategies. It shows your website to be farsighted and geared for the future.

The mobile internet is here to stay and is only set to see exponential growth over the coming years; if you do not have plans to get in front of this ever increasing audience then you are making a decision that could be to the detriment of the future success of your sites and your business.

 

This is a Guest post by Neil Jones, who Specializes in launching ecommerce sites, he is currently plying his trade as head of marketing for eMobileScan. With 18 websites based all around Europe they are on course to be one of Europe’s largest online retailers of Industrial handheld computers and label printers like the Motorola MC3190 or Symbol MC9090. Neil has been an online marketer for the past 6 years and in that time he has owned and run a range of sites all built around the ecommerce platform.

 

 

10 Reasons You Should Be Texting with Students, On or Off Campus

We are contacted regularly by administrators, librarians and educators interested in text messaging with students for a variety of reasons. We’re not talking about campus emergency SMS blasting. While it is a valuable security tool for alerting students and faculty of danger in real-time, we specializing in conversational, two way text messaging. Essentially it is the same way students are accustomed to texting with each other.

Here are 10 things we hear from our prospects and existing customers regarding implementing text messaging to communicate with students. We recently did a Q&A session with Curtis Marsh from KU Info (University of Kansas) about using text messaging for student services that is worth a read. KU Info is one of the more popular services at the University of Kansas, set up originally in the 1970s to dispel rumors and now used as a general information line.

1. “They don’t respond to email.”

2. “They have so many different types of phones and text messaging reaches them all.”

3. “Your service lets me document my text conversations in a single place.”

4. “Texting lets them share information easily with each other.”

5. “I don’t have to text from MY phone, I type on your website.”

6. “We need to communicate with a lot of students at the same time.”

7. “We have been using instant messaging, but it doesn’t reach [students] away from their computers.”

8. “I like that I’m able to get back to them later after I find what they’re looking for, sending a single text message follow up.”

9. “Sending a single message update to a handful of our students and then letting them respond directly to us is so cool!”

10. “Answering questions was easy. I just sat down and clicked on the big red Answer button.”

You might have your own reasons for reading this list. If you have any more you’d like us to add, let us know and we’ll add them. Bottom line, text messaging is the best way to communicate with students, on or off of campus.