Virtual Reality… It’s been 16 years, already?!?

I just realized I’ve lived more years with access to the Internet than I have without it… The first time I ever heard the sound of dial-up I had no idea what it was. I was in 8th grade. Two years later we had a computer and dial-up AOL at the house. I was 14 when I started online social networking (I should be better at it than I am).

It started with AOL “First Church” chat room. Anyone remember that one? Later we moved to “EC” (Everyone’s Connected), then to MySpace, then we landed on Facebook. I realize most everyone in my generation wastes a lot of time on the Internet. I have wasted many hours online looking a pictures, reading useless articles, watching random funny cat videos… Thankfully, I don’t waste hours online anymore and I hope my time online grows shorter every year.

Despite the hours I wasted in the past, the one thing I’ve learned is that the time I spend online should be about making lasting connections.  I still have two internet connections that I’ve stayed connected to the whole time and still chat with on occasion. Time flies; I met those internet connections 16 years ago! And I’m making new connections all of the time.

I think about how the Internet and the world has changed in the past 16 years I’ve been on it, and I wonder how life will change in the next 16 years. I imagine the Internet (at least for me) will lead to more online business. I want to work from home running my own business… Oh, I’m doing that now! But I want to keep doing it and I want to grow my business to the point where I’m personally debt free, and free to take my business on the road.

This week I made a great online connection. I believe God led me to meet this career woman. She is someone who is going to teach me a whole new facet of writing; she’s going to mentor me into a whole new area of business, give me a skill that will go right along with what I’m already doing. She’s already taught me some things and I’m so excited to know about the online tools I’ll be tapping into soon.

I met my new connection on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a professional LinkedIn profile, get one. After all, our time should be spent making  connections that will led to the betterment of our world and the lives of those around us, and we can begin online. Link to me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachaelhartman I may know someone I can connect you to that will add a whole new dimension to your career!

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Have you tried HootSuite? I just signed up

Have you tried HootSuite? I just signed up… Thought it was fitting for OWL of Hope 🙂

HootSuite is a Social Media Management Dashboard. Users can access all of their Social Media accounts from one place, schedule posts and monitor feedback.  I connected my HootSuite account to Twitter, LinkedIn, my personal Facebook account and both of my business pages on Facebook.

There is an option to post to my WordPress blog as well, but I decided not to include WordPress in the feed for a couple of reasons. First of all, I want this blog to be filled with actual content, not short quips I post to Twitter. Secondly, the post was cut short so that the entire sentence did not appear in the title. Thus when I came to WordPress today, I decided to update the post and blog about my experience on HootSuite.

I actually took the virtual tour which helped me to understand the process of getting started. Basically, you can add tabs at the top of your dashboard and on each tab you can add up to three streams. I have a tab for Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. On each tab, I have multiple streams for each Social Media account.

For example, on the Twitter tab I have a stream for New Followers where I can quickly scan what my new followers are posting. I also have a stream for Retweets, so I can see if anyone retweets any of my tweets. And last of all, I have a stream for my tweets.

Each time I compose a new message, I’m given the option to post now, schedule it for a specific time, or to allow HootSuite to send the message for me at the optimal time (whatever that is) according to their automated system. I can also choose which of my Social Media accounts on which to post each composition.

I haven’t set up many posts yet, but I plan to schedule all of tomorrow’s posts tonight and time myself to see how long it takes. I recently listened to an online Social Media Seminar in which the speaker suggested to post once an hour to Twitter, retweeting valuable content from the past at various times of the day.

It makes sense to streamline Social Media, especially in light of the fact that I will most likely be starting a full-time job within the next three weeks. I still want to be able to reach out to my connections and gain the interest of new clients, and this is the perfect option. I believe HootSuite will be more effective for me in the long run: spacing out my content, reaching more viewers at various times of the day, and saving me time by keeping me off of Social Media.

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and blogs for Lady by Design. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.