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We’re coming up on Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I’ve been reflecting on the many things I’m thankful for.
While I’m most thankful for my Lord and Savior – Jesus, my wife & kids, extended family and friends, it never ceases to amaze me at how blessed I am to live in this day and age.
Technology has been transforming the way we live for decades, but 2013 has been particularly transforming for me. While some of the items described below are more “new to me” than new, they have all produced significantly positive change in my work and my life.
9 New Transformational Internet Technologies I’m Thankful For
1) Virtual Assistants – This year we added some virtual assistants to the OurChurch.Com team for the first time. They help us with administrative and other tasks. This has freed up me and others on our team so we can focus more of our time and energy on serving clients, development, communication and leadership. It’s been a huge step forward!
2) Jing – Jing is a great free tool that makes it fast and easy to capture and share an image or video of your computer screen. With Jing, I can record myself doing something on my computer while explaining it verbally. That video gets automatically placed online, and I can share a link to it with whoever needs it. It’s great for showing a client how to do something or delegating a task to member of our team (especially virtual assistants). Not only can they see and hear the demonstration, but they can refer back to it any time they need it. And it’s much faster and clearer than writing out instructions.
3) ooVoo – ooVoo is software similar to Skype. It facilitates audio and video calls online, but what I really like about it is the free video calls with up to 12 people at once. We do our monthly staff conference calls with ooVoo and get to see and hear everyone on our telecommuting team. It’s also great way to see extended family at the holidays when you can’t all be together in the same house.
4) Hangouts on Air – I have really fallen in love with Google Hangouts on Air this year. HOAs enable you to not only video chat with several other people at the same time, but also broadcast it to the world. The video is automatically recorded and published to YouTube too. It’s great for interviewing experts, panel discussions, and even team training events. If you’re looking for a great example, check out Jason Wiser who is doing a great job with his Get on track, Stay on Track series of Hangouts.
5) Virtual Coaching – Some of the biggest steps forward I and OurChurch.Com have taken this year have come as a result of hiring coaches. Big thanks to Ken Manesse who has provided some excellent coaching on leading a business and marketing. Ken and I have never met in person. Instead coaching is facilitated using phone calls, Google Docs and Google+ Hangouts.
No matter what type of organization you work or serve in, if you want to take it to the next level, you will do that far better and faster when you have someone who has already been there showing you the way.
6) Pixlr – I don’t do a lot of graphics work, but occasionally I need to create or modify an image for a blog post or something else quickly. I’ve found the online image editor at http://pixlr.com to be very fast and easy to use. It’s free. And since its online, there’s no software to download or update.
7) oDesk – oDesk is a great place to find and hire people to do small projects. We’ve been able to find skilled people who specialize in all sorts of work from creating transcripts to recording voiceovers to developing little, time-saving software tools and more. Instead of trying to learn and do every little thing, we’re learning to delegate the small things so we can focus on bigger, more important things.
8) Solavei – Up until a year ago my wife and I had our cell service with AT&T, but we were frequently going over our limits on minutes, texts and data. Even when we weren’t over, we were worried about going over, checking our usage and trying to conserve. Then we switched to Solavei , which gives us unlimited minutes, texts and data for $50/mo. It uses the T-mobile network. While coverage and data speeds are not as good as AT&T, the freedom and peace of mind that come with no limits has been great.
Edit 11/23/13 The day after I posted this, Solavei put a cap on data. Yet they continue to promote their plans as “unlimited.” 🙁
Edit 11/27/13 Correction, the cap is on 4G-speed data. Once a user hits that limit they continue to get unlimited data but at 2G speeds.
9) The new OCC Dashboard – Behind the scenes here at OurChurch.Com we have spent much of this year, developing and launching a brand new Dashboard for our clients. The Dashboard provides clients with a much better experience for ordering, invoicing, processing payments and receiving support. When fully deployed it will also eliminate a lot of time and headaches caused by our old admin system.
All of these tools and technologies make “more” possible – learning more, getting more done, connecting more, helping you accomplish more.
- Which if these Internet technologies are you using? Which is having the greatest impact?
- What other new tools and technology are you thankful for?