Category Archives: technology

Can We Merge What Young Women Find of Interest With New Knowledge For a Better Future? My Latest at Forbes

Educating young women and getting them to have passion for taking care of themselves when they grow up (vs just wanting to “marry well”) is a strong area of interest for me. Last week on Forbes I asked – can we reach young girls through things they’re naturally interested in (fashion, music, pop culture, etc.) and segue it to educating and exciting them about pursuing STEM careers? Things like wearable tech, for example, might be a natural cross over for their interests – but I think we have a long way to go to educate them that these careers can be just as exciting as the ones on the front of all the glossy magazines in the grocery store. I’d love for you to take a read and please let me know what you think.

LostKidz – Free App to Help Find a Missing Child – Maybe Even Yours

I originally posted this on my Working Mother Magazine blog. I’ve reposted here because I truly believe in spreading the word to help children stay safe. Thanks for reading!

A few weeks ago while my family and I were enjoying an afternoon on the beach, we saw a man frantically running down the sand screaming a boy’s name over and over. The scene was right out of a movie – the sound of the sand and surf were too loud for anyone to actually understand what he was saying. People watched in curiosity as he ran through the crowds, but no one stood up or stopped to ask him what he needed. We thought it looked like he lost something, but we weren’t sure what… Until we saw a child walk over the sand dune towards him – and the father bolted to him, scooped him up and hugged him tight. It was obvious that the boy had been lost – if only for a few moments.

If you too have ever had that moment of turning around while in a public place and not knowing where your child is, you have a taste of what it’s like to lose a child. Hopefully for most of us, the panic lasts no longer than a moment or two as we quickly realize the child was just hiding around a corner or innocently wandered off out of naïve curiosity. But for some less fortunate, a missing child becomes a lifelong story of heartache, wonder and fearing the worst.

ImageToday, a new app was launched that aims to help solve missing child cases quickly and accurately. Through crowdsourcing and leveraging the community around us, LostKidz, an emergency mobile alert system, aims to help locate a child gone missing via immediate notification to other users of the application. Parents download the app and fill in details – the information is for use only in an emergency situation. When a child is lost, parents can send an alert out with details like the lost vicinity, what the child was wearing, etc. The app continues to send alerts – which cover a wider radius as more time passes – until the child is found and the alert is no longer needed.

Obviously, the premise is that the more app users, the better the results. We can only be as successful as the community who uses the app. By having friends, family and neighbors download the app, an instant community of help is built that can immediately activate in the event that your child ever goes missing. More missing child cases than not involve someone who knew the child (only 25% of abducted children are taken by strangers, according to KidsHealth.org) or who was seen in the area – so it makes sense that an immediate activation system that reaches anyone with a smartphone can be more helpful than traditional methods of communication.

The LostKidz app is free to download and receive alerts and $0.99 for an annual subscription to send alerts. Please check it out, encourage those you know to download it and hopefully, none of us will ever have to pay the $0.99. Of course, you’re probably wondering about security, how predators might try to use the app and more – here’s a link to those and other FAQs from the company, and a great video over at Mashable that further explains the benefits.

 * Full disclosure, I sit on the Board of Advisors for LostKidz – because as a mother of two wonderful boys, I am more than happy to support and promote anything that helps keep our children safer.

Total Transparency Is Overhyped

The whole issues of transparency in social media, networks and the like is driving me crazy. People keep blogging about being transparent and open but I think you have to keep it in context.

There have been some good blogs about this – for example, Penelope Trunk once blogged about her twenty-something business partner and the fact that he had personal photos of himself partying on his Facebook page. She talked about the age difference and how his generation is just “like that” and us Gen Xers need to lighten up. But uh, here’s the thing, some people – I would guess younger folks – have a lot less to lose. Perhaps he is just starting his career and doesn’t realize the impact total openness could have on it. Perhaps he doesn’t have a family to support or a mortgage to pay. If he loses a job for something he did or said on the Internet, he can probably get another one pretty easily without a lot of personal strife.

Transparency does not mean let it all hang out. It means to be honest and straight forward – as much as it makes sense. Don’t set up a flog or post comments under the guise of being someone else. Don’t establish a presence on social networks, communities or blogs and post comments or act like you are simply a loyal customer of some company when you actually work for them. Being transparent means being honest and open in this manner – identify yourself as an employee, or a client as a client, before posting comments – not showcasing your Friday night forays for all the world to see.

The Forbes Top 25 Web Celeb list yesterday also reminded me of this. My favorite “celeb” highlighted was someone I’d never heard of – Heather B. Armstrong. Besides being an amazingly honest, open and engaging writer, she talks about how she was fired in 2001 for blogging about people at her job. For her, total transparency meant unemployment. And even though – now – the road she was forced down as a result has paid off, it’s a one-in-a-million shot for the same outcome for most bloggers. (Despite that we’ve all come a long way since 2001…and she talks about how she had to learn her lesson on “boundaries” of transparency after hurting her family with early blog posts.)

She’s lucky – because now that she makes a living as a blogger, she can be totally transparent. And she is – and it works brilliantly. But for the rest of us – who still have to answer to clients or employees or employers – the total transparency of our opinions, thought and actions is something I question – and again say “all in context.”

Technology is great – when it works

  I’m a huge fan of technology – obviously, it’s what I focus on for a living – but when it doesn’t work it’s maddening! I’m pretty busy between running an agency, managing a family with two young children and dealing with three (slightly-maddening) dogs. So when I need gifts I usually order them at the last minute and online. Not the most personal approach but hey, it’s better than forgetting!

So when I skipped the food and went online during my lunch break to order some last minute birthday gifts, I expected it to be quick and easy – food basket, flowers – done. Usually that works. For some reason, tech karma is not on my side today. The first site, 1800flowers.com, kept insisting that my credit card number was wrong – it wasn’t, I checked it about a zillion times. Okay fine, I don’t have time to talk to customer service so I quickly go over to Hallmark. I choose my gifts, add in the addresses and go to pay…and the site keeps crashing. Over and over again that annoying pop up tells me the operation has been aborted. Dreadful words, especially when you are trying to hurry.

So technology today actually slowed me down. It’s great when it works but when it doesn’t – you feel like ripping your hair out. I guess my late birthday gifts will be even more late than usual!

 Where do you buy gifts online? Have any great suggestions? Please share!