Throughout this website, there are examples of how technology has improved our lives (RememberItNowBrain Fitness Programs…etc).  When hit by those “oh no” moments of dismay over another hour of our precious time sucked up by the Internet and little sunlight left for a walk or run, it’s good to view the flipside.  Yes, camping online can be a time waster, especially if you’re easily distracted by all the new information streaming at you.  The upside, however, is that it’s easier to choose information you want coming your way. With thoughtful use of the resources available, you can reduce or eliminate time “surfing” for content, and sit back and have your preferences delivered to you. Then you choose when and how often you review the information. This is not unlike the newspaper thrown at your door to open and peruse at your leisure.

Begin with RSS feeds or your Google Reader. You may have noticed that many sites have the RSS icon (as does this one in the top right corner). Clicking on this allows you to receive an update to your “reader” whenever content is updated. If your “reader” of choice is “Google Reader” you will click on your Reader link at your convenience and find a string of links from all sites you have chosen to connect to via RSS. Incidentally, RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” – exactly what we have wanted for ages.

“Google Alerts” also work this way. You can go to “Google Alerts” and choose to be notified (receive an update in your Reader file) whenever there is an article about something of interest to you – for example, “educational family travel.” Every time something is written worldwide on educational family travel, you will be sent a link to that content.

TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) is one of our favorite uses of technology. If you follow Bette on Twitter, you will already know that. We go out of our way to find useful, fascinating TED videos to share via a Tweet (go to our Progeny section – Technology if Twitter is still Greek to you). TED is a set of non-profit global conferences at which innovative and engaging speakers share what they know. Among participants have been Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore,  and many Nobel Prize winners – to name a fraction of the incredible people who have shared their knowledge in the 18-minute presentation format that is then posted online for all to see – for free!

The TED motto is “ideas worth sharing,” and they certainly are. For example, on September 20, 2010 Melinda Gates and several other notable speakers will present on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which explores the end of poverty by 2015. Alternatively, you can hear what WWF’s VP, Jason Clay, had to say about “How big brands can help save biodiversity” during his TEDGlobal 2010 presentation – very provocative and hopeful!

Watch for another blog that explores some “good” uses for FaceBook, Twitter, email, and even the smartest of phones – key resources to help you stay relevant.