The Most Powerful Tool in Your Belt
What is the most powerful tool in your belt? Although this question is obviously subject to interpretation, I am going to have to go with my handy-dandy mobile device.
Think about it. We carry around more computing power and connection to the world around us in our pockets than a desktop computer in the 1980s. That's a big deal.
For purposes of this article, I am going to talk about my iPhone. Android and other phones have similar capabilities. However, as an iPhone user, it is the platform I am most familiar with. With that said, what exactly can you do from your phone? Well, let's break it down:
1. Phone Calls: Obviously there are phone calls. It is, after all, a phone. Thanks to the marvels of current technology, it can do a phone call in so many ways. I can do a standard cellular call - as in calling my mother to chat. I can do a conference call, granted not a large one because I am limited to two connection lines. It does come in handy for client meetings when there are three parties involved though. And, I often have that with business work that I do. Aside from standard cellular calls, I can also do a host of internet calls. I can do a Facetime video call. I can Skype someone from my phone, or do a Google Hangout call.
2. E-Mail: I can check and respond to e-mails directly from my phone. While this is not an option I generally prefer, it does come in handy on the fly. I can use the on board mail client, or I can use a Gmail app. Either way, I have access to e-mail in the palm of my hand.
3. Reading: I know that a few folks use their mobile devices for reading. Whether they're reading e-books or online articles, it is an easy way to pass the time during a morning commute on public transit. It's a great way to keep up to date with trends and information.
4. Photos: How many times are you out and about with access to an actual camera? How many times are you out and about with your cell phone? Exactly. I rarely use an old school camera these days because my phone has a decent built-in camera. It's also handy because I don't need something to convert or offload the photos if I want to share them across social media outlets.
5. Social Networking: Speaking of social media, many people use mobile platforms for social networking. Some social networks (i.e. Snapchat and Instagram) require a mobile device to upload content. I can tell you that my twitter usage is almost 90% via my phone. It's easier to swap in and out of multiple accounts, and I can easily copy/paste content from one platform to another with my thumb.
6. Video: Similar to the photo discussion, how often am I out and about with a video camera? Unless I'm filming a particular project that I want to have available for higher quality and editing purposes, I often use my phone to grab video footage of whatever I'm looking for. With the ease and availability of Facebook LIVE, being able to toss my cell phone up and live stream a moment or event just became easy to do at the literal push of a button.
7. Audio: Whether you're looking to record audio for something like a lecture and you want access to it later for study and review or you want to do a podcast, your phone can do that. Again, if you're looking to podcast, there are some great professional options available to help - including microphone inputs for your phone (which help with sound quality). However, you really can just record the audio to your device and utilize a podcasting service to host the feed, all of which can be done from that powerful device in the palm of your hand.
Again, there are other tools that I prefer to use for projects. Given the option between my iPhone and a production-quality high-def video camera, I will generally choose the high-def production-quality video camera. I have more control over the input and output options that way, and I can have a cleaner finished product from it. However, if I am doing something on the fly, or something that I don't have a huge budget for, I often default to what I have on hand. The same goes for photo and outreach options. I prefer using my computer to type - whether it be e-mails or articles such as this. Having a full keyboard and larger screen just makes it easier. Plus, mobile versions are sometimes stripped down to accommodate ease of access, and may not have the processing power and tools the full version does. Apps such as those in the Adobe suite, for instance, have mobile versions that are trimmed down from the full desktop version. The same goes for Squarespace and Wordpress. I can generally do more from my laptop than I can from my mobile device. It's just nice to know that if I'm on the go, I can still do some of the things I need to without having to lug around all of my equipment.