Last week I spent a lot of time away from home. On Thursday, my husband and I packed the dog in the car, and headed off to Leeds – four and a half hours each way from Scotland and back.
Not so long ago, that would have meant being incommunicado for the day, except perhaps for the use of a mobile phone with a good signal. But not now. I travelled armed with a handbag full of gadgets, all designed to keep me in touch with my Twitter friends, clients, Facebook……and the location of the nearest pet food store for a hungry travel companion!
So, what are the contents of a social media addict's handbag:
A truly indispensable item for anyone wanting to stay in touch. So much more than a phone: it's a social media management system; address book; photo album; and music store. I never leave home without mine.
Yes, I'm unashamedly an Apple fan! It could be said that the iPad is just a bigger version of the iTouch or iPhone. But I love it. It fits neatly into my average sized handbag, is relatively lightweight, and takes up less room than it's netbook competitors. And, when loaded with the right applications, it's just a joy for social media addicts. Not to mention easy access to email, contact lists and some music for the journey.
3. MiFi dongle
MiFi gives you your own little wifi hotspot – wherever you go. You can connect up to 4 devices to the MiFi dongle at any time, so other people can use it too. Connected to my iPad, I was able to keep in touch with social media accounts; send emails; check distances between appointments; find shops; and download the latest Take That video! Even in the middle of a traffic jam on the M1!
There are other social media management tools available, but Hootsuite is currently my tried and tested favourite. It is available as an application for the iPhone and other smart phones, but has recently added an iPad version to the list, which is truly a delight to use. It is particularly brilliant for managing Twitter accounts, but also covers Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare – all in one place.
5. Paper and Pen!
Sadly, there is the odd occasion when there's no network coverage, the dongle doesn't function, and gadgets let you down. And at those times, you should never be without a notepad and pen to take down notes about blog ideas, to do lists, and thoughts for tweets and updates.
These are my favourite things for keeping in touch on the move. But what do you use? I'd love to hear from you – the best ideas will be added to my Santa list!