Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting social in the comfort of your own home!

As the school year starts to get into swing, Andy's House O' Blog is happy to share with you some simple steps on how to use (free) social tools to keep everyone on the same page.  In our household, we all have Google accounts, mobile devices and different schedules.  So for the kids to know when Mom is working, if I'm out of town or even worse, when I'm cooking dinner because Mom is working late, it's all readily available.  So if you haven't thought about this, it can work better then the bulletin board in the kitchen.  Here's how we started off:
  • Everyone in the house has a Gmail account.  Say what you want about the Internet giant, but I do like Google for many things.  Including hosting my blogs and housing images.
  • Once you have a Gmail account, you also have a Google Calendar. 
  • In your Google Calendar, go into the Calendar settings, select the Calendars tab and click on the Shared: Edit settings option, and start adding other family members via their email addresses.  They will get a message saying that your calendar is shared and any actions for them to take.
  • You can also set the level of access to your calendar.  If you want them to only see your info or see and edit, select how you want it to be.
  • Now MAKE them go in and put in their schedule information.  When their classes are, when they have a game they want to go to, when their work schedule is, etc.
  • Now that you are able to see everyone's schedules, get it on to your mobile devices.  BlackBerry, iOS and Android all have ways to sync calendar data down to handhelds.  USE IT.  Get the kids to use it.
  • If you want to have it outside of the browser format, download Thunderbird and Lightning.  Two great FREE apps that allow to sync multiple calendars to a workstation.
  • Another added plus for the Lotus crowd is that you can add your Google calendar data to your Notes calendar.  A big feature they put in a while ago and works great!  (Just be careful about setting the "view this calendar when offline or on a mobile device",  Did that once and took a while to clean up.  Read about it here.
  • Lastly, if you rely on someone else to assist with the transportation of your kids, share the calendars with them!  (Thanks, Mom!!!)
This is just an example.  I know that there are plenty of other tools out there to keep family's in touch.  Still, the best way to keep in touch and grounded with your kids is to share a meal with them.  Do it often, together as a family.  Call me old fashioned, but it works.  So get social and keep your family in line ;-)

    1 comment:

    Aurora said...

    ...and if you want your Lotus Notes calendar synchronized with your Google calendar, Awesync is inexpensive--and does a bang up job! :)