Jenna’s Text-Savvy Tips

My parents tend to write their text messages like a formal email, including proper introduction, punctuation, and signature.  I always think about how much time it must take to think through each text, when it’s really not even necessary!  I have to give them credit though, as they have been getting better at texting, but I figured a few tips couldn’t hurt for them and the other parents out there.  

If you want to make your texting more seamless, here are a few tips I’d recommend: 

  1. No need for introductions.  You don’t have to be so formal, as texting is all about communicating quickly.  Feel free to just directly write what you are texting to ask or say. The “Hi Jenna. How are you?” introduction is not needed! 
  2. Skip the signature.  We already know who you are, since your text message is associated to your contact. “Love Mom” not necessary! 
  3. Shorthand is okay.  It’s totally fine to not spell out every word and just use abbreviations.  A few acronyms I tend to use are JIC (just in case), BTW (by the way), THX (thanks), IDK (I don’t know).  Brush up on other abbreviations here:
    http://www.connexin.net/internet-acronyms.html. 
  4. Punctuation is optional.  Along with the shorthand topic, proper sentences and punctuation are totally optional.  You can put a punctuation in between thoughts, not even use one at all, or use multiple in a row (!?!?!). Texting is one time its fine to ignore all your schooling on grammar lessons. 
  5. Emoji’s welcome.  Emoji’s help you express emotions and ideas, while livening up your text messages.  Share that you are excited, want to dance, are traveling, are doing something sporty, or anything else via a quick emoji (or a few) instead of typing it all out.  If you don’t have the emoji keyboard, ask your TechStar Tutor to help you.  For iPhone, here is a link to Apple support on how to use emojis (emoticons): https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202332
Thanks for reading my texting tips! Feel free to leave any comments or share if you have any tips to add to the list! 

How I Started Teaching Personalized Technology Lessons to Older Adults

Back in High School when I was a cashier at Martins, I never imagined that teaching adults technology would be my next job. It’s not like I planned on it happening that way, but fortunately, one of my toughest setbacks ended up being a bridge for a brilliant business idea.

Right before Summer in 2015 at the end of my Freshman year at Virginia Tech, I completely tore my ACL and partially tore my MCL while playing a game of flag football with friends. I’m not unfamiliar with injuries because I’ve had my fair share of them, but this was definitely the worst one of the bunch. No longer could I get a job as a waiter or a cashier during the summer because of the intensive physical rehab and the long recovery time. At this point, it had seemed like all hope was lost for making money in the summer.

One day, my grandmother came over to see me after my surgery. She was talking about needing to call one of her friends, and took out her phone to do so. This all seems like a normal thing to do, right? The only shocking factor to me was she also took out a contact book to look up her friend’s number and was commenting on how it was frustrating to always carry it around with her. I asked her, “Why don’t you put your contacts into your phone and call your contacts using your phone instead?” After replying she didn’t know how to transfer the contacts, I offered to help her out sometime when she was free. This is when the initial business concept was born.

My grandmother knew that I wasn’t able to earn money throughout the summer, and offered to pay me in order for me to come teach her technology lessons at her home. I started helping her in a variety of different ways, I set-up her smartphone, customized her laptop for her, and got all her email settings the way she wanted them.

Eventually, she started becoming better and better at what I was teaching her and her friends were taking notice. I would go over for a lesson, and she would tell me that her friends from a community group she was in were all surprised and even a little jealous of her new technology skills and knowledge. This got me thinking about the bigger picture, instead of just being focused on what I was doing.

I realized the gigantic need there is for a personalized technology tutoring service that offers in-home technology lessons for older adults. There is a large market of adults 50 years and older that could use these customized technology lessons! At the same time, why not target college-aged students and graduates as the technology Tutors? College students like myself have grown up in this new technology age and have already learned most of the skills required to be a tutor simply because of the generation we are in. This way, we are providing a way to fulfill two different needs in society: Provide college students flexible, great wage jobs, and effectively train older adults on all the skills, knowledge and uses of their technology devices in a personalized setting.

I started working more on the overall business idea and came up with the name TechStar Tutors as our brand name. Also, our logo is symbolic and represents the bridging of the technology gap between generations by having the two sides come together in the middle to form a bridge.  Our logo runs with our tagline: Bridging the technology gap between generations.

In the end, I just want to provide qualified college students with the best part-time jobs at the same time as helping older adults better access their technology devices. I really hope this company does take-off so we can serve more and more people in different cities and eventually all over the country. If you know someone today that could use our services, make sure you direct them to our technology lessons today!