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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Input Wanted: Making Self-Storage Talk More Mobile?

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It's official: I love my iPhone.

I consider myself a bit of a late adopter to smartphones, as for quite some time I was averse to paying more on my cell phone bill for a fancy data plan and toshelling out hundreds of dollars for a phone that can supposedly do "everything." I was not a believer—and then I tried it. Now, I'll never go back.

Of course, the biggest smartphone advantage for me is that Self-Storage Talk [www.selfstoragetalk.com], the official online forum of Inside Self-Storage, is always in my pocket. If I want to log onto the forum while I'm sitting on a train or in a hotel room, I can. You could say I have no excuse not to stay up on the latest industry discussions because they're all just a screen touch away.

But my purpose for writing this is not to extoll the virtues of smartphones; I'm guessing the self-storage audience is already aware of them. In a post from a couple of weeks ago, I observed that at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo there were significantly more people carrying around smartphones than I had seen at previous events. It's because of this trend that I'm wondering if SST users would like to expand the mobile features of the site.

As it stands, you can view SST on a mobile device by accessing the browser and simply going to the website as you would on any standard computer. It seems to work well for most mobile users, who shared their thoughts on this thread. But another possibility is to develop a mobile application featuring a simple, easy-to-use, pared down version of the site with fewer tiny screens to click through to see the newest posts, discussions and responses. Similarly, a default mobile version of the site could load on your mobile browser, as it does with InsideSelfStorage.com, if it were created.

Of course, developing these apps and versions doesn't happen without an investment, so I want to make sure the audience would benefit from and has an interest in expanding mobile features. I'm also aware that while some people use the iPhone, others swear by the Droid, the Blackberry, the Palm Pre, and many other platforms, so I need to collect some information from the community. If you have a minute, please go to the Polls forum on the site and answer the following questions before Oct. 31:

1.) Do You Use a Smartphone?

2.) Would You Use an SST iPhone App? (We're looking at the iPhone first, but if you have an outspoken opinion about an app for another platform, please share it.) Just taking a couple of minutes to vote in the poll could make the site better. We're still in the investigation phase, but every great endeavor has to start somewhere, right?

Could you see how easy it is to stay engaged with a forum when you're always online? Do you have ideas for how SST can be more mobile-friendly? You will need to log in with a registered username to vote, but don't worry: Registration is free, easy and takes only a few minutes.

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