All posts by Andrew Robertson

About Andrew Robertson

I'm Andrew, I work as the Social Media & Marketing Assistant at SocialSafe. I've been writing blogs on here for over two years now, so you'll find pieces from me about anything relating to social media and tech, as well as the changing face of personal data. There's also room for the occasional post on some slightly off topics stories... just for the sake of variety!!

SocialSafe Aligns With Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Vision For Personal Data

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the internet, has spoken out about the issue of data ownership. An article this week in The Guardian talks of how the father of the world wide web sees a future in which the individual is the one who owns their personal data – not the big companies – and a future in which the individual can use that data for their own benefit.

Well they say great minds think alike, and we’re thrilled that this is precisely what we are actively working towards  here at SocialSafe – individuals aggregating their personal data from a variety of different sources to create a vastly superior data set that is more useful than the sum of its parts.  Today, SocialSafe is a social media organiser enabling users to download and aggregate a complete record of all their interactions in one safe place allowing them to view, search, export, organise it and more.

Looking towards the near future, SocialSafe will extend to all other personal data sets (e.g. shopping, banking, utilities, health, quantified self etc.) and users will be able to permission access others to their data for service, reward or convenience. The user has total control over what they choose to download and where they store it – we as a company never hold any of our users’ data, and they’ll always be able to access it.

We’ve been saying publicly for some time that we feel big data is wrong for the individual, and we’re immensely humbled to have our intentions and vision vindicated by the words of someone so influential in not only the tech industry, but the world as a whole. If you’ve not read Alex Hern’s article, we’d highly recommend that you do so. It may just change the way you think about personal data and who is benefiting from you being you.

Vote For SocialSafe In The Web Summit People’s Stage

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Vote for SocialSafe now!

We’re always trying to spread the SocialSafe message as far and wide as we can – and that message is that the individual should be the biggest single owner of personal data. One of the ways we can reach people is by having a presence at industry events and speaking to audiences – this may even be how you came across us in the first place.

leweb startup competition

Following our success at last year’s LeWeb Startup Competition in Paris, we’ve applied to enter competitions at Dublin’s prestigious Web Summit this coming November. SocialSafe Founder & Chairman, Julian Ranger, would love the opportunity to talk to the assembled delegates about why we think that big data is wrong… for the individual.

In order for Julian to be in with a chance of speaking on the Web Summit People’s Stage, he needs to make it into the top 50 from his pool. All you need to do to help us get him there is to vote for him by clicking “Like” on Julian’s Web Summit People’s Stage voting page.

Here’s a short summary from Julian about why we believe big data is wrong… for the individual:

“We’ve lost control of our personal data, are unable to benefit from that data, and have prejudiced our privacy. Our data is also lost, we are unable to access it, nor to aggregate it. There seems no solution, but there is – return ownership & control to the individual. This allows the user to do more with their data AND also allows the user to permission access to that data for service, convenience or reward – all under user control, but benefiting businesses as well as users by providing access to a wider, deeper, accurate data set, all whilst respecting user privacy.”

Click here to read a more in-depth piece about our vision for the future of personal data.

Thank you for voting!!

Changes To Facebook News Feed – Out With The Old, In With The New

Facebook has once again made changes to its News Feed algorithm, this time in an attempt to show content based upon its relevancy events that might be happening in real-time.

As a result of the feedback Facebook has received from users about the presence of days old posts in their News Feeds, the social network has said it will look at the events trending on Facebook and try to tailor the content shown depending on what might be happening right now. A blog post published yesterday shed some more light on the latest changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm:

“Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.”

There will also be a link between what appears in your News Feed and what topics are trending on Facebook:

“This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner.”

The ‘timeliness’ of posts will also be decided by how soon engagement occurs in relation to when the content was first posted. If it occurs a significant period of time after the post was made, then its less likely that the post will be given prominence in the news feed later on.

Once again, it’s a case of trial and error, as Facebook continually tries to enhance user engagement, and time spent on the site. After all, time spend on the site is time spent in an environment where users are exposed to Facebook ads, which is the name of game for Facebook and its shareholders.

Will latest tweaks improve the user experience? Only time will tell, but this will by no means be the last we hear of changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm.

GUEST POST: Infographic – Perfecting Social Profiles

In a break from our scheduled programming, we now bring you a guest post from an outside contributor. Here to talk about some things to consider when creating a social network profile, by way of a nifty infographic, is aspiring tech writer Ivan Serrano:

Public interplay is no longer just about social media; it’s also about perfecting a social profile, a persona, an exaggerated, created self.

Now, with so many different websites offering so many different outlets – it’s hard to keep track. You can keep your personal friends close on Facebook, your professional friends close on LinkedIn, and advertise it all on Google Plus. But how do you know which outlet is truly best for what? How do you target specific audiences on different websites, and get the most traction doing so?

Every page will inherently be different. While your Google Plus tagline should have 10 words or less, your Facebook About Short Description should have about 155 characters. You need to make sure that you’re getting the best visual exposure, which can be tricky with different image sizes used on different networks. It’s also important to know your audiences in order to know who will be following what and how to set up your social media profile.

Here’s an infographic giving some guidelines for various different neworks:

PerfectingSocialProfile

New Facebook ‘Moments’ App To Encourage Private Sharing

Hot on the heels of launching a standalone Messenger app, Facebook is now said to be working on a private sharing app that will operate independently from the main Facebook app. Reports are surfacing of ‘Moments’, an app that will allow users to share with preset groups of people, but without having to use the drop-down privacy options from the normal status update mechanism.

According to those who have seen ‘Facebook Moments‘, there is a grid of tiles representing sets of close friends or family, which users can tap on to quickly share an update with only that group.  It’s hoped that this will be a much easier mechanism for sharing with selected groups than the existing method, which involves having to fiddle around with the privacy settings every time you want to post an update to a select audience.

However, you might well be sitting there scratching your head, thinking to yourself “I’ll still have to create the sharing lists in the first place. won’t I?”, or indeed, “Isn’t this exactly the same as Circles on Google+?” Well, yes, is the short answer to both.

‘Friend Lists’ have existed for quite some time, but there seems to have been a relatively widespread reticence to making earnest use of the feature. There may be certain items of content that you could share with 10 friends, and other piece might only be appropriate for eight of them, but another item might be shared with a different eight people of the original 10.

Creating and naming multiple lists with almost infinite cross-over possibilities would be an arduous task for anyone, but with ‘Moments’, it should be as simple as carving out the subsets of users that you want to share with each time, so the groups that you can pick from grow organically. That’s the view of Josh Constine at TechCrunch, who has written an article covering what is currently known of ‘Moments’, and looks back at Facebook’s struggle with getting people to adopt Friend Lists.

What are your thoughts on Facebook potentially releasing another standalone app? The user backlash surrounding the forced use of  Facebook Messenger earlier in the year was palpable, and some confusion over mobile device app permissions certainly ruffled feathers with regards to Facebook user privacy. But with ‘Moments’ moving towards affording users greater privacy – or perhaps greater ease of privacy – when it comes to what they share with whom, will Facebook win back users’ trust? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

How To Download Facebook Messages – Slideshow Guide

One of our most continually popular topics on this blog is how to download Facebook Messages. This is probably old news to most of our users, but for anyone just getting to grips with the product or anyone who hasn’t heard of SocialSafe before, you are able to download all of your Facebook Messages to your own machine using the SocialSafe social media back up tool.

We recently put together a Slideshare on this walking you through how to get set up with SocialSafe, how to download your Facebook Messages and how to do more with them once you have your messages stored on your own machine:

Here are the text instructions in full:

1. You can download your Facebook Messages using an application called SocialSafe. Download SocialSafe for free from http://socialsafe.net/download

2. Once you’ve installed SocialSafe, add your Facebook account to your SocialSafe journal by clicking on ‘Add Your Facebook account’, and logging in via Facebook’s login box.

3. After adding your Facebook account, make sure that you have Messages selected, then click ‘Sync Account Now’ to start downloading your content. SocialSafe will now download your Facebook content, including your Messages, to your own machine.

Your privacy matters to us

4. Once the sync has completed, go to the ‘Accounts’ page and click on three bars icon for your Facebook account. This will open the drop-down menu, showing you all the different types of content you have backed up from your Facebook account. From here you can select ‘Messages’.

5. You can now view each of the message threads that you are part of, whether they are with individuals or part of group conversations. Your conversations are listed chronologically by the time and date of the last message in the thread. The default setting is to show the most recent threads first, but you can reverse the order by clicking the double-arrows in the top right corner. Clicking on a thread will open the entire message history with that person/group.

6. Clicking on the Search bar allows you to find any word or phrase in your entire Facebook Message history… Great for those times when you can’t remember who it was that recommended that restaurant to you, or for settling a bet that was agreed upon a long time ago!

7. Clicking on the icon in the top right corner of SocialSafe will enable content selection. Once you have selected a message, or messages you can:

- Add them to a Collection
– Hide them
– Export them to PDF
– Export them to File

In addition to the Slideshare presentation we also have a selection of tutorial videos that can be found on our YouTube Channel which will help you get the most out of the additional features found within your SocialSafe library.

New Facebook Feature Allows You To Schedule The Deletion Of Your Posts

Facebook is testing a new feature that would allow the creation of posts that have an expiration date, after which they will disappear. With the increasing popularity of apps and technologies such as Snapchat, that provide users with the ability so send images and messages that self-delete, it’s little wonder that Facebook are trying to muscle in. After all – the social network recently tried to acquire Snapchat for a cool 3 billion dollars.

Earlier this week some users noticed the new feature in the Facebook iOS app, with a ‘Choose Expiration’ option letting users set the half-life of their posts to be between 1 hour and 7 days, after which time the post will disappear. A screenshot sent to TheNextWeb shows how the interface looks:

facebook auto-deleting posts

When TNW contacted Facebook seeking clarification on the new feature, a spokesperson said:

“We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance.”

With the likes of Snapchat and other self-destructing messages, the direct messaging aspect has unsurprisingly lent itself to the sending of erotic and risqué pictures that only the intended recipient can see before they vanish into thin air. However it’s hard to imagine that the sort of things you’d take the trouble to make sure aren’t permanent are also the ones that you’d want to post to your broader network of friends… It just doesn’t seem to add up.

Do you have any ideas for how you’d use disappearing posts? What could you possibly want to broadcast to your wider Facebook audience that you’d also want to make sure won’t be found after a given time period? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section.

Of course if you did want to make posts disappear from your Facebook profile but still wanted to be able to look back and reflect on the original post and comments, then there’s not better way to preserve the original content than by backing it up with SocialSafe!

Company Social Media Records Required For Litigation – Are Yours Easily Accessible?

social media legal complianceWe’ve long been talking about the importance of businesses keeping their own records of the content from their social media profiles. Just last week there was another Facebook outage which serves to remind us all that this information is not evergreen if solely held by third-parties.

The need for archiving social media data is further underlined by the findings of a litigation trends survey conducted earlier this year by Norton Rose Fulbright. The research, undertaken in April 2014, found that 20 percent of the companies surveyed had to preserve or collect data from social media accounts in a dispute or investigation. To put this into context, five years ago that number was almost nonexistent.

While some of the major social networks do offer an export of data, it’s not always in an easily reusable format, nor is it available immediately upon request. As Robin Harris quite rightly stated in his recent ZDNet article – Are you on top of social media data? – the real value in having an archived record of your social media data is in being able to search across that data to find something that may have been said some time ago.

Here at SocialSafe we recognise that finding a particular item or piece of information can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So that’s why we’ve added extra features such as the Advanced Search and the Calendar to the SocialSafe application, giving you greater control and the ability to search for keywords and phrases with the added granularity of being able to refine your search by network and specific content type, as well as searching within customised date ranges.

We also understand that for a lot of businesses, archiving and record keeping is not something that they’d preferably be allocating too much time and resource to. We’ve tried to make archiving social media content for businesses as easy as possible with the Scheduler, which allows you to back up your content automatically, meaning that you don’t need to think about it until it’s time to find something.

With social media becoming an increasingly significant part of almost every business’ communication and marketing efforts, it’s no surprise that occasionally that content comes under scrutiny. Make sure that you’re able to find and reproduce whatever you need, when you need it, by keeping your own archive of your content with SocialSafe.

Second #FacebookDown Outage In Recent Weeks – Is Your Data Safe?

Last night the users of a social network were once again separated from the content they’d created and the conversations they’d had, after another outage restricted access to the site. The #FacebookDown hashtag spread across other social networks after users were subjected to the second Facebook outage within a few weeks.

Dislike. Thumb down sign on white background. 3d

It wasn’t an overwhelmingly long outage, with Facebook working again for most users within half an hour. Facebook later confirmed that the cause of the problem was caused by and error the team encountered while making an infrastructure configuration change. Short outage or not, if there is crucial information locked within a social network – and think of all the messages that you might need to refer to – then these sorts of outages can become very problematic:

Others took a slightly more comedic stance at the news:

The point remains that whenever you don’t have a copy of your content, then you can never be fully in control of it. Yesterday’s outage – along with other recent instances of social network downtime – only serves to highlight the importance of keeping a backup of your content.

SocialSafe allows you to download your social network posts, pictures, messages and more, directly to your own PC or Mac. Once there, you have the freedom to browse, view, search and do more with that content. The built-in features such as Collections, Insights and PDF Export really do put you in control of your content.

To start backing up your content now, download SocialSafe for free.

Like Instagram? Like Tweetdeck? Then You Need ‘Picdeck’ In Your Life

While Instagram is a predominately mobile based service, there are a few desktop applications that add value or enhance the user experience. Obviously there is Instagram.com, the official website for Instagram that allows you to view your feed as if it were on your phone, as well as letting you leave comments and like photos. And of course there is SocialSafe, which allows you to back up your Instagrams and use the Insights feature to see which of your photos are the most popular, and discover more about your use of filters.

But now a new desktop app is tracking the same approach to Instagram as Tweetdeck did to Twitter.

Picdeck allows you to set your own columns of feeds on a web-based dashboard, based on either users or hashtags, as well as your own feed as you’d normally see it within the app (or on the desktop version). All you need to do is to go to Picdeck.co and sign in with your Instagram login ID, then start creating feeds!

picdeck for instagram

As you’ll see, the aesthetic is very similar to other social media dashboards such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, so it should be comfortably familiar for most people. Picdeck does however lack the posting functionality that is a hallmark of the aforementioned social media dashboards, nor does Picdeck allow you to add more than one account (giving you multiple instances of ‘My Feed’.

These features may well appear in the fullness of time, and it’s worth pointing out that Picdeck is the product of a one-day hack-day project by London-based company Marvel. So given more development time, this could easily go a lot further, and according to The Verge, Marvel already has plans to add location-based columns and other features.

Have you used Picdeck? What are your first thoughts? Comment below, let us know!