Category Archives: Discussion

storytelling

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Storytelling

Every now and again I get asked for a top tip that I have picked up during my time working with social media.  This weekend the latest question was in relation to using Facebook.  How do you share a picture on Facebook so that your friends actually see it.

My response was a fairly simple one, it’s not just about the picture it’s about telling the story.  What is it about this particular picture that is interesting?  If it is interesting to you will it be interesting to your friends?  Or is it completely out of context therefore making no sense at all to your friends, family or colleagues?

For example if I share the image below with you without any context… You would probably think something along the lines of “OK that is a piece of lace” and if you are into crafting you might think it is interesting but otherwise you might just move on to something else.

DSC_0013

 

Putting the story together for the image above and putting it in context actually gives it a completely new meaning to people you are sharing the image with.

DSC_0012In this case that is a piece of handmade lace from a 1930’s garter pattern. The garter is for my sister-in-law to wear at her wedding next year and so far has taken over 100 hours to make and it is just over 1/3 complete.

Once you hear the story behind the picture you can see and feel the emotion and context being shared.  Without that context many pictures fail to be noticed and therefore people don’t interact with them. So if you want someone to respond to your images on Facebook make sure that you share a few words that really sum up the moment.

Sometimes a single picture just doesn’t tell a story well enough on it’s own so make the most of the album features on Facebook and tell your story through a series of images or even videos.

Recently Facebook decided that if you share a video directly on their site it would preview and play directly in your timeline.  So if you are going to share a video you will find you get more views from your friends by sharing it directly than if you shared a link to your video on YouTube.

Share your top storytelling tips by leaving a comment!

promo images.002

Curate or Create? Which do you do?

When we talk about our Twitter and Facebook updates we often see patterns to our behavior and the behavior of those we follow and friend. How often do you see the same news from different people on your timelines?  Are you one of those people who shares content from websites or are you someone who takes pictures and shares the more personal aspects of your life on social media?

Content Creators

Statistically there are less people who create content to share on social media than those who consume the content. However with the rise of mobile phones and ease of access to the web whilst on the go we are seeing more and more content being created.  The social networks such as Facebook and Twitter want us to share more as well. You may have heard about Facebook embedding video into your timeline when it is uploaded there and Twitter have also just announced that you can now comment on re-tweets as well. This trend is only going to grow on these social networks. The more you share the more valuable your insights are to others.

Content Curators

Some people don’t like to share their personal thoughts, experiences and feelings online and these people tend to be more interested in sharing things that they find elsewhere on the internet.  They share interesting things that they have read or seen online.  These are the content curators. Everyone should follow a few of these types of people as they bring some interesting insights and news direct to your social media timelines. There is a bit of a content curator in all of us.

Curating content isn’t as hard as you might think, just use the sharing buttons on your favourite websites and add your comments when you share them. The only word of warning here is that you should only share content that you find interesting and that you think your friends and followers will find interesting. There is no point sending things that will offend others as that just damages your own reputation.

What type of social media user are you? A creator or a curator?

digime wufoo v2

Digi.me needs your help!

The team here at digi.me are working out where to take our software in the future and we want you to be part of that.  With digi.me, it’s your life that we are helping you to capture so we really can’t do that with out you and your input. We need your help!

Quite simply you are our inspiration, our super heroes and our future.

How can you help? 

We have created a short 3 minute survey that we would like to ask all our users to complete.  We will of course keep your feedback anonymous and confidential.  We will not share it with third parties but we will share the results with our community so that you can all see where we are going next and why. To thank you for completing our survey and for helping us we will give you a free upgrade for one year!

We Need Your Help!

To thank you for completing our survey and for helping us we will give you
a free upgrade for one year!

take-the-survey-button

What else?

As we start to develop the next versions of our software we would also like to invite those of you who are interested in getting their hands on the latest and greatest versions of our software before everyone else by joining our early adopter programme.

What is the early adopter programme and what is in it for me…

By joining this programme you will be invited to try out beta (early pre release but stable) versions of our software before it is available to everyone else.  This will give you a great opportunity to guide us and tell us what you like and dislike about the changes and shape the features that are most important to you.

  • We will of course give you access to whichever version of our software that is most relevant to you.
  • You will gain early insights into the product before anyone else.
  • You get to shape the future direction of digi.me
  • There will even be a few goodies and prizes from time to time.
  • We may also invite some of you to our office to meet the team and get behind the scenes to find out even more about us!

If this sounds like it would be of interest to you then please complete the questionnaire and let us know when you claim your free 1 year upgrade that you would also be interested in our early adopter programme.

control

Sharing – change in control needed

Sharing today is generally seen as positive, but is also associated with negative aspects around privacy. If the negative aspects are not fixed sharing will slow and cease to the detriment to everyone, but there is a solution that will increase benefits to individuals, businesses and society as a whole IF there is a change in control – from business control to individual control.

Sharing is positive because it creates new services and functions that can help individuals, businesses and society as a whole. Sharing has grown through database marketing in 80s/90s; social media in the mid-00s; wider Software as a Service (SaaS) services since; and will grow exponentially more as individuals embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) – provided the “bad” can be controlled.

The negative is privacy; along with the increased sharing of information has always come concerns with regard to privacy. If we look back to the introduction of what might be termed database marketing in the 80s, increased privacy concerns led to the introduction of check boxes on forms stating whether businesses could use the information for other purposes. Today we have dramatically increased the personal data that is shared, both explicitly and hidden, whether that is social media, other web/SAAS services, monitoring of clicks and the like – and with that has come heightened privacy concerns.

The web related privacy concerns have grown ever more over the last 6 years, with greater numbers of people reducing/changing their social media use (or using more private channels), using Do Not Track, Ad blockers, ’going dark’ and other methods. The concept of the “creepy line” is well embedded now within society. Unconstrained and uncorrected, this will lead to a reduction in sharing, curtailing the positive benefits, and crippling new concepts such as IoT, which depends on greater levels of sharing.

This reduction in sharing leads to a discontinuity with dramatic effects. Not only will the Internet of Things be stillborn, but innovation in providing services based on personal data will stall across all domains (personal communications, commerce, health, etc). This will have a dramatically negative effect on businesses, but also individuals and society as a whole.

A BCG report “The value of our digital identity” states “The quantifiable benefit of personal data applications can reach €1 trillion annually to EU-27 by 2020  – with private and public organisations reaping about a third of the total, and consumers the rest” and then on goes on to say ““BUT much of this potential value will fail to materialise if consumers act to restrict the flow of personal data.”

How do we solve this problem and allow, even encourage, greater sharing? The current trajectory MUST be broken and restarted following a different approach in order for the full promise of personal data, inc. the IoT, to be realised

Change in control

There is a perception that there is so much data that it is currently infeasible for individuals to control it in a meaningful way with the information technologies available today, but our aim must be to provide that much needed control.

There are many suggestions for “personal data stores’ or “personal data lockers” and similar, hosted by third parties, to help individuals gain some control over their data. However, these all suffer from a number of issues: control is still via third party; the stores only hold a subset of data which means there is no overall control, no interoperability between different stores and no single point to access; holders of individual’s personal data (e.g. Facebook et al) often don’t allow access for retention by third parties. At best these systems are a band aid to the control issue and provide limited immediate benefits to individuals, severely limiting take up.

However, there is another approach – one in which the overall architecture is different, but at the same time familiar. By approaching the issue of privacy from an alternate architectural viewpoint, it is our contention that many of the problems are mitigated and contrary to there being an additional cost to privacy, there is in fact the reverse: an additional benefit to everyone involved with the new architecture, individuals, businesses and society alike – and at reduced cost.

The fundamental architectural difference is to return ownership and control of personal data to the individual, rather than the control being held exclusively by business

Personal control – the ultimate solution

Personal control is a simple change in perspective:

– Others don’t own your data – you do.

– Others shouldn’t hold your data – you should hold it yourself

By changing the view, this simple insight solves the privacy issue for individuals and the ability of businesses to access that data through user permissions.  This view, and the understanding that underpins it, has been developed by the company digi.me (formerly SocialSafe) in the UK, in a program of work that was initiated in 2009.

Having first downloaded the digi.me software to your device, the software works by retrieving your data directly to your digi.me library on your device – not touching anything else along the way, not the digi.me servers, not anything. A 100% private library of all your data, fused and normalised – social, financial, utilities, purchases, health, leisure and much more.

The digi.me user interface then allows the user to do more with their data, 100% privately, never losing it, and keeping access forever. It helps them be more engaged, have more fun, and to do more things, better – all locally and immediately, thereby giving that crucial incentive to start the process of regaining control of their data.

So digi.me is your librarian, but also extends to being your postman. The postal service is where digi.me controls a certificate system that allows other apps, web sites, etc. to ask the user for permission to see aspects of their data for a specific and permissioned purpose. If the permission is given by the user based on their perception of the offered value proposition, the digi.me app sends the permissioned portion of the ‘rich data’ to the requesting entity. This is summarised in the diagram below and in more detail in a video at http://digi.me/video

(Note: Whilst this architecture is different in that the individual owns and controls all their data, it was noted above that it was also familiar – that is because it is exactly what businesses do. Businesses hold all their own data – and then use local and remote apps to extract greater value. The individual is like a business with all the data available today – it should therefore not be a surprise that the solution is a familiar one!)

Conclusion

So by holding all their own data, individuals regain control and can do more with their data themselves and importantly can decide who they share that data with, what elements are shared, when, for what purpose – in this way the sharing economy can overcome the discontinuity posited above.

(Note: In my previous post I noted that we should define Privacy in the digital age as the “Ability to control your personal data, including who you share it with, when and for what purpose”. By owning your data you are then in control of your own privacy.)

control

Definition of Privacy in the Digital Age

We seem to be caught between two stools of thought on Privacy – either Privacy is dead (aka Mark Zuckerberg and more recent posts such ashttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2015/02/11/privacy-is-following-chivalry-to-the-grave-heres-why-thats-a-good-thing/) or the Go Dark movement. This seems to be looking at issues incorrectly, because we haven’t defined what Privacy is.

Specifically, being private doesn’t mean not sharing anything – it means being in control of what you share, to whom and when. For example, I am a private person, but I share sex with my wife, I share family issues within my family group, I share my finances with my financial advisor, I am happy for my supermarket to know what I buy. The point is that in the physical world I am largely (but never completely) in control of my privacy and that includes what I share and with whom.

So privacy does NOT mean no sharing. This is important as sharing is the grease to the future economy – combining different data sets that I share will enable radically new services and experiences that I have yet to even think of.  Privacy equates to controlled sharing. There is a spectrum of sharing for data items: from items I keep solely to myself, to items I share with one or a few people and ask not to be shared further, to data I may share more widely and allow to be re-shared, to data which I share with the world (either as me or in anonymised form).

We should include “for what purpose” in the above definition of what privacy implies re control and to most people they would. If I disclose to a close friend a secret so I can get feedback for example, I do not expect that secret to be disclosed to others – it was only for the purpose of our conversation. However, I can’t control my friend directly and he may tell others. In which case of course he has lost trust and I probably won’t share with him again – or at least will share more carefully. This is of course the same in the digital world. If I share with you for a purpose and you use for another purpose then I am unlikely to want to share with you again.

So, I propose we define Privacy as “The ability to control your personal data, including who you share it with, when and for what purpose“.

(Note: the dictionary defines Privacy as the “condition of being secret”. In my digital privacy definition we propose this is equivalent to “being in control of who is in on the secret”).

history

Guest Post: Social Media Forever Changes The Way We Explore History

Social media forever changes how we explore history.  That statement, while innocent enough, has profound implications for future generations.

I grew up learning history from textbooks and memorizing the exploits of explorers like Christopher ColumbusVasco Nunez de Balboa and Amerigo Vespucci who I remember writing a paper on. I know that today history is taught with a lot more attention to the every day people who lived rather than the famous ones but we still have so little information on the lives of the masses.  The everyday lives of most people is lost to us.  We see often see their lives through the eyes of those who wrote about them, not in their own words. Social media has changed forever the way we will record and learn history.

With the ability to record, photograph and video our daily lives, social media has given future generations a window into the everyday lives, thoughts and feelings of those that will come before them, “us”. Think of the wealth of information on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others.  For many people these social media sites provide a platform from which to explore their feelings, relationships, beliefs, opinions and the simple nuances of their everyday lives. Future generations will know what we thought about everything simply by having access to social media platforms.

Think of the ability for a family to pass on this type of personal information to future generations.  It will seem as if you were actually listening to your great great grandmother when you didn’t have the opportunity to know her at all. To me this wealth of historical information is an invaluable role that social media will play over the coming decades.  Technology has made it possible to know the everyday lives of generations so that history does not depend on those in power to tell the story.  Nor will history books be able to gloss over events that are “unpopular” or show a negative slant on things.  With everyone a journalist, photographer and videographer, the voices and pictures of the past will speak for themselves.

I did an oral history project many years ago for college and I remember talking to a 90 year old woman about her life in Manchester, Connecticut.  I recorded our meetings and then compiled a paper which fascinated me because of its personal richness.  It was the ancient art of history through storytelling that could now be kept on tape.  How far we have come even in the last 20 years with technology and the emergence of social media.

A platform such as digi.me which allows us to save our social media content provides everyone with the opportunity to pass on a living diary of their life to their family members.  How incredibly powerful the access and control of this personal information will be not only to those using it in their time but to the vast accumulation of personal historical knowledge.

About the Author

PETS picture (3)Debbie Harris is the President of Performance Intermedia, LLC a social media consulting company.  Debbie works with businesses both for profit and not for profit to ensure they are getting the most out of social media and understand best practices.  She has a Master’s Degree in Social Media Compliance and the Law. Performance Intermedia, LLC provides social media strategy, graphic design, training, effective social advertising and posting for their clients. Debbie is a very active Rotarian both on the Club and District level. She sits on the Advisory Board for a local high school.  She has just completed an e-book on 7 Strategic Techniques for Gaining Clients from LinkedIn and writes for several publications.  Debbie does workshops and seminars related to social media and its effective use.  Debbie can be reached at Debbie@PImedia.me.

Backup Computer Key

Useful Backup Tools

You know that you need to backup your computer and your online content but what are the best tools for the job?  This article gives you some suggestions of tools that you can use to do just that.

PC Backup Tools

There are lots of options when it comes to backing up a PC and some of these are free or relatively cheap and some are paid for services.

Online vs Offline Backups… You have two options with your PC.  You can back your content up online or you can back it up to an offline device.  If you have poor internet access then we would suggest you go with doing offline backups to an external hard drive.  This would be your quickest and simplest answer however it is easy to forget to do it so set a reminder in your calendar to do it regularly.

If you have decent internet access then online backups are certainly a quick and painless approach if you don’t have loads of large files to back up. There are a range of services out there that offer this.

This article from PC Pro gives a good comprehensive list of cloud backup services for you to choose from.

Mac Backup Tools

Similarly to backing up a PC you can back up a mac to an external hard drive if you don’t have a good internet connection.

Cloud backup tools are also an option but remember with a mac you also have the option of backing up to iCloud.  You can find the instructions on how to do this here.

Mobile Backup Tools

Mobiles can be one of those things that you just completely forget to back up and yet they are one of the things that we use most and capture a lot of our memories with.  So how exactly can you back up your phone contacts, pictures and more?  If you have an iPhone the answer is easy. Just use iCloud and voila.

If you are on an Android or Windows phone then backup services such as OneDrive and GoogleDrive are great alternative options. This article on the 10 Best Android Backup Apps may come in handy for those looking for a tool to just do it all without any technical know how.  For Windows phone just follow these simple instructions to set where you want your data backed up to.

Social Media Backup Tools

When it comes to our online social media content we often don’t consider backing it up and yet we would be lost without it!  So how do you back up your content from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIN?  The answer here is simple. You can download digi.me for free and back up your four favourite social media accounts for free for a year this World Backup Day!

Make the most of the offer and tell your friends and family!

Digi.me Download Offer

Why backups are so important

Every day you probably hear at least one person in the office go “Aaah help I’ve just lost everything I did in the last hour!” or something similar.  That is unless they have a backup and then they just revert to that and off they go again.

On the 31st March 2015 it is World Backup Day and to celebrate the occasion we are offering our software free for 1 year to all those who download between now and the 31st March.

What is a backup?

A backup is a recent historical version of the document, update or information that you have been working on. It is usually not as up to date as the latest version but it is there for you to fall back on should you ever need it.

Why would I need that?

Well quite simply we all make mistakes. We save over things, we delete things that we really didn’t mean to delete and we do things without realizing what or how that will impact things in the future. If the content is on a mobile phone or laptop then the content or the device could get damaged, lost or stolen.

When should I backup?

It is worth backing up your computer, phone and tablet at least once a week but if that is just a bit too often aim for once a month.

What about your online content?

Many people don’t realize that they can backup their online content especially their social media content. By using digi.me they can backup their social media content quickly on a daily basis so they never lose their updates or images ever again.

 

data retention

Data Retention: Why is it such a challenging issue?

You may have read recently in the news about the Netherlands Data Protection law being scrapped as it breaches human rights legislation.  This isn’t the first time that a country has had challenges with data retention legislation or with the clash between data retention and human rights.

Data retention is a complex issue.  On the one hand data retention is a good thing as it ensures that historic data is captured forever and can be looked back over.  This means that historic data can be used for learning and building upon.  On the other hand that data could be used for all sorts of other uses.  It could be used for evidence in court cases, it could be used to fight crime and for all sorts of other purposes.

The use of data is the issue that adds the complexity to data retention. Collecting and retaining data for 1 year – 10 years isn’t a technical challenge or even a business challenge.  It is a moral one. Who should own that data, where should it be stored and who should have access to it?

Data Ownership

Who should own the data about you? Should it be you, your government, your service providers, your infrastructure providers or an independent third party? Each of these options have their benefits and drawbacks. On a personal level we all like to think that we own our data however on a broader spectrum we currently give our data to third parties such as our phone providers, our governments and even our social network providers.

It is our basic human right to decide who we provide our information to. What we don’t have control over is how long those providers have access to that information and how they then use that information about us. This is where the challenges get complicated.

Historically we have controlled our data but our providers have owned it. The trend now is that we are beginning to understand what that means and we no longer all want our data to be owned, managed and controlled by third parties to use as they please.

We will start to see data being seen as more important than ever and new innovative approaches to us owning and controlling our personal data and the access to that data.

Data Storage

When we provide our data to third parties such as our government or our service providers we have no idea where or how that data may be used. For that matter we don’t know where that data is being stored or shared unless someone contacts us to let us know.  This again is a challenge.

Where should our data be stored. Should it be under our control which countries and companies have access to our personal data?  How would that affect how our data was used and would it be in our best interest for it to be stored by us in a location of our choosing?

Data Access

We have already touched upon data access a little but when we are looking at personal data we can’t help but talk about the access to that data. When third parties control our data they have the ability to share that data with whomever they choose. (subject to regulation of course) When we talk about this in terms of governments each government in each country has their own regulations on what can and can’t be done with personal data. Just compare the UK and the US for example. The regulations in these areas are vastly different.

So how does this affect us?  On the simplest level data access is one of the key causes of cold callers to your phone.  However data access also provides the ability to personalize advertising and online experiences. It also provides that ability to purchase things like road tax online here in the UK. There are benefits to having your personal data available to third parties.  There are also down sides. If you don’t know how that data is being used or if it is used for malicious purposes it causes significant problems. Phishing scams online are just one example of this.

Access to our data is essential but who has access and how is key.  So when you read headlines around data retention and privacy it is worth understanding how and who has access to your data.

The future is changing constantly and it will be interesting to see where the regulations end up in Europe and the rest of the world.

How do you see data retention changing in the future and how important is historic data really?

budget

The Budget 2015 – How does it affect our digital landscape?

The latest UK budget announcement sets the scene for the startup landscape in 2015 and beyond.  There were some interesting trends in this years budget that will affect startups and freelancers along with some larger impact projects that will speed up innovation in parts of the UK. Take a look at a few of the trends that we thought were of particular interest.

The Death of the Tax Return

A major step for freelancers and the self-employed, Osborne confirmed rumours that there would be an end to the annual tax return. Claiming “people shouldn’t be working for the taxman”, annual tax returns will be abolished by 2020 with information HMRC needs automatically uploaded into new digital tax accounts. The chancellor said that this will enable businesses to feel they are paying a “simple single business tax” – “tax shouldn’t be taxing”.

Basically all your tax records will become digital and managed through the web. The plan is to save time doing taxing tax returns each year. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the long run. s

National Insurance Cuts for Self Employed

Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will be abolished in the next government. Further consultations on this are to be announced.

This combined with the death of the tax return suggests that the UK government is pushing towards more self-employment within the UK as an employment trend. This means for startups there is likely to be less red tape for freelancers and more flexibility and availability of skilled people within the UK as more people go freelance.

Investment in the Internet of Things

Science and innovation will receive a major cash injection with up to £140m on infrastructure and cities of the future, and £40m in research into what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Osborne explained that IoT, featured in our Tech Trends of 2014, is connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.

This technology trend has seen increasing growth globally and is becoming the buzz phrase for 2015.  With it comes new uses for technology and more personal data becoming available for multiple purposes. Consider how you want your personal and business data used and managed. (By you or by the companies who create the devices)

Supporting the Sharing Economy

Measures to support the sharing economy include the launch of two pilot ‘Sharing Cities’ in Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester in 2015-16.  The two cities, which will share £700,000 of public money between them, will be encouraged to trial local sharing initiatives in the areas of shared transport, shared public space, and health and social care.

The government also said it plans to introduce legislation that will make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room and for non-residential properties to rent out their existing parking spaces.

This trend opens up opportunities for start ups in the private room rental space, transport sharing and such like.  We may see more innovation in this space and legislation may have to continue to evolve to match the changing ways in which we work, live and travel together. 

What did you find interesting in the budget and how will it affect you or your company?  What trends have you noticed and how do you think they will affect you and your personal data?