The right to be forgotten

June 8th, 2011  |  Handy hints, Privacy, Reputation

Think about all the people you’ve yet to meet? – Caro Kay.

We recently went on hols with a friend and her son from the UK. B was mucking around and pulling faces as any other teenage boy would do so I took a pic of him on my mobile phone.  He then froze on the spot and said “Oh please please Caro don’t put that one on facebook!”

It was time for THE CHAT.  Helping our kids to protect their image and understand that the use of social media sites such as Facebook have their downside as well as their upside.

I assured B that I would never put him into a situation where he would feel embarrassed.  That I felt that in the future he will do something special with his life and I did not want any photo, any comment, any story that I put about him on facebook to be stored and used against him at some point in the future. The delicious immediacy of Facebook is addictive and let’s face it desirable.  What we don’t always think of is the longevity of digital data and how it is being stored and may or maynot be used in the future.

With the latest security issue centred on Facebook’s apparent disregard for our privacy it is time to be increase our awareness that there are movements across the European Union and also the States to protect digital rights.  Under the apt title The right to be forgotten legislation is being forged to force companies such as Facebook, Google and many many others who hold our data to allow users (that’s us) to withdraw our information, our photos, our status comments all our bits and pieces from their websites (data holdings).

For more information on this, read the Reuters internet privacy article.

The final word is to remind ourselves to take responsibility on social media sites and to care for each other’s digital rights.



Clutter busters

June 7th, 2011  |  Handy hints, Time management  |  1 Comment

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three – Alice Kahn.

Here’s some honest questions that deserve honest answers:

  1. Do you use your inbox as your driver for work?
  2. Do you think you can turn your email off for an hour?
  3. Have you thought that perhaps it’s actually ok to be a slave to your email inbox?

There is an age old story of an architect trying to put a pathway through a garden between two new buildings. Instead of prescribing the path and forcing people to go where he thinks they should go he watches and he waits. Over several weeks people have created natural trodden paths – in fact two perhaps three paths emerge.

What I am trying to say here is that we forget to pay attention to the way we use things – Email is no exception – more and more it is becoming our major application that we keep open and which helps us drive our daily work priorities. It’s how we have come to work naturally and all we need to do is use a few tricks to manage our information and workflow.

It is actually fun to turn the email off for an hour a day. If someone wants you that urgently maybe they will remember your phone number after all. Or maybe even come to your desk and talk to you.

Use the features of your mailbox to set up rules and do things like: automatically receive emails from people to set folders, on that note set up your folders with a naming structure that makes sense – use project numbers or categories to help you sort information into meaningful labels.

  1. Sort your mail from oldest to newest regularly to see who you have missed – why do you give more preference to the latest email than to the one who emailed you a couple of days ago?
  2. Sort your email using FROM or by SUBJECT – what have you missed?
  3. Care about what you write in subject lines – ask your work colleagues, friends, family etc to ALWAYS write a subject line that tells you the gist of the content in the body of the email. We all scan our inbox and looking at meaningful subject lines is so much nicer. Fess up how many times have you seen a subject line that has FW;FW:FW:FW:FW;FW:FW:FW
  4. Do you really need to send an email and copy people in? Have you thought about using Instant Messaging with all key people you work with so you don’t have to deal with email data that is perhaps social or where you don’t need to keep a record of the content? Once you create an email you have to do something with it – store it – delete it … etc. You can use IM with some of your internal systems or look at gmail and skype.
  5. If you can spend the last fifteen minutes of your day doing a clutter buster – file your emails into folders sort through the items, delete, delete, delete – well won’t that halo suddenly appear above your head and make you smile.



Past thoughts