LinkedIn and data insecurity

10 06 2014

I’ve never trusted LinkedIn

I’ve known for some time that LinkedIn are particularly bad, of all the social networks, for pinching information from places you don’t want it pinched from. They ask you to give it your email details so you can easily import your contacts. It doesn’t tell you that this will be a permanent link and that every time you email someone and they’re added to your contact list, they will also pop up as a LinkedIn suggestion. LinkedIn claims they don’t remember your password, but this is obviously a lie – so not a great start

I put up with it

I know I can’t trust them with my information, yet still I use them. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong! But there is an expectation of being on LinkedIn, a findability that only LinkedIn provides in the professional world. Damn them.

If I felt there was a viable alternative, I would probably use that, but there isn’t, so I just suck it up. Maybe it’s because I’m inherently lazy. Maybe it’s because although I know a lot about risks, security, what not to do etc. etc. I’m still not always very good at doing it if it inconveniences me. I want the easy life, so I enable them to carry on willfully misusing my information by not standing up and doing anything about it

Blatant misuse of data

It was stupid, I know, but I added my date of birth to LinkedIn. Well, no I didn’t, not really. They asked for a birthday at some point, probably as a requirement, so I put in a false date. I set it as ‘only me’ to be able to see it, because it was false and didn’t want to get a load of birthday wishes when it’s not! So when I logged on this morning to a raft of birthday wishes, I was rather surprised, to say the least. I checked the setup, I checked Help to see what they said about it, I checked again. The setting still said ‘Only me’

I got the hell out of Dodge. Well, to the outskirts, anyway

I’m still wavering with the fact that there isn’t another network that compares to LinkedIn (despite it being rather horrible to use and flagrantly doing things with my data that I don’t want it to). But I am strongly considering whether I want to be part of it. I have now removed my birthday details from it, so that won’t happen again. If I felt it wouldn’t be more of a disadvantage, I’d get rid of my membership entirely, but I feel rather like they have me between a rock and a hard place


Have you had any similar issues with LinkedIn, or other organisations? I’d love to hear about what happened, and what you did about it.


UKeiG AGM and members’ afternoon

24 06 2013

Right, that’s out of the way – phew! Not that it was particularly hard work, but I’ve been to all the AGMs for the past few years, usually just doing the telling, so it was rather daunting having to run proceedings myself!
This year I think we may have broken some sort of record for speed. Everything went smoothly and we managed to get the formal process out of the way nice and quickly. Then we got to move on to the interesting bit: the speakers!

This year the subject of the members’ afternoon was the cloud – something that I’m actually quite a proponent and user of myself.

The first speaker was James Matthews from Huddle, who spoke about the solution they provide and the work they are doing to make sure that they are at the forefront of secure cloud storage and collaboration.

The second speaker was Andy Tattersall, who spoke about the work he is doing as part of ScHARR at the University of Sheffield. A self-proclaimed opportunist, Andy scans the technological horizon and “catches any colourful and useful technologies” he can employ in his role as an Information Specialist., and encourage the staff and students to use to improve the way they work.

After the speakers we had a Q&A session, followed by networking (which was lubricated by wine and nibbles!). I always enjoy the opportunity to speak to other information professionals in different situations, so this was a fantastic opportunity for me.

Personally, I think that as the cloud has morphed out of what we used to call Web 2.0, it has offered us many tools that are hugely beneficial to our personal and work lives. I can now do most activities no matter where I am or what computer I’m using – my bookmarks are all available online on xmarks; my data is all available online on Huddle, Dropbox, Wuala or numerous other cloud storage devices; my music is available via Spotify and Amazon cloud. This means that I’m not tied to locations or devices in order to get things done. When I’m abroad I can access my insurance documents on my phone for quick reference. If I’m travelling with others, I can share that access so that they can find it if something happens to me. The possibilities seem to be endless.

Of course, we do all have to be aware of the pitfalls of the cloud, as well. My data is backed up in numerous locations, so that if one has a massive failure, I don’t lose everything! I am also aware that I’m not always storing these items in safe places, so I am careful with what I store where.

I hope that everyone who attended enjoyed it as much as I did and that everyone who didn’t sees sense and comes along next year!

Promotion to UKeiG Chairman!!

2 01 2013

At our last UKeiG meeting of the year on the 14th December there were several issues we needed to discuss, one of which was the election of a new Chairman, as Martin White was standing down. I was vice-chairman last year, and I quite like the role – you have the power, but a lot less responsibility, and the ability to be argumentative! With Martin’s departure I was hoping for some mystical person to put themselves forward to be Chairman, appearing from out of nowhere to save me from the role – and surprisingly (!), no-one did….

I have never been the sort to covet power (I’ve always been more the sort to heckle from the sidelines), so when no-one put their name forward I (slightly reluctantly) offered at the meeting to stand for Chairman, if anyone would vote for me. Now, I will be honest and admit that I was expecting to do this at the next meeting, as it was a small gathering to run through some essentials, but all of the other committee members raised their hands to vote for me at that moment! Now, while it was rather flattering, I have the daunting task of helping the committee guide UKeiG for the next year at least.

I am incredibly proud to have been voted in to this role, though. When I first graduated and stepped into the profession, I saw UKeiG as a shining light of professionalism and development for professionals. I attended one of Karen Blakeman‘s courses and realised that in order to get something out of a professional organisation, you have to give something too. I emailed Karen a while after to ask if there was anything she suggested and the next day was on my way to Birmingham to sit in on a meeting – and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since!

So if you have any thoughts on what you would like to see UKeiG offer in coming years, how you would like to be supported by a special interest group, or are interested in doing something for yourself professionally, I’d love to hear from you!

Social Media for Organisations: Getting the Basics Right

22 06 2012

On September 4th Ned Potter (@theREALwikiman) and I will be running a day-long course in York for UKeiG called Social Media for Organisations: Getting the Basics Right. I am really looking forward to working with Ned on this!

The idea behind the course comes from the idea that a lot of organisations want to have a presence on Twitter, and a lot of people want to get their organisation using Twitter, but just aren’t sure how to go about it. Our aim with this course is to help the attendees work out what they should be trying, how to get started and if necessary – how to persuade their boss it’s actually a good idea! It will be a combination of making sure people understand what they need to consider at all stages of using social media for an organisation and getting them started on some of the practicalities.

As of writing this, I haven’t actually met Ned! We started chatting on Twitter, and I suggested we could run a joint course, with a ‘follow-on’ course from Ned that goes into more detail on digital marketing, for anyone who already has the bug, or catches it at our course!

If you’d like to find out more about the course (or book onto it!) the details are on the UKeiG site, or you can ask me or Ned on Twitter!

Google Drive: signing your rights away

26 04 2012

OK, so maybe I’m getting a little over-excited here, but maybe I’m a bit worried about the possibilities this creates!

According to the Google terms and Conditions, you ‘give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content’ (according to CNET News anyway).

Now, Google have said that you don’t sign your rights away (umm, really, you sure about that?!) but it sure as hell looks like it to me! They might say that they’ll only use it to ‘make the service better’ now – but what if they change their minds? They could just change the terms and none of us would actually read them anyway. And what does it mean, anyway? Could they put it on the front page of Google if they claimed it improved the service somehow? Not that I think this is likely, I’m just saying….

What if you’ve developed some code that’s a Google-beating service of some sort? You’ve just signed away your right to stop Google taking it and integrating into their own service….

And don’t forget, they’ve stated that these rights are in perpetuity.

Many of you will be thinking ‘ah, but surely everyone else does the same, so that their sites can function’ but that’s not the case. In particular from the CNET example, both Dropbox and Microsoft’s Skydrive state in the terms that you retain all rights to your material and they don’t have any rights to them. The Microsoft one makes it very clear why they do this – so that they can’t be attributed any responsibility for the material!

I’ll be honest, I don’t think that Google is going to go round stealing people’s material and using (well, not much…) but it’s the principal that bothers me. They say they have the right to it, and most people (me included if I hadn’t seen this article) will just sign their rights away without even reading the terms & conditions. When there’s something this important tucked away like that, it bothers me.

I might give Microsoft’s Skydrive a go, you know…..

OxonDigital goes Social

24 11 2011

Last night I attended the latest Oxon Digital event. As usual, it was a great event, with interesting speakers and great networking. Some of the main highlights of what I came away with are below, and the slides can be found on the Oxon Digital website

Blogging for Business

Ali Luke from Ali Ventures (@aliventures) spoke about using blogging as a business first. I found this really useful, as I’m hoping to have a company blog on our website – and the tips she gave will actually make a real difference to what I’m trying to do. The points she made were:

  • ‘Blog’ can confuse people – try ‘articles’ or something like that instead. Dependent on your audience and what impression you want to give of it
  • Use familiar technologies – RSS by email, as most people aren’t aware what RSS is. Use feedburner to utilise the technology whilst not scaring people away if they don’t understand. Also, use Facebook to attract comments by posting a link there – people are comfortable with it and use it as a medium already, so use it!
  • What’s in it for them – make it useful so they’ll keep coming back, will link to it etc. Make it informative, so they want to read it. I would also say that if possible an action at the end would be hugely beneficial – but not always possible/feasible/worthwhile any further than making a comment
  • Quality not quantity – don’t blog once a day because you’ve decided you should. Just do it when you have something interesting/useful/beneficial to say. It’s better to leave them wanting more. People are likely to unsubscribe if they get a load of uninteresting material, which defeats the purpose!
  • Avoid advertising – it looks unprofessional
  • Write for other blogs – you’ll get traffic and links by doing this

I love the point about quality not quantity – it’s exactly what I think about social media. Say something because it’s interesting, not because of a timetable.

Five ways to drive business using social media (instantly)

Marcus Taylor of SEOptimise (@MarcusATaylor) spoke about driving business using social media. He first explained that that’s not the point, and not how you should do it, but that there are a few simple ways to boost traffic (and hopefully sales) to your website. The ROI is not as obvious as with traditional marketing, as it’s all about building conversations and engagements. His five top tips (based on having 1 month to improve the bottom line) were:

  • Use Twitter search to listen and act on opportunities. There are some advanced search tips on how to do things like preventing links in your results, so you don’t get other people’s advertising etc. There used to be an advanced Twitter search, for those who don’t know the protocols for advanced searching (or are too lazy to remember them!), but that seems to have vanished recently.
  • Social event networks (e.g. MeetUp) – you can sponsor meetings and offer perks, which will get you traffic if you target it at the right groups.
  • Video marketing around keywords – creating a video on key terms means you’ll rank in Google and in YouTube. You can use a service like Tube Mogul to distribute to the main video channels, so you get even better coverage
  • Facebook landing pages to drive leads – give them a way of getting money off if they like you on Facebook. You can track these so you know where the sales are coming from
  • Reach out to bloggers in your niche and involve them – ask them a question they can answer for you and build on those. You both get exposure to each others’ contacts, so it’s win-win.

I’d never heard of Tube Mogul before, so I’ll definitely be exploring that option – an easy way to get videos put up in different locations suits me!

Q&As – the answers

It’s more important to monitor trends than to monitor ROI – then you can learn what is and isn’t working and develop your strategy based on that. But don’t be too prescriptive because of it – you don’t want to miss out on something in one place because you’re putting all your effort somewhere else

Blogging is best somewhere between planned and not: you want to make sure you don’t slip and not do it enough, but you don’t want to be over-prescriptive and stifle your creative juices and end up posting boring posts for the sake of posting. If you’re stuck for inspiration try doing ‘this week’s Q&A’ or ‘link day Friday’ to show you have your finger on the pulse without having to think as hard about what to say

WordPress is the recommended tool for blogging (made me feel good that it’s the one I chose!). You can have it hosted on WordPress or on your own site, and it’s easier than most to change it at a later date. Blogger is very user-friendly, but less flexible and less powerful.

Articles seems to be the most popular alternative to Blog – but use the language of your customers. Try looking at what they refer to it as and use that.

If you’re stuck for ideas for blogs, try visiting larger blogs – even if they’re not relevant to your blog. You might get some ideas of the sort of headlines that prove interesting to readers, that sort of thing. Change the name from ‘Top 10 gardening tips’ to ‘Top 10 x tips’ and all you have ot do is write the text (easier than having to think up the subject too).


As usual, this was a great event. I talked to a few different people who were all there for different reasons, but the main one was the lack of anything else like it in the area. People are willing to travel a distance to get to these events, which proves the need for something like that.

There are plans afoot for a conference some time next year, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out. I’m already looking forward to that and the next meeting!

Condemnation is easy – understanding is the hard part

9 08 2011

I posted this on Facebook and Google+, but feel the need to say it a little bit louder than that!

What is happening in London and other cities is terrible – I completely feel for the people whoa re suffering at the hands of the rioters and whose lives and livelihoods will be or have been negatively impacted by what has and is happening. But there’s so much more to it than that…

It’s all well and good saying the rioters are ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’ and so on – but have those of you who are so quick to denigrate them considered that maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason that trying to burn down the city seems to them to be a logical thing to do? Maybe they don’t have your sky-high IQ, but they’re still human beings whose reasons should be considered as well as their actions. Because they do have reasons, and they’re not actually just ‘cos we felt like it’. If it was, this sort of thing would happen a lot more often than it does!

So maybe, rather than just complaining about how they’re all idiots and should (yes I saw it) have their hands chopped off, we should be trying to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing (and no, probably for a lot of them, the shooting is not relevant) so that we can learn from that and make changes if we can so that this sort of thing stops, and doesn’t happen again.

Criticising them won’t get us anywhere – understanding them just might.