Tag Archives: social networks

Barack Obama’s social media archive and the power of a searchable self

As America prepares to say goodbye to the first President of the social media era, the White House has announced the creation of a searchable database of everything Barack Obama and his administration posted on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest over eight years and two terms in office.

The archive, in itself, containing over 250,000 posts, photos, and videos shared by more than 100 official Obama White House social media profiles, is impressive – but the intention behind it more so.

By creating this archive and setting a challenge to the public to see how creative they can be with this wealth of data, as well as what practical uses they can find, the White House is demonstrating a keen awareness of how sharing data can benefit the public good.

We’ve been open before about the win-win situation that data-sharing creates, for both businesses large and small as well as users.

In fact it’s the cornerstone of our Internet of Me vision, where individual control starts with the gathering of our personal data in one secure place and then sharing slices of it, if we choose, for personalised services, convenience or rewards.

Data taken and taken from behind our backs, as now by ad tech companies, is widely known to be 30-50 per cent wrong, often misattributed and rarely up to date even if it doesn’t contain major mistakes.

But 100 per cent accurate and deep data, shared with permission, is a building block of innovation and personalisation – and something that is deeply desirable.

And when that’s shared for the good of all, such as health research projects, then the results can benefit us all as well.

So if you want to see why President Obama sees value in having a searchable archive – and get one of your own – come along and find out more about digi.me!

digi.me and the ‘single social stream’

We’ve had such an exciting time here of late, finalising our £4.2m Series A funding and sharing our future plans for health and financial data, that you could be forgiven for forgetting just how awesome our existing app is.

So it was great to see it get some press coverage in its own right, from Mike Elgan at Computerworld, who has a huge interest in the whole sphere of ‘lifelogging’ and building a truly connected world.

Riffing on Facebook’s statement from the time of its IPO in 2012 about wanting a more open and connected internet, he laments the fact that Facebook, these days, is actually more about just trying to do that by getting all of the users itself, through organic growth and the acquisitions of both Instagram and Whatsapp.

And that, actually, most of us access multiple sites, maintaining multiple friend lists and interactions with the people on them, rather than being able to do all of this in one place.

But this brings its own problems: “The trouble is, using several social services is really hard — all that switching from one mobile app to the next, and from one website to the next. Each has its own design, menu structure, settings and configuration options, and processes for handling photos, likes and mentions.

“It’s also impossible for someone with a lot of friends to remember which people are on what network. Most people who try to use several social networks end up forgetting about some and spending most of their time on one, or maybe two. So much for an open and connected world.”

But he sees many benefits to a single stream, where all your posts are gathered in one place for insight and convenience, and guess who he has just found out about? Yep – digi.me – and he’s already a big fan:

“So there you go, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: Digi.Me is a platform upon which you can build a service that achieves Facebook’s mission to make the world more open and connected — without a Facebook monopoly.”

While he sings our praises here – and even more so on his FatCast podcast interview with our founder and chairman Julian Ranger – “the company makes a product that you should absolutely be using” it’s only fair to say that we’re not the total solution to his single stream desire – he wants somewhere he can import the posts of others, too, and a single place where he can interact with them all, and that’s not what we do. (Although in time we expect to become a platform that others build their own services on.)

But we thoroughly recommend both reading the interview and listening to the whole podcast for an excellent and interesting discussion about what social media activity is today, and could be in the future.

And we can only agree that you absolutely should be using digi.me!

 

My son has just turned 3 – and I’ve already forgotten so much about him

My second son had his third birthday recently – and flicking back through old pictures and posts on my digi.me I was struck by how much has already fallen out of my own, non-digital memory.

I’m not an obsessive photo-taker by any means, for social media or otherwise, but as I scrolled back on my phone through happy days out, big moments and things deemed funny or silly enough to snap on the spur of the moment, I was shocked by how many I couldn’t immediately place, or that didn’t quickly spark additional memories.

Partly, of course, this is just life – son 2 followed exactly 23 months after his older brother, so we were busy all the time. Still are, really, as we combine family life with building two businesses and the associated stresses of freelance and contractor life. And let’s not forget a full two years (and counting) of 5am wake-ups. I haven’t – and I doubt I will.

Still, that said, I want to remember, and be reminded of, all the fun I have with my boys, now and in the future – I want the keys to my memory to hand all the time, easily accessible and easy to explore.

For me personally, this ability of digi.me to act as an exterior brain, all-seeing and uber reliable, is my favourite of its features. I love scrolling back through random dates, remembering what I was doing and how small (so small) my kids looked in the reasonably recent past.

I enjoy, too, the flashback pictures and posts that pop up each morning, and the ability to gather favourite pictures from different platforms together on a beautiful PDF.

For my 21st, my parents spent ages going through drawers and albums full of family pictures, to make me an album of my (I quote)  ‘first, great 21 years’. I loved it then and I love it now, not just because it was a labour of love, but because all the best bits and highlights of all our lives are in there, contained in one large album that I can flick through at will.

When my sons come of age, I look forward to doing something similar that they too can keep – but I suspect digi.me will make the job a whole lot easier!

 

digi.me’s start-up story

“Digi.me started life, as many of the best ideas do, as an aside in another conversation that led to a lightbulb going off in my head.

“I was at a board meeting for my innovation hub iBundle in 2009, and one of the directors mentioned he had a friend who had just lost three years’ worth of Facebook interactions after a glitch while changing password wiped his account.

“What a shame, we said, all those posts, photos and comments just gone – and then, realising that there was nothing out there to help you back up your social media, we decided there and then to create an app that did just that.

“And so SocialSafe (digi.me’s original name) was born – a great and easy-to-use social media tool that allowed you to save information and pictures you had posted to your various social media accounts and search them and see the original comments and likes, as well as make your own collections of content and export what you wanted, see your most popular posts and followers and much more!  A key decision was to have this data stored locally on the user’s own device – not on our servers; this was to ensure privacy and also because it was the only way to comply with Facebook’s terms and conditions.

“We got a company in to get it working and made it paid for but cheap, when we probably should have gone for free to grow the user base faster, but regardless it ticked along nicely and got some traction and a bit of press from big industry names like Mashable and Hermione Way.

“But in all honestly my attention was on other products and it was little more than a hobby for the first year, not least because my developers and finances were spread among many projects.

“Then users started asking if they could include Twitter as well and view all of this data they had gathered, so we built a viewer that normalised and aggregrated all the data together so you could look back across all your posts and photos across networks.

“Then I thought it would be great if you could search for something by date, so we built the journal functionality, where you can jump around any dates you choose and find out what you posted on any given day across all your linked networks.

“Demand came from users for back-ups for other social media networks as well, so we started adding the functionality for Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Viadeo and many more – and suddenly it became clear there was massive demand for this kind of service, where people could get their data back somewhere they could see it and then use it how they wanted.

“The defining moment came when I realised that what we were doing was similar to what I had done for the military for 20+ years – bringing disparate data from multiple sources together, normalising and aggregating it and making it available for reuse. Because data was being stored locally, this would allow us to extend the data captured for a user across their entire life whilst retaining privacy, ensuring security and providing control over that data, as we never see, touch or hold it.

“With this lightbulb moment, we started moving development towards the direction we are focused on now – which is gathering the data for the benefit of the user, first and foremost, but also looking to see if we could help them do something with it, over and above selling it on which was (and in many ways is) the most common user data model.

“In 2013, I decided to focus full-time on building digi.me as a business, as it was clear to me that how people viewed personal data and how they felt about companies taking and using it for their own means was undergoing a seismic shift, and I could see that our app spoke to those deeply-held concerns, giving people back control of the data they posted.

“I was excited for the possibilities, particularly after we won Le Prix d’Argent at the Le Web start-up competition later in the year from more than 700 entrants, but as ever when you’re pushing a new idea or concept, things don’t always take off quite as you’d hoped, and correspondingly development and major investment wasn’t always as quick to happen as we’d like.  We had the idea, the team and the product, but we were still early to market – and timing is a key component to success.

“But over time our Permission Access model, which is due to come into being later this year, was developed and evolved – and this impending expansion saw us change our name from SocialSafe, which was well-known but really related only to the (excellent) social media back-up tool it is currently, to digi.me, which reflects the whole-person-and-life-data tool it will soon be.

“Our app will retain its social media back up and aggregation functions, which have already been used by over 350,000 people in over 140 countries, but users will also be able to add their own data from other areas of their life, starting first with financials and health, and moving on to other such as shopping.

“The Permissioned Access aspect will then allow businesses, who want access to these rich, deep datasets that our users will soon hold, to approach them directly and offer them personalised offers (for service, convenience or reward) in exchange for seeing some slices of that data.

“With investment from both the UK and US from people who understood we were doing something important, I started to build a team, bringing more developers on board at the same time as a CEO and CMO – and with them came new opportunities and ideas. Our CEO, Rory Donnelly, lives in France, for example, and got us in as partners on the FNAC security pack over there, which is very popular and where we’re in our third year.

“Then things began to snowball in 2015 as we started looking to the future, and what the personal data economy would look like in another five years. It was clear to us that there had to be a cultural shift, from individuals having things done to their data but unable to access it themselves, to becoming the centre of their connected world, back in control of their data and able to use it as they wished.

“This Internet of Me is the future of the personal data economy, a new model that the current stand-off between ad-tracking and ad-blocking will help create, as businesses and consumers seek a third way that offers universal benefits.  We think this is so important for the whole personal data industry that we are sponsoring and supporting an independent forum to look at the issues surrounding it and to try and build momentum as quickly as possible. http://internetofme.info/

“Meanwhile our app continues to go from strength to strength, with partnerships with Toshiba, Lenovo and Evernote with more to come, and other exciting developments with major players in various industries including health, insurance, banking, telcos and FMCG.

“We’ve also just appointed an EVP, Jim Pasquale, in the US as we continue to grow and expand – so there are exciting times ahead – and I’m delighted to be part of them.

“It all started with a simple comment, burst into life as a result of user comments and a flash of inspiration and now the journey continues with what I believe is a very promising future ahead.”

50% off digi.me: Collections are the #5 (of 12) reasons to love us!

The personal data, gathered, of each of us is powerful but huge. Greater than the sum of its parts, it’s mighty and magnificent – but we know that sometimes you just want to gather some related parts together to be viewed as one small whole. And, as ever, your wish is our command.

And so, on the fifth day of Christmas, my true love brought for me – the ability to create Collections.

Collections are essentially what they say on the tin – a way to group together content you love from across your social media platforms and save it, download it – essentially use and enjoy it how you want.

Creating and adding to them is (as with everything in our well-thought-out app) is simple and straightforward. Either navigate to collections on the left hand sidebar and click the ‘new collection’ button on the bottom right, or meander your way (with meaning or otherwise) through your journal, flashback and accounts.

Anywhere you see a heart in the top right panel means that you can click to select some or all of the content on the page and either add it to one or more existing collections (one at a time), or create a brand new collection ON THE SPOT. Yep, we’re totally down with spontaneity.

Then, when you’re finished full stop, or just done for now, navigate back to the Collections page to view each of your collected works in its full glory.  But we’re not finished – oh no. digi.me is the gift that keeps on giving, remember?

So now you can view your collection of content in one place – maybe it’s an album of your kids, or a significant birthday celebration, or favourite pictures of your family. Whatever it is, and wherever you posted it, it’s now together in one place within your library (which you can continue to add to at any point in the future. But we digress.)

But can you do even more with it? Yes you can! As well as deleting anything you’ve changed your mind about and changing the order of content, the big excitement is that you can export it, either as a beautiful PDF that is ready in seconds, or to Evernote. That’s right, you can download the content that means the most to you, together with the original likes and comments, in a shareable form that means it can be emailed on to anyone else who is also interested. We really do spoil you – and you’re worth it.

So what are you waiting for? Collection those related pictures and statuses from across the web and pull them together with digi.me Collections – download it now so you’re ready for Christmas 2015!

50% off digi.me: #1 (of 12) reasons to love us – the gift of secure data!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love brought to me…all my social networks in one place for a fantastic limited-offer price! BUY DIGI.ME PREMIUM NOW!

Yes, no dodgy candle or bath products from the big man in red this year, the gift of digi.me is quite literally the gift that keeps on giving, combining posts from all your key social networks in one place to search, explore and enjoy for as long as you want!

Offering the option now to store all the important posts and pictures that make up the sum of the things you care about most, next year will see the change to add details such as finance, health and purchasing to your library which you can exchange with businesses of your choice for services, offers or rewards.

And the best bit? For this month we are offering our premium digi.me product – that’s the one with all the best bits we offer in – for 50pc off a year’s subscription, so $3.49 instead of $6.99. It was just what you asked for on your list, right? (We know you make a list, even if it’s just in your head)

So whether it’s Father Christmas’s present to you (which are always the best ones), or for someone who you love enough to give a gift that does something brilliant and doesn’t just sit on a shelf gathering dust, here’s the lowdown on why you should be jumping all over this offer.

Digi.me is completely private and all information is held on your computer. We never see it, it’s just for you to enjoy, use and share as you wish.

We support major networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, with more coming all the time.

You can search across all platforms, gaining new insight into yourself and your life, create collections of favourite events or people (Christmases past, anyone?) and export them as PDFs to share or just to keep as hard copies.

More you say? Well, how about a widget-based front page, which offers you the chance to slice and dice your data how YOU want – such as most popular posts, most active friends and most influential followers. Even better – create your own, with our easy three-step guide.

We can’t guarantee the turkey will defrost in time, that your favourite Bond film will be on the telly or that you’ve been good enough for a visit from Santa – but we can guarantee that your data is held securely on your computer so you can do more with it.

Oh, and if you forget to get a present until Christmas Eve? It’s a download, with you in seconds. Really, if digi.me could cook it would have Christmas totally covered. Enjoy!

10 top tips for social media confidence

Want to do more on social media but unsure where to start? Fear not – you’re not alone and we can help.

The sheer volume of information flowing past your eyes when you look at any platform can be intimidating, but start small and know what you want to achieve, and there is very little you can do wrong.

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for getting on top of social media quickly. They’re only guidelines, so feel free to adapt them – but the most important thing is just to get posting!

1) Don’t overcommit. This shouldn’t be a stress, so don’t go crazy and vow to update everything every 20 minutes of every working day. Rather, aim for at least three times a week on each platform you use.

2) Quality beats quantity. Better to share less and it be interesting, than put up things you haven’t read properly or that don’t fully reflect your/the product values in the rush to update your status with something (this goes back to no 1). As part of this, know overall (and ideally with each post) who your audience is and what you want them to do (be more aware of you, buy something etc)

3) Make it personal. While you may well be operating a business account, people like to do business with people, and so personalising what you say, and adding in bits of your life where you’re happy and it’s relevant, is often a very good way of making your followers know and trust you.

4) Analyse post engagements to see if you can see any kind of pattern – do you get most interactions in the morning, evening, or is there quite a uniform spread? Target it if so, aim for a spread of times if not. You can pre-schedule both tweets and FB posts using either Buffer or Hootsuite.

5) Aim for a spread of news/informative posts and pure sales pitches – I’ve seen 70/30 per cent seen as a good balance.

6) Find a quick and easy way to aggregate the types of articles you might want to look for, so that you can always find source material with ease. I recommend Feedly, which allows you to search and group articles by area type.

7) Follow other industry figures and look at what they do, how they do it and what they link to. Not to copy, exactly, but to get inspiration for what you want on your own feed.

8) Follow people in the same/related fields as you, so you can get an increased following of relevant users, get involved in industry conversations, be aware of news, and get inspiration for other posts.

9) Consider doing something like product of the week, where you look at a particular product in detail in a review style and/or competitions to win products or services.

10) Add value to everything you post and give people a reason to follow you and buy from you!

Of course, once you’ve started posting and interacting on your social media accounts, you’re going to want to download digi.me so that you can retain everything and reuse it as needed!

What Does Your Phone Know About You?

These days we really do rely on our mobile phones and it is quite scary to think how much your phone knows about you, where you have been and who you have seen.  It even knows some of your favourite hobbies, interests and activities. It is in essence your digital brain!  What would you do without it?

Mobile phones have moved on an incredible amount over the past 30 years, from a device that is clunky and cumbersome to small, light incredibly fast computers that fit in our pockets and handbags. We connect other devices to them such as our fitness trackers, smartwatches, children’s toys and much more.  They are the central hub of our daily lives.  As such they collect a massive amount of data about us.  Some of which is passed on to the applications that we use and some just sits idle on the phone.  Then there is some data that goes back to the carrier as well and some that is collected by the sites that we browse. They are complicated little devices and often we forget just how valuable that data is to us until we lose or break our phone.

A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece on how you can find your phone using the data stored online about you that relates to your phone and it’s location.  This week I thought we would look more at just what data there is on these devices and why it is important to secure and back up your phone and it’s content.

Most mobile phones these days have the option for you to store a copy of your photo’s and contacts in the cloud.  This means that every new contact and photo is saved both on your phone and somewhere on the internet.  The chance of losing this data is low unless of course you haven’t set your phone up to do that. It is one of the first things I set up whenever I get a new phone and I would recommend that if you haven’t done this already then do it as it is a life saver when your phone is damaged or lost as you still have all your contacts and those precious pictures of friends and family.

The next thing that I always set up is a way to secure my phone so that if I lose it someone else can’t just use my phone, run up a massive bill and cause all sorts of trouble. I have heard too many friends lose their phones abroad and because it is abroad they are still liable for the call charges made. Put a pin on it and it is at least a deterrent. You can also turn on phone tracking and remote wipe which take that process one step further. The only issue with these is that you need to have GPS turned on and this can be a bit of a battery drain. You can still find your phone’s last known location through other means so to me this is not essential.  Android phones track where you are using a process called triangulation which uses WiFi and cellular data to identify where you were last so I tend to use that as my fallback.

The apps that you have installed on your phone and have paid for are all stored by the app store where you bought them from so these too are recoverable. The data within these apps is stored remotely too by the app creators. As long as you have stored your contacts, pics and videos remotely you should be able to pretty much recreate your device time and time again. This is the beauty of distributed data.

Looking at this another way though all that distributed data is accessible from a single point – your phone. Once someone has that they have access and potentially control of everything. Just bear that in mind the next time you turn your phone on and you haven’t got any security turned on. You are putting your online identity at risk. That digital footprint that we have talked about here on the blog a few times could become compromised if you don’t protect it properly.

This article was brought to you by digi.me who put you in control of your social media content. Download it now to protect your digital memories. 

Friday Fun: Footprints

My Digital Footprint This week we have been talking digital footprints. Be that the footprint that we leave behind across every website we visit, or where we knowingly share content via social networks etc.

Whilst looking at some of the different aspects of digital footprints I came across this great piece of artwork by Jenny Hottle that I just had to share.  Whilst the work is from 2011 the sentiment of the article and the art still stands true today.

We all have our own individual identity online and how we share and want to view that is unique.  If you were going to create a digital footprint of your online life what would yours look like?  Would it look similar to this one of Jenny’s or would it be totally different… What unique aspects of your digital life would shine through and how do you think your digital footprint has changed over time?

If I think about my own digital footprint over time you would see my Facebook area being larger than Twitter for personal use, however if you had asked me the same question a year ago I would have said I was more focused on Twitter.  Instagram and PInterest have become more relevant to me and so has Ebay.  That gives you just a little insight into my personal digital footprint… Tell me about yours and how it has changed over time. I would be fascinated to hear about it.

Remember you can always use digi.me to backup your social media digital footprint and keep control of your social media data.  That way if you ever choose to leave a social network you will always have a copy of your data. 

Your Digital Footprint Revealed

Each person is unique like the facets of a diamond as a result your digital footprint online is also unique to you but how do you get to see those unique aspects of your digital footprint?  What patterns and relationships online are unique and valuable to you and how do you identify them in among the reset of the social media noise?

We here at digi.me understand that everyone is unique and we haDigi.me Puts You in Control of Your Social Media Datave been working on a range of different ways for you to interact with your social media networks.  Unlike when you go onto Facebook and view your timeline (or rather what Facebook allows you to see on your timeline) we show you everything you have posted in chronological order.  You can search, save and share that data.  You also have the ability to analyse your content and find your closest connections based on who you interact with most often.  You also get to see the combination of your social media updates from all of your different networks in one place.

If you are wondering who you haven’t been in touch with for a while you can even analyse an older set of updates and see who you might like to reconnect with by starting a conversation with them.  You can find out what your all time top photo’s were and even find out what days of the week you do post most of your social media updates on.

With our Flashback feature you can see what you were up to this time last year across all your social networks, or even look back beyond last year to the ones before that to see what you were up to then. You may be fascinated what memories and moments you come across.

Quite simply digi.me is a tool that opens up social networks on a personal level giving you that granular insight into those things that are most important to you.  If you think there is a feature missing or that you would like all you need to do is tell us and we will look into adding this in a future update.