The dangers of anonymity?

For my last blog post I would like to get back to the first post I have made here: it was about the multiplication of personalities a single person develops when online.
Sometimes the possibility of reinventing yourself is exciting, as you can portray yourself and your life as the dream. The need to display the best version of our lives online seems innocent, and, sure, the multiple personality issue is very interesting. What worries me, however, is the possibilities and tools the internet offers in advantage of crime.
A story emerged in the news recently, about a father who pretended to be a teenager to trick his daughter into sending him nude pictures.
This is just chilling. Yes, we can discuss the situation of the family overall, other psychological factors. But what made this possible is online platforms, and the anonymity these offer.
The internet is self-regulatory, and, sure, we cannot ban people from being anonymous online.
However, these shocking crimes get you thinking: maybe we do need stronger regulation? Maybe we do need profile verification? Do we need to make the government responsible for online safety of minors, as sometimes parents cannot ensure prevention of crime?
What I do believe, is that there should be stronger regulations, and the behaviour of users should not only be watched over, but closely monitored. Such crime, as I believe, can only be prevented by imposing stricter rules.
Yet, wouldn’t we all suffer?
Online safety is a very sensitive topic, as it appears. There is not a single right answer yet, however.
Let me know what you think! Who should be responsible for online safety?

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Apple Music

As of this February, Apple Music had reached 11 million subscribers. Costing £9.99 per month, it is a music streaming service, which works very similarly to Spotify. You gain access to a massive record library, excellent quality tracks, and personal suggestions to discover new artists.

In this case, the creative commons license is very important. The credit and copyright must remain, and the monthly payment ensures fair distribution of the artists’ creative work.

What can be considered as a strength of the service, is that even though most of the content can be downloaded illegally from the internet, the quality of music that can be streamed is much better. This might actually make people reconsider that. The monthly payment is affordable, and the ease of access to the paid music library is seamless.

The variety of the music is vast as well, ensuring there is plenty of choice. Also, the service offers personal suggestions, in that way promoting new artists to a wider audience.

Without services like this, copyrights would be violated all the time: in the contemporary society, the music industry is changing very fast, and the public does not see the point in investing into physical copies of new releases anymore. Why would you? Everything is available online. However, illegally.

Therefore, services like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, or any other music streaming service, are very helpful for artists, as they help maintain the copyright and fair distribution of creative work.

Am I still in control?

internet-privacy

 

My online privacy is quite important to me, but I don’t have too many concerns about it. Why? Well, I post on Facebook approximately once a month, and all of that content is visible to friends only. My account is private on Instagram. On YouTube, I’ve hidden everything away. LinkedIn? I never really figured out what should I really post there, honestly 🙂

Right, so I am not the one to be super-active on any social media platforms. I use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WordPress, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. That’s 6 platforms in total, which seems about average, but everything on my profiles there, except my name and my profile picture, is hidden away.

I consider the main reason for this to be my fear of certain people finding out too much of what they do not really need to know. For example, future employers: I am sure they do not need to see what my friends and I were up to last night.

However, what I cannot control is the content that appears in the media that is written about me. Back in school, I used to play badminton, and I have been to quite a few national championships. When I was about 16, I decided to google myself, and, shockingly, I found numerous articles from local newspapers, discussing my performance in the championship and my games with local sportsmen, during the past four years.

What was truly shocking was that the articles contained pictures of me, a minor at the time. They revealed my age and my city, and the badminton club that I belong to. How can all of this be legal? Luckily, it was small-scale. However, my parents still got the pictures taken down.

Yet that is the thing: no matter how much you hide away, a part of information will always be out there. Some of it you will not be able to control. Maybe it is time to accept it and just be more careful about what we post, and stop hiding from ‘strangers on the internet’? Is it time to accept the content that is created about us?

Let me know what you think!

Foursquare

Foursquare – helping us, 50 million members of the community, discover what is happening around us, and what do other members think about it.

More than 50 million people use Foursquare monthly, and there are reasons for such great numbers.

The concept involves some interesting features: using location services on smartphones, the app helps the user discover what venues, places, tourist attractions are nearby; people can check in to places they visit; reviews and recommendations can be posted by the community members, as a reference for other users planning a visit to a place.

Now, the benefits of Foursquare, I believe, go two ways. Firstly, it is not only helpful, but exciting as well for the members of this online community. The app guides us to places we would not otherwise know the existence of, for example, an artisan coffee pop-up, or a healthy fish and chip shop in your neighbourhood you never noticed before.

Secondly, it works the other way around as well: businesses benefit from additional publicity they get on Foursquare, and the recommendations left by the community can help a small business flourish. Another great opportunity for businesses is Foursquare promotions: for example, some cafés will give you a discount or a free food item for a Foursquare check-in, in this way attracting new customers.

The challenge here, however, is the trust you can put in the community. The mean comments about ‘rude staff’ at your favourite café: to what extent are they true and can be trusted? You’ve experienced service not less than excellent so far – why is another member of the community feeling completely different? What about the positive reviews? Could it be that a member of staff wrote these?

However, these are just minor issues. The most important part is the mutual benefit to the foursquare community and to businesses participating. Community members are happy to visit new places, the business owners are happy about the revenue it brings. Win-win.

 

Share a Coke

One of the most recent and most widespread, as well as successful campaign examples is the Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign.

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Coca Cola changed its labels: the logo was replaced by the most common British names. Yet this was only the beginning of the campaign.

What followed next was the most important: consumers could personalise their own drink bottles/cans, and then were asked to share the bottle or the can with their name on Twitter, or any other social platform.

First launched in Australia, the campaign spread to more than 70 countries! And, in terms of sales, the summer of 2013 was the most successful summer ever for the company in Australia.

Part of the campaign’s success in my opinion can be accounted to the emotional appeal. Finding anything with your name on it makes you feel special and valued. What is more, the campaign applied the approach of sharing a coke, instead of just keeping it to yourself, and that might have had an impact on sales: people bought personalised bottles and cans for their family members, loved ones, long-lost friends, etc.

One guy from Scotland even proposed to his girlfriend with personalised coke bottles. This proposal went viral for obvious reasons, and the couple got well wishes from all around the world.

This campaign, in my opinion, is genius in its simplicity. A name instead of the company’s logo on a drink bottle makes it emotional and personal.

The participation of the audience is what made this campaign what it was. I believe it is phenomenal, and I think we all had a personal experience via this campaign, no matter where we come from.

Share yours below!

 

A New Way To Pay

Examples of convergence are all around us for sure: from the basics, such as online newspapers, to the more contemporary new creations as Smart TV sets. Yet the most interesting, and, probably, exciting to me, is Apple Pay.

‘’Whoa, did he just pay with his watch?!’’ – I overheard in a shop recently. Yes, the man actually did pay with his Smart Watch. And yes, that is exciting.

And we thought that the debit card and electronic banking was ‘’cool enough’’. The service allows you to upload your card details to an online wallet, and pay at contactless points of sale equipped with NFC (near field communication) technology, with just the touch of your finger.

Not an Apple fan? Do not worry. In 2015, Samsung announced its new service ‘Samsung Pay’, and Google released ‘Android pay’. These mobile wallets are really catching on! (Read more about it here and here)

The thought of money going completely electronic seemed surreal not so long ago. Now it seems to be coming true.

However, there are implications.

The first one, which bothers me, an owner of a super-old iPhone 5, is the fact that Apple Pay is supported by models starting with iPhone 6 onwards. Older models do not have NFC technology and fingerprint scanners. Therefore, users need to be up-to-date with their technology.

What is more, the data protection was a major issue of concern for users since the release of the service. But Apple pulled that off flawlessly by introducing  of the sensitive card data, so no details are transferred at the point of sale, ensuring security of payments.

Do you personally use Apple Pay? If so, would you be more likely to visit a retailer who supports Apple Pay as a payment option? Let me know! It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on this!

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Facts, Facts, Factiva!

The internet is an enormous storage unit of all the information you could ever need. However, it is difficult at times to get to it directly. What is more, some sources are paid for, and if you only need it once, paying to gain access it is just not worth the hassle.

One of the best research tools I’ve come across is Factiva. It is a paid for service, but we, as students of Westminster, have access to it via the library portal.

When doing my research for essays and campaigns, I sometimes need to quote a reputable newspaper, as this adds to the paper I’m writing. Some of them, sadly, have paywalls – think ‘The Times’. But Factiva helps a lot in this case: it contains all the news articles that appeared on the day, free or paid. Just enter the title of the article, and it appears on your screen, no more paywalls!

It is very useful for gaining access to quality news articles. It is reliable and a lot more convenient than buying a hard copy of a newspaper. It is great for comparing views of different journalists and news outlets.

I find this service one of the most useful tools for research, yet it is helpful daily as well. Whenever I see an interesting article online, or want to see the different views in the press of an issue, Factiva is very useful. Find Factiva here!

Tell me if you’ve ever used Factiva in the comments. Or do you have a way of accessing restricted articles of your own? Let me know!
Read a lot, and enjoy!