Social Media: We’re all advertisers now

I was asked to go on BBC Radio Sheffield this week to talk about how people are using social media to make public complaints about products and services. You can listen to the section from the programme below.

The item was stimulated by the story of a woman from Chesterfield who, frustrated at the lack of response to a complaint against Talk Talk, had resorted to contacting them via her dog’s Facebook account. This ensured that the company woke up and started listening to her.

I think this illustrates how social media and new technologies are now putting power in the hands of ordinary people which previously would only have been available to those with money and / or political power. All this person was doing was deploying tactics which had formerly been deployed by big companies. Remember the adverts featuring a dog tangled in toilet roll? Yes, you remember it because the company involved spent a lot of money creating those images. Now, ordinary people can disseminate images like that using social media.

 

Social Media and Privacy

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I am often asked about how people can protect their privacy in the age of social media. I was asked this at the NHC Digital Inclusion Conference in Manchester last Thursday, and I have been further prompted by something I saw on Twitter today from Paul Taylor.

My take on this is a bit different from the standard answers, I believe; and it is this:

  • Our modern concept of “privacy” is an anomaly in human history, which has probably only existed since the eighteenth century. Before this everyone lived in circumstances where there was no opportunity for privacy and they would have struggled to understand why it might be necessary. Social media, CCTV, and covert surveillance are all returning us to an earlier state in this respect;
  • Social media is changing society’s views about what privacy is. Eventually, we will stop being surprised and shocked at things other people do;
  • Society will get better at educating people how to protect the privacy of those things which are necessary to keep private, and many of us will learn from painful experience. That set of necessary things will be a much narrower field than what we currently think of as “privacy”.

I’d be very interested in your views on these issues

Wifi for Hospital Patients: A Major Breakthrough

Just when I was feeling the Campaign for Free Wifi for Hospital Patients had stalled, there comes news of a major breakthrough. Prompted by Consultant Paediatrician, Sebastian Yuen, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton has introduced free wifi. This came about after Sebastian consulted with the family of one of his patients who made a specific request, and it was introduced as an NHS Change Day pledge.

Here is a great video about it. Please spread the word and tweet about this using the hashtags #NHSwifi and #NHSChangeDay. Thank you also to Teresa Chinn for the prompt