Posts Tagged ‘Digital Footprint’

Acting with Decorum in the Digital World

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Today smartphones have become an intrinsic part of our digital lives and are no longer merely used for making calls. The need for us to display good digital manners has never been more essential but unfortunately this isn’t always the case!

Governments and independent agencies impose regulations for proper Mobile Internet behavior when, for example, personal safety is at stake (like texting while driving) or disturbance can be caused (as in dedicated quiet cars on trains). In the broader sense, however, there is a need for a socially acceptable set of rules for using ever smarter devices and this is the catch 22 of the situation: these guidelines need to be initiated by those very communities that use them. Yet, as users, we’re still struggling to determine how the devices we’ve grown to depend on can be unobtrusively integrated into our lives.

How annoying is it when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and they’re constantly checking their phone for emails, Facebook updates or sending text messages? Or you’re at a wedding and the person in the pew next to you takes pictures and tweets throughout the service? None of this is illegal but it can be offensive and it’s certainly anti-social.

Many believe that digital devices should come with user etiquette manuals to inform users about polite usage in public places. This may help reduce the day-to-day disturbances that modern devices create but there’s a general feeling that with the rapid adoption of new technologies, digital manners are also rapidly deteriorating. Maybe there’s a need for digital etiquette to become a compulsory class in all educational programs!

These classes could use Netiquette as their base curriculum. The term is a blend of “net” and “etiquette” and refers to a set of guidelines for proper online behavior. Netiquette not only applies to how and where you use your smart device but also to the content of your communication. As with the written word, spelling and grammar are of the utmost importance as corporate websites or blog articles littered with typos can really deter a would-be client. Having said that, certain online abbreviations commonly used in SMS messages were added this year to the Oxford English Dictionary, including LOL, OMG and TTYL. Typing solely in capitals is not good practice, however, and IMPLIES THAT YOU’RE SHOUTING!

Deciding which new age words are now socially acceptable is often a challenge. The Oxford Dictionary of English has been increasingly infected by web-based slang over the last few years and some of the latest words to be included in the dictionary are: chillax (meaning to calm down and relax) and defriend (meaning to remove someone from your list of friends / contacts on a social networking site). These now commonly used words reflect the way that our everyday language is being influenced by the digital world. At some stage in the future let’s hope that someone will organize a tweetup (a meeting set up by means of posts on Twitter) and actually create a set of socially acceptable rules to live by in this new digital age!

Probably the most important rule of Netiquette is “think before you post”. Not everything that happens to you is worth blogging or tweeting but when it is, make sure that you’re comfortable that your words won’t come back to bite you and that the “digital footprint” you’ve created is one you can live with.

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. Please contact us at, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website

Alison Bell, Social Media Manager, KeySo Global LLC

Protect your Digital Footprint and zip up your Privacy Settings

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

I recently had the enjoyable task of giving the father-of-the-bride speech at my daughter’s wedding. This is a challenging project for any father trying to blend humor with touching moments of emotional significance from his daughter’s childhood and wrapping up with words of wisdom for the happy couple.

Check your zipper

During my preparation for this speech I looked to the Internet for guidance. One of the more comical pieces of advice was labeled “The ABC of Giving a Public Speech”, which concluded by saying that the XYZ aspect – being confident about your speech – is the most critical. In this instance, XYZ stands for “check your zipper!” Nobody wants to be standing in front of an audience, unaware of their embarrassment, and having attention diverted to the wrong area!

The new Facebook

You may ask what this has to do with social media. At the recent F8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced significant changes to Facebook. One of these is the introduction of “frictionless sharing” which more closely integrates applications from media companies and enables personal actions such as reading an article, listening to music or watching a movie to be transmitted to all ones’ friends, providing the user has granted prior permission.

Serendipitous sharing

This “frictionless sharing” is designed to encourage “real-time serendipity” by removing the extra step requirement to manually “Like, Share or Comment” on content, which tends to inhibit interaction. The technical framework for apps has been changed within Facebook so that, rather than requiring you to click to share, the app automatically posts your status update. 

As you install each app, you can grant permission for it to update your timeline. At this stage you’ll need to carefully consider the transparency of the information you’re sharing, how your timeline will be updated and why it may be beneficial for you to opt in.

You, as a sponsored story

Provided a user hasn’t “opted out”, anything they listen to or watch can be openly promoted by Facebook partner companies, such as Spotify or Netflix, as if the user had clicked “like” and endorsed it themselves. Additionally, advertisers can identify individual Facebook users, and their activities and endorsements may be used in sponsored stories to recommend a product to their friends.

As a result of this evolved social media, tighter management of privacy settings for online profiles has now become imperative. Users need to understand what these privacy controls mean in terms of what content can be can shared and with whom, as all actions now constitute the users living online profile or “digital footprint”. The already complex overlap between our public and private lives is set to become even more blurred with these changes as almost everything posted on the web is now becoming public knowledge.

Privacy education

Very soon privacy education will have to be incorporated into school curricula. It should most definitely become a part of everyday dialogue between parents and their children, and in many cases the onus will be on the kids to educate the parents!

Already teachers, police officers and other public employees have to be mindful about the pictures and comments they post for fear of repercussions. A recent example of this is a picture that was posted on Facebook of a teacher drinking wine during her summer vacation in Paris and returning home to find out that parents had seen it and objected, which lead to her dismissal.

Don’t forget to zip up your privacy settings

In future, the anecdotes you choose for your father-of-the-bride speech may well be those poignant and, most likely, edited moments from your daughter’s Facebook timeline. If you’re tempted to get a laugh by including a few more embarrassing snippets that you sourced elsewhere – don’t! The guest who kindly videos your speech on their smartphone and posts it on Facebook may just set in motion a train wreck for your daughter’s carefully groomed digital footprint!

At KeySo Global we are advisors and consultants about the impact of digital technology on society, business and individuals. If you’re interested in acquiring a better understanding of the implications of and applications for your corporate or personal digital footprint, please contact us at, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Online Ambiguity – How Fine is the Line between Trust and Anonymity?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I believe in fairness, in helping those whom I believe in to succeed, being as green as possible, and that all adults should protect children however they can. These values and beliefs are part of my DNA. Even though I state this, do you believe me?  Do you care?  You care when you need to assess whether or not you can trust me! This is the paradox – in the Digital World should we and can we really remain anonymous? If so, how do we in turn know who can be trusted?

In some countries and circumstances anonymity is synonymous with self protection. We see how Digital Life provides a medium for citizens to rise up in protest in countries such as Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Cell phones, Twitter and Facebook, have each provided people the means to join their collective voices and shout “enough is enough”. The challenge for them remains how to provide credibility to the masses and at the same time not be identified and victimized. In Saudi Arabia, for example, groups of women have launched online campaigns to urge others to fight for their legal right to drive. Those who revealed their identity were punished.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in his documentary, “Erasing David”, UK director David Bond shows how hard it is to erase one’s identity and delete personal data held by governments and public entitles. Today’s digital environment makes it almost impossible for any of us to erase our past and remain truly anonymous due to the “digital footprints” we all leave in our wake.

Trust is at the heart of all elements of this issue. The Internet was inherently designed to be “open”. Our social and private lives, as well as businesses’ and governments’ activities have become increasingly transparent as information is made more readily available and shared globally via the web. Since total anonymity is almost impossible, the importance of “privacy” has become even more crucial; strict boundaries need to be adhered to, to protect what is known about an individual and by whom.

Follow through has always been the crux of trust and, while the medium for the voice may have changed, the human element of “doing what you say” still remains. Trusted communities of people communicating with each other are the counterbalance to potential privacy violations, and also the means for validating otherwise anonymous individuals.

We at KeySo Global want to get to know you and want you to get to know us! We believe that, as a trusted mentor and coach to our clients, open dialog is imperative. Using digital technologies, we can show you how to apply them in your business in ways that lead directly to effective, trusted relationships.

Contact us at, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global LLC