Should Facebook have a Death Wish list?

How was you told that the last person that you were very close to died?

When a work colleague died I remember receiving a group email, shocking but at least there were others around in the office to look to for support. In the age of social networking there is every possibility that you could discover that someone close died via a profile update. With the rapid growth of mobile internet you could be in the middle of a meeting, stood in the queue at the supermarket, out for a meal with friends or picking up the kids from school.

Whilst you could be in all these scenarios to discover the death of a friend via a telephone call, the ‘accidental’ impact of discovering of someones death from a wall post or status update on a social profile seems to have an added loneliness and depth of shock.

So what happens next?

Some friends may wish to post messages of their shock and sadness on the profile of the deceased. Others may feel this inappropriate, feel that such public displays of grief are inappropriate. 

Who should decide if and when a profile is removed?

Should relatives be given control?

At funerals I have always disliked the saying ‘they would have wanted…’ said so many a time by people who have no idea what the deceased wanted at all.

A solution to this would be a ‘living will’ on social networks – a ‘death wishlist’ or ‘social network after life’. At some point after signing up to a social network you should be given the option to select what you would like to happen to your account after you die. I would imagine that most will not bother, but for those of us who do not want others to speak in their name, this could be a way of securing that our wishes are met. 

A ‘passed on’ option or ‘dead’, if you would prefer to be more blunt, could be useful – this would enable friends to stay friends but not have the deceased pop up every time an application wants you to choose friends to invite. Pre-programmable options after the ‘dead’ option is activated could include a series of status updates – spooky but could also provide some comfort (or hilarity). 

In the absence of a ‘Facebook Death List’ I’d like to let my wishes be known:

  • Post away on my profile after I’ve gone, for me death has traditionally been a social event. At least on-line there wont be any stale sandwiches 
  • My profile can stay, but if you’re a friend don’t feel embarrassed to delete me as a friend if seeing me in your friends list makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Take photos at my funeral (no one ever does this which is a shame when everyone made such an effort to look good – and of course look gorgeous in black). A HD video stream would be even better.  
  • Make sure the coffin and later pictures of my gravestone are tagged just to make sure anyone who might stumble by my profile understands why I haven’t updated my status in a while.
  • If someone can post messages each year to a newspaper on the anniversary of a death then I cant see why you can’t make it easier for people by keeping your profile open so they can post messages there.

Social networks have become such a major part of our lives, for me, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be a major part of death. I just hope that my last profile picture is a good one as I hopeit will be around for a lot longer than I was.

So what would you’re ‘Death Wish List’ be? Should Facebook let you decide what happens to your profile after you’re death or is this for you’re family to decide? Will last.fm discover new meaning? What happens to your last tweet when you are no longer able to twitter?

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Applications come to Linked In

LinkedIn continues its rapid growth and development with the introduction of LinkedIn applications. Now you can link your LinkedIn profile to your WordPress blog, add a Google Presentation, or work within your profile in a secure collaborative workspace.

This is a welcome addition to LinkeIn, making the service more sticky for users whilst providing you with far more creative ways to promote yourself to perspective employers. There is a danger that some over enthusiastic users could damage their reputations rather than enhance them – though for the rest of us this could be rather entertaining.

Digital notes just got easier

I work across multiple computers and mobile devices, and whilst sharing data across these is getting easier it is still far from perfect.

I have my personal computer, day job computer, elected councillor laptop, testing computer, personal iPhone and two blackberrys (one for work and one for the council). This may seem excessive however with my wide range of responsibilites I have a wide range of communication needs which for various reasons are not allowed to cross polinate.

In the past I have spent a great deal of time emailing one computer from the other, for instances sometimes social sites may be blocked by a corporate firewall so to get a screenshot for a presentation I will use my personal PC to grab a screenshot then email to the appropriate account. 

I do not carry all my phones with me all the time and have been caught out in the past when a piece of information that I needed was on another device or at home on a PC or laptop.

Evernote describes itself:  ‘Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.’

From my intial tests I have found this extremely useful. Immediately that I save a screenshot on one PC it appeared on the other. I saved a note on my iphone and uploaded a photo and within a few second this was also avaialble with notes and images saved via my PC also available on the iPhone.

One feature I really liked was the ability to create multiple notebook folders which can be viewed separately or all notebooks viewed as once.  Searching these notebooks is also hugely flexible with the ability to tag notes as well as Evernote being able to search text within images.

Evernote will take entier web pages, saving all the links contents within them, photos and enable you to search words in them (ie: business cards / whiteboards / labels on products), audio clips, to do lists, notes an reminders. 

Evernote can import your delicious links which are then searchable within evernote.

Evernote is currently free for up to 40MB of uploads per month then 5USD for more monthly uploads, stronger security and faster image recongnition.

Whilst there are lots of ways to work across several computers, with remote desktop etc, I will be giving Evernote a trial for a while simply because its ease of use and setting up was a doodle.

Twideas for Twitter

Twitter Mashups are arriving at the plenty. With some you struggle to see their worth, but recently I have discovered some that I can immediately see some clear uses for:

Dwigger threads Twitters and enables users to vote on tweets. I really like the fact you can also filter down for a selection of areas (the UK being one, New York another).

Twitter Grader may at first just seem to be satisfying the ego of Twitterers, however with no stats available within Twitter it could help measure the impact of a campaign that incorporates Twitter, as could Tweetburner which enables you to measure the number of clicks on a URL you post within a tweet.     

Other of my favourite Twideas:

TwitterFeed automatically posts a Twitter when you add a post to your blog or other RSS feed.

Twellow a directory of Twitters by subject.

Twitt Earth shows Tweets as and where they are coming from, not really useful but one of my favourites and makes a great screensaver.

On my iPhone I use Twinkle which lets you filter twitters from 1 to 252,000 miles from you.

This post is clearly not an extensive list of Twitter apps, there are plenty of sites that do that. I wanted to share my favourites and my excitement over the amazing Twideas that Twitter inspires and will continue to as the microblogging phenonemum continues to grow. 

Winning elections on-line

The US elections are continuing to demonstrate how the internet is playing an increasingly important role in engaging with voters. Research in the US has shown that 7% of on-line searchers may change their votes. In a close election what political parties do on-line could make the difference between winning and losing.

Democrat Barrack Obama has been heralded as changing the future of political campaigning. Michael Cheney, from the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who studies online campaigning says that Barack Obama elevated the Internet’s social reach from novelty to necessity after Obama used it to build online grassroots support that helped fuel his rapid rise. Cheney believes that the use of social media has to be part of campaigns in the future and that candidates who don’t use this model aren’t going to be as succesful.

Google recognises this and has appointed a ‘head of elections and issues advocacy’ as sales of sponsored links go through the roof. For Google this is a huge opportunity to make money, for politicians looking for votes pay-per-click advertising is an easy way to reach potential voters.

It is no longer sufficient to build a website and upload press releases about how good you are and how terrible the opposition is. Messages have to cross multiple platforms in multiple formats. Supporters need to monitor and respond to discussions on-line. Candidates need to be taught not to be phased by the on-line chatter which could be disproportionally influenced by opponents who utilise the power of social networks such as Facebook and the many elections forums that grow in the run up to polling day.

Campaign strategist, plotting the progress of their campaign, need to use services such as Hitwise, to monitor traffic and searches for political websites which can give an indication of who is gaining ground in a campaign and the subject matters that the electorate are most interested in.

In the UK by the next general elections, and london local government elections in 2010, the internet will play a bigger part than ever before. And especially where the vote is close an election really could be won (or lost) on-line.

Great Reasons to switch now to Google Chrome

I now have Google Chrome, the new browser from global search giant Google. Within minutes of using I can immediately see that this will become one of my primary browsers – and given Google has made the code behind this open source I am extremely excited about the possibility of social browsers based on Google Chrome similar to the Flock browser.

Independent tabbed browsing – each tab works separately so if one tab freezes or crashes the other tabs will still be there and tab recoverable at last position when tab reloaded

Plugin separate – if plug is bad rest of page still usable

Extra security – rendering engine (what makes the page appear for you) has no privilages on your computer so cannot easily put bugs in your computer

Pages appear faster – In test showed average page took 77.28 ms as opposed to over 228 ms for a test on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

Secrecy mode -Your history helps improve your browsing experience, however there is no longer the need to clear your browser history and cache (which would ruin your Google Chrome experience) if you want to visit a site that you do not want others to know you have visited you switch on Incognito mode

Currently Chrome is only around 7MB so very fast to download and I installed within a couple of minutes of clicking the download button

Great design, simple, intuitive and amazingly easy to use

Love the facility to easily search by keyword your visited sites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGmO7Oximw8

Google video about the story behind Google Chrome from YouTube

Privacy assurance: the blogosphere has been discussing how this will be linked to Google search and capturing more information about what you are doing on the web. Google says it adds no further information that any current use of Google does.

When I went to Facebook for the first time it asked me if I wanted to save my password in a behaviour similar to other browsers such as Flock. However the speed was massively different – even more than when I have used Apples Safari browser previously.

The BBCs rich homepage opened in a split second, every link quickly resulted in a new page. I swear that the colours on the page seemed richer (though I am colour blind and blinded by how much Im impressed by Chrome so may not be the best to judge).

All in all, Search needed Google and they now dominate this space. I’d argue Browsers need to change and Chrome is just the start of a revolution in browsing.