The modern Age

modern-ageI was visiting my son and daughter-in-law last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper. ‘This is the 21st century, old man,’ he said. ‘We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.’ I can tell you, that bloody fly never knew what hit it…”

LEADING A COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY with clients as broad as the NTPA through to multinational printers and Fire Engineering consultants I get exposed to a lot of different points of view towards digital technology – and it’s not all roses!

Some people find it hard to adopt new technology, particularly when they feel like it’s been forced on them and is suddenly replacing the ways of working and living that they understand – just like the father in the joke above.

But once we dip our toes in the water, and trial some of the amazing new gadgets available, we quickly find that modern-day technology can really enhance, not hinder, our lives.

A great example of how embracing technology can improve your lifestyle are some long-time colleagues who have recently become grey nomads and have embraced iTunes through their iPod and have now got an amazing, infinite soundtrack to their travels. Perhaps one of the simplest yet most exciting improvements to our lives through technology has been the smart phone and iPad. We recently furnished an organisation with iPads; the beauty is they keep all the communication and documentation relied upon in a secure and central place. Every time new documents need to be reviewed or critical new information is to be circulated to staff, an Alert is automatically sent through their iPad – a streamlined, simple and very efficient means of communication.

Our clients have been fast to embrace the very modern way of working. One of the amazing benefits is being able to Skype from the iPad. Now when staff are away from their work stations they can speak to their colleagues. It is like they are in the same room.

The most significant impact of the iPad is undoubtedly the leaps and bounds in development the technology has brought to toddlers and small children, particularly autistic children. Specially designed apps used as part of long-term therapy are enabling many autistic children to communicate often for the first time. The portability and immediacy of iPads means parents can demonstrate solutions and new ideas to those children on the spot, instead of waiting a week or longer for a therapy session.

In an everyday sense, social media sites like Facebook mean we can keep in constant contact with children and grandchildren who are travelling overseas – no more thinking the worst when we haven’t heard from them for a month. And the beauty is we can be passive, non-intrusive users and hear their stories via their posts, or part of their social network actively posting – we can choose the level of engagement we want.

Sometimes the idea of new gadgets, widgets and ways of thinking and working can get overwhelming and we stick like glue to our old ways. But if we, and the old man in our joke, takes just a small but brave step and embraces a piece of new technology we find it’s not an over overwhelming presence here to revolutionise how we do things, but a fantastic partner to help us improve our lives.

Communication in the Digital Age

communication-in-the-digital-ageWHETHER YOU LOVEIT or hate it, the digital age has revolutionized the way we communicate. The internet, mobile phones and email have redefined the way business, friends and family interact with each other. Not so long ago, we wrote letters, visited the library, caught up with friends to share their latest holiday photo album, waited till we got home or to work to use the phone and picked up our phone messages just once or twice a day. We even did our banking in person, via a bank-book.

Today, a staggering 57% of people talk more online than they do in real life. Emailing, Facebooking, Tweeting and texting is now more common than picking up the phone, or knocking on our neighbour’s door. Globally 294 billion email messages are sent each day – on Facebook alone, every 20 minutes almost 3 million messages are sent, over 1 million links are shared and 2 million friend requests are accepted. It’s communication on a scale many of us never expected to see in our lifetime, and it’s growing every day.

The change has brought huge positives. The worldwide-web enables us to research, compare, collate and share information easily and quickly – getting answers and solving problems fast. Combine this with mobile phone technology and we are more productive than ever before.

The real benefit is much more personal: websites such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have created powerful new communities – people are more connected, and less lonely. Business and communities from across the globe can gather and discover new ideas and possibilities, promoting equality and freedom of speech. And because opinions and experiences can be shared with the world at the touch of a button, consumers have more power than ever before and brands are truly listening.

But there’s always a flipside. Recently I did research about social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) to find out what made it so popular. One of my findings revealed that “baby boomers” and a lot of “Generation X” when reprimanded by their parents, were sent to their rooms, or were reminded that as long as you live under my roof you do as I say! Generation Y on the other hand relish the opportunity to be sent to their rooms, because at their fingertips they can communicate with as many friends as they want, be who ever they want to be, and most importantly can lock their parents out, by not giving them access to this exclusive friendship club – social media is building global communities but putting our immediate community, our family, at risk.

And while quick access to our new communities mean we are never lonely, the stream of constant information and requests can be overwhelming, and can even lead to compulsive behavior – an almost ‘addiction’ to be online and accessible.

The internet, mobile phones and emails are a double-edged sword. Similar to life itself, there is no hard and fast rule to managing these changes and making digital communication work for you. It all comes down to good old fashioned common sense, to using our discretion.

Consider setting boundary’s; for example, check emails and social media at certain times of the day only – make sure you get at least a couple of hours at a time away from a ‘screen’. Create your own email and text assembly line: decide straight away if you’re going to delegate, archive or delete and only action the ones that will take less than two minutes.

When you respond, don’t shoot from the hip, think about the reader before you act. Like anything in life a healthy balance is called for. Technology has brought many changes to communication but some things must never change and that is good old-fashioned respect, patience, common sense, and discretion.

Keeping your family and finances

Security in the digital Age

security-in-the-digital-ageLiving and breathing the digital world as I do, you can imagine how many sites I search daily, how many I am a member of, on the e-mailing list of… and of course have passwords to do most of my purchasing online and all of my banking.

If one of my three kids isn’t on the computer they’re on the iPad or the smart phones, and as a jewellery designer my wife is constantly researching trends online.

Over time I’ve become very cautious of web security. Here are some essential tips and tricks that you can use to make sure your web security is solid.

Keeping passwords safe

Emails, banking, social media, accessing information all require a username and password of some sort. The most secure passwords are mixed with lower case and upper case letters, numbers, curly brackets, backward/forward slashes. the challenge we have is remembering them. Everyone who uses a computer has at some point forgotten at least one critical password. The result is we end up storing this information in a place we consider safe – often elsewhere on the computer.

My advice is to avoid keeping your passwords on your computer, either as a word document or as an ‘auto save’. A good habit to get into is storing them on a memory stick or DVD, and keeping this in a safe, dry and secure environment. Your critical details are safe in the event that your computer breaks down and loses memory, or someone hacks into the computer and attempts to steal the passwords.

Protecting against identity theft

Most websites that require personal information do so:

1. To identify the user (in an attempt to keep outsiders from using your identity)

2. To build a marketing database

3. To collate information about you in order to manipulate

It’s easy to get so engaged in an interesting website and before we know it we’re signing up for memberships and giving our details away. Before submitting your personal information to any website, ask yourself the following:

1. What is the benefit for me?

2. Why do they need my particulars?

3. Do i really need to supply this information?

4. Is this a credible organization/business/publisher?

Err on the side of caution and only ever give your details to a site that you are truly sure is credible and has clear safety protocols displayed if financial transactions are involved.

Be careful with content

Did you know that when you publish images, videos, text and general content on any website, the information that is saved is indexed and owned by the site where the content is stored? This means that once you post content on a site you did not create, you no longer have any control over where or how it is shared – it belongs to the website owner.

Only publish what you believe to be genuine and will not come back and bite you. Once it’s gone live it’s out there and you cannot stop anyone from copying, stealing the content or misusing. Caution is the order of the day.

Social Media – Not just ‘Social’

The role of social media for personal and business use has a dramatic impact on the way we communicate online. Words including recommendations and commentary can be easily misconstrued online and are there for everyone to see.

It is critical to remember that businesses can use the web to research the profile of prospects before engaging them. Whatever you have said in the past, what ever others have said about you will always be saved and can be traced back to your identity. Don’t ever forget it can be accessed by others including potential employers. Say what you mean, but don’t say what you might regret.

Our kids online – protection through education

In the ‘digital age’ parents have the responsibility to teach their kids not only about life,  drugs, alcohol, and sex, but also the web.

Children are trusting; they truly believe that if they click on the flashing pop up banner they will win the new iPhone – as soon as they give them mum’s email address.

It’s important they have time online and become adept, but there are constantly new and clever tricks put online that can have ramifications on the security of the entire family via the home computer.

Talk to your kids about the importance of secure passwords, of taking care with what they say, who they say it to, how much time they spend on the computer, what friends they associate with, and the content they publish.

The digital world is constantly changing. We face new challenges every day to stay safe and secure. The very best advice I can give is to keep educated, stay alert – but don’t forget to have fun; it’s a world of opportunity!

Welcome to BooDigital

welcome-to-boodigitalAt boo digital we do things a little differently. Unlike most digital companies, people are what make our world go round. What engages them, what drives them online, what they do when they’re there. And most of all we love connecting with the people that become clients.

Come on in and learn a little more about our people, and the people we’re proud to work with.