Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] What should happen to our online selves when we die? from @LifeSearch for @UCBNewsTeam

LifeSearch (a life insurance company) have posted the results of a new study that they have done, into how prepared people are in managing their digital assets/social media after death, and found that a large number of users want their data cleared automatically on death, whilst others want to hold onto e.g. e-books/music, and photographs for the benefit of others post death:

Currently, when a person passes away, loved ones face substantial paperwork to deactivate social profiles and mail accounts. Processes differ between sites and providers, but can include having to provide death certificates, sharing copies of ID, filling in forms and giving extensive information about the deceased –  and some will only work with immediate family.

The company has provided access to some basic guidance about how to manage digital assets after death which is quite useful. The story has also been covered by Sky News, which adds a bit of extra colour.

I spoke to UCB News about the story earlier:

*apologies to the UCB team and any listeners for the bings – my work email was up in webmail, and I thought that the noise of me closing it would be worse than what I hoped was just one email bing!

We looked at the story from a professional angle, how do we encourage people to think about how to use social/digital media well, and that includes thinking about what happens to them when we die (whether that be expected or not), and I mentioned that I’d been thinking about my funeral, and have started thinking about my digital assets, though I have some work to do in that area (I’m thinking a digital file that I give access to specific people for).

Further guides LifeSearch have offered are:

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Talking Facebook and Cambridge Analytica with @UCBNewsTeam

I spoke to Vicky Gibbons on UCB1 earlier about the £500,000 fine for Facebook (see Guardian article), as to whether it would likely impact Facebook, how that fine might protect the public in the future, and any practical steps in light of GDPR that helps the public stay safe online now? We also briefly looked at the ?Democracy Disrupted report, which includes 10 recommendations for the Government to introduce a statutory Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns. The story was picked up on the 12pm news:

My prep notes:

The longer interview was then featured:

(Featured Image) Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Talking #SID2018 #ItStartsWithUs with @PremierRadio and @PaulUCB

Tuesday was Safer Internet Day, and I had a couple of chats with Cara Bentley, from Premier Radio and Paul Hammond, from UCB Radio – some overlaps, and some different angles so you can listen to both here:

On UCB at 10.25am with Paul Hammond (note I work at Manchester Metropolitan University, not Manchester University)

On Premier Radio at 1.45pm with Cara Bentley in The News Hour

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Has social media really changed our outlook? 2017 in Review (#metoo) with @UCBNewsTeam

Triggered by one of the biggest stories of 2017, the #MeToo hashtag, tied in with the story of Harvey Weinstein’s negative behaviour within Hollywood circles, I had a chat with David Peek from the UCB News Team, shortly after Time Magazine picked ‘the silence breakers’ of the #MeToo hashtag as ‘Person of the Year’.

So, here’s some of my notes in preparation, drawing on ideas from friends on Facebook, and some online research!


See: (20/10)

The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote:

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

*Note that this ranged from cat-calling to rape – all demonstrating the bigger cultural problem.

Highlighted an imbalance of power – with celebrities joining the movement, other women (and some men) felt empowered to speak out (whereas maybe fear of retaining job, etc. kept them silent before).

Nearly 68,000 people have so far replied to Milano’s tweet, and the #MeToo hashtag has been used more than 1m times in the US, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. The French used #balancetonporc, the Spanish #YoTambien, and in Arab countries the hashtags ????_????# and ?????_????# were predominant.

FB: over 12m posts, comments, and reactions, nearly 5 million people.

That’s what #MeToo represents, it’s happened to pretty much every woman you know. I think it’s really important that we don’t allow this to become a story about this one bad guy who did these terrible things because he’s a monster, and to make it clear that actually, it’s not just monsters … it happens in every country every day to all women, and it’s done by friends, colleagues, ‘good guys’ who care about the environment and children and even feminism, supposedly.

Most of these stories, inc #YesAllWomen, #BringBackOurGirls, etc. – have a story that begins before it reaches social media, but social media has a connecting and empowering aspect to it. Things that had accepted as normal, realised were not OK…. [despite the typical kick-backs from others online … whether trolls of those who just don’t understand.] Over 10 years before Tarana Burke, began the hashtag, though Actress Alyssa Milano kickstarted this particular event.

See e.g. Emlyn Pearce’s Facebook insights into people confusing him for a woman, and what that says about our expectations…

Cultural change is typically slow, because we have normalised a lot of behaviours, and it looks ‘ridiculous’ to speak out against them – The movement has also inspired a series of offshoot hashtags used by men, including #IDidThat and #HowIWillChange, in which men have admitted inappropriate behaviour. Have to look at how we respond to people admitting things too – if we jump on them – just going to retreat … so online interaction = trigger fingers = needs thought.

It’s not all public status updates: private messaging and offline action

Note that a lot of these actions have ‘behind the scenes aspects’ too – it’s not all happening on public social media. Once it reaches public, it’s probably happened behind the scenes for months already – e.g. spreadsheets passed around secretly re: reputations of men in a particular industry (e.g. Hollywood).

Within the corporate sector (so not specifically gendered) there is a “hugely supportive and influential workplace WhatsApp group which has empowered some people in taking on managers who have been dealing unfairly.” Important of understanding that this is going on out of the public eye, but that knowing you are not alone is really important [Partly why I think more churches should talk about this kind of thing in sermons, etc.]. “Yes. Employees who were being picked off one by one were able to find each other with a nod and a wink, and share information. There are now about 200 members and it hasn’t leaked. The management know it exists, but they don’t have access to it. It needed a trusted individual as admin, but the rest is easy. V powerful.”

All very well being aware of this kind of stuff – but need to know = going to be action, and that the rise fast/fall fast nature of social media doesn’t mean we get ‘clicktivism’ or ‘slacktivism’ = we join in, and then nothing happens. Have seen that some men have been sacked off the back of the campaign (wonder if any women have suffered for speaking up) – but see CNN on the possible legacy: “But experts say it’s going to take a coordinated effort between antiviolence organizations, the media and Hollywood as well as concrete actions from each and every one of us, especially men.” Calls for men to take responsibility (though know are those that complain that then speaking for women, but I personally happy to have someone else take the effort). Charity going for #IWillSpeakUp and #SupportSurvivors as hashtags, again drawing on celebrities, etc. Know that it’s unusual for something to happen without something behind it – e.g. friend Rachel Collinson was behind one of the early trending campaigns to get Aung Sung Sui Chi released – involved weeks of work to get the hashtag trending on the day + work with other organisations to make sure it meant something more than a ‘trend’ without action. As with WW2 posters (my original PhD topic) – don’t work alone – needs other layers of action.

“Keyboard apathy is such a problem in fundraising that in 2013, UNICEF Sweden tackled it with a hard-hitting poster and video campaign: “Like us on Facebook and we will vaccinate zero children against polio. We have nothing against likes, but vaccines cost money.”” sociologist Jen Schradie, who studies digital activism for the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France.”Based on my research, the movements that are most successful are those who have an organizational infrastructure in place: a network, a coalition, a united front of a group of celebrities or established organizations,” she said. Keeps the story in the public eye, needs proactive organisations, including churches. See example of e.g. Deliveroo workers last year who forced change at a head office level (likely been using WhatsApp, etc. need to know is enough people to feel safe taking action … know it’s not risk-free, but want to FEEL safer)

Support for people in a similar condition

I guess I’m then also thinking about e.g. breast cancer groups, where the agreement is ‘what’s said here stays here aside from generic advice that can share more widely’, etc. feels empowering inc in asking medical professionals for certain things.

Note that the #metoo campaign spread to #churchtoo (similar to schools not wanting to admit bullying – problems can’t be dealt with unless the problem is acknowledged). Need to believe stories, take action (not just praise bravery of men who admit it), purity culture means not enough knowledge about what happening.

Another church campaign this year was #thingsOnlyChristianWomenHear, kicked off by Sarah Bessey, where the Bible is used to justify terrible things, but then #ThingsChristianWomenShouldHear was started encouraging women to speak up, not be submissive, etc.

“It’s knowing you are not alone and that your voice can join the masses. It feels safe and less vulnerable a position. Also through 38 degrees, Parliament petitions and I think there is a growing culture of ‘we have a voice, we will use it’.

Subversive Hashtags & Subversive Action

So it is possible to subversify hashtags – for good or evil – e.g. when Sadiq Khan became Mayor were anti-Muslim sentiment hijacked by others – #LondonHasFallen –  2016 was also the year of #catsagainstbrexit – cats, the internet, humour – all a way of making a point without being too in your face … has pros/cons… This year, when we’ve been asked so many times to #KeepCalmandCarryOn – in the face of terrorist attacks – #BritishThreatLevels shows ‘the British spirit’

At the beginning of this year we also had the Women’s marches – with huge numbers of women feeling they could ride upon the power of the hashtag to attend a physical event  – one of many hashtags… similarly anti-Trump rallies (seem to have postponed Trumps visit), and when the EDL says it’s going to visit somewhere, social media rallies to get people marching against them – a lot of this is about how the news story is presented – e.g. the 2011 riots lots was made of the fact that Blackberries allowed people to organise to riot, ignoring the fact that the hashtags were trending later, and then demonstrated that people were using hashtags to organise a clearup, etc. Need to look at the data!

Taking Action

Another church based initiative = Project 3:28 – taking note of male/female speakers at Christian conferences and publicising them over past few years, but also looking at positive ways to make this different – e.g. this year a database for Christian women speakers is being developed so organisers who say “we don’t know any” can feel more confident in who they can invite …

Thanks to those on Facebook who helped with my thinking, and there’s a really interesting paper produced by University of Birmingham on the topic.

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Understanding social media terms & conditions with @UCBNewsTeam

This morning I had a chat with UCB Radio, in response to the story that Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, has been pushing the social media companies to make their terms and conditions a lot clearer, in order to help users (including children) understand better what is happening with their data. A new jargon-busting guide’s being given to schools – to help children understand terms and conditions on social media sites, because of concerns kids don’t realise how much information they’re handing over – there is now a plain English version for each of the major social media sites. Here’s the edited interview:

Links I checked out pre-interview – and the guides themselves always put first that ALL the sites require children to be over 13 to create an account:

  • LBC interview from 28th September, in which Anne Longfield said that legally she can’t push the companies to comply, but she can ‘shame them’ into feeling like they have to respond to her calls for further information.
  • BBC News article from 29th September, which emphasises that Longfield feels the companies have ‘not done enough’ to clarify their policies, and that she’d worked with a legal company to created a simplified version – although the social media companies indicate that the simplified versions = inaccurate.
  • BBC Newsround from 29th September where children talk about the fact they don’t read T&Cs – made me think not sure anyone reads any of them – so all in favour of greater clarity!
  • Sky News from 29th September, where I wondered how much of this is scaremongering. The title says: “Social media sites can access credit card details, users’ locations and contacts and even see how much battery you have left. I do think that it’s important to understand what social media companies can access, often a few tweaks to settings can be enough. Is something am looking at for a paper – we have learnt what to show our friends, but not the social media companies – though they are usually interested in aggregate rather than individual results.
  • Dudley News from 29th September – sometimes the regional papers seem to write a little more! With Ofcom demonstrating how many under-13s use social media, important to get this right (for all ages). “These are often the first contracts a child signs in their life, yet the terms and conditions are impenetrable, even to most ad ults. Children have absolutely no idea that they are giving away the right to privacy or the ownership of their data or the material they post online….These are large, multinational, billion-dollar companies who play a significant part in the lives of many young people.”
  • You can find links to the guides themselves via the TES site (and probably elsewhere!)

Photo from Unsplash