All posts in opinion

How You Can Help LinkedIn Not Suck | The Invited Power Of The User

Don’t let the algorithms decide what’s important.

Over the past year or so LinkedIn has been dwindling in its usefulness in regards to showing me what people are posting / sharing / writing about. My feed has become littered with stuff from days ago and from folks I’m not connected to (although which others in my network have commented on or liked).

The only option users have to control their feed is ‘top’ (which are suggested posts based on algorithms) and ‘recent’ (which is new posts plus more featured things again someone in your respected network has commented on which you probably won’t care about etc.).

As the top image shows, I contacted LinkedIn recently and then got invited to complete a form (because for some reason asking on Twitter is not the same?). I finally got a response back saying the solution would be to hide a person to stop seeing the things they comment on or like. This obviously would also hide anything else they will post which was the opposite point of the whole exercise.

In the same response though was also this:

When many of our members ask for the same improvement, we try our best to get it done.

And what followed was the suggestion to do this “by clicking any “Feedback” link on the right side of your homepage. This will send your comments directly to the appropriate team.”

Unfortunately it’s not that simple as LinkedIn hide this away. After a little searching though here’s how to do it (see gif below—you have to click ‘more’):

If you use this platform I invite you to join me in submitting the suggestion to have granular control of your feed (even though it says they will not get back to you regarding your feedback which is a little dismissive). To aid the effort, just cut and paste the following (don’t forget to add your name though and a little line to personalise it to ensure it goes through and is not marked as spam):

Hello LinkedIn – I’d like to have control over what I see in my feed please. The current functionality doesn’t increase engagement although this simple addition would clean up the feed, foster goodwill whilst also provide a differentiator to FaceBook. It would also show trust in us as users to understand what we want to see.

Thanks for playing and realising again these platforms do want to hear from us the users on how to not make their services suck. Help LinkedIn!

Work In Progress | Why Everything And Nothing Has Changed

WIP17 dk and sarb

24 hours out got invited to add my voice to the Work In Progress conference.

I followed my friend Kaila Colbin as she wonderfully made heads spin about the exponential growth in technologies using the Singularity University lens (and her role as Ambassador). My part was to continue the discussion with (another pal) and MC, Sarb Johal on stage for the 300+ attendees.

The main thrust of this section of the conference was digital disruption, something which for over a decade I’ve been delivering services around relating to social and digital media. And even with the newer concepts of AI, automation, big data etc. already shared, I mainly focused on the need for understanding the importance of creating work cultures which amplify curiosity, celebrate learning, plus cultivate audacity and exploration:

“The feedback we had about DK’s “Reflections” component was all extremely positive and people were talking about the Digital Disruption Topic late into the night whilst referring to the ideas he brought up, along with Sarb and the video presentation from Kaila as well – DK’s contribution certainly hit the mark.”
John Dow, Director of “Work in Progress – Wellington’s New Collar Future” Conference

Image credit / cropped

Three Little Words Which Spark Creativity | Foundational Thinking Of Creatives

i don't know neil degrasse tyson

Every creative act starts with an act of vulnerability evidenced by three little words:

I.
Don’t.
Know.

Many state the above as line in the sand, a closing down of conversation, a refusal to explore further.

Others get excited, and lean forwards, hungry for adventure, ready to fail forwards.

These are the creatives!

Whether it be composing an orchestral piece in 10minutes from nothing:

Collaborating on a dance piece when you can’t speak each others language:

Drawing blind to spark an abstract drawing piece:

…this is the imaginative mindset at work.

When mixed with curated ideas and experience plus audacity and mad curiousity, its forms the most delicious path to potential.

Whether you’re starting a business, leading a team, beginning at a new organisation, figuring out the next steps in life, or shaping a city-wide initiative to infuse a city with creative literacies

…saying “I don’t know” more often is a rallying cry to creative action.


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Improving Eventbrite | Enabling RSS Feeds

Eventbrite Twitter Discussion

Bringing back foundational social web standards.

Eventbrite is one of the most popular event listing sites and is a solid platform on all fronts.

Have used it during my time establishing and managing a city-wide activation programme plus also for our TEDxWellingtonSalons (community events).

The one thing you can’t do with Eventbrite is subscribe in any way to an event organisers profile so you’re kept up to date with their listings. There’s an option to “save events you’re interested in” which is not the same, although the issue with that is folks still have to log in to see that one event and it’s only in one place.

During my recent LIANZA social media tour where I was introducing folks to the magnificent wonders of RSS, I jumped into Eventbrite to subscribe to listings. Alas, couldn’t be done.

Now this functionality could be folded in across organisers profiles with a little coding / development time, along with an addition of a little RSS icon (next to the current social icons), then a blog post and email announcement to guarantee awareness. I’d wager doing this would see an increase in click throughs to the site as clever folks would start to utilise this new (old) functionality.

So, what do you say Eventbrite, want to improve your platform for us souls who still want to use a foundational core of the social web? People who could then use these feeds with other platforms like IFTTT or Flipboard etc. as well…?

Eventbrite Twitter discussion.

The Impossible Dream | Rotary Forum 2017 Wellington Talk

What would it take for Wellington, the city and region, to be the best in the world?

I gave a talk at the Rotary Forum 2017 this week. Unfortunately, due to technical issues my presentation video / audio wasn’t captured, *so recorded the above version.

As you’ll hear / see, my response was to challenge us to think about Wellington becoming:

The most creative little capital in the world.

A lofty goal.

Raising the creative literacies of a city / region to ask better questions sounds impossible although wonderfully audacious.

Something I’m working towards with (the two “common soon” projects of) Creative Welly and Creative Leadership NZ (reach out if you want to know more or subscribe to blog posts on the right hand side there).

Thanks to the event organisers for the opportunity to have voice:

DK gave an inspiring address to the Rotary Club Forum: “Achieving the ‘Impossible Dream’ for Wellington: the city and region” on Tuesday 1 August 2017. His themes included creativity, innovation, compassion, empathy and branding. He challenged the audience on achieving a “creative Welly”, connecting the creative capital, providing leadership across the sectors, an independent collective and a community that is simultaneously globally minded and locally focused. He personifies the quote of “Life’s too short not to be audacious.” He set the stage for a Forum that was bold, diverse and audacious about achieving ‘Impossible Dreams’ for Wellington.

Dr Roger Blakeley Chair, Wellington Rotary Club 2017 Forum

rotary wellington forum DK sketch note
Image credit for sketch note – Sketchability NZ.

*not the same flow and impact of a live talk so apologies for the lack of intonation and delivery (I’m much better in front of a live audience).

Speaker line-up / order

References

Goodbye Facebook | A Failed Social Media Utility That Is Succeeding In Other Ways

via GIPHY

TL:DR Nearly everyone who reads this won’t care (and that’s why Facebook succeeds).

Facebook recently blocked me for the same reason it did nearly ten years ago.

When attempting to log in a couple of months ago to check the TEDxWellington Facebook page, was notified that access has been denied and to rectify the situation a scanned image of a government issued ID was needed (rings any bells?):

Facebook Name Review

As you can see the reason cited was due to someone challenging my name.

I doubt very much that it was a person.

More likely, an algorithm.

One which noticed I wasn’t using the site much and when I did it was via a proxy (to protect my data, more will be explained).

Data accumulation is the only thing Facebook cares about as fuel to stay alive and also thrive. However, the need for more is exposing the hollow brand priorities and weak foundations of this mighty but fickle empire.

Facebook was always intended, not to be a utility for its users, but a mechanism for mining the information it’s users share on it, then leveraging that against other data most doesn’t know it collects, along with other zeros and ones it has about someones friends, what sites they visit, the weather that day, which mobile phone you use, where you bought something online and what and when etc, which all increases the return for shareholders as it maximising eyeballs for their advertisers and other agencies it sells the insights of all its users to.

Simples.

jeff hammerbacher ad quote

Jeff Hammerbacher used to lead the data team at Facebook (citation / image credit).

Now to return to my situation: for a company built on information, not knowing my name has been challenged before and was also rectified seems odd, right? Any human would look at the evidence I gave back then and in response to the most recent enquiry (which included links to this site plus highlighting the previous time they disabled my account for the very same reason nearly a decade a go), then pretty much straight away would have enough details to re-instate the profile and let me on my merry way. Granted, a human would have to click and read and watch a little, maybe, although the outcome would be swift and obvious. And there’s the rub. No human is now involved in making these decisions.

And the ones which are left makes for cringeworthy reading via the recent Guardian expose which deconstructs the platform moderation rules. These guidelines are dangerously naive at best, sickening at worst, and a further example of how misaligned Facebooks principles are against the perceived and current reasoning for users to be on it (all of the Facebook Guardian articles).

Add to that a few things like how Facebook:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

And of course the argument from users is always: they don’t care about little old me, sharing pictures of my cats and kids plus random Star Wars gifs.

You’re right, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about you times 2 billion and the data which is cross-referenced against you based on the evidenced shared above.

Facebook is not a social media platform, it’s a casino. The house always win and of course it will make you feel special with free drinks if you’re playing, showing off all the pretty people in front of faux scenery, but you still have to pay-to-play and the odds (algorithms) are stacked in their very favourable favour.

So I’m out.

I have tried not to be though.

Have sent a few follow up emails and completed forms online asking me to be reinstated:

facebook reinstatement request

…but alas, no reply. Have hit up two Facebook employees I have contacts for as well, no response either. There’s not even a facility to even delete my account. I remain in a virtual limbo.

I’m a tad gutted as some relationships and communications were carried out solely through the platform, plus I set up the TEDxWellington page there which after this years event I’m seriously thinking of not using further (we’ll just direct folks to sign up to our email newsletter / blog). A massive decision as last year we got 250,000 reach just on our event announcement plus we use it to connect with our amazing community—ethics has to trump convenience.

I know nearly all those who digest this will be FB users and I’m intrigued of the reaction when reading through the links provided above which cites credible evidence on why the platform is toxic…

…remember, as a service, they are banking on you not caring. Literally, taking it to the bank.

And if you don’t care, why should they on what they can get away with.

LIANZA 2017 NZ Tour | From Lightbulbs To Flares

what's best pirsig quote

Social media learning / social media teaching.

Last month I finished up delivering seven social media presentations and masterclasses for Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA). The mini-NZ-tour took me to New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland.

Curation is still a mayor skill-set theme along with the idea of asking what’s best not what’s new (see above) to highlight that technology and social media is a suite of tools to utilise not just a shallow trend focussed on only the latest.

Librarians get the idea of nurturing and enveloping new knowledge. They are curious and open by nature, and was a pleasure to collaborate in building new practises and was thrilling to see the adoption during the hands-on workshop portion of the sessions.

DK delivered an innovative series of social media workshops for us, that got great feedback from our members. He was the ultimate professional and really easy to work with. Comments from attendees included:

“It’s not often I come across someone who can alter the way I use the internet.”
“DK was a brilliant presenter – enthusiastic, entertaining and helpful.”
“I really like his teaching style (watch, listen, then do).”

Here’s to another series later in the year!

Joanna Matthews, Executive Director of LIANZA.

Lisa Salter on Twitter

Big thanks to LIANZA for the opportunity, too the 100 or so librarians who participated plus the venue hosts.

Related posts / pages: Curation As An Emerging Skillset | A 5 Step Guide & book some sessions yourself

Top Ten Speaking Tips | Revisited And Revised

For those who present and deliver talks often.

Seven years ago I wrote a My Top Ten Speaking Tips piece on my old company blog and thought with the impending Speaking With Purpose conference, it would provide a good time to revisit and revise.

Was very surprised how little my ideas and tactics have changed, spruced them up a little though and here they are:

    1. Finish the presentation the night before—it stays fresher in your brain than if you completed it a few weeks previous. Gives you time to add in new industry and sector developments plus it also offers the opportunity to add in references from earlier talks (if it’s more than a one day event). Most importantly though it doesn’t give you a chance to practice (GASP)…

    2. Don’t practice—a great talk is like a conversation (and no conversation goes the way you planned, no matter how many times you practice it in your head). Sure, run through it once or twice to check the timings plus transitions etc but this is more an exercise of knowing what you want to convey rather than rehearsing exactly what to say verbatim. Remember, you can practise your talk but you can never practise speaking in front of a room of strangers / your colleagues / your board etc.

    3. Don’t do lecterns—it forms a physical barrier between you and your audience. Less is definitely more in this instance and before you say, “where do I put my script?”…

    4. Never use a script—if you know your stuff you don’t need it written down. This method means: head down, losing intonation / connection with your audience / professionalism. We don’t talk the same way we write and it just doesn’t work. If you’re an organiser of any events / conferences, ban podiums and scripts. It will scare a lot away but I guarantee you’ll be left with fantastic speakers who simply know their stuff.

    5. Let your client dictate the topic not the content—I once had a very needy client who heavily dictated the content of a presentation to the point of even signing it off weeks before. It’s the ONLY time the organisers didn’t think I delivered (even though three quarters of the audience thought I was good/very good). Coincidence maybe, but experience tells me otherwise.

    6. Move—the best speakers are passionate and passion means movement. Move around the stage / floor. Move your arms, your face, your eyebrows. Communicate with your body not just your words / slides.

    7. Look at your audience—don’t pick a spot at the back of the room / hall and drift off. Sometimes this is hard if you’re speaking on a lit stage but you can still make people out. After a while you can have some fun with this: I like to pick out those yet to be convinced (you’ll spot them through body language—the ones with their arms crossed and sitting back in their seat—once you have them coming forward and sitting on the edge of their chairs and nodding their heads you know you’re onto a winner).

    8. Bullets kill people attention—people can read faster in their heads than you can read it out loud. Break each point up into a slide and use one word titles for each to direct your talk. They act as cues for the topics or a point I want to convey. The figurative underline comes from the images/video plus the story weaved around it.

    9. Fool your nerves—those damn butterflies can turn into courage-eating moths which can eat you from the inside out. Trick them. The emotional and physiological response to fear is exactly the same as when you’re excited. Tell yourself it’s not nerves but positive anticipation and after a while you will create an ingrained learned response.

    10. Enjoy it—if you don’t have fun speaking then don’t do it. There are other ways to promote yourself or spread your message.

Hope the above helps…

Open Letter To Air New Zealand | Designing For Privacy First

Would you give an airline and their partners access to all your phones images and files?

Air New Zealand has the best customer flight experience I’ve ever experienced during my global travels. I feel very lucky to live in the same country where I fly often on this superior airline.

However, at the end of last year, a recent change to their very useful little smartphone app requesting a new permission created a small but massive privacy issue for its users.

The new update requests access to all images and files on my mobile (see opposite). Why?

Well, I tweeted asking for clarification and the reason: access will give me the user an opportunity to add an avatar and / or change background images of destinations (although the app will never see anything but those images selected).

So that’s full access to a users images and files on a users phone for a little customisation.

That’s like giving your house keys to a friend who has agreed to hang a painting for you. Although in doing you have to agree they never return your keys. They state it’s ok as they only will ever go in and do what they promised. You kind of trust them although they have the keys to your home. They can share these keys at any time with other people. You won’t ever know unless you ask them.

That’s what Air NZ just did.

Of course this is probably a limitation of the software and operating system they are designing in although certainly not something to just accept without further exploration.

Lots of other tweets followed after my initial queries above which then switched over to Twitter DM discussion (which you can download and read yourself here) during which time I was given the email address of the Privacy Office to pursue further.

Here’s the questions (in bold) I posed with the airlines responses (in italic):

1. It’s been stated a couple of times that the app permission request ONLY sees the single image file used to create a new avatar not all files which is stated in the permission update. Please would you evidence this via a video or software workflow please (bearing in mind I’m not a coder or app developer).

The Air New Zealand android app does not access a user’s photos without their knowledge, and does not access a user’s gallery folder. In order for a photo to be uploaded to the Air New Zealand android app, the image must be saved locally within the app on a user’s device. The process required to save the image locally is declared by the Google Play Store as an ‘Access to photos’ permission, hence why the permission is sought during the update process.

The online team and the Privacy Office have confirmed that the image is only saved on a user’s device, and Air New Zealand has no access to user’s photos (including the image chosen by a user)

Due to the commercially sensitive nature of the information, Air New Zealand is unable to provide the position stated with a video or software workflow. We hope the detailed explanation provided by Air New Zealand in this, and your earlier correspondence suffice in covering your query.

2. In terms of future privacy, please legally confirm there is no future app development plans which will enable said app to access more than the stated one file as such action taken it would directly contravene the previously stated privacy policy (as described in previous conversation the danger here is that if users accept this permission without such assurances then it would open up future erosion of privacy without the need for future permission to be sought).

We are unable to confirm there will be no future app development, as our Privacy Policy is subject to change. Air New Zealand complies with applicable Privacy Laws, under New Zealand Privacy laws, any personal information collected by Air New Zealand can only be used for the purpose for which it was collected. Air New Zealand would therefore be required to notify customers and seek their consent if the purpose for which the Air NZ app requires access to the photos changed. Please refer to clause 13 of our Privacy Policy (below).

We will make changes to this Privacy Policy from time to time. When we make changes, we will update the Privacy Policy on our websites. We will also specify the date of the last update.

3. It was mentioned access to all information held by AirNZ could be gained although there’s no specific route for this. Would you please outline via a simple graphical workflow of how to gain this information plus the timelines involved (again, I have requested it through the means described in previous conversation and at time of writing still no response)?

The information for how to access your personal information can be found in clauses 9 and 10 of the Air New Zealand Privacy Policy found here. As per the Privacy Policy, a personal information request can be made by contacting Air New Zealand, our staff have been trained on dealing with personal information requests. Your personal information request acknowledgement should be sent to you within 20 working days as is stated in the Privacy Act. We endeavour to provide all requested information as soon as practicably possible.

We hope we have satisfied your query by providing an explanation of the process and timeframes. We are unable to provide a workflow on this process as we have referred you to our Privacy Policy which is where Air New Zealand provides information on how to make a request.

I can appreciate the intellectual property nature of some of the software stuff and hesitation in illustrating what’s happening openly, however, the option still remains that at anytime the app could change it’s function and then access the files / photos as no further permission would be needed or requested from its users (as that has been agreed to). Again, a future scenario which is probably not intentional, however, with foresight this should become obvious in terms of the privacy issue it’s creating.


As an ironic aside, the above response from the airline wasn’t signed and / or named. I requested a name so I could direct my response personally but they stated: “The Privacy Office email is a shared inbox, we do not disclose the names of individuals.”


As a further aside, I requested all information that the airline has on me on 19 December 2016 although at the time of writing this blog post I have yet to receive anything.

There’s is no actual process for this. There are statements in the Privacy Policy outlining users can request this information but no specific pathway. I ended up using a general customer contact form and it’s obvious that here’s a very simple area and opportunity for the airline to improve upon.


I finally got the names of those in charge of Privacy which are the GM Governance, Risk and Compliance and the Senior Manager Data Protection (thanks public affairs office as privacy office wouldn’t share). Can imagine they are good humans and interested in responding in the comments about the above and looking forward to them doing so.

So for any Air NZ customers reading this: did you allow the app update and think about the above? Did you think about the consequences and others I haven’t thought about? Would you like the options to roll back the update if it was granted?

air nz update mistake admission

UPDATE

Just before making this blog post live today I checked the update and permission request again on my mobile.

As you can see from opposite it seems someone else also challenged them about the above in the app comments.

Furthermore, it appears the airline has admitted it was a fault plus rolled back the permission requests.

Fantastic news and a wonderful surprise.

Obviously, there’s been a great amount of energy expended on all those tweets, conversations, emails (from myself and the staff at Air NZ) not to mention the crafting of this blog post, however, it’s so important to keep asking these types of questions related to personal privacy of companies with whom are requesting more and more data from us.

At the time of posting no-one has gotten back in touch with me personally to cite this mistake and reversal of requested permissions.

*all of the above related to using Android.

UPDATE 19.2.17

Had a personal email response from the GM Governance, Risk and Compliance, apologetic as to the delay in the airline sending through my requested data (it’s now two months since the original request). Someone else from the Privacy Office then got in touch requesting lots of data already held by them via my Koru membership. They also requested I email them a scanned copy of an ID or mail it.

The above citation for extra information is not anywhere online or explained as a process which a user has to go through. The data the airline already holds is enough to qualify the request.

Obviously, I welcome any instances where clarification of identity is needed to combat fraud, however, actions which undermine personal privacy should always be refused. I responded stating this and also offering two solutions: the first to show my ID to any of their colleagues when I fly for validation and then for that person to send an email or call any person to qualify it, or to take a phone call to answer any personal identifiable information held by them.

Still waiting on a response.

Am hoping also my pro bono offer of assisting them in the human centred design approach of them reimagining their current data request process will be taken up. Truly keen to assist in making this airline a fully rounded excellent company.


Also received the following response from Senior Manager – External Communications | Group Communications:

“Thank you for getting in touch with your queries around the photo permissions on our android app. Our developers have been working on an update to support the ‘avatar’ functionality without the need for the user to provide access to their files/photos and, as you may be aware, a new version of the android app (v 3.19) was released early this month. Installs of the updated version, or any new installs, will ensure that the user’s permissions will be updated and it will no longer request access to their files/photos.

Please be assured despite the relatively broad permissions with respect to photos on the app previously it was never our intention to collect any personal information from the files or photos on our customer’s phones and we certainly didn’t do so.

We take privacy very seriously and privacy is designed into all of our systems that collect, process or store our customers’ personal information.”

Good to have the reversal of the app design and it’s questionable permission requests validated.

Would be great to know if the decision was due to internal work on road mapping and realising it’s impact or users asking questions like myself and others via Twitter / app comments / other avenues (or maybe a bit of both)? Would also question if this case has created a new thinking about feeding back to those who have raised points which are now resolved (as again, I didn’t get any personal responses but found out of the changes after my own research)?

Don’t want to diminish the decision here, more keen to celebrate the impact of procedures which are at work here.

Brands struggle with these things. Of reversing decisions. Of getting things wrong.

We should celebrate the new decisions and actions which rectify mistakes. Show gratitude and humanise the instances (and encourage similar language from people representing the organisations). Because every company, no matter how large or small, are built and moulded by infallible and glorious humans.

Well done Air NZ for fixing an error in their app design. Looking forward to seeing the same rigour and simplicity applied to the personal data information request.


UPDATE 21.2.17

Got confirmed with a phone call I am who I am so hopefully the personal data request will be put through and all information received in due course.


UPDATE 22.2.17

Got my personal data via email from the privacy office. Lots to wade through although there’s nothing about app use.

Therefore, am wondering is there no way of knowing what data the airline is gathering through the mobile app from users OR maybe that data is not held by the airline and they don’t have to share it as part of the Privacy Policy?

2016 Darkens | 2017 Lightens

So here’s to another year to learn from.

A chance to reflect and build on the kindness and compassion already shared. To understand that to leave this world better than we found it is one of the better reasons to live by.

Even though it feels like 2016 is closing out with a general feeling of unease and darkness with a lot to be scared and sad about, just remember the simple power we all have in making it a fantastically light or shitty day for someone else (and focus on the former please).


My modest efforts of blogging this year produced the following:

See you in 2017 you lovely humans!