Photos of your children available to Paedophiles and Corporates

As a mum one of my biggest worries is posting pictures and videos of my baby online. I’m seriously concerned about paedophiles and corporates  using my pictures and videos for inappropriate behaviour and financial gain.

Are you aware for example that Facebook could sell your photos:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

And Instagram tried to introduce a policy where they had the rights to sell your photos to who ever they liked. Thankfully they backed down when users complained.

Regardless of this you can easily download any photos that your friends put up on Facebook which means they can do the same to you. A teacher friend of mine was so worried about people’s ability to download photos after attending a course on Facebook child protection that she refuses to post pictures of her son and asks that others don’t either. Since she told me this I’ve  deleted all the casual contacts in my account – just in case they are using them inappropriately- and keep my use of this site to personal only.

Even the pictures on my blog can be copied and used by others despite a copyright notice on my side panel. Will I really know if someone has a picture of my daughter on their home computer? Obviously I would never post pictures of her in the bath or a state of undress but my knowledge of  what paedophiles use is pretty limited and so I don’t know how to protect her and haven’t been able to find any advice to help me.

So bearing all of this in mind my questions to you are: What do other mummy bloggers think/do? Should I post pictures of my baby on my blog? Am I putting her at risk by doing so? What can I do to protect her from online paedophiles and those seeking commercial gain?


Mummy blogging

I’ve had a bit of time off where I became a mum to Annabelle, a very lively and curious baby who has little interest in sleeping, but now I’m back and guess I’m officially a mummy blogger! Interesting to see how I get on especially given that I spent so much time trying to persuade others to join this influential brigade. So now the purpose of my blog is changing and I will no longer be solely discussing ‘PR stuff’, but adding in a bit of ‘home talk’ too. Watch this space!

AVE – The End?

Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) has been the bain of my life ever since I started working in PR and I’m really pleased that there is so much talk about abolishing it as an industry standard.

AVE is a method of measuring the effectiveness of media coverage.  This is done by measuring the space (column inches or for radio and television coverage time), then multiplying this by the ad rate for that page (time slot).  Then often multiplying this figure by three because media is more impartial. As a result the final figures provide amazing ROI. Boards, Directors, CEO’s and anyone who needs to have ‘figures’ as proof love it. But is it realistic? No, of course not and to be honest I always felt a bit fake when I presented AVE figures to anyone. Why? because media coverage is not advertising and also multiplying the cost of advertising by 3 always seemed a bit unsubstantiated.

With AVE there is no measurement of positivity, neutrality, negativity,  how influential the journalist is, who reads it, nor whether the key messages were included. How do you realistically measure a front cover or a headline on a news programme in terms of advertising? How do you measure the BBC which doesn’t have advertising?

The real benefit of media compared to advertising is that it comes from a third-party, people are more likely to believe and be influenced by what a journalist has written than a company in their own advert. Having said that, a consumer telling people they love a product is probably even more believable than a journalist.

However the problem with abolishing AVE is that it’s hard enough convincing people that media coverage is important and needs investment, let alone without having some ‘factual stats’. We do need a way to show that media is hugely important in raising awareness.

Online media can help to demonstrate the importance as you can track much further than how many people visit that media outlet on a daily basis. You can measure the number of people who actually saw the article, the time of day, how long they stayed on that page, what website they come from and where they went afterwards.  If the article links to your website you can provide proof of its effectiveness by using measurement tools to show where people have come from before they visited your page, plus your website ranking is also partly determined by links in and you can also track social media links, mentions and blog mentions about your article. It’s still not an exact science but an area where I feel much more comfortable about promoting stats. Although Twitter influence figures should be avoided at all costs!

I think my ideal would be to abolish AVE, take everything online where it is much easier to provide accurate stats and evidence of effectiveness, and educate key staff as to the importance of media coverage.

The future of media and online news

Over the past couple of years I’ve listened as people talk about the future of traditional media and of course how it will effect PR. It is quite clear that the media industry is in decline. This is primarily due to a decrease in advertising spend and people moving online to search for their news. Over the past 10 years, media organisations have increased their online presence, but most have not monitised their sites. Whether this was becuase they didn’t know how to or becuase they didn’t think they needed to, is now besides the point.  They need to start making money online and fast.

Currently a few papers like the Financial Times and the New York Times charge for online content but News Corp and other groups have been monitoring the situation and are getting ready to introduce paid for content:

Promising to announce major developments “in the next two months,” the owner of the Sun and Wall Street Journal said consumers want content on an array of devices, and are willing to pay.

Mr Murdoch disclosed that News Corp is in “advanced discussions” with other media companies about how to monetise newspaper content.

The Telegraph – Feb 2010

Can they make it work?  Well, the Financial Times has 117,000 paying subscribers so it’s clearly working for them: They have a unique selling point, target a very specific audience, and give them exactly what they want. In this case it is financial news, information, links and advice which is trustworthy, credible and in one place.

The problem for more general news providers is the surplus of  similar providers on the internet. Plus I read a story today where readers can get read content on the New York Times for free via Facebook and Twitter. And of course the BBC is probably the biggest media provider threat of all. They are government owned and we pay for them, so they don’t need to worry about monitisation. They also have a very large and established audience who probably believe that the BBC are more credible and trustworthy than other news providers. I think the solution is to provide unique, credible content that can’t be found elsewhere. I’ve heard that News Corpo might use celebrity exclusives as paid for sections on the website. It could work, but they need to do it better than Perez Hilton and other gossip bloggers. They also need to think about how they compete social networks like Twitter where celebrities are breaking their own stories.

The future of the media still hangs in the balance. Will paid for content work? What do you think?

Virgin iphone app

I’ve finally persuaded my boss that he needs an iphone so that he can communicate in ‘real time’ during his forthcoming work visit to Bangladesh (I don’t want to get into an arguement about whether it should have been Android or Blackberry. What’s important is that we are moving forward).

So I’ve been browsing the latest must have apps and can’t believe how wierd or how popular some of them are:

‘Geared’ is about creating working virtual gearboxes over 80 levels – it’s a regular top seller!

‘iSpy’ lets you watch other people via public webcams based across the world – that’s scary!

‘iVoodoo’ allows you to superimpose your enemy’s head on a doll and then poke it.

I don’t think I’ll be downloading any of those. However there are some very useful ones that my boss might like including; currency converters, maps and language translators. I wonder if he will be offended if I buy him the very latest app on the market, which is by Virgin, for those who hate flying:

The Flying Without Fear app features a video explanation of the flight process, frequently asked questions, relaxation exercises and a fear attack button for emergencies with breathing exercises. 

I can’t decide whether it’s a genius idea or just them jumping on the bandwagon. What do you think?



The Postal Strike – moving forward

Is it me or is the postal strike crazy? Surely the workers will end up loosing thier jobs quicker this way because everyone will take their business elsewhere.

Regardless of this everyone seems to be panicking about loss of revenue, birthday cards etc, but quite frankly I think it’s a great opportunity for people to move online (unless of course you are shopping – virtual clothing doesn’t really do it for me).

Yes, it’s exciting to come home and see some post on your mat or recieve to post on your desk (except bills), but it’s outdated, expensive , bad for the environment and time consuming.  Often the solution is online: It’s cheap, fast and much more in touch. You can send large files of photos, videos and documents via organisations like, or you can share on social networks and cloud computing. 

Even Royal Mail Chief Exec, Adam Crosier, admits that times are changing – BBC One News 25th October 10pm. and Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State, made clear his view that the union are “essentially boycotting the agreed processes for making change in the Royal Mail” and that the union must change its attitude to change.

Sometimes events like this are an opportunity to make a change. This year instead of sending Christmas cards in the post, I’m going to send out e-cards and donate the card and postage money to a good cause.

What you are doing?


Blog Action Day: Climate Change and me

I recently started working for an international development ngo called Practical Action which uses technology to help solve poverty. I’ll be honest, before I started working here I had little understanding of climate change and the effects that it is already having on our world. I thought that climate change was something that we should be worried about, but not for a long, long time.

How wrong could I have been. Since joining the charity, I have seen examples of  how climate change is already effecting countries like Bangladesh which is now 11% under water and Kenya which is suffering from a 10 year drought. For me, the worst part is that it’s our fault. People in rich countries like the UK and the USA have caused this problem through industrialisation and yet it is the poor countries who haven’t industrialised to anywhere near the same level who are suffering the effects. It’s really quite wrong!

That’s why I’m really pleased that organisations like Practical Action are working to help communities adapt to climate change. We do some great work in Africa, Asia and North America by introducing new technologies and working with poor communities to find sustainable solutions. 

In Bangladesh we have encouraged people to use floating gardens so that when floods come, their crops aren’t washed away. In Nepal we have introduced early warning sytems so that if severe weather is coming people can escape with everything they need, and in Zimbabwe and Sudan we are building water saving dams to keep what little water there is from flowing away.  There are many more exciting projects which we are working on, and we are making a real difference in many countries.

I am planning to make a difference too; walking instead of taking the car, getting rid of my sports car, buying a compost bin and recycling where possible. It may be small things but every little bit helps.

Blog Action Day – Climate Change

Today I’m slightly deviating from PR and social media to talk about climate change and specifically Blog Action Day:

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day.”

The are already around 7,000 blogs joined up to this event , with a reach of over 11million people. 

It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of an issue like climate change, and trigger a global discussion through word of mouth, or even word of blog. It aso proves the theory that one person really can make a difference.

I will be interested to see how the event shapes tomorrow and how far it spreads. I will also be joining in the event and post my own climate change post on this blog tomorrow.

Information Overload

As an online PR specialist, I try to keep up with the latest news and absorb as many blogs and presentations as possible, but there are so many out there that it is near impossible. So I thought I would link to any interesting ones that I come across in the hope that you might also share your favourites with me.

I’ve started with a link to a discussion about social media for business. It’s very basic, but useful to anyone who wants to be out there but isn’t too sure why:

It would be good to find out what you think, especially as Chris Brogan is heralded as a mover and shaker in the ‘social’ world.

PR Week Big Idea

I’ve just finished reading PR Week and am really excited by their big idea.

I can’t wait to find out who the NSPCC choose for their latest campaign and will be interested to follow the story.

The concept of using agencies from different disciplines to pitch is new and very exciting. In my role at the holiday camp, I tried to pick agencies which woud offer the best opportunity for my campaigns regardless of whether they were PR, marketing or digital. However it wasn’t easy as it’s always tempting to go for what you know best.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a huge advocate of  a joined up approach between advertising, marketing, comms and PR. Working together is always going to be of more benefit to an orgaisation than the traditional silos that  we have all  maintained.

In my current role I’m actually trying to bring different parts of the charity together. We have some fantastic stories about the work we do to prevent poverty across the world, but these stories are difficult to weed out and we don’t have a joined up apporach to finding them. There are also about four seperate people who repeat each other’s efforts.

I’ve set up story sharing gatherings so that we can all share stories, cut down on repetition, but also start using those stories in a joined up way. Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you updated.