Paper encourages the truth

There is no doubt that when asked to write something about themselves most people tell the truth. Sadly the same cannot be said for what happens when people write about themselves on a computer.

Two reasons have emerged from this extraordinary fact. The first is that people are keen to avoid being traced – and lots of people do use digital systems to trace others. We have all known for many years that universities and employers check out applicants online before offering an interview. 

And the supermarkets with their Nectar and other cards all know about our purchases.  Although they don’t tell us why, sometimes our insurance costs rise.  Could it be coincidence that during that same period we were buying more alcohol?

So hiding the facts is something some people tend to do online. But there is also the point that many people now play fantasy games online where they actually become someone else.  The process makes being someone else more fun, so they start making up a new identity which online at least is more vital and real than their actual identity.

But, it appears, this doesn’t happen when people commit themselves to paper.

These issues are revealed in the “The Future of Identity” report which has been commissioned by the UK Government as part of its research into scientific and technological trends.

It seems that the everyday details of a person such as age, religion, nationality, occupation etc are just made up. Online at least identity is flexible although far less so when answers have to be written down.

Which gives everyone from employers and universities to marketing departments in companies a need to go back to paper, and then to store the paper for further use.   

The reports in the business press suggest that youngsters create fake identities online to protect themselves, and I am sure that is sometimes true. But I think they also do it because the new identity is more fun than the real world one, and being a new person is no longer seen as an admission of failure or of mental health issues.

So the notion that businesses can somehow overcome this trend is quite possibly false. It is also possible that people like telling tales.

Almost certainly the move to digital has reached a high point, and we now see people moving back to paper. Certainly we are seeing more and more personal paper records being stored with us, and this trend will certainly continue.

There is more information on our secure document storage facility on our website.

Alternatively, call us on 0800 783 9516 for more information.

When Google decide you are up to no good

In the old days we wrote letters and read actual books and newspapers which consisted of paper with print on them. If you wanted to advertise your business you put the advert in newspapers or magazines, and maybe you even tried a postal campaign. If you wanted you could go on to TV and radio, but in each case you paid someone to carry your advert.

Now it seems everything has to be advertised on the internet – and that old approach of paying for advertising has gone.

Which is ok…. Until it is not ok.

“Not ok” occurs when the heart and soul of a company’s advertising turns out to be their presence on the internet – and that means ensuring that people find the adverts when they look around the internet.

When such advertisements are not being found by all and sundry the company with the adverts then starts looking at that strange phenomenon, “Search Engine Optimisation” – or SEO.  

In case you have never come across it, SEO involves doing everything possible to have your website as high up the rankings as possible.  To give an example, let us imagine that you sell a car cleaning kit.  You want to advertise on the internet, so you put up a website.

But there are 173,000 sites in the UK which have the phrase “car cleaning kit” on their site. Which means that there are 17,300 pages of Google to search – and any company that is to be found after page 2 is unlikely to get any hits.

So such companies have to drive people to their website, so that if someone enters “Car Cleaning Kit” on Google, they find their site, rather than that of a rival.

This turns out to be a lot trickier than the old idea of sticking an advert in a newspaper or magazine – because in the old days, it was the publisher’s responsibility to get people to buy the newspaper or magazine.  Today, on the internet it is your job not only to get the web page right – you also have to get your readership there – through the dark art of SEO.

I pondered all this when reading about the case of Twitpic, a photo-hosting and photo sharing website. This site was found to be a site that hosted malicious software by the search engine Chrome (owned by Google). So in December 2012 the site became blocked throughout the Christmas period.

Google then started describing Twitpic as ‘a known malware distributor’. Access via Google was blocked. The site was also listed as ‘suspicious’ by Google’s Safe Browsing tool, despite this being untrue.  

Twitpic then announced that following protests Google removed the block. But it shows the sort of dangers that digital technology can bring.

Which is why I guess so many people still advertise through the old print mechanisms, and keep copies of their past adverts and the magazines in which they appeared, in our storage facility.  

Digital technology can be good – but it is still a good idea to have a print based backup.

And when you do, you will need to store copies of your adverts and the magazines and papers they appeared in.  Which is why Admiral exists.

Based in the West Midlands, we offer a secure document storage service. 

There’s more information on our website or give us a call on 0800 783 9516.