The term “content” is a barbarism that bit by bit devalues what journalists do.Jay Rosen, Chair of Journalism at New York University
Taken from Look, you’re right, okay? But you’re also wrong
A persuasive look at the many reasons why you should have your own website, and some of the benefits it will bring you.
Jamie Tanna’s post lists many good reasons to have a website. It’s written from his point of view as a software engineer, many of the reasons translate directly to other trades and professions.
A powerful reason is to own your own little patch of the online world, what used to be called cyberspace. As Tanna says it can be many things, a hub where people contact you, an outlet for your writing and other creative work, or a sophisticated curriculum vitae.
Now you may be thinking you can do all these things on Facebook, Twitter, Medium or Linkedin. That’s true up to a point.
Yet you don’t own those spaces. You are part of someone else’s business model. You don’t have control over how they look, you can’t even be sure they will be there in the long term. After all, there were people who thought the same about Geocities, Google+ or MySpace in the past.
Creating your own site takes time, effort and maybe a little money. It doesn’t have to take a lot of any of these things. You’ll need to pay for a domain name… that’s roughly $20 a year. If you are hard-pressed financially there are free options with companies like WordPress. You can get a basic WordPress site up in an hour or so.
You don’t need to be a writer to own your own website. If you post things to Facebook or Twitter, use your site instead (or as well as). It could be a place for photography.
One thing you will find is that a website gives you more of a voice than you’ll get on other people’s sites.
At Reseller News Rob O’Neill covers a speech by Huawei rotating chair Ken Hu. Hu says the world lacks a global, common understanding of cyber security.
… In Brussels yesterday, Hu said what the industry needed was a mutual understanding of security to build a trustworthy environment. Huawei was now operating on an “ABC” model for cyber security, he said.
The A stands for “assume nothing”, the B for “believe nobody” and the C for “check everything”.
“Both trust and distrust should be based on facts,” he said. “Facts must be verifiable and verification must be based on standards.”
Government and standards bodies needed to work with all stakeholders on developing such standards, he added. The implications was that a standards-based environment, would help defuse current tensions by creating a vendor-neutral environment.
Hu’s ABC is a beautiful, simple way of getting to the heart of a sensible security strategy at any level. 1
The speech was at the opening of Huawei’s “cyber security transparency centre” in Brussels. With the company under pressure to show that it is not a threat and not a puppet of the Chinese government, Huawei has gone on the front foot.
As the company’s top communications executive Joe Kelly told New Zealand journalists a week earlier at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it’s hard to prove you’re not doing something.
Cyber security as part of a bigger picture
Which explains why Huawei is stepping up its rhetoric to argue against accusations while at the same time maintaining a charm offensive and investing in projects like the Brussels centre.
It was clear at Barcelona that there’s enough high quality business selling communications network to the rest of the world outside of the US and allies like New Zealand who express fears about security issues.
Yet Huawei knows, in the long-term, respectability and trust will get it further. Pushing a cyber security agenda is a good way to get attention. Building centres like the one in Brussels will help build trust.
- It is also a great summary of the basic tenants of good journalism. Reporting also needs to be fact based. ↩︎
Sky TV handed Slingshot a huge publicity win when it banned the ISP from advertising on the pay television service.
The message here is clear: We’re frightened of Slingshot, we’re frightened of competition and we know our monopoly rent-seeking is threatened.
Slingshot GM Taryn Hamilton says the move smacks of protectionism and censorship.
“It’s a sad day when our TV stations start to ban ads because they feel threatened by one of their advertisers and the products they are offering. In this case Sky is using its position to obstruct Slingshot because they feel intimidated by Global Mode.
“And the thing is, Global Mode only exists because Kiwis want access to quality streaming video at a good price. When and if local companies manage to finally crack that, then there will be no need for the service. But, until that time, people will use services like Global Mode so that they can see decent TV without having to get a second mortgage.”
To Sky’s credit, it admitted to Tom Pullar-Strecker of Stuff the reasons for its ban: Sky TV bans Slingshot advertisements.
New Zealanders spent $5.4 billion online last financial year according to Roy Morgan Research’s Digital Universe report.
It’s a lot of money, but as Roy Morgan client services director Howard Seccombe points out; “The bulk of New Zealand’s net wealth is not yet in the digital universe”.
This is largely a matter of demographics, the cashed-up baby boomers who own property and other wealth still only dabble at the edges of digital technologies. That’s something that will change over time, but we’re not there yet. There is also a digital divide.
Seccombe made other important, non-obvious observations about how the growth of the digital universe affects everyday life and business in New Zealand:
- We’re getting more concerned about our privacy online. This year’s survey shows 61 percent of New Zealanders worry about privacy. Four years ago the same survey found it bothered just half the population. As Seccombe says, while businesses wanting to move customers online may see this as a barrier, the wariness indicates people are more, not less, technically sophisticated.
- Smartphones have seen spectacular growth. There are 1.4 million use, that’s a growth of 227 percent in four years.
- We’re only scratching the surface on smartphone use. Right now 39 percent of New Zealanders have smartphones – that number is far lower than in Australia. However, Seccombe says another 397,000 users intend to upgrade in the next six months.
- There’s more to smartphones than just having the internet in your pocket while on the move. The Roy Morgan numbers show smartphones amplify people’s digital behaviour. Smartphone owners are ten times as likely to shop online as non-smartphone owners, eight times as likely to bank online and nine times as likely to view video clips.
- Roy Morgan notes a dramatic 20 percent decline in desktop ownership. This echoes the fall in traditional PC sales. Meanwhile tablets have grown 557 percent in the past four years.
NZ digital divide
There’s a wealth of other data in the report and comparisons between New Zealand and Australia:
- New Zealanders shop online more than Australians.
- We have fewer smartphone owners, but we do more with the devices than Australians.
- New Zealanders spend more time with all forms of media than Australians. The picture is confused by the number of dual screen users who, say, surf the web while watching TV.
One conclusion that can be taken from the comparisons is that New Zealand has a much greater digital divide than Australia. A greater number of New Zealanders have little or no access to digital services than their Australian counterparts.
In part this comes down to New Zealand being poorer than Australia. We also have considerably less equal wealth distribution. That means a sizeable number of New Zealanders are left behind.