We have witnessed a boom in digital media and content in the last decade, and we are still adapting to its consequences. The media landscape has become fragmented and complex, with a constantly growing number of online platforms. A whole new advertising market has appeared that bombards consumers with thousands of ads on the internet. As a result, consumers’ attention is now hard to catch, and tech companies are fighting for it because it’s monetizable. The attention economy is big, but its current mechanisms raise ethical questions.
The Current Attention Economy
For now, the way tech corporations collect and utilize consumers’ data is the primary concern. We use social media, search engines, and other free digital services. The companies behind them track and use our data to make a profit by selling targeted ads.
And in some cases, our data may act as a fuel not only for traditional advertising. For example, a few years ago, the scandal caused by Facebook leaking its users’ data to the political firm Cambridge Analytica was quite huge. Allegedly, the leak has impacted the U.S. presidential elections because it has given Donald Trump the chance to create a more effective campaign.
Tech corporations generally seek to know our location, age, history of purchases, hobbies, relationship status, and other personal information. The problem is that we don’t even have a complete picture of the volume and type of data extracted from our online activities every day.
Some see it as a rip-off. Tech companies may create products, but these products can’t generate any profit themselves without users. Users do their share of the work each time they post something. So, the effort comes from both parties, but only one financially benefits from it.
In addition, people lose time in the current attention economy. They have to watch online advertising, which is hard to avoid these days. Our attention equals time, and we can’t repurchase it.
And Its Unfairness
Of course, some bloggers can make millions of bucks with their content. Still, social media users typically don’t get any money from corporations like Facebook and Twitter for the data they are creating. But for most users, the reality is gruesome. In 2020, Internet guru and technologist Tim O’Reilly calculated how much money a user would make per month if Facebook returned its profit for data-generated income: the amount would be less than $1 per month for a US user. Likewise, O’Reilly assessed that an Indian user’s ‘data price tag’ would fall to a shocking less than $1 a year.
There is even more: sure, we are the ones who produce the content. However, that content does not belong to us if we press the button to post it online. All of our data somehow becomes the property of these companies. Not only do they sell the data, but they can delete anything you put out on their apps and sites if they don’t like it while keeping all the posts that you delete yourself.
This system makes users into objects rather than actors of the value chain. So first, the world saw the attention economy as a battleground for corporations. Then this issue became a hot topic for debate. And in recent years, it’s becoming more and more evident that the battle should be between the corporations and users.
Why We Still Need That Data
What may seem the easiest and fastest way to change the system? Probably, to ban tech corporations from collecting users’ personal information completely. But it’s not the best solution. Because, in fact, that data can be useful for us. For example, for any research that is about humans, which may mean their behavior or even health.
“What is needed in the face of global problems such as climate change, migration, a precarious and uncontrolled international finance system, the ever-present danger of pandemics, not to speak of geopolitical ‘war of all against all’ on the international level, is a viable and inspiring vision of a global future. Moreover, the global network society is data-driven. Therefore, the most important reforms or initiatives we should expect are those making available more data of a better quality to more people and institutions,” David J. Krieger, director of Switzerland’s Institute for Communication and Leadership, once said; while being against clickbait, filter bubbles, fake news, and other negative social media aspects.
Besides, the data generated helps developers improve the customer experience. What’s more, it helps offer consumers more relevant products, making our lives easier. Targeted ads are essential for small local businesses. They often have no other tool for effective promotion other than Instagram. So these small ventures make the economy healthier and provide us with services and goods that we like and need.
Anyway, we must clarify the process of gathering and storing users’ data. With this, people who are not involved in tech can see and understand where their personal information is going and how it’s being used. Unfortunately, basic digital literacy doesn’t currently come close to being common knowledge. Only after spreading some basics can we wake people up and motivate them to start making decisions about their data usage.
Pathways to Change
There is an extensive conversation about the wrongfulness of the current system that monetizes consumers’ data. The most popular idea is to make people the owners of their own data and earn money using it. The concept sounds simple, but it requires drastic changes in data collection and sale. Computer scientist and futurist from Silicon Valley, Jaron Lanier, suggests that we need to create new institutions for this to happen.
These institutions will gather data from users in return for some monetary compensation. Lanier sees it as something resembling an insurance company. People will choose to whom they will bring their data based on these companies’ offers. Lanier’s vision statement seems to be a promising option. At the same time, he notes that many people don’t believe such an idea can work out, and they might give up on it before trying.
Lanier is pessimistic about users’ eagerness to fight for ownership of their data. However, there are already legislative changes that may improve the situation. For instance, California’s Consumer Privacy Act grants internet users the right to delete their data and opt-out of their personal data sale.
The Act does not mention paying people for their data, but businessman and attorney Andrew Yang sees it as a first step to turning things around. He wants the law to recognize personal data as property and make corporations pay users for it.
Moreover, with celebrities like rapper and entrepreneur Will.I.Am starting to talk about personal data protection, and people are becoming more aware of the problem. A study by Insights Network shows that 90% of U.S. consumers find it unethical that their personal data is being shared without consent, and 65% of respondents feel uncomfortable about it being shared with businesses for profit.
Web 3.0’s Promises to Fix the Situation
Lately, the promise to put users in control of their own data comes from Web 3.0 (also known as Web3) enthusiasts. According to its idea, giant tech corporations will not dominate Web3, and it will thus stay fairer. However, Web3 developers also stick to the logic that users should be paid for their data.
The Brave Browser team has created the Basic Attention Token, the cryptocurrency intended to provide users with payment for their data. It’s open-source and transparent. Users will get Basic Attention Tokens for anonymously viewing ads. Later they can exchange them for any other cryptocurrency or fiat money. This approach helps advertisers, as well, by providing them with higher quality data for targeted ads.
The thing about Web3 is that now it doesn’t seem any better or different from what can be done with Web2. So, blockchain is not a magic wand that can fix the problem in some unique way. It still requires digital literacy, and it’s already getting its own power structures resembling those seen in Web 2.0.
Moreover, there can’t be the complete decentralization promised by the Web3 pioneers. Plus, the quality of code is not perfect, which makes it unstable to hackers’ attacks.
Today there is no doubt that the existing patterns of the attention economy should be reformed. The main reason is to give users more control over their personal data. There is a variety of ideas about how this can be achieved. It looks like we may one day have a satisfying solution. Or even a number of them, be they in Web2 or Web3.
But it won’t happen fast. So, for now, the tech community should pave the way for this revolution by spreading digital literacy among people at large. On this path, we have a lot of food for thought and a lot of work.
Image Credit: William Fortunato; Pexels; Thank you!
6 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Upcoming Holidays
The holiday season can be incredibly disruptive, especially for small businesses and their customers. You could either be in a very slow season looking for things to accomplish or so overwhelmed by business that you feel like you got run over by a reindeer. If you haven’t started making preparations yet, you need to start today.
Simple adjustments can help you gain more business or handle a heavy influx of holiday patrons. Here are several ideas you can consider implementing to end the year on a high note:
1. Decorate With Holiday Spirit
Any customer that enters your business will feel the holiday spirit if you’ve got the right decorations in place. You don’t have to go overboard with inflatable pumpkins or flashing Christmas tree lights, but some well-placed decorative touches can really bring the place together. Plus, this makes the workspace festive for your employees as well.
You can choose to highlight the general themes of the seasons or focus on specific holidays. For example, autumn leaves and fall colors can get you well into November. You could also mix things up by putting up ghosts and jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and switching them out for turkeys and pilgrims for Thanksgiving.
The same can be done for winter. Snowflakes and snowmen will work for the entire season. If you want to get specific, you have Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s decorations to consider.
2. Work Out Employee Vacation Times
Everyone wants to take time off during the holidays, and for good reason. This is one of the best times of year to gather with family and enjoy life together. Unfortunately, some businesses can’t afford to have all of their employees taking time off simultaneously. Your job is to make sure everyone is getting fair time off while still staffing important dates around the holiday season.
How you approach this task is up to you and how you think your team will respond best. You might think it’s fair to let the most tenured employees select their days off first. You could also develop a rotation so that the same people don’t hog the same days off every year. Even a first-come, first-served approach could be considered if you think your team will be OK with it.
Remember that you deserve to take some time off as well. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly demanding and time-consuming. Taking even a couple of days off to enjoy the holidays with family can help you recover mentally and physically.
3. Encourage Calendar Collaboration Among Team Members
To ensure everyone on your team is on the same page with project deadlines, essential meetings and events, and client needs, it’s essential to collaborate on a team calendar. Most calendar software today offers team calendars.
Make sure everyone on your team has access to one another’s calendar so they are aware of when they are available. Then, team members can collaborate to help each other take on things that could otherwise be missed.
Thankfully, there are many collaborative calendar integrations available for teams to utilize in order to maximize their time. By utilizing these tools, teams can work more efficiently together. Therefore, they can minimize the chances of missing deadlines, missing meetings, or making clients unhappy.
4. Make Holiday Business Hours Known
Your customers also deserve to know how your business will operate throughout the upcoming holidays. You should communicate in advance the days you plan on being closed. This way, customers and clients won’t be disappointed when they try to visit, and nobody is there to receive them.
This is extremely important for schedule-based businesses. The sooner you block off certain days, the less likely you will have to reschedule a meeting or appointment that was booked in advance. Clients who have their end-of-year scheduled meetings rearranged or moved at the last minute will not be happy.
Consider sending out an email that details your holiday hours to any customers who have provided contact information to you. Additionally, you could also consider adding a note on your email signature that states when your business will be closed. You could implement this early on, especially for the winter holidays. At the very least, put up a notice on your front door and website that makes the revised schedule known and accessible.
5. Plan Marketing and Promotions
The holiday season is for family and friends, of course, but it’s also a commercial opportunity for businesses. (There’s a reason they call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”) While you shouldn’t lose sight of what’s most important, your business should be thinking about some promotions to run. The right marketing campaign at the right time can dramatically boost your revenue.
Marketing plans practically write themselves this time of year. Black Friday and Christmas sales are common and desirable. A salon could run cut-price haircut specials on Black Friday for those who want to escape the shopping fray. A mani-pedi promotion could capture the attention of those primping for holiday parties. Put your business’s personal twist on the season, and you’re likely to see sales increase.
What’s most important to prepare for is the increase in business during a holiday promotion. Make sure you are appropriately staffed for busy days with numerous consumers cashing in on holiday deals. If you’re not prepared to handle the business you’ve attracted, you’ll have a blue Christmas.
6. Consider Getting Extra Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the business coming your way over the holidays, consider contracting some extra help. Plenty of businesses hire seasonal workers to lend them a hand for a couple of months. Your business doesn’t have to be an exception.
The great thing about seasonal workers is that there’s no long-term commitment. You can get an extra receptionist, hair stylist, or stockroom organizer for just as long as you need. These workers are looking for some extra holiday cash and simply want the additional hours before life returns to normal.
You may even consider contracting some digital help. A webmaster can help you keep your website up and running even with double the online traffic. Your clever marketing strategy could be implemented by a third party so you can focus more fully on your customers.
Of all the above steps, the most important common denominator is to be sure your clients and customers are aware of when your business will be out, so they can plan ahead as well. This will help your business avoid the inconvenience and disappointment the unavailability may cause. Be sure to encourage in-house collaboration on important dates, in addition to collaborating externally with your clients and customers.
Keep your business on the nice list by being prepared for every upcoming holiday, whether it’s the longer holiday breaks in the winter or the shorter holidays throughout the year. With the above holiday preparation planning tips, your business can plan well ahead for this holiday season so nothing slips through the cracks.
Though it’s an extremely busy time for everyone, the holiday season doesn’t have to get stressful. There are so many ways to avoid all of the stress by planning well. The better you work together to prepare, the jollier the holiday season can be for your business and your customers as we head into the 2023 new year.
You might not feel entirely ready for 2023 just yet, and that’s fine. But by taking steps to prepare for the new year now, you’ll position your business to succeed beyond your expectations.
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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh; Pexels; Thank you!
Face Supply Chain Disruptions : Work Smarter, Not Harder
Supply chain disruptions are nothing new. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions have become more common. At first, these issues caused major shortages throughout the country. Now, shortages are still occurring along with inefficient shipping processes.
These issues have forced business owners to struggle with ways to stay afloat. Delays, interruptions, and cancellations have made it nearly impossible to keep up with demand while avoiding wasteful spending.
However, some things simply aren’t within your grasp when it comes to supply chain disruptions. On the other hand, you can work smarter to address them. You’re responsible for how your business responds to these disruptions, and with better approaches, things will run more smoothly.
With that in mind, let’s look at how your business can deal with supply chain disruptions. You can create a sense of hope in this digital world as things slowly start to return to normal and the supply chain issues start to balance out.
Use Data Analytics to Survive Supply Chain Disruptions
Collecting clean data and putting it to use can improve everything from customer service to your marketing endeavors. It can also be used to mitigate the effects of a supply chain crisis. Developing innovative data solutions can keep your business afloat and even help it grow during uncertain conditions.
Different Data Methods for Supply Chain Disruptions
To start using data to your advantage during supply chain disruptions, consider these methods:
- Take a look at demand trends. You can look at customer orders and purchasing trends over the last year. This will give you a better idea of how much to order and how often to counteract supply chain disruptions.
- Organize your data. This also makes it easy to look at your current inventory and open order allocations. You can compare your inventory and orders with data provided by production teams or vendors to create a realistic timeline of when things will arrive or when they can be shipped out to customers.
- Pay attention to demand volatility. People aren’t necessarily hoarding items as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. However, there are still some things consumers are regularly purchasing to prepare themselves for the future. As you look at data relating to the current supply of popular products, as well as data from the manufacturers, it will be easier to keep a steady flow of those products in stock.
While looking at data might not sound like an immediate plan of action during turbulent times, it’s easier to make positive changes and work smarter in the face of supply chain disruptions when you have the right information.
Build Your Brand to Withstand Supply Chain Disruptions
It’s difficult to focus on anything but the supply chain issues affecting so many businesses right now. However, retting over those issues isn’t going to get you anywhere. By shifting your focus and putting your energy into supply chain disruptions, your business can move forward.
Building a brand isn’t easy, which is why it requires a lot of time, attention, and focus. Taking this time to hone in on your marketing is a great way to make your business more of a household name. That kind of brand recognition is exactly what companies need right now to stay afloat when supply chain disruptions occur. You can build your brand awareness and identity (stickeryou dot com), in a variety of ways, including:
- Defining your company values
- Understanding your audience
- Determining what sets your business apart
- Creating brand guidelines
Once you have a strategy in place to grow your brand, utilize things like logo creation, social media, and special events to grow your name and help your customers understand who you are.
Build Consumer Relationships Despite Supply Chain Disruptions
Even if you’re facing supply chain issues, you can build relationships and establish trust with consumers. Today’s consumers desire relationships with businesses more than ever before, so it’s okay to show the “human” side of your brand as often as possible. That can make it easier to provide positive customer service experiences when you’re facing product shortages and delays.
Communication with your customers is one of the best ways to deal with frustrations over delays and supply chain issues, so be transparent. Make it a part of your identity. When you make sure your audience knows about the issues you’re facing and keep them updated about shipping information (including delays), they’re more likely to be understanding and patient.
Prepare to Handle Disruptions to Your Supply Chain
Supply chain disruptions are all but inevitable. Make sure your business has a backup plan and is prepared to deal with them when they arise.
If you don’t have one already, consider establishing an emergency management center within your business. Once you have a team in place, you can offer them previously collected supply chain data and create a plan of action. This will make it easier for them to create an effective strategy while reducing the risk of miscommunication that’s often associated with supply chain disruptions.
You should also create a backup plan that incorporates the existing suppliers that can adapt with you when disruptions happen. It should also include technology exploration. Tech, such as AI, can make a big difference in the future of your business – even if it forces you to change some of your existing supply chain processes.
Be Patient During Supply Chain Disruptions
Additionally, try to be patient when disruptions occur. This isn’t the first time the world has seen supply chain issues, but they’re more unsettling now since there’s no end in sight. As someone involved in business, take heart in knowing these delays and disruptions won’t last forever.
In the meantime, focus on working smarter, not harder — to navigate supply chain disruptions. By mitigating some of the issues, being smart with data collection, and focusing on boosting the strength of other areas of your business, you’ll be able to get through these disruptions more comfortably. You may even come out on the other side with more resiliency and knowledge.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Mika Baumeister; Unsplash; Thank you!
Holiday Gift List Ideas; Keep ’em Coming
Here are a few Holiday Gift List Ideas. It is always fantastic to hear from people who are excited about their gift-giving lists and who have some unique ideas to share. I have a few of these items — but I’d love to hear what other gifts you have loved, either for yourself or items you have gifted. This list has something for mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor, and the kiddos. Enjoy!
The Infinity X1 products include flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, auto lights, work lights, and many other items that you will want to add to your lighting needs. This is sustainable power management. These flashlights are very bright, and they last a long time. You will want to keep one in your car, home, and toolbag.
2. Miko AI
- Miko AI
The Miko.ai is the perfect blend of logic and magic. It can see, hear, and remember, and it senses a child’s moods. I got this for the kiddos for the holidays. I will report what I learn. Miko AI keeps giving you new content and capabilities each month with ever-evolving experiences.
3. Pit Command
- Pit Command
The Pit Command tool is built for medium fires. It is made of carbon steel construction, so it is strong and lightweight at the same time. This is really a three-in-one tool. It has an axe-like chopper and a serrated hook, but the most fun is the poker that everyone loves. Guaranteed quality, free shipping, and free returns.
4. Get The Fort
- Get The Fort
We have the Get The Fort at home. The quality is incredible, and everyone loves it. You can use these fort blocks in adult exercises while the kids are playing with them too. We have the gray — but I’m getting the turquoise next.
5. NOCO Boost Pro
- NOCO Boost Pro
NOCO Boost Pro feels like I’ve purchased the most safety that one person can give another. Leave this wonderful power bank in your car so that you can start your own car or help out someone in distress. It has up to 40 jump start on a single charge. Rugged and water resistant. GB150 3000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box, Car Battery Booster Pack, Portable Power Bank Charger, and Jumper Cables for up to 9-Liter Gasoline and 7-Liter Diesel Engines
6. Narwal Robot Mop
- Narwal Robot Mop System
The Narwal Robot Mop System intelligently detects how dirty the mops are and sanitizes them in a high-speed spinning using the exact amount of water needed. It also senses how dirty your room is and sends the unit around again if needed.
7. SureCall Boost Cell Signal
- SureCall Boost Cell Signal
There is nothing like the SureCall Boost Cell Signal System. If you have ever experienced delays in your cell service — especially in the mountains or out on the beach area — you will want this system. There is nothing like reliable service, especially if you work from home and your teammates depend on your work being turned in on time. When you have others depend on communication from you — you’ll want SureCall Boost Cell Signal.
The AquaSonic is backed by the American Dental Association seal of approval. This means that you are using the gold standard for oral care. This electric, ultrasonic toothbrush is fun to use. My dentist told me to get this toothbrush and leave it in the shower and use it there. It even comes in black for a nice modern touch.
9. Iottie 4 in one device
If you have a Tesla 3 or Model Y vehicle — you have going to want this electric charger. You can charge up to four devices at the same time. It has seamless installation and doesn’t take up storage space. This charger has a classy design as you would expect. Here are the specs:
2 USB-A ports for charging devices
2 USB-C ports for fast charging & data transfer where available
Wide device compatibility
Made exclusively for Tesla Models 3 & Y manufactured in 2021 and later
10. BC Wireless Lite
- BC Wireless Lite
Unlike traditional headphones, BC Wireless lite uses bone conduction technology to transmit sound via the cheekbones. This technology leaves ears open to the surrounding sounds. Audio is set to an appropriate volume, ensuring safe levels of listening to the child.
11. myFirst Camera Insta Wi
- myFirst Camera Insta Wi
myFirst Camera Insta Wi is a dual-lens digital camera with a front and rear selfie lens that is capable of inkless thermal instant printing in 10 seconds. Also able to transfer photos wirelessly and has a dedicated mobile application for label editing/creation, and lastly, the cradle is provided to rest your little cute device.
12. BuddyPhones Play
- BuddyPhones Play
BuddyPhones Play+, Wireless Bluetooth Volume-Limiting Kids Headphones, 20-Hours Battery Life, 3 Volume Settings, Voice Enhancing StudyMode, Answer/Playback Button, BuddyLink Cable, Cool Blue. Kids will love the easy-to-use, on-ear headphones while being driven from home to school and on family trips. Hop on Amazon and see additional items like these for your kids. For girls and boys ages 2 to 10 years old to enjoy flexible connectivity
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Nicole Michalou; Pexels; Thank you!
All Inner Image Credits: Taken from the Product WebSites; Thank you!