Matt Hancock MP Launches App To Bemusement Of General Public

Matt Hancock – some people know him, some people don’t – he’s the current Digital, Culture, Media & Sport secretary of the United Kingdom and forms part of Her Majesty’s Government.

His department is the former Culture, Media & Sport department and in an effort to show that he considers ‘Digital’ an important part of his role, he’s embraced the world of digital and employed a development agency to make an app.  A phone app.  An app you can use on your tablets.  An app all about…

Matt Hancock

Introducing the new ‘Matt Hancock’ app!  To quote an early adopter, Robert Hutton, “it’s like having an actual Matt Hancock in the palm of your hand!”.

Stills are from the intro video that you are greeted with after first launching the Matt Hancock app.  The purported aim of the app is to engage with his local constituents in West Suffolk but, needless to say, in a matter of days, Matt Hancock has gone global.  OK, global *may* be a slight exaggeration but he’s certainly gone national.  Absolutely further than West Suffolk.

Although no, I’ve not personally joined the Matt Hancock revolution yet.

What’s It All About?

Well, leaving connecting with constituents to one side, it’s social media, kind of Facebook-esque (old world, not current!) and people can be social with each other.

But… rather than having Mark Zuckerberg to idolise like a god you have Matt Hancock.  Matt Hancock has put himself all over the app.  You can check in on what Matt Hancock is currently doing.  Look at what he’s having for tea.  Have a look at the latest selfie he’s taken.

But, it’s not a vanity project… honest!

Who Are The People Using It?

Good question – at the moment, journalists have jumped all over.  Also, Matt Hancock seems to have a lot of ‘fans’ that have also joined up.  Also, following his new found fame with the launch of the eponymous app, a whole cross section of society appear to have signed up.  International take up appears low at this time, but it’s early days.

Whilst users of the worlds biggest social networking site Facebook are sometimes unofficially known as ‘Facebookers’ or ‘Zuckers’, following on in a similar fashion, users of Matt Hancock are affectionately (yet unofficially, as far as we know) known as ‘Mancocks’ or just ‘cocks’ for short (hence the 17+ app rating).

What’s Not To Like?

Well, not much I guess.

The department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the Information Commissioners Office, stresses the importance of app developers following it’s official guidance for privacy in mobile apps.

Seems developers Disciple Media may not have got the memo though.

Given the recent debacle surrounding allegedly “handsy” MP’s, Matt Hancock sure wants to get his hands on your data:

But, at least he asks.

Will Matt Hancock overtake Facebook?  Only time can tell.

For now, we’ll leave you with Matt Hancock singing ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ in the style of Queen – enjoy!

Facebook Outs Friends Who Ignore Their Friends

Facebook logoOK, so we’ve all be guilty of it.  Yes, even you!  Miss Butter Wouldn’t Melt! ;).

That’s right, its been an long tradition that although we love our friends to pieces we sometimes can’t be bothered speaking to them – for one reason or another.  In the good old days (OK, the 90s), this involved maybe ignoring the phone or a knock at the door.

Effective, but not specific enough to just ignore the person(s) that you are trying to avoid.

Then came the mobile phone – and with it, caller ID – what an invention.  With texts and calls now having a name attached the process got much easier.

Fast forward to the noughties and we get social media.  And soon after social media based chat, like Facebook Chat.

Similar to texting, you could always just ignore those who you didn’t want to talk to and they’d be non the wiser.  That was until the tens – as in the 2010s.

Hide No More Ignorant Friend!

Imagine if when you ignored a phone call that your phone called the person back straight away and said, “the owner of this phone is deliberately ignoring you, please try again or never”.  Wouldn’t go down to well would it now?  (NB. This might not be too far off – Siri is a reality after all ;)).

Well thanks to advancements in technology, Facebook has implemented this much (?) sought after feature.  No more shall the ignored be ignored without their knowledge….. well not as easily anyway.

Facebook outs you as Mr/Miss/Mr/Dr Ignorant with one word and a timestamp – ‘Seen xx:xx’ (replaces x’s with desired time).

So when a friend types a message and you look at it and close it, and you think you’ve gotten away with it, think again.

They get a nice little call back from Facebook and just above where they type there message it shows them this:

Whoopsie!  You’ve been outed.  So remember, if you look, and you want to preserve you friend ship and not get your ears chewed off, you better reply to that message that you just sneakily looked at and though you got away with! ;).

Of course, its ok to ‘ignore’ a message that doesn’t need a reply – just make sure you’re judgement is correct before you don’t respond to the ‘does my bum look big in this‘ question that your significant other has just typed in chat to you.

Why Your Children Should Not Have Facebook Until At Least Age 21

Social Media Keyboard

Social media is something that only the most recent generation have had to grow up with.  Debuting on the Internet scene in the early noughties, social networking sites have flourished and presented a land of opportunities.  However, it has equally presented an extremely dangerous system into each and everybody’s homes.

While many misguidedly feel that letting their children have a Facebook account (or similar social networking account) is just harmless fun, many parents only realise the profound negative impact it can have on their childrens when it is tragically, far too late.

As a parent, you’ve probably heard a similar warning time and time again – and I’d hazard to guess that approximately 80%, if not more, have dismissed as scaremongering or something that they don’t need to consider for their family.

The following point cannot be made forcefully enough, so if there is one thing that you take heed of today, ensure it is this:

Social Networking Can Kill Or Seriously Harm Your Child.

Now, before you brush this off as over zealous, anti social network, hyperbole lets take a look at the brutal facts of the matter.

Not only does social networking on the Internet have the potential to kill or seriously harm your child there are many documented and validated cases of where this has already happened.

Shocked to find this out?  Most of you probably will be – but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that social networking is more dangerous to your child than the risk of drugs, alcohol or smoking.

Again, there are two fundamental reasons why social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are a more apparent danger to your children than the misuse of substances:

  • Parents widely accept their childs usage of social networks.
    Yes, while the vast majority of families would hit the roof and do all they can to prevent the use (or misuse) or drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, most parents (unwittingly) allow a major cause of death and (physical and/or mental) injury into their homes with open arms.  
  • Parents are naive to the imminent danger social networks put their child in
    Whether parents know it or not, from the second their child logs into a social network until the second their child logs out of a social network, they are playing Russian Roulette with their safety.

I can see some digital eyes rolling at this moment in time, so lets take a look at some cases.

How far back do we have to look to find social networking to have been a part of a teenagers death?  Not far at all.  3 days to be precise.

Nichole Cable (15) – May 2013

Look familiar?  Why shouldn’t it.  Nichole Cable is a typical teenager with the rest of her life ahead of her.

That was until May 2013, when last month an older male (known to Nichole, an ex boyfriend) killed her after what was thought to be a failed kidnapping attempt by the 20 year old ex come stalker.

The MO of the perpetrator is one that is becoming all too familiar.  Wanting to reconcile with Nichole, and with delusional thinking in tow, he believe that kidnapping his ex would rekindle their love affair.

It should be noted that the parents of Nichole forbade the relationship to continue prior to the murder after he was involved with a high speed police pursuit (a real winner, evidently).

The parents made the right choice and took steps to protect their child.  Or so they thought.

Dube, the ex friend come stalker, took to Facebook and set up a fake profile to lure Nichole out to meet him at the end of her street – unbeknownst the extreme danger that her life was going to be put in.

Nichole was cautious, cautious enough to initially turn down requests to meet “Bryan Butterfield” (please note, many teenagers will not be this cautious).  However, in the end she agreed, and unfortunately, this was one of the last decisions she made.

Protecting your child from murders is reason enough to ban them from Facebook.  But even if the ultimate price is paid due to their social networking usage, many other terrible tragedies can occur.

Many in society are currently campaigning for the “naming and shaming” of pedophiles, or child sex offenders.  Forget this crusade (at least for the moment), there is a far more imminent and devastating threat on your doorstep.

Facebook users are usually young in general, the biggest group undoubtedly being the (under) 18 to 25 group.

Unfettered, discreet access to children via social networks means that it is all too often inhabited by many people we wouldn’t like our children to know of, let alone interact with.

Sometimes, it can be us as parents that unwittingly set of a chain reaction of events.

April Jones (5) – September 2012

April Jones was a five year old from Wales.

The case has been well publicised in the UK and earlier this week Mark Bridger was found guilty of her murder.

During the trial it was exposed the Bridgers laptop was not only full of child pornography, featuring under age girls but that he had taken a unhealthy interest in April and her sister, downloading their pictures from Facebook, nine days before her tragic death.

Now, the murder of this innocent young girl may have taken place anyway – no one can say for sure – but the access to pictures of your children through social networking sites can mean that they insert your children into their sick fantasies and develop and unhealthy, and potential deadly, interest in your child.

I don’t think there is one parent that would, in the real world, hand over pictures of their primary school children to a pedophile.  Yet, by placing pictures of your children and distributing them on a worldwide network you are potentially doing this not just once, but millions of times.

It is well known, by people in the IT and legal professions, that pedophiles and child sex offenders use the Internet to gather, distribute, share and trade pictures of children that they find online – including, with an alarmingly increasing rate, pictures found on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Murder and pedophilia are of course enough to make most parents want to deactivate their childrens Facebook immidately, possibly to even consider removing all instances of computing technology from their house completely.

Not only does social media provide a danger from outsiders, but it also, disproportionately among young people, can be used to make your child hurt themselves.

Carolina Picchio (14) – May 2013

Unfortunately, we don’t have to look far back to find the latest social networking related child suicide either.  The same three days in fact that we had to look back for a social networking related child murder.

Again, another day, another country, another typical teenager.

Along with the use of mobile phones, social networking websites (Facebook, in this case) was used to undertake a campaign of cyberbullying against a teenage girl in Italy.

After splitting up with her boyfriend, his friends thought it would be good to use an upsetting video shot at a recent party, where Carolina was looking a bit worse for wear, to bully her.  This video was then widely circulated by said ex boyfriend and friends.

Along with a campaign of upsetting, abusive and disturbing messages, this all-to-familiar action of this teens social group ended up leading to hear leaping out of her families fourth storey apartment window to her death.

On the day of her death she received at least 2,600 vulgar messages via social media.

The sheer power of the danger of social networking is not just limited to children as well – it is catching more and more adults out.

Melissa Huggins-Jones – May 2013

Melissa Huggins-Jones went through a divorce to escape her partner.

She moved states to get away from her ex, but unfortunately, although this may have been enough in the 90’s to escape from an ex who won’t take no for an answer, sadly today it is not.

We can move our homes to move ourselves out of harms way, but in the Internet age this can be a faux sense of security that can lead to our downfall.

While we may move homes, we don’t usually at the same time move Facebook profiles.  In fact, even if we did delete and recreate a new profile, it’s probably not that hard to track down the new profile using a small amount of time and a cursory Facebook search – anyone who knows any piece of personal information about you can use it to track you down on the information superhighway.

Her ex-husband wouldn’t have had any where near as much chance of tracking her down in the pre-Internet days.  But as social networks continue to integrate more easily and readily into our daily lives than ever before, their use as a tool to stalk and track someone down have never been more real.

Fearing that her ex-husband was indeed actively using Facebook to track her movements she deleted her page completely three days before her death.

Unfortunately, by this time the damage was already done.  Enough information was already revealed to an evidently violent ex.

To sum up….

I imagine most of you reading this article will have been extremely skeptical about the headline of this article.  Hopefully now, I have managed to make it clear how social networking can, has been and will continue to be a major harmer of our children – it is rapidly becoming the primary  one.

Even if your family is lucky enough that your child doesn’t become a victim of social media, they may indeed become the instigator of a criminal offence (unwittingly) through their use of social media.

In the case of Carolina Picchio the Italian legal system is not only considering taking action against the social network in question – but against the ‘teens’ involved in the cyber bullying – looking into charges of ‘Instigating sucide’ and ‘distributing pedopornography’ – both extremely serious crimes (as if you need me to tell you).

The only way to protect your child from the imminent danger that they are in on social networks is to forbid them to use them until they are at least in adulthood – and probably by which time they will be better equipped to deal with the dangers lurking round every corner.

Personally, I’d recommend the age of 21.  Although parents may struggle to carry on the influence of their rules beyond the teenage years.

Please, please, please take one message from this article, if nothing else:

Social Networking – Don’t Die Of Ignorance

SongPop – The New Addiction on Facebook and How To Get More Games!

SongPop Logo

A couple of days ago, our regulars will remember that we posted an article regarding SongPop, the new Facebook social media music trivia game!  We’ve been evaluating it for a while no and we’ve got to agree that it is definitely addictive!  And from the number of people that we see playing it at all times of the day (presumably while some of them should be working!), we can quite confidently say that its heading to be (if not already) one of the most popular games on Facebook.

The Zuck’s Recommendation

SongPop’s popularity was greatly increased when it received a recommendation from none other that the Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who said “Song Pop is one of the most fun Facebook games I’ve played in a while”.  And we tend to agree with him!!!

More Popular Than Draw Something?

Not only that, an article in the Guardian last month said that SongPop could overtake the other fans favourite Draw Something within a month (which is round about now! ;)).

The Two Versions…

So there’s two versions.  On the App Store anyway.  Is there two on Facebook?  Can’t remember seeing two or how that would be implemented…. but anyway I digress!

There’s two versions, a free version and a premium version.

So, what’s the difference?  Well the free version, is err….. free ;).  I know, shocking!  And the premium version is an upgrade to the free version, and currently available in the App Store for £1.49 – which we think is a very reasonable amount for a game that you are likely to spend nearly every spare minute in the day on! – at least for a few months anyway!

The Free Version….

In the free version you get the following features:

  • From today’s hits to classic rock, start with 6 playlists – there’s something for everyone!
  • Play with thousands of songs from Golden Oldies to today!
  • Invite your friends to quick challenges and see who has the best music memory.
  • Unlock new playlists featuring more genres, more artists, and special song collections.

So, as you can see, lots of nice features in the free version – and regardless of which version you are thinking of getting it’s always worth trying the free version first and checking that it is for you (which it most likely will be!).

SongPop on Facebook

The Premium Version…

The extras that you get in the premium version, for only £1.49 in the App Store are:

  • Play with twice as many friends at once!
  • Extended, HD quality music clips.
  • Totally ad free, forever!

There’s some nice little extras in there for not much money, so it’s well worth the £1.49 in our opinion.

Extra Tip To Get More Games!

However, if you want to stick to the free version for now, that’s OK – we’ve got a tip for you.

In the free version you are limited to 20 open games or challenges at the same time.  This can be frustrating, especially if you fall in love with the game (like we did!).  After you’ve got 20 open games, when you click ‘Create game’ within SongPop, it tells you to delete (end) another game first.

Well that’s a bummer!  However, regular Facebook users out there will likely have amassed a small army of Facebook friends.  How does that help you?  Well even after you’ve got 20 games open, you can still challenge people from your friends list to a game – and go well beyond the 20 open games limit.

Deliberate Or A Mistake?

Is this a mistake or a bug?  Or is it deliberate?  Well, we’re not entirely sure.  There are reasons for both.

It could be a mistake.  Maybe it’s a bug that slipped through the net.  This would be a fairly simple explanation to understand it.

Or, it could be deliberate.  SongPop is a social media game.  The key word here is ‘social’.  It’s beneficial for the developers for more people to play SongPop – as the more people there are, the more people that might pay for the premium version and increase revenues for the developer.  Also, new players are good for existing players as there are more players in the ‘players pool’ to possibly play against.  By allowing you to challenge (therefore invite) an unlimited amount of your Facebook friends the SongPop game and it’s player pool should develop at a much faster rate.  However, the one downside would be that if this is deliberate, it ‘devalues’ the premium version (kind of) as one of the premium features isn’t necessarily needed – the ability to have more games.

Conclusion

SongPop is an excellent game.  It gets a definite recommendation from us!  Make sure you’ve got a few hours spare when you first play it – most likely you’ll need them!

Both the free and the premium versions are excellent – and in our opinion, the premium version is well worth the small price tag.

Plus, you never know, you might go for a ‘random’ challenge and end up playing against the Original Facebooker, Mark Zuckerberg!  And with that combined with all the features of the fantastic game that is SongPop, it truly is a irresistible prospect!