This was originally posted to Facebook – now I am posting a summary post here, as it relates to a previous post I’ve made on this same issue on the G+ service (“Shared Endoresements”): As reported in the NYT over the weekend, it seems like Facebook is about to expand the use of personal “likes” and endorsements on ads it shows to other users. If you “like” something, your image could appear next to an advertiser’s message if one of your friends sees that ad – and now they are planning to extend this practice to ads placed on sites outside of the Facebook site itself. As far as I can tell, you can opt out of this by visiting your Facebook settings, clicking on “Ads” on the left-hand navigation bar and clicking “Edit” to set the setting to “no-one” for both “Third Party Sites” and “Ads and Friends.” Personally I have chosen to opt out as I am not comfortable with my image being displayed along side of an advertiser’s message just because I happen to have “liked” a company or product in the past. I’m also not happy with the lack of communication about this new service from Facebook to its users. Google have rolled this out as well on Google+ as “Shared Endorsements” and I’ve also opted out of that – but at least they offered some clear instructions on how to opt out. For this, I’ve got to read about it in The New York Times? ( The subtext here about teens being …

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Late last year, I was asked to write an article for a “digital parenting” magazine produced by my employer, Vodafone. I was asked to write about (positive) trends I see in the future – I chose to focus on  the future of social networking, the future of human-computer interaction and the future of open data – three key trends that I see having a major impact on how we live, and have major implications for how we need to think about digital privacy. Besides my musings, though, the magazine is actually packed with great information for parents of young children who are just starting to explore the Web, social networks, texting and other forms of  digital media. As a parent, I really recommend reading it. To read the full article, you have to go to and “click on” the “Digital Parenting Magazine.” It is also downloadable as a PDF.

The experience my kids (2 and 4) have of media is radically different from my experience when I was growing up. Of course, they clamor to watch certain programs and it’s always a challenge to balance the “right” amount of television with their wants, what’s good for them, and the temptation that television can have for exhausted parents who just need some down time. But what’s different is what these kids expect from media. Of course, they want to watch what they want when they want — which is enabled by video-on-demand from Homechoice for us, but they’re also just as likely to want to play (Web-based) computer games associated with the characters they like (like Dora games on NickJr., Sesame Street or Teletubbies) as to want to passively sit there and watch things. In the case of Sesame street, this is rarely seen on UK TV so most of their knowledge of these characters is actually through the Sesame street Web site. Many of these sites also let them stream video clips. So they are beginning to “curate” their own experience of media in much the same way that adults are. They are demanding more from their media. And why not? Why sit there and passively watch Teletubbies when you can go play an interactive Teletubby game with lots of direct feedback?

So on Sunday I went to something called the “Design Festa” at Tokyo Big Sight, an enormous expo center on the outskirts of the city. From what I understand, it’s a twice yearly event where hundreds of artists and designers from Tokyo come to display their wares, sell stuff, create art, etc… Everything from iron-work to painting to hand-made t-shirts to music was on display and/or on sale there. I got an artist to do this rendition of my two kids, Alex and Emily, from a picture I had stored in my camera. I’ll post some more pictures from the “Festa” soon.