Online Life After Death

By Kelly Gerrish

For centuries humanity has been searching for the secret to eternal life. Now a new social networking site is promising its users digital immortality.

Eter9 claims to learn about your personality as you share photos, comment and like posts before continuing to post for you once you die.

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By analysing what you share, and how you comment and interact with other users, Eter9 uses artificial intelligence to create a virtual “counterpart” that can mimic your behaviour after your death.

If your social activity consists of posts about the weather and complaints to train companies, you can rest in peace knowing your commentary on these topics will continue long after you’re gone.

According to a statement on the Eter9 website the site ‘makes it possible to eternalize the user’ by using ‘specificities which allow a human being to achieve immortality in cyberspace.’

The concept appears to mimic the plot of the 2014 science fiction film Transcendence, where an artificial intelligence expert played by Johnny Depp uploads his consciousness onto a computer so he can continue to live after his death.

It all sounds a little creepy to us but 5,000 people have already signed up to use the site, which is currently in Beta testing. Maintaining an online presence after death is clearly something that interests a section of society, although perhaps not in the mainstream just yet.

Why Do People Unsubscribe?

By Kelly Gerrish

Ever sent a great email campaign and been disappointed when people unsubscribed? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But what is it that makes people walk away from your campaign? And how can you keep them from leaving?

1. Bombarding inboxes

The number one reason why people unsubscribe is too much contact. But how much contact is considered too much? Every business is different but the general rule is to stick to the frequency you promised on your sign up page. If people are expecting a monthly newsletter, send them a monthly newsletter. If they signed up for a weekly bulletin, contact them once a week. Remember, if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing at all.

2. Sending to anyone and everyone

You don’t want to send emails to people who are never going to be interested in what you’re offering. To avoid this all too common mistake, always ask for direct permission to add each recipient to your datalist and only send them the information they signed up for on your sign-up page. In other words, don’t pad out your list with social media contacts or people you exchanged business cards with at an event. Consider using double opt-in (verifying subscription via confirmation email) to ensure everyone on your list really wants to be there. Double opted-in lists have much higher engagement levels, translating to more opens and clicks and fewer bounces and unsubscribes.

3. Sending irrelevant emails

Ever received an email and wondered why? You didn’t sign up to emails about haircare, in fact you don’t even have any hair, so why are you suddenly being targeted? Make sure that every email you send offers valuable content that your target audience will actually want to read. If you can segment your data, you’ll be able to send niche-specific targeted messaging to different groups.

4. It’s not you, it’s me

People’s interests change over time and so do email preferences. While someone may have been interested in your product or service a year ago, maybe they no longer need it or found it elsewhere. Sometimes unsubscribes aren’t caused by something you did wrong. People move on and that’s okay.

There’s no hard and fast rule as to why people unsubscribe. A simple exit survey (why are you leaving us?) can help you determine what went wrong, and make changes to your messages or strategy moving forward.

Smartphone Society

By Kelly Gerrish

Smartphones are transforming the way we communicate in the UK, and have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online.

UK adults spend nearly two hours a day on average using the internet on their phones, with 33% now opting for smartphones as the device of choice for getting online.

Jane Rumble, director of market intelligence at Ofcom, said the change in internet access was a “landmark shift” being driven by younger age groups.

She said: “You can see these devices are becoming more and more an important vital hub of information and communication throughout the day, with smartphone owners spending almost two hours (on them) each day, almost double the amount of time that those people are spending on their laptop or desktop.”

Britons took 1.2bn selfies last year, fuelled by the rise of smartphones with increasingly good cameras. In fact the smartphone is now even more popular than the digital camera for taking photos. Today’s teenagers probably don’t even own a digital camera.

Ofcom compiles its Communications Market Report every year to monitor the UK’s habits. Here are this year’s headline findings:

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Want to know more about our changing habits? Find more analysis here.

What to Expect from Windows 10

By Kelly Gerrish

It’s time for Windows users to breathe a sigh of relief. After what seemed like an eternity trapped in the clutches of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system is finally here to save us. Microsoft has tried its hardest to undo the damage with Windows 10 – so much so that it’s skipping an entire version number to distance itself. Windows 10 gives Microsoft the opportunity to steer the company in a new direction.

Windows 10 purports to change the way millions of us interact with our computers by reimagining the operating system with a flexible and functional design.

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So what’s new?

Microsoft is pitching the product as being “familiar and easy to use”, and at first look, the user interface looks pretty similar to Windows 7.

The Start Menu that disappeared in Windows 8 is back, providing quick pop-up access to apps, documents and settings. But the Start Menu now also offers a selection of customisable “live tiles” which can be used for all the usual notifications – emails, weather and diary alerts.

The other headline item is Cortana – the virtual assistant first featured on the Windows Phone. Cortana helps users manage their diaries, search the internet, play music, all via voice recognition. Suspiciously like Siri then…

Other new features include Windows Hello – a fingerprint authentication facility to provide additional security on your computer or specific app, Edgethe successor to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Action Center – a slight reimagining of Apple’s Notification Center, grouping all your notifications together so you can act on them quickly and easily.

The good news is it’s free, for most people anyway. If you own a Windows 7 or 8 PC, chances are you’ll be able to upgrade without spending a penny.

When can I get it?

Microsoft is rolling Windows 10 out in phases, but it’s believed that more than 14 million devices are already running the upgrade. Delivery to everyone else is being staggered.

The operating system has been described as “Windows as a Service”, meaning improvements will be released as they become available rather than via another upgrade in a few years.

There has even been talk of this being the last version of Windows if all goes well. No pressure then.