“You had me at hello” is what I thought about Personal the minute I checked out their website. I just want my life made simpler, more streamlined, and Personal arrives at my digital doorstep. Their beautiful site, the clean layout and, more importantly, its practical and timely platform are a user’s dream come true. So what is Personal? Personal is a free secure digital data vault that stores your information. From personal data as important as your account numbers, as trivial as your favorite recipe, to business data, including your contact lists, for example. Personal takes digital conversion to the next level – it makes it functional and accessible, much like cloud technology, and you can access it from anywhere anytime. How Personal Works Stored data is neatly compartmentalized into what Personal refers to as “Gems.” A user’s dashboard of Gems will look a lot like monotone iPad apps – easy to identify and use. Beyond that, Gems can be shared with others by being classified as public, and other users can access the information by downloading it. Any user can quickly keep up with “Gem activity” so you can keep abreast on what Gem exchanges have been taking place. You can share gems to a contact or email address, which from a business perspective makes communication much more fluid. You no longer have to burden yourself with digital files stored on your computer or mobile. But unlike some other similar sounding platforms, not just anyone has access to your network of Gems. You choose your personal network of contacts and you choose if and what you want to share with a broader public community. Personal’s Business Molding Potential While Personal founders understood the appeal of creating digital vaults of information, the interest really stems from the ability to share the information with others. The idea of social sharing and communal information networks is no longer a trend – it’s the way we live and the way we do business. So much like PearlTrees, the idea that useful information will always be shared and that sharing it is a mutually advantageous arrangement, is what makes the creation and perpetuation of such platforms a current favorite among developers. The idea is for everyday people to turn to Personal to store their data. The next step is creating a platform where Personal automatically sources the data and then offers the appropriate data to an authorized individual. The core concept is to eliminate the need for that burden of signing forms in triplicate (times however many number of forms). Now a user can authorize Personal data to sort these forms for them. The business potential here is monumental on both the B2C and B2B end. From a business to consumer end, users can authorize business owners to extract the necessary information needed for a transaction, a membership, etc.; on the business to business end, executive personnel no longer have to deal with long tiresome paperwork. On both sides, information is clearly communicated quickly, effectively and efficiently. Tedious work that would otherwise have taken much longer to do (and in the case of B2C transactions, deterred consumers) is streamlined into one quick strike. Naturally the biggest question mark gets placed on just how much emphasis Personal places on privacy. Business owners can rest assured that Personal has also taken great strides to ensure that private data stays private. Aside from being involved with the “Privacy by Design” Program, Personal user data vaults can be accessed with a user-chosen password that Personal doesn’t store. Beyond that, not even Personal employees can access private data and they’ve ensured that their 256-bit SSL encryption will keep hackers at bay.
Market research and analysis these days is mostly conducted off the web. The internet is more efficient, more cost effective and more readily updated. Whether you’re a novice or a pro in internet research data and analysis, chances are you’re going to suffer from information overload in different ways. Beginners struggle with too much data; they don’t know where to start and how to filter “junk” info from relevant data. Pros struggle with too much worthwhile data, which leads to new problems with organizing, prioritizing and accessing that data. Free to use, Pearltrees comes along and offers a solution for just these problems. Though it was perhaps not designed for marketing research and analysis, it is perhaps a perfect tool that might as well have been designed for just that. It lets you share just about anything you find on the web, organize it in place, access it from anywhere, use a simple interface for quick access and use the already sourced data from more than 200K Pearltrees users. The platform also makes it easy to collaborate on team projects, especially market research projects. Because Pearltrees is designed for the individual user to first set up his own network and data structure, and then for multiple users to share that data together, it becomes a great tool to share information and bounce ideas off each other. For example, user “Vasilis” has a tree called “Marketing Research Companies,” and each “pearl” on the tree is a part of the overall subject. (Note: make sure you opt out of the iPad app download to be directed to the page). Whether Vasilis is on your team, in your company or not, he’s already done a lot of the work. You can save time by using the information he’s already sourced, build on it and share it with others. Imagine if your tree was networked with more “pearls,” you could guide other team members to it and allow them to access your data. Curated.by works differently but has the same benefit to the research-oriented user. The site lets you “collect and organize topics based on content (including media, links, tweets) into bundles.” Each bundled is defined by a keyword, like \"marketing\" or \"social media.\" The site is as personalized (work alone or with a team) and as broad (either way, see what other people are sourcing) as you’d like it to be. A standard curated.by user homepage gives you a good idea of how the website functions. You can source topics by either searching for bundles, see a newsfeed of what like-minded people are stumbling across, and you can browse through popular topics based on your interests. Some people are saying Curated.by is a lot like Delicious, but Delicious is a sunken ship, albeit one of the pioneers of content curating. Still, it wasn’t adaptive nor did it evolve in the way that curated.by has to offer its growing user group a way to engage with both content and users. Content curation is the new trend in web and information analysis, and especially content marketing. Just like any other platform, its use can be tailored intelligently to meet your marketing needs. And just like any other good idea that pops up in the digital sphere, you can be sure that plenty of copycats pop up in its trail – some good, some useless. Our journey in exploring content curation and its possible applications for your marketing goals is just about midway through. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for a spotlight on the brightest stars in content curation and how you can use them to give your business a competitive edge in the upcoming new year.