Tweeting as a juror

Oh, it’s all go on the jury front at the moment! First, I’m called up to be a juror, then the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales decides to discuss the topic of tweeting and doing online research while acting as a juror.

In terms of my own experience in a Scottish court, I have to say, there weren’t any warnings about tweeting or going online via our phones by anyone official while I was in the public area of the court, or the jury room. I think there may have been a comment by the Clerk to turn phones to silent while we waited to be selected, but that may be a figment of my imagination, as I was reminding myself to make sure my phone was on silent while sitting there.

Once selected and led to the jury room we were told by the court officer that we had to turn our phones off, and we were to be allowed one phone call to a relevant person who needed to know we’d been selected and therefore unavailable until 4pm (childminders etc) on the landline in the room, but other than that, we were meant to be incommunicado. I did think it was a slightly archaic instruction at the time, especially since one individual who needed to inform her childcarer just used her mobile, as it was easier than finding the number and dialling it on the landline phone! We were instructed about not discussing the case with family or friends when we went home, but nothing was said about not looking up the defendants online.

Needless to say, this “turn your phones off” instruction was pretty much completely ignored – texting and emailing was going on frequently as we sat in the jury room, and people continued to use their phones to do their work (one person was using his Blackberry to deal with his emails, while we sat twiddling our thumbs waiting), while others were texting regular updates to people about when they might possibly be getting out of the court. I was also naughty and did tweet once….to say I was bored! And I was also texting to ask someone to look up the times of the next trains for me, as I was going to see them whenever we were allowed out.

Admittedly, we as the jury hadn’t heard anything beyond what had been read out in public in the court, so perhaps things would have been different if we’d actually been involved in any deliberations.

So, to complain about people tweeting in court, when they’ve not had any instructions NOT to, may be a bit daft. Yes, technically, in the jury room our phones should have been turned off. But when you’re being dragged out of your normal life to sit on a jury, and everything’s put on hold, you need some sort of way to still stay involved with reality. And with modern technology allowing so much of your life to be dealt with via your phone (emails, texts, social networks, events calendar), cutting you off from that without an understandable reason means people WILL just ignore your rules, as my jury members and I did.

If you want people not to do specific things, tell them that: don’t just assume they’ll know the rules and reasons that you do, or that they will be compliant enough not to show some interested thought and actively try and find out themselves, in some small way, what “really” happened in a case…it’s definitely a temptation to “play detective”!

You could also clearly explain the penalties for disobedience – we knew we could get in trouble for discussing the case with other people, and that was something that I don’t think any of us had any intention of doing, but there was no hint of a penalty for internet/online activity.

Mainly unprofessional

So, I’m following some of the “New Professionals Conference 2010” online and one of the tools referred to was Personas, to see what your online presence is like. Or, how references by to and about you online appear visually.
I used my normal online username (it’s more distinctive than my “proper” name), and was pretty amused by the results.
It seems that the thing that I’m least of all, is “professional”, closely followed by “committees”. Whoops!
Mainly, I’m either aggressive, or I provoke aggression, and sports and fashion feature highly. Hmmmm, I’m thinking that there’s maybe something REALLY ODD about this.
Wanna fight about it? Huh? DO YA?!?!
😉
Edited to add: OK, so it does a different thing every time then?!? This is what I got when I redid it again, for the same single word username (so it’s not getting confused by two words, misspellings etc). Perhaps this is the truer one? More online, and social, MUCH less aggression…but perhaps that’s because it’s been joined by “military”. Whaaa?

We’ll tell you about privacy…but only if you use Internet Explorer

So, I bought a can of Coke. It had a code under the ring pull, that advised you to either text (for a cost), or visit the Coke Zone website, to see if you’d won a prize.

So, I toddled off to the website, entered the code, and hit return.
Oh.
I got a pop-up, telling me to log in if I was a member, or register if I was a new user. It wouldn’t tell me if I’d won anything without me being a member. Which is annoying – I don’t mind giving my details in exchange for certain things, but in order to find out if I’d maybe won a prize? No ta.
So I decided to look at the Coke Zone privacy policy (which you must agree to in order to register with the site). I ran into a problem here – when I clicked on the link, I got nothing. Well, I got a page, with a big expanse of white where the content should be. I was using Chrome, so I decided to try Internet Explorer….yay! The content was all there!
So I wondered if it was just me and Chrome that had issues viewing the content…nope. Others said they couldn’t see anything if they used Safari, Opera or Firefox (although one person said they could see it when using Firefox on a Mac).
So, the privacy information’s sort of magical…for a large number of people, it’s invisible. But if you’re using IE, it’s there.
Needless to say, I didn’t register, so if I won something, I’ll never know. But at least I can be sure Coke aren’t randomly distributing my information about the internet with my blind agreement…

More on State Papers Online

Back in 2008 I blogged about some of the materials being made available online at State Papers Online.

At that stage, only Part I was accessible, with plans for Part II to be available in 2009. Well, they’ve got part II on the site now, and have announced plans for 2010 and 2011:

Coming soon in 2010

State Papers Online Part III: The Stuarts, James I to Anne, 1603-1713, State Papers Domestic

Coming in 2011

State Papers Online Part IV:The Stuarts, James I to Anne, 1603-1713, State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Acts of Privy Council

Might be of interest to any Tudor-loving historians out there, although the Stuart-loving ones will have to wait a wee bit yet 🙂
Although I have to admit to being somewhat stumped as to what it costs…no option for individual subscriptions, and you have to contact them to request pricing as an institution, or a trial…

I’m an elephant

Well, according to this BBC survey on their Lab UK site anyway (found via Shiny Forager)

You are a Web Elephant

Elephant

Slow-moving – Web Elephants like you browse the internet at a stately, methodical pace – just like real-world elephants who rarely see a reason to rush things.

Social – Real-world elephants and Web Elephants are both highly social. Real elephants are able to keep track of their own extended family trees and may even mourn love ones. As a Web Elephant, you often use social networking sites to keep track of your friends of family and are happy to rely on information from sites whose content is created by its users.

Adaptable – Real-world elephants owe their adaptability to their large brains and versatile trunks. As a Web Elephant you are similarly adaptable and are well-suited to carrying out several different tasks at the same time.

P.S. I am not afraid of mice.

Tara Brabazon lecture in Edinburgh, Friday 26th March

I contemplated going along to this talk by the controversial academic Prof. Tara Brabazon (she “bans” first year students from using the internet as a source when doing coursework for her), but in the end I decided that it just wasn’t work-relevant enough to justify the outing (interesting as it would be to hear her).

So, I thought I’d post the info on here in case anyone was interested: book your ticket by 19th March, kids!

Open University course for librarians

As mentioned in CILIP Gazette…or Update (my memory sucks!) the Open University has launched a new course for “information professionals”: “The Evolving Information Professional: challenges in a digital world” is an online course,. available to begin studying at any time.

The blurb says:

This course is for information professionals – librarians, archivists, information and knowledge managers – looking to keep up to date with modern technologies, sources of information and today’s users.

It is for those in the profession who wish to stay relevant in this fast-changing world of information, find out how other information services are facing the challenge and consider ways of proving their worth in the Google age. Among all the issues that the course covers, you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the possible consequences for your service of a new generation of ‘Homo zappien’ users, try out games developed for library users and archivists and consider the implications of the 7 Ps for marketing your service.

All looks very interesting…but in general terms. And I can’t really see myself paying almost £500 for that level of general interest. It may be more useful for public /academic librarians, or anyone who has to deal with a regularly changing group of users.

When they invent a course that includes dealing with lawyers and their….’foibles’, then I’ll be there in a flash! 🙂