Remindo: A Ready to Wear Social Network for Swansea U?

I was intrigued enough by this blog post from Darrell Etherington at Web Worker Daily to sign up with remindo.com and in so doing, created a corporate social network for swansea.ac.uk!

On the face of it, this new beta social network service seems to have a lot going for it. It is focussed around group work and group communication with an emphasis on file sharing, shared calendars, to-do lists, milestones and twitter-like status updates. Anyone who signs up with a swansea.ac.uk email address immediately becomes a member of a Swansea University social network and presumably can invite other colleagues, form links with existing members and create new groups around departments and/or projects and participate in SU social networking.

However, once verified and signed in, I started to get a little nervous. The personal profile tool asks an awful lot of questions: including your home address and details of your pets and children. All this information, if provided, appears on your profile page and there is currently no feature, à la Facebook, for controlling who sees what. The terms of service and privacy policy indicate that this information is only shared within your network, and of course you may choose not to provide it. However, if provided it is of course available to remindo.com itself (and presumably, under warrant, agents of the US government), and the terms may change at some future date. In any case, it raised for me the spectre of possible identity theft, and I rapidly removed information that I thought should remain private – at least for now!

Maybe I was being paranoid as it seems (verified by logging out) that only members of the swansea.ac.uk network would actually have access to any personal information and data provided by members of the SU network. But it’s not 100% certain that it couldn’t leak out, and I guess that the merest possibility that such leaks could occur may be enough to make you, me and the management nervous.

In a sense, remindo.com is trying to do what Exchange and the intranet is supposed to do, albeit with a Web2.0-social-twittery-twist. I suspect that the corporate view would be that Exchange should be used for collaboration and sharing. The sad fact is though that it isn’t and the best alternative to have emerged on campus – Oremi – was sadly retired before it reached its full potential!

If I’ve intrigued rather than frightened you off and you’re willing to give it a go, visit remindo.com and see what you think!

6 Comments

  1. I’ve had a brief look and it looks interesing and a bit ‘ning like’ but I think you’ve frightened me off rather than intrigued me.

  2. Hi, this is Rehan the founder of Remindio. Thanks for checking us out and do give us a go at the univ.

    We’ve tried to keep the servers as safe as possible and even kept all the data on Amazon’s EC2 servers. Take a look at the security write up on http://www.remindo.com/blog

    We are targeting businesses as users, so we need to be very stringent with our data, so betcha we will be. Feel free to email me directly on rehan at remindo dot com with any concerns, questions or suggestions. Cheers.

  3. Hi guys. I’m William from Remindo. We really appreciate that you checked it out.

    Honestly, we didn’t expect your concerns, but we definitely see what you mean. We gather data about people so that their co-workers and colleagues can get to know them better. But, I do see how it could become sketchy pretty quickly, especially since you don’t know who’s behind the thing and whether you can trust it.

    So you know, we already take a lot of steps internally to keep data as tightly managed as any other public SAAS website. And, because we’re based in Washington, DC and we work with both non-profits and governments, we’re working to tighten things up beyond industry standards to make it super secure.

    To that end, we’ve already moved to Amazon EC2 and S3 to keep stores in a more secure and trusted place. We’re in the process of implementing additional security algorithms that will keep your data from being compromised by poor programming (never happens ;-)) by us. And, as a “value added” feature, we’re working to provide robust encryption and absolute deletion capabilities that will triple wipe your data when you do delete your account.

    Once we get that all done, we plan to have it verified by an independent, trusted third party. That way, it’s not just Remindo.com saying you can trust us, it’s also another, third party site.

    Don’t get me wrong. We already take your data very seriously. This is just to move us to a level of security strong enough for Governments to use. And, as you probably know, that’s pretty strong.

    Also, FYI, Remindo.com isn’t a fly by night operation. We have offices in the US and India, and we’re venture funded. Our mission is to build the premiere intranet tool for businesses of all sizes, to make managing project and connecting with people simpler than EVER before. Your application there at Swansea Learning Lab is a really good example of a way it can be used. We hope you continue trying it out, and giving us feedback so we can make it work even better for you long term.

    I hope that gives you a bit of a feel for Remindo.com and the site. Please, please contact me anytime if you have any questions. My email is william@remindo.com and my phone number in the USA is +1 202 558 0221.

    And, again, thanks a bunch for checking Remindo.com out. I hope with our continued changes and updates that you gain enough trust to keep using it!

  4. Having read the reassurances from Remindo themselves, I wonder if we could investigate this for swwhep.ac.uk?

    Being an intrepid, fearless pioneering ‘Indiana Jones’ type(!), I can see possibilities here.

    What do you reckon Chris? (Hall not Jobling) …are you ready to pull on your stetson and spurs??

    Julia

  5. @Julia (Chris Jobling not Hall here): as I said in my initial post, the first person to sign up with a swwhep.ac.uk email address would effectively create that intra-social-network (or whatever it ought to be called). It’s almost too easy!

  6. Right, well I need a j.ault@swwhep.ac.uk address now then to go pioneering ahead!

    I do like to be at the cutting (bleeding?) edge when i can (who is that muttering about ‘fools rush in..’ at the back there????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *