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I am what I would like to consider a very active senior. Ok to be honest, I use the term “senior “lightly and with a slightly bad taste in my mouth. I’m in my mid-fifties, I golf or practice most days, hit the gym every second day and I have a thriving creative career I work at part time. What’s so senior about that? Anyway, you’ll understand that I was a little miffed when my youngest daughter suggested she set me up a “private online network”…”just in case.” She mentioned a tool called “Tyze” as being a handy place to get my affairs organized and to connect my supporters over the Internet. “What supporters?” I asked her with genuine confusion. “Mom,” she said exasperatedly. “What if something happened to you? I’m all the way out in Vancouver and you’re in Kelowna. I don’t really know who your friends or neighbours are and I certainly have no way of contacting them. I have no idea what medications you take—wait, do you take any? What’s your blood type? Or what about your insurance or your banking or who cuts your lawn? I mean, do you hide a spare set of keys somewhere? I should know stuff like this. Why don’t we just get it all organized now?” A big part of me didn’t want to think about what she was suggesting—that there might be a time when I couldn’t just tell her this stuff. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she was right. I had been putting this sort of organization off for a while. I knew I needed all my information in one place.  One thing I hadn’t considered was getting my friends and neighbours organized too. So, with a little help from my girl I started a Tyze network (www.tyze.com). Tyze is a neat company that follows the social enterprise model – they’re a mix between a for-profit and non-profit company. Bottom line: they want to do social good.  I’m not a Facebook user but I imagine Tyze to be sort of a very private version of Facebook, with no ads or data mining (no thanks!). They use a high level of security similar to your online bank, so I feel safe with my data there. I invited my two daughters, my son, four close friends, two neighbours and my doctor on to the Tyze network, which I called “Debra’s Den”. Each of them uploaded a profile and a few cute stories. It’s a bit like a scrapbook in there now. A fun space to share photos in addition to keeping my information safe and ready.  I don’t think I’d ever use Facebook but I can now see a little bit more why people would like to share fun stuff online. I’d just prefer to keep mine private and within a small group I trust. So—so far so good. Everything is in place, I feel more peace of mind than I would have expected, and I got to show my daughter that her mom can do a little online networking, after all. If you’re curious you should give it a go yourself. They have a free 30-day trial at www.tyze.com, and if you like it after that it’s just $129 a year. Not a bad price to pay for privacy and peace of mind.

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