Perhaps, you also heard this.
You received a lot of SMSs from Ethio Telecom that it is easier to obtain a SIM card now. There are many tele centers which provide this service too. All you need is two photos and a copy of your ID.
Well, here is the entire problem
Like many other organizations, the Ethio telecom doesn’t have a central database to manage your data. Data collection is expensive. Even though, it isn’t the result by itself. After collecting the data, you should know what to do with it. So far, I obtained 5 SIM cards for different projects, and the telecom has my ten pictures – imagine ten! I feel like I am taking pictures to give to them. What do they do with my pictures? God knows. If you buy 10 SIM cards, you need to give 20 pictures of you. You are the same person; probably, with the same hair style.
Have you ever registered on the workshop? They asked you to write your full name (even in capitals), your email, you phone and such. People love to collect data. Folks, have you ever received any phone call from the event organizers? Have you ever taken seriously and get follow up and outcome reports?
Recently, we are preparing the BarCamp Event. Like the tradition goes, we collected participants’ data (with very shiny table at the gate of the university compound). This morning, we talked about it and we asked ourselves. What happened to the collected data? It isn’t only because we can’t follow up on the participants but also loosing personal data is dangerous. Thankfully, we managed to record the contact information on Google Docs. So we can easily manage the data now.
Here are some tips which might help you to handle such data collection problems.
- Why and what: The first and the most important question is why do we need to collect the data in the first place? If we don’t follow up on participants, and the community establishment is less important, it is better not to collect the data at all. If we have to collect the data (for participation statistics, catering etc…), we should know what to collect. Perhaps, name can be sufficient.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): In most cases, this is a perfect solution regarding collecting personal data. CRM solutions usually involve using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes. On this centrally manageable environment, I only need to give one picture and save my other 9 pictures from the Ethio telecom’s trash bins. There are so many free and open source software solutions. It is a matter of picking one and work on it.
- Google docs: For small event organization, such as workshops, training, retreats, Google docs is a better solution. Google has everything you need – even a little more than you need. On Google docs, you don’t even have to insert the data. The participants will fill up their own data. And it is also easier to create mailing list afterwards.
- Data privacy: It might seem a neglected topic, but every bit of information you have from participants came with responsibility. I personally don’t want to receive any phone calls or emails for product advertisement nor treats because of the type of events I participated. It is very critical how to handle personal data. I don’t want the copy of my passport scattered all over the shabby tele centers in the city.