Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being "Social" Media - Don't Filter your Impact!

I firmly believe that each one of us live off 3 fundamental urges of: Need for Recognition, Narcissism and Empathy! Though the degrees varies from person to person.

Facebook (referred to as FB intermittently in this post) as a company probably relies on these / feeds off it, to ensure it's existence! As a marketer I'd give them a hats off for tapping into this so successfully and sustain-ably growing from strength to strength. They seem to have found the right mix of these to ensure that the majority of us, feel FB is a part of our life now. Be it Sharing Photos, Checking in to let your world know where / with whom you are, Venting anger, Voicing public opinions, Keeping in touch and Umpteen other smaller (yet important) emotions that appeal to us at a given point in time!

They sure do deserve Kudos for their success when you look at it:
- As a Business,
- As a platform to improve communication
- As another step in bringing the world closer

but like every entity, FB has it's own pitfalls! One of them, which is glaring to me as a person is what Facebook currently calls 'Profile Filter'. They ride on the current wave of public opinion and the fact that people want to show their support (get on the right side of their misguided conscience) and let them apply a filter and feel they've done their bit!

My 2 cents on this (I've heard this phrase way too often in the last few months to not use it in at least 1 post (:) -
1) Applying a Profile Filter is nothing more than one wanting to garner acceptance socially! Yes, as a person you're only feeding your 'Need for Recognition' with this
2) FB as a company, could've done just a little more and ended up being exponentially more effective!

I agree for campaigns like Digital India, they couldn't have done too much more to help (not that I vouch for a profile filter being used here, but that's for the business minds of FB to decide). But when it comes to issues like the Nepal Earthquake or the current Refugee Crisis, FB could've done more than just turn a blind eye!!

They could've given people a simpler way to contribute (monetarily) and in return give the user an option of a profile filter. They could've made it both easy (one click) and transparent to ensure the actual cause benefits from this support! That is like a badge showing you've done the least you could and you're urging (spreading awareness) others to follow suit.

During the Nepal Earthquake, they could've had a simple click to contribute to the rebuilding. Once a person contributes (however small), he gets to apply a Profile Filter.
Similarly for say the current Refugee Crisis, click to contribute to their interim welfare!

This feature however small, would've actually benefited millions (not to mention the immense positive business impact for Facebook). This would've tapped into our third fundamental urge of Empathy, and left a deeper / lasting impact on all of us.

Then in my opinion, Facebook would really be "social" media! (pun intended)

Monday, November 2, 2015

An Indian Citizens Voice - The 'New Category' of people!

Responsibility is something we're ingrained with right from childhood. If you're the older sibling you're even told a million times if not more, that "your younger ones are watching you, so please conduct yourself properly!". As we grow (and become so-called 'more mature'), we learn to handle this weight of responsibility better! We learn to conduct ourselves with dignity, we become more tolerant, we learn to respect everyone for what they are and most importantly we learn how NOT to be judgemental!

However, lately what I've noticed with this 'New Category' of people baffles me! It makes me wonder if rules are different for this 'New Category'? Whether they grew up in the same society as me? Whether they're another kind of species? Sometimes I even assume that this 'New Category' of people are the sole reason for the existence words like dimwit, blinking idiot and a cartload more of all the junk you can attribute to them.

This 'New Category' of people unfortunately for us have their voices heard every where and this ends up being detrimental to all of us! I've encountered them lately in multiple folds:
  • One genius who belonged to this group, blamed women for rapes and asked them to dress up "decently", instead of asking the imbeciles who rape to keep it in their pants!
  • Another one instigated the lynching of a man just because he heard a rumour (which of course ended up being false). What's worse? The rumour wasn't about this man being a terrorist OR raping someone OR being a murderer, rather it was about him having beef (again, even if he indeed had Beef, I don't see how it's anyones' bloody damn' business to have an issue with that? Moreover, if a cow is holy to you and you don't want to eat Beef, then don't - simple as that! How on earth can you force others not too? What if plants are holy to someone, will you stop eating vegetables?)
  • It goes worse when another few in this category resulted in our nations relationship with the harmless, always cordial and a wall of sorts (with China) country Nepal going to the dumps!! But again, I was expecting too much, right?? As it's this same set of individuals who failed to keep a good working relationship with a group of students (FTII). So I guess I'll safely assume Nepal was too much to handle for them?
To a bunch, these are just politically motivated instances / bad PR. But, let's all for a second, forget the political landscape and just consider only these specific individuals and their actions. Look beyond the clutter (with no prejudice) and you'll also notice how more than anything this 'New Category' of people are making an impossible future for us! Majority of us (including me) generalise, so you can only imagine what the rest of the world is doing? For them these individual incidents define our country.

I've lately been fortunate to be able to travel across the globe (predominantly for business). I met this enterprising (old only by age, young at heart, and sharp as a knife with business) Australian Investor at the beginning of this year, and again bumped into him last month!

If I'm to sum-up my conversations with him between both our meetings, then it would go from:
"India's new leadership seems to be promising and flamboyant. I guess it'll be very good for your country" (trust me, when you hear this from an outsider it'll make you beam with pride)
"The safety concerns is making me re-evaluate my investments in India!" (and here's where you feel let down)

As an Indian, all I can hope is that common sense somehow transcends to this 'New Category' of people! They've been fortunate to be so eminent, followed and looked to as leaders (in their own right), so I think it's time they behave responsibly and do justice to this unique opportunity they have. It is a cross road of sorts, a strategic inflection point! They now have reached a point where they'll leave an indelible mark on our country.

Whether that's for good (every Indian citizen sincerely hopes for this) OR bad is something only time will tell?

Note: I'm writing this post as a citizen of this country and NOT vouching for OR pointing fingers with any political agenda, whatsoever! It's never been my intentional to hurt anyones' sentiment OR belief. This post is just calling for every citizen to stop thinking politically for a moment and think about it as your future and that of generations to follow!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Idiosyncrasies of 2014: Politics & Football in the same sentence!

2014 has gotten off to a rather eventful beginning, good or bad there's been something that's called for a crazy reaction in varied aspects.

The Political Drama (an Indian Feature Film)
Arvind Kejriwal - AAP - Political Supandi
All the Drama in 2014 was (is/going to be) courtesy one person, whom Uddhav Thackeray called an 'Item Girl', the same man who wasn't sure of his JD before taking up a Job (as Delhi CM) and now is behaving like a Finance Graduate (assumed he'll be an Investment Banker) and is being asked to sell Insurance, the one and only Arvind Kejriwal, aka AK!

This reminds me of my Business Strategy class, where a market which currently follows an Oligopoly, the barriers for entry are very high (pardon me for only taking excerpts and not actuals), so it isn't ideal to enter this market. Now drawing parallels to India Politics, Congress & BJP are the two largest parties with umpteen other regional parties helping each of them by forming a coalition. When AK had to enter politics, he either had to take the Donkey's Route of starting with one of these parties and then going up the ladder to eventually be in a position to impose his ideas on them OR think out of the box. That was the exact moment when he suddenly noticed himself on crossroads of Anna Hazare (and his routine hunger strikes) & the power of social media. He used this opportune moment to propel himself as a Third Front (an option which India's always going to 'soon' have for the last 69 years).

I don't have an issue with any of that, as that's him thinking out of the box. But where I disagree is:
1) Going on a Strike, being the Chief Minister (CM) of Delhi
2) Getting Delhi to a literal standstill and trying to strike another chord by calling himself an Anarchist
3) Half the social media population trying first doing the 'cool/in' thing by voicing their support for his party AAP, only to later start wondering what went wrong?
4) Another bunch who call this a 'Revolution'. I'm guessing the word revolution is preferred as it isn't yet Mainstream (pun intended)
5) Trying to undermine the blunder of the racist & sexist remark by a couple of the party members
6) Lastly, a few ppl proclaiming that "at least he's doing something and not sitting in an office like the other politicians". I mean seriously, that is his 'freaking job' to sit in an office and govern Delhi (statement credit: Swathi)!

The Football Hullabaloo 
Juan Mata - Chelsea FC - CFC - MUFC - Miss you Mata - Jai Mata DiIt's obvious that being an avid football follower (and a True Blue, Chelsea fan for all of 14 years) this month usually is eventful for the January transfer window. Eventful yes, but this time around it was something to be sad about (as a Chelsea Fan). A player who had been a star for the last 2 season (a fan favourite) for Chelsea in the form of Juan Mata was sold to a rival club (Manchester United).

For all those who don't know/follow football, now you know what all that Twitter/FB buzz about 'Mata Mata Mata Something Mata Mata Mata' was all about. However this surely did shake things up quite a bit.

Rossell, Barcelona, FCB, Neymar, ControversyIf all that wasn't enough, one of the biggest clubs on the planet (in the form of Barcelona) suddenly plunged into controversies (legal turmoil) over the transfer of one player, Neymar. The President of the club stepped down and all kinds of questions are now being asked. This club that once stood for it's integrity, boasted about being transparent, always believed that they were more than just a football club when they tied up with UNICEF, are now in Murky Waters!

So much for football buzz.

Others Titbits
There was however a silent silver lining for Bangaloreans. In a good first small step forward, the heart of the CBD of Bangalore (Bengaluru) (6 major roads including Brigade Rd, MG Road, CMH Road etc) will have Free Wifi from today (24th Jan). This isn't a change in a paradigm, but at least it's a positive step forward (however the infrastructure still needs a cartload to be worked on)!

If you're wondering why I wrote this post, then you weren't the intended target audience (and that's the safest statement I've made in over a 1000 words ;))!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"The Indian Herd Mentality", a big thanks to FB!

I wonder how people would react when they realize that anti-incumbency and induced cynicism is the reason for a good number of the netizens going gaga over Modi or NaMo (the so-called cooler way to refer to to him)?

I always tried to refrain from commenting/writing about the India Politics, as every Tom Dick and Harry nowadays has a view of how NaMo is biggest savior of mankind. 

But something I recently read earlier today in one of the social media websites, has absolutely taken away any chances of me continuing to refrain. I will not divulge into the exact contents of that post, however the gist of that post meant "1USD = 80 INR will happen if Manmohan Singh continues to remain the PM of India".

My issues with the above are:
  1. I'm not an expert to comment on financial/economic matters of the nation, but if a statement as lame as this can be made sounding like an expert, then I'm Batman and I'm not going to refrain any further
  2. Not everyone against NaMo is anti-nationalist. In fact from when did India become a binary nation of either Modi or Congress? Moreover the last I knew we as a nation were accommodating to China to tell us they had issues with what we did within our own country
  3. You surely can have your own opinion, however those who strong advocate for any political party in India should be a resident Indian Citizen (Indian "living" in India through it's nuances)
  4. If you still vouch that Manmohan Singh is the sole cause of the high dollar value, then I'd really want to see your credentials (educational/professional) which give you the authority to do so?
With that said, my annoyance is not just with that one post but with umpteen other such jingoist behavioral tendencies that have been popping up over the last 1 year, hence:
  • If you feel strongly for NaMo then that's your opinion, others too, have the very similar right. So STFU (and yes, it is what you think it is), and stop trying to vouch against/protest against/make judgements of people who think otherwise. With every going minute you only sound like megalomaniacs
  • A national leader is someone who is accommodating to everyone's interests and makes a decision that is closest to win-win and not someone who changes the meaning of the word 'secular' for his own personal vendetta
  • There was a discussion I came across in a forum about an American Firm being hired to do the PR for NaMo, I don't know the truth behind this (and I'm more interested in knowing how many cactus's grow in the Sahara Desert than this) however my issue is not with the firm being hired, but with the fact that there are so many Indians who've blindly fallen for every claim without verifying it's merit
  • There is another cartload of people who consider NaMo the messiah of god-knows-what and may even chant Modilleluja (Praise Modi, in modern day Hebrew). They actually believed a news item that NaMo's US VISA was rejected due to the Indian Govt. asking them to do so? Again, when (if ever) was the last time the US acted on something the Indian Govt asked it to do? 5th Century BC? or was it before the Big Bang Theory?
  • There are umpteen other liberal views to NaMo:
    • One of the most notable views which I've absolutely loved reading is by a Consultant Economist with Research and Information Systems (RIS) for Developing Countries called Shipra Nigam
    • A friend's (Vibhor Mathur) liberal view of feeling the brunt of not being a NaMo fan, but not being a Congressman either
    • A funny one by a fellow blogger MJ:
      "Soooo..I was just thinking...
      If Rahul Gandhi wins..its highly unlikely he will marry his foreign girlfriend, so he will not have any son or daughter to pass on the baton..effectively ending the political reign of the Gandhi Family..I mean Nehru's family..
      If Modi wins, Rahul might DDLJ and come back with 2 cute kids and then win the next term to carry on the family legacy (assuming we have eradicated NaMonia by then)
      Disclosure: I never went to any Political Party.. I dont know what happens there.. I went only to my Freshers' party.... It was fun
      PS: Laughter is the right response..everything else is just wrong"
This is a simple view from a humble India.
I don't vouch for/endorse any political party.
and on a cheesy note, I don't subscribe to Modi and I'm not a terrorist!