19
Nov
10

2010 : Emergence of India 2.0

It’s funny how you tell the world to blog but end up procrastinating it yourself. But that’s the thing with blogs, while tweets and other updates are enough for daily views and discussions, there should be something worthwhile to blog about. Something should move you enough to make you ponder over it and pour your thoughts onto a blog.

All the controversies that have marred India this year and how they are related to captioned subject made me write this, with the latest Open Magazine expose being a perfect case in point. Lets quickly go back to the beginning of the year, when Tharoor was caught in the controversy of a lifetime. One of country’s most adroit politicians with a few lakh of supporters on twitter got caught in his own web when good friend Lalit Modi decided to send his fortunes for a toss with a simple tweet. Both are now to be found far away from their offices, while one spends time in his constituency , the other finds solace in another country.

Shashi Tharoor, Lalit Modi in happier times. 'Jab they Tweeted', everything changed

Move over to our beloved CWG (Controversy Worthy Games), and we saw how on one hand there was talk about even the toilet paper that was bought whereas broken bridges made us famous across the world. Kalmadi jokes were all around the place and the media left no stone unturned to ensure we all discuss, debate and bring the culprits to task. The good part was that even once after the spectacular games were over, people carried on with their wrath and eventually some heads rolled.

While that issue was simmering , our leaders were getting ready to give us more reason for our blood to boil. The 2G Scam, touted as the biggest the country has seen so far (1.7 lakh crore, i thought of putting it down in numbers, but was afraid i’d commit a mistake ) has left people befuddled and bedazzled over the magnanimity of it.  Cracked by a journalist from The Pioneer, J. GopiKrishnan , it has brought upon unprecedented shame upon the government with even the Supreme Court questioning the Prime Minister about his silence over the issue.

The Scamster A Raja

So far so good, but then came the shocker which perplexed many. Leading journalists of the country, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and other caught on tapes in a controversy involving lobbying and wrongly influencing masses under the effect of corporates. Open Magazine blew the lid, twiterrati went crazy, there are blogs on the subject by the dozen by now and everybody who got to hear about it is discussing it. But wait a minute..what about the media itself? What are they making out of this controversy? They should be airing all these recordings demanding explanations by these stalwarts right? Afraid they are not and in all probability they will continue with their blackout stance. But the point is we still got to know about it all and that’s what matters.

Barkha Dutt's large following on twitter turned against her when the scam was unearthed. On twitter, people may follow you, but that doesn't mean they love you.

The change is evident, what was a fad till an year ago is a reality today, we are becoming more open and how. Tharoor, Modi, Kalmadi, Raja have all been a victim of the ever increasingly aware becoming Indian, who talks, discusses, questions and helps create ripples nationwide which is eventually reflected in the powerhouses where the final decisions are taken. Social Media has not only helped people speak up, but led them to collaborate, form opinions and influence outcomes. You might call these facts baseless, but i sadly can’t do a qualitative analysis of the same and definitely wouldn’t be possible to get any tapes from the boardrooms.

If you are still skeptical, then lets talk about the Open Magazine controversy, where did you get to hear about it? You didn’t buy the magazine right? You read it online,  the link to which you got through a mail/tweet/fb update and still there’s such a big controversy around the same, ain’t it. How? You did it.  Social Media did it. And the same social media will keep ensuring we move towards openness, truth and being genuine; all of which has led to the emergence of the Indian who maybe online all the time but is doing enough to bring about changes in the offline world.

2010 will long be remembered as the year when India turned into India 2.0 . Be ready to witness an array of sting operations  in the coming times. Each one of us is now empowered to ‘break news’.

Prateek Shah

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For latest updates on Social and Online media, follow Blue Online at – FacebookTwitter

P.S : There are more instances of Social Media playing an active role in bringing about change. Air India fiasco – http://bit.ly/aMDUzN , The Times of India reply to its Ayodhya headline – http://bit.ly/bYaMz9

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24
Sep
10

Wikipedia Meet Up at Delhi

Wikimedia Foundation

Image via Wikipedia

22nd September 2010 might as well go down as one of the rainiest days this year in Delhi, but that’s not what entirely makes it special. In a series of event being conducted across the World, Delhi got its fair share of a Wikipedia meetup! one of the first of its kind in the capital. To be attended by the CDO at Wikimedia, Barry Newstead, it promised to be interesting and i am glad to say we were not disappointed a bit.

Rain was a major dampener  and resulted in a lower than expected turnout, but with 20 of us there, nobody seemed disappointed.  Introductions threw quite a few surprises, with people from different walks of life having turned up. While there were avid Wikipedians like @theo_who

, there were many who had come to know Wikipedia better. Discussion started with what Wikipedia is up to these days, why these meetups and how it actively looks forward to involvement from people all over in enabling and thrusting forward the ‘Wikipedia Movement’. It was interesting to see

Non English contributors also present and share their set of challenges and readership of their pages. There were complaints of the interface being ‘too difficult’ to e

dit/add articles, which brought forth interesting perspectives of the various guidelines one must keep in mind before trying to add, how the article must be ‘information’ rather than opinion and most importantly how credible sources need to be mentioned to ensure authenticity and non deletion of matter you’ve added.

Team Wikipedia also told those gathered about the project currently underway to develop an easy to use interface which could then also attract more contributors in addition to making things easier for current ones.

All in all, it was unique to know and understand how a ‘full time employee’ team of close to just 30-40 people manages and runs the most widely recognised and revered information tool online. Thanks to the millions of editors who make life easy for so many people around the world!

Kudos to everybody at Wikipedia.

All pictures from the meetup – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38574&id=108859302475138 Do tag yourself and friends

15
Sep
10

When going for a movie, do your friends influence you?

Been mulling this thought for quite a while, and finally decided to throw open the questions to a lot of people. After getting a lot of feedback, i am down to writing this, hoping to get an answer to the captioned question.

Few years ago, when we produced a lot of movies, a buff usually ended up watching a lot of them, and even if the movies weren’t good, they ended up doing good business for the simple reason that so many people went to see the drama that they were being teased with for some days with the advertisement and promotions. Incidentally, the movie reviews in the newspaper also used to be published on Sunday, thus giving a flick enough time to do decent business over the weekend.

Inception at The Fox

Inception, one of the highest grosser globally this year was trending on Twitter for weeks. Image by angad84 via Flickr

But times have since changed. We now produce more movies than you can count through the year, there is fair competition from Hollywood, the movie reviews by a seasoned critic in the newspaper now appears on Friday/Saturday and the other review begins right from the time a show begins anywhere in the country.  This other review is the subject of discussion here, the verdict in this case being pronounced by less seasoned but far more trusted people, whom we also call friends.

The moment a movie releases and people start catching a show, they talk about it, with the people they have seen the movie, with their friends over the phone, with the world  when they post messages on Facebook, twitter, gtalk status messages recommending or bashing up a movie big time(the latter is usually the case, we need good cinema!). So what happens then? The friends read, comment and enter a conversation about the latest movie, possibly getting influenced on whether to catch the movie or not. Now whether or not that happens is the big question, and here are some of the responses to the same as captured via different media.

IIM A pass out Aditi Verma, who is currently working with a telecom company says “I do prefer online reviews of my like-minded friends, mostly on Facebook. Usually they prove correct.  Of the other sources, i don’t check online, just

The Social Network, a movie based on Facebook is running a campaign across online media channels. The 33k recommends are a testimony to the fact.

read newspapers, of which i can say some newspapers seem to be paid for reviews.” Delhi based marketing professional Varun Sharma who works with India’s leading media monitoring agency, Blue Bytes says “People are shifting towards the real-time reviews for which only online tools like twitter,Facebook etc makes relevant sense.” Consultant Chaitali Dave agrees “Yes, there is great influence as online world is an instant, easy to operate, natural, a routine affair and also a part and parcel of our life these days. Movies and their reviews are no exception!”

Most people feel that the online space acts as an all important second endorsement to what they have been listening elsewhere and thus makes an important part in taking the decision. Voices Abhinav Malhotra, “I trust both reviews and
what people say online. I feel that some of the movies this year like Dabangg, Inception, Kites did well or doomed also because of what was said about them on the net”. There are others who feel people see movies based on their personal choices, but friends play a part in building their perception. “I think yes people do get influenced by what their online friends say, but some people go for their personal favourites too.” says Dr Rohinee Motwani, Director, Just for Hearts.Deepika Sethi, HR manager and PR consultant Sweta Mantri concurred with a simple ‘Yes!’.

But when we talk about movies, a lot of people are totally bindaas! and they would only watch what they like whether or not the people, the reviews say favourably or otherwise about them. “The only thing that influences me is when a friend says ” who wants to go to xyz on Thursday night ” and xyz can be a lousy Finnish film or all I care. Otherwise it’s just a random movie going experience, where you show up at a cinema and randomly watch a movie that has tickets available.” came the earnest reply from Yasser Rahman, Director at  Cutch Soft Private Limited. Designer and part-time banker, Neha Jain simply said “I prefer my opinion”. Retorts Varun Patil , Digital Marketing Manager

The fact that Dabangg was trending on twitter ( http://www.twitpic.com/2mzctv ) the day of its release goes on to show Indians are aggressively discussing their movies online.

at Globostay,   “My friends might influence my decision to watch some movies

which might not have caught my eye, but for the biggies, I trust my instinct and go by my mood.”

All in all, there is a clear shift of people ‘noticing’ what their friends and other netizens have to say about a movie. While people do not seem to be going by just the online word for taking a call on an issue as sensitive as a movie, they definitely seem to be getting affected if not ‘influenced’ leading to a change in perception.  As seasoned communications expert Prathamesh Pathak says “I personally don’t go by reviews online or elsewhere. But it certainly builds a perception and you tend to watch movie with prejudice and then people comment about it. I think that way online reviews can make or break perceptions.”

So how about you? Do your friends influence you when you choose the movies you watch?

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28
Aug
10

Will Internet get the better of TV?

TV has perhaps been one of the most important inventions ever providing news, information and entertainment to millions across the globe. After radio, television has easily been the favourite pastime for everyone. While there were

Television with Antenna

The traditional TV set that brought about a global revolution Image via Wikipedia

national channels to begin with, cable soon took over and today there are more channels that are offered than your tv set can support.

But then we were introduced to this new kind of screen, which came originally with a bulky box, an automated typewriter and a tiny device to switch and scroll. They called it a computer, aka PC/desktop/Laptop/Ipad.

So what’s the comparison? They are both screens to begin with, then they offer content and most importantly can help people spend a lot of time, fruitful or otherwise. In the case of TV, the story pretty much stops there, with a computer though, the story only begins. Enter Internet, along come a whole lot of news sites, even more social sites and multiple audio and video sharing sites. The question is, can your computer ever replace television, or will we see computers connected with internet which also offer us live TV content or the TV, which itself could give us more than cable television(YouTube?)

Posed this question to a lot of internet users(to help strengthen the point :) )and here are some viewpoints –

Digital Marketing Manager at Globostay,  Varun Patil expresses “TV watching is down to 20 minutes for me on

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

YouTube has become one of front runners of offering content from the past that we may want to revisit. Also includes, current shows which we like a lot. Image via CrunchBase

weekdays. I think it will be a ‘Internet Connection with TV’ instead of a ‘TV with an Internet connection’. The difference between the two is: TV will ride on the internet’s raw power as a medium. My TV watching includes movies, news and programs/serials which have already aired 2-3 months back in a different region. Movies and news are already available to the Indian customer. Sadly, the serials are still not open to the Asian region. An internet connected TV is not distant at all. In fact the technology has been there for a long time. I think what TV networks will ultimately do is shift TV to the internet instead of going the other way round.”

Theatre Actor, Kautuk Saksena added “My tv viewing has really dropped. I think i have more control of what i see on the net, whereas on tv things are just shovelled down our throats.  I prefer the net obviously with broadband.”

MSNBC online

MSNBC online - News channels around the world have started giving internet feeds, live and otherwise Image by Las Valley 702 via Flickr

Guys have traditionally been technology enthusiasts and are first ones to catch on to the bandwagon. Though there has been increased talk of females also going gaga over gadgets and gizmos, there still seems to be some apprehension when such a case is discussed. “To me an internet connected TV doesn’t seem interesting , but yes the online space has a better grip . Different age groups of people are keen to explore more on the internet where they actively participate in sharing and gathering of information that is of interest to them. In  the coming years, the internet will be a necessity and a way of life – and we will soon see more people glued to their computers than watching TV!” said Communication Specialist Suhasini Shekar . Some still find TV just as interesting for the sheer distressing factor involved with it as opinionated by the  Corporate Communications manager at one of leading global IT organisations “Online is taking over by force, because we are made to sit in front of it throughout the day. I detest switching on my computer once i am home. Given a choice, i still prefer watching TV. Even with its nonsense, it’s really distressing and entertaining.”

But there are enthusiasts who clearly see the future of TV as being interconnected with Internet. Entrepreneur Daivesh Shah who is clearly a social media enthusiast shared with us this video as his answer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 . Its all about the concepts feels Engineer Shubham Vashishtha “Maybe the future lies with

Google TV

Google TV - Tv meets web, web meets TV. Is this the future? Image by cvander via Flickr

concepts, like google tv ,if promoted right , could be the next BIG thing”. Avijit, a Banker expresses “I dont watch TV at all apart from CNBC TV18 news at 8 or India’s match that too side working wit my Lappy. They serve such pathetic content.”

Despite all of this, the majority of the audience is clearly spending time at both places. A fact exemplified by Gaurav Dwivedi, who works with the Indian Administrative Services “I usually have the TV on while i am surfing, so i switch back and forth between the two media, the total time spent viewing tv parallely with surfing remains more or less the same, maybe an hour or hour and a half each day, including news, some part of a movie etc” For some cases though, life is more or less the same with the internet having made no difference to their tv viewing time “In my case, I still watch TV and don’t think the online space has made much of a difference for me” said Alka Ojha, PR professional.

So what is the answer? I leave that for you to think and comment here :)

The transition has begun, and the future holds many surprises for all of us. Be prepared!

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04
May
10

The future is here

As we move ahead in life, it also becomes important at times to look back and connect the dots. Exchange of information has happened in varied ways across geographies through the ages. In the early times, messages were

Pigeon Post was an official form of communication during the early times

carried by humans or pigeons as messengers. With no other means or machines, that was perhaps the best they could do in that era. As the world progressed, there were lots of technological developments and mails started being sent by the postal department with the help of rail, road and water transport. The phone bell started ringing soon enough after that and the fax machine later followed thus making the transfer of a copy of paper possible

An old styled telephone which was a precious commodity when first introduced

through wires.

For the past 15 odd years, we have become well accustomed with our mobile phone and the e mail, and they seem like the most convenient and obvious form of communicating. Considering our complacent selves, we would be happy doing just that, but then unknowingly we were introduced to the new media. Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Youtube and hundreds of other portals which are hovering all over the web became the playground for millions across the globe. As of today, we stand at 8 million + Indian facebook users, twitter signups have increased nearly 100% since the beginning of 2010 in the country, India makes up for 20% of Orkut’s overall strength and

The latest IPL season on Youtube got millions of views

Youtube’s(which celebrated its 5th birthday recently) popularity can be judged by the 54,253,523 channel views that the Indian Premier League got this season. If this is not reason enough to believe, then look around. The newspaper, the mobile phones, the youth, the businessmen – they are all saying the same thing – online media.

The fact that it is an important tools of communication can be best judged by the changing trends in marketing spends of major companies, by the growing presence of companies across verticals on these platforms, by the simple observation that the media quotes tweets as official press statements and they themselves are super active on the medium.

This is where we were born.

We listen, analyze and engage in all web based communication which help an entity grow. We train, inform and prepare you for gearing up to the new media. We sense, monitor and mitigate any potential crisis on the internet.

With our dedicated team of trackers, developers, analyzers and communication specialists, we are set to change the face of conversation. Creativity at its core, high performance as its mantle, our crust is made up of trust. We are here to usher the future of communication, we are Blue Online

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20
Apr
10

Is it time for Twiterrati to be taken seriously in India?

The most famous Twitter minister in Indian politics apparently had to call it quits because of his unbiased views on all matters which came out in the form of tweets. Though the final nail in the coffin was delivered by Lalit Modi, it is widely being said that it was Tharoor’s twitter obsession which cost him the job. All this while, Tharoor had got 726, 000 + people to follow him on the site which has now given rise to a movement of sorts. Netizens across mediums(facebook, twitter, Orkut and elsewhere) are vouching support and demanding Tharoor to be brought back to office.

Already, there is an online petition which has found good number of supporters http://supporttharoor.org/ and many other groups and fan pages which have come up favouring the ex minister.

Support Shashi Tharoor

Are we in the age where online movements can lead to maligning a government or changing people’s perspective towards an individual? Never before the twitter fad has there been such a fast exchange of thoughts and ideas, channeling support for a cause. Do governments also start needing to take this medium seriously? Is it time every party gives rise to more twitter ministers to keep a check and grow support amongst the netizens?

06
Apr
10

The lines are blurring

There used to be a time when there was a clear demarcation between professional and personal life. Friends at work were different from friends in the after life. Without a cellphone, people would rarely share/call on other

First mobile phone Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

colleagues/business associates home numbers. First came the MNCs, bringing with them the culture of working hard, partying harder encouraging the employee to shake a leg and gulp a beer with that person who used to sit across the room and not even pass a smile.

Mobiles and cellphones were a matter of pride when they came into existence and people invariably liked to flaunt it by giving away numbers and talking on the pencil box sized handsets in the early days. The culture continued and soon everybody had one becoming the common source of staying in touch with all your contacts – personal and professional.

Hotmail was the first 'connecting medium' that caught the imagination of millions around the world

During all this time,the Internet was strengthening its roots, preparing itself for the grand launch

into everybody’s life. While the shrubs could be seen everywhere in the form of emails and websites, nobody quite understood the power of the medium till one of these roots grew into a full-grown tree which simply didn’t seem to stop. This tree/These trees are known by multiple names in the world today – orkut, facebook, twitter, myspace, youtube, linkedin and more. They are branching out and people are latching on.

Just like the one mobile, people invariably have one e-mail id that they give out to people. Even if they have multiple, the online world ensures that they have just one profile(or profiles on multiple portals in sync with each other). When we talk of one identity, it gets difficult to not allow people you know(at work/from the college/old school friend) to know each other since you have added them all to the same profile. While we have different portals for catering to personal(likes of facebook) and professional(linked in etc) needs, we end up in a situation where the two overlap each other. This could be in want of ‘more friends’ , ‘better networking’ , ‘inability to say no’ or simply by choice, but we see how ‘we the individual’ behaves as one at all places.

As time passes, you realise how the vendor you deal with knows about your recent holiday to the backwaters at Kerala or the neighbour whom you hardly get time to talk to knows of your promotion at work.

Social Media - Connecting People

The lines are blurring, the times are changing, adapt fast, or you’ll be left dangling




Twitter @prateekshah

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About the Author

In love with people, music, happiness and creativity :) A Consultant and Trainer who thinks crazily, tweets randomly and acts excitedly. Volunteer at AOL http://www.prateekshah.com http://in.linkedin.com/in/prateekshah http://twitter.com/prateekshah http://www.facebook.com/prateekshah

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