Posts Tagged ‘99tribes’

Social Media and Tribes #30: Virtual Valentine

by Deepika Bajaj on February 23, 2011

Yes, the fact that Valentine’s Day was a week ago is not lost on me! In retrospect, its actually a good thing I waited to write this post till now as I had the time to notice very interesting shifts in behavior, thanks to the Social Media & Valentine Tribes! Alright, lets get going…

Some of us probably remember the days when you had to write a letter while you were dating or wooing someone special. This was not a long ago, although it might seem so.  At that time, if you were in a long-distance relationship, you had no choice other than to write a letter or spend a ton of money making a long distance phone. In both cases, you were not sure if the person concerned will receive your message. Your best intentions to connect might be futile.

It is almost hard to believe but I have personally gone through that era. When I got my Valentine Card in the mail from my then boyfriend, now my husband; I did not receive it till the next day in my college hostel room. And when I did, I was already upset with him for being late (for apparently no fault of his since it was the nature of the postal system that caused the delay in the delivery).

Well! if you are late in today’s time only Heavens can save you. Since with emails, instant messengers, cell phones, text message, twitter, FB and smart phones you better have a good excuse. There is no way you can be late even if you were in a different time zone in a different country!

This year, I observed how people not only sent personal messages but wished their friends, shared their gifts, surprises, roses and even their  dinners on FB. Some of them were extremely creative and some of them were extremely bold. The bottom line is that you had a Virtual Valentine’s Day! All in all, you could broadcast your love for your friends and special ones. I am sure Hallmark did not expect that facebook will steal its thunder ever. They really don’t have a competing business model. But suddenly, no one is looking for Valentine’s Card in greeting cards section in a store. They are more interested in creating their own special Valentine and share it in one to many medium rather than a greeting card which is one to one.

Moreover, there are Valentine Apps on the iPhone store, Groupon Deals, Valentine Events marketed on FB. I was recently a DJ at one such event. I got to share pictures of the event, connect with everybody at the party on FB and got a lot of love since they enjoyed my music.

The pointVirtual Valentine enables you… make that “Super enables you” to connect with loved ones!

Of course! there are people who still did get a greeting card and mailed it OR had it accompany their gift. And that is really COOL. But there is a shift that we cannot ignore. Yes, you still need REAL people to celebrate this day. But the Virtual Valentine enables it and is here to stay!

Social Media and Tribes #28: Social Media on the GO!

by Deepika Bajaj on February 2, 2011

In today’s world, we are no more rooted to our computer for staying connected. This is largely because of the advent of smart phone and mobile apps. If you have an iPhone and a friend of yours complains about your delay in responding to his/her email…you better NOT say, “I was away from my computer”. Since you are on your iPhone, the other person is 100% positive that you have received the email and read it too…whether you replied to it OR not is a different story. Similarly, if you are a smart phone user and you say to someone “I don’t have time to Tweet or FB”; most likely they are wondering if you are using any smarts of the smart phone!

The point is that a cell phone is now more than an instrument to make or receive calls. It is now your desktop on the GO and has enabled social media on the GO.

My Favorite Mobile Apps

  • Facebook for iPhone: Talking about FB, the coolest mobile app for iPhone is Facebook for iPhone. It is convenient to use, read live feeds of your friends, upload pictures taken from your iPhone to FB, review notifications, chat with online friends, update status et al.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn mobile app is like a rolodex online. If your connections change jobs and businesses and update their profiles – you are still in touch without having to be in touch. I like the fact that I can see updates, invite people to connect, Accept invitations simply on my iPhone
  • Echofon: I love tweeting and so any app that allows me to see tweets real time, see mentions, retweet and send direct response to people is valuable for me on the go. This app is great as I get to tweet from anywhere and share thoughts from the touch on the iPhone.
  • Foursquare: I love the fact that I can checkin real time into places. And choose if I wish to share my location with my Facebook and Twitter friends. Also, the badges that I have unlocked (Jetsetter, Adventurer  etc) are a great motivator. Primarily I use it to locate places near by, get tips about a restaurant from people who have shared their views and see where my friends are at.
  • WhatsApp: If you have blackberry friends, then you have heard about the pleasure of BB messenger BUT now with WhatsApp you are able of message friends on Blackberry (if you are an iPhone user). I like to send pics as attachments, see who is available and also chat with friends all over the world on my iPhone….
  • Dropbox: I simply love this application. It is virtual file sharing and syncing – in a secure environment, right at your fingertips… and your fingertips don’t have to be around a keyboard or a laptop! It enables me to receive a contract from a client half way across the world, while I am riding in a train, I can read it on my smart phone and send my approval! Productivity Galore! On top of that, the first 2GB (yes, I said, GB!) of space is FREE, and you get an additional 250MB when you sign up referrals (each referral gets you an additional 250MB of space – up until 8GB! Surely, not a place to add your high-def videos but definitely good for coordinating and sharing work related stuff!

So, if you are on an airport and find yourself in the middle of nowhere, try to connect to wireless network of the airport. Voila! the world will be at your disposal…to chat, communicate and collaborate. So, next time you get a response to your email when your friend is traveling or you chat with your friends in different continents or you post a pic on FB…remember it has nothing to do with being on the computer…and everything to do with your smart phone – so think twice when you say – “I’ve been out of touch since I am not a person who likes to sit on my computer”. As long as you sit, walk or stand and have a smart phone, you have powerful tools to stay connected, thanks to Social Media, on the GO…. !

There has been a lot of speculation about the what will be the impact of social media when Gen Y grows up into more mature digital natives. This generation already proved those wrong who thought they will grow up to be TV watching couch potatoes. This generation has the unparalleled skill to use their fingers on their smartphones and use social media to stay connected and consume entertainment. While generations older than them still watch TV on a flat HD screen in a living room, there is a revolution happening where your TV, computer and smartphone connected through internet are all equipped to provide entertainment on the GO – taking living room to the airport lounges, malls, libraries and even schools and other cool cafes.

Sure, Gen Y watches over 3 hours of TV a day, but it’s not a couch potato experience. I would argue that they’ve turned TV viewing itself into social media.

If you see them watching TV, do not assume that that is ALL they are doing. Check how they are texting, commenting and tweeting. They don’t just watch a movie, they are sharing, collaborating, distributing and connecting. This thumb-savvy generation has no issues with the overload of new technologies –  they are excited about to learn about the launch of innovative technologies – eg. Google TV, ustream.tv.

The traditional TV watching is going to need a face lift when this Generation grows up. Brands have rested for 50 years reaching their consumers through mass media. They are not up for a challenge to make contact with their future consumers. Advertising on TV to a Yelp reading, Foursquare Tip taking and Quora questioning and answering community is not as simple as placing a 30 sec ad on the prime time network during Superbowl.

Another cool example is the President’s State of the Union address that happened today. Sitting from my office, I was able to watch the address simply by logging on to yahoo through an ABC.com feed. The fact that there were real time tweets and a real time blog with a commentary ongoing made the whole experience so much more richer! Admittedly, I (during some parts) enjoyed watching the blog more than I enjoyed watching the speech!

TV watching is still there and psychology behind watching the TV is the same. BUT I get excited about the world where sharing screens will be on a touch of a button, finding movies on my smart phone that my friends are watching, avoid sitting in living rooms….and I am not even a Gen Y.  As a Gen Xer, I hope to just keep up with them. As I find TV watching an isolating experience and the new approach to being entertained resonates with me.

Afterall, ” Man is a social animal”. Soon, “Man will be a social media animal”!

Last week, I went through a surgery and was sentenced to BED REST. Yes. Right, I was “sentenced to bed rest“. I believe God dialed the wrong number for picking someone for Bed Rest. I normally have Bed Rest knock my door every year on multiple occasions and I tell this pathogen that I am not going to surrender and to go find someone else. So, most of the time I am able to escape. This time the buster got me.

So, here I am on two weeks of Bed Rest. First week, the pain killers kept me from staying awake. Second week, I could not make up my mind as to what to do while on bed. I am not much of a TV watcher. Friends kept me a lot of company BUT still a week is a long time (at least I think so). So, it left me with options like reading a book, spending time on internet and writing. The usual ones…and of course! working. Still it is isolating and I needed some external stimulation…

But the more time I spent online, I realized how much I had to catch up on my online activity and discovered some cool things.

Here is how social media was a boon in this time.

  1. A Facebook message informed me that a company where a friend of mine was working got acquired so I wrote to her congratulating her. And we caught up.
  2. A Tweet about my eBook prompted a friend to call. We had so much to catch up on since she lives in the East Coast and is going to launch a magazine early next year. Bear in mind, I have never met her, We are cyber friends. Met on Twitter, did a radio show together and now are friends.
  3. Caught up on some Youtube videos of Eckhart Tolle while reading his new book “A New Earth“. Boy! it was really profound to get his interpretation about the book.
  4. Helped a friend pick lights for his kitchen. Went online to pick some designs and sent him my suggestions.
  5. Ordered Christmas gifts online since I am not able to drive. Made sure that the delivery date was prior to Dec. 24th. Not sure how this one will turn out. Keeping my fingers crossed. My New Years dress is part of this and I am hoping it will fit me.
  6. Shared pictures with friends those were much due.
  7. Chatted with family in India, who seemed to be keeping a tab on me through blog posts and FB updates. A friend of mine called to check on me after a common friend pointed to her to my FB update.
  8. Blogged, blogged and blogged….
  9. Browsed Amazon.com for some equipment I want to buy. Got some refurbished deals that fit the budget.
  10. Downloaded music from iTunes and got my CDs ready for the Holiday season. Music Anyone?

Christmas Wishlist

  1. Social media gets Starbucks on your bed side.
  2. Social media makes you chicken soup.
  3. Social media takes you for a spin.
  4. Social media charges cell phones and laptops.
  5. Social media gives you incentives like reward points for using it.

Well! these are impractical, Maybe. But that’s why it is called ” A WishList”

I was presently surprised on how text messaging is more popular in India than any other place I am aware of. Most of the business and family communication which had been previously a telephone call has become a text message. This is a great leap into Mobile 2.0 in India. It is common to set business meetings over a text message. Coordinate with family about your whereabouts, get movie coupons and change ringtones on your cell phone over an SMS.

Interestingly, there are sites like smsgupshup.com that boasts 25M users. Looking for domestic help (very common) in India, check out babajob.com, a SMS based social networking site for household help. Imagine! hiring a cook, a driver and many other things over SMS.

Some interesting observations:

  1. SMS NOT text message: Most people are familiar with the word “SMS”, say text me and they know you are from “OUT of town”.
  2. OK to text: For most part when the phone rings in meetings, people hold the handset close to their mouth to have a conversation in a conference room but the most widely acceptable format to communicate in such a setting is TEXTING.
  3. Traffic makes it a necessity: Imagine! being stuck in a traffic jam in a big city like Mumbai and Delhi. You need help with directions, you will request a text message with landmarks to identify a location e.g “behind the videocon building, look for the PVR cinema on the right OR make a left Raheja towers”. Almost a small personal navigation system.
  4. Text for voting: India is big into “Indian Idol” and programs where the community needs to vote to pick a winner. This adds more fuel to the SMSing community who take this responsibility seriously to caste their vote.

I loved how many things I used to SMS for while in India. The most important fact is the cultural aspect – where giving your phone number is not a BIG deal. People are comfortable sharing this information and are more trusting in this regard than the western cultures where email is more popular. I enjoyed the personalization of SMSing…

No prizes for guessing what this post is about! Yes, it’s about Planning … relentlessly. One of the most common mistakes that I have made in my past projects (and thankfully! learnt from them) is to mistake planning as a one-time activity. If that isn’t scary enough, here’s something else – I have seen many a projects actually not having a project plan. Now, I am not a subscriber of having a pretty Microsoft Project Plan for a 2 day engagement, but would you really want to build a bridge or a building that’s probably going to take more than a year & millions of dollars to build, without a plan? No, really, would you? That is not to say that it does not happen. I have seen projects whose estimated costs could easily be more than $1M, not having a project plan because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. We are not ready to put a plan together.
  2. Why do I need a plan?
  3. I have my tasks list in the excel spreadsheet and everything’s fine.
  4. Sure. I’ve got the plan done – look at my task list.
  5. Putting a plan together is a waste of time.
  6. It’s fairly straightforward. We don’t need a plan.

Then, there is the mythical plan that contains just a list of tasks with no indication of who is doing the task (Resources – in Project Management speak) or for that matter how much work is involved (Effort – in Project Management speak) in getting the task done.

Why Plan at all?

Unless it’s a 2 day engagement where before you create a plan, the work is done – Create a plan. Here’s why:

  1. Clearly set Expectations: More likely (than not), the customer and the stakeholders would be interested in knowing what, when and how things will be delivered. The plan is the source of this information.
  2. Clearly measure Progress: What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get improved – is very true. A plan is what you use to measure progress against and chart alternate paths to ensure/restore productivity.
  3. Clear Recovery planning: Things usually seem to start off well. There’s plenty of excitement about the new project, lots of positivity and a lot of time to do what you got to do. Then you hit a snag and things start to fall apart… it’s hard to predict by how much and what it will take to recover, without a plan.
  4. Clearly specify Effort: Everyone is working too hard. Things seem to be getting done. But wait! Even with all the work and effort, we don’t see any results. What’s going on? Well, sure you’re going at a 100 miles/hour, the problem is … in the wrong direction.
  5. Clearly specify Roles & Responsibilities: “What do you mean I have not done it? No one told me I was going to do it. I thought s/he was going to do that.” There are no clear roles and responsibilities.
  6. Clear Schedules: This one’s my favorite. “I will get it done ASAP”. What the heck does ASAP mean, anyway? The beauty about the “ASAP” conversation is this. You talk to the folks who’ve had this conversation AFTER the fact, and ask them “So, when will this get done?”. The answer is each person’s interpretation of ASAP… which is usually, never one date. A plan helps take out the ASAP out of your plan.

Remember the first post about Kickass Kickoffs? The central theme was CLARITY. A plan does that. It gives clarity – to setting expectations (Once things are clear, you don’t get asked the same questions again, and again, and again – huge time saver and one of the tricks for PMs to avoid working overtime), measuring progress, ensuring fast recoveries (when things go wrong – and they do, all the time), avoiding “I didn’t know I was going to do it” type of questions.

Why Plan Relentlessly?

Let’s move on to the RPG part.

Planning, like measuring progress, is a relentless activity, until work gets done. Why? Because of our friend, “Change”!  which is the biggest constant. Yep, Mr. Change keeps messing with the plan, every month, every week, sometimes every day.

The Project Manager rues this. The Project Leader anticipates this.

The Project Manager wastes time thinking of the “Why it happened”? The Project Leader accepts it “As-is” quickly and goes “What next”?

The Project Manager goes in his shell. The Project Leader gets on with his RPG!

The Project Manager runs to the sidelines. The Project Leader grounds himself in the Baselines.

Get the drift? Well, either you do OR the drift gets you!

Next one up in the series – Courage and Stupidity!

I am currently in India and have been observing the social media consumption in this part of the world. To give you some background, people in India have a celebrity smitten mindset. Even a beedi (a local cigarette) is sold with top Bollywood actor endorsing it. Also, India is a country where people prefer to pick up the phone and talk rather than communicating over emails. These two factors make it interesting how the consumption of social media is shaping the new promotional and communication channel.

Over here there is big use of mobile phone and Vodafone ( a local cell phone provider) passes along movie coupons (buy one get one free).  If you SMS them in the morning, they text you back a coupon number. Then you have to stand in line register your name and phone number before you get the coupon. You then take this coupon to the BOX office and get your two tickets for the price of one. This is a powerful marketing practice in a nation crazy about its Bollywood movies.

A new promotion strategy being implemented by marketing savvy filmmakers is to create Facebook pages for films. Photos, links to news articles and YouTube videos are posted and even advice is solicited from fans on Facebook. Just recently Dabbang, a new movie was launched in India. It became an instant superhit, it has a Facebook page here. So, even though there is a Facebook facelift it has no minimal impact on the buzz created.

Some recommendations for the Facebook uplift here :

  1. Relevancy: Adding relevant information that pertains to the movie would really be a powerful medium to connect with the fans. Running a contest or even putting a video or free tickets would add a lot of flavor to this page.
  2. Exclusivity: Adding exclusive content would draw fans to the FB page. How about an interview with Salman Khan (the lead actor) himself?
  3. Star presence: There is lack of celebrity presence on the FB page. It would be interesting to have comments from the co-stars, directors and musicians engaged in the project.

It is interesting that FB has become a powerful social media tool but still has ways to go before it takes on Vodafone with its coupons. Nothing still beats a discount for a Tribe that is crazy about movies….

Forget Project management. Let’s talk Project leadership!

by Himanshu Jhamb on September 10, 2010

I equate managing to something that is not fully expressed. It leaves out that something, that edge that is needed for getting you across the finish line. The difference in what you do is simple, the result is transformational.

There is a difference between managing the project versus leading the project. Leadership is out there… it screams responsibility and accountability. It is about reaching out and getting what you need to get the job done, fearlessly. Management usually turns out to be working with what you have and making the best out of it (whatever that means!). Leadership is about creating solutions, management is about figuring out solutions. The difference is simple, the result is transformational.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not going all critical on project management. After all, it wouldn’t do me much good if I criticize my own bread and butter, now would it! My point is simply that project managers need to essentially become project leaders. Once you get that distinction, the landscape of what needs to be done suddenly transforms (and so do the results). From personal experience, I spent the first few years of my project management….errr… managing projects. Then, I realized that what I was doing was not doing full justice to me or my client(s)… that realization was the starting point for me to take action so that I lead my projects and not only manage them.

That introduction brings us to the purpose and genesis of this series. Over the subsequent posts, I will share my journey of how I transformed the way I did things in various areas… and I will share the challenges, the fears & the situations I had to face and how I overcame them (some successfully, some not so successfully) with personal examples. Like any other sharing, the real fun and value lies in engagement. The real learning will BEGIN only when you participate in this conversation. So, if you like (or for that matter, dislike) what I write, I invite you to participate, regardless.

To give you a little preview, here are the topics I plan on touching in this series. I will keep adding more depending on what comes to my mind and the level of engagement we reach.

  1. Unforgettable Kickoffs
  2. Relentless Planning
  3. Courage vs. Stupidity: The thin line
  4. Bidirectional trust
  5. Community of Help
  6. Anticipating Change
  7. Kick Panic
  8. Fearless Negotiating
  9. Improve your Improvisation skills
  10. Navigate like the conductor

Enjoy the posts!

Social Media is simply a conversation online. A Tribe is the people who are interested in sharing information on the same concern, interest or topic. And here is a new observation, it is possible that a tribe is a set of people who communicate in the same language in any given conversation. In my recent visit to Spain, I was interested to find out from the locals how they consume social media. One thing that sure showed up was that they were all on Facebook and that they had a competing site Tuenti which is the Spanish version of Facebook.

Before Facebook opened up its Spanish interface, Tuenti offered Spanish users to interact and communicate in Spanish and another very popular language Catalan. For those who are not aware, Catalan is the official language of the four regions of Catalunia which includes Barcelona. Now with the Spanish version supported on Facebook, many prefer it to keep in touch with their friends who are widely spread all over the world. The idea that Facebook had to move to popular language in this region for holding this community states clearly that language is another medium which forms Tribes.

Spain keeps being one of the top countries in terms of social networks. 77% of Internet users do visit a social network at least once every month, according to Nielsen. As of particular social networks, Facebook is quite strong in Spain, where 57% of net users visit this site at least once every month. An average Spaniard spends 4 hours every month on Facebook.

To launch the Spanish version, Facebook folks employed a brilliant strategy. They wanted high quality and wanted to make sure that users were not disappointed at the time of the launch. So, the company invited the users to correct the translations to launch Facebook en Español. Here is a blog post on how they did it: Facebook around the world.

The point is that language is an important medium for a tribe to be formed on social networks. And if you are able to engage them you are tapping into a resource far superior than any hired help. And on top of it, having a social media platform all set for company brands just in time for the FIFA world cup this year, where Spain emerged as a champion meant a profitable effort.

Time for some cool examples:

  • The New York Times used Facebook to track the most popular World Cup Players. They analyzed the volume and frequency of player mentions on Facebook each day and adjusted an infographic display of the leading players accordingly.
  • The Bud “Show your true colors Facebook app, with its own branded Facebook page, introduced a way to paint your face with your country’s colors.

Conclusion

Language is a powerful medium. On social networks, people want to express themselves based on who they are communicating to and how they prefer communicating. They want the ability to switch back and forth. This can be leveraged to help them connect to other people who might share similar interests (like football) that transcend language. Instantly, providing your users flexibility, expression and a broader community to have a conversation. So, language is important for nurturing and maintaining your social media tribes as internet knows no boundaries or geographies. Leverage language to empower and engage your tribe!

Social Media and Tribes #9: The fear factor

by Deepika Bajaj on August 25, 2010

Recently, I was in a conference in Las Vegas, speaking about the ” Social Media – Taboos & Innovative Uses”. The focus was to help professional women of different ethnic backgrounds understand how technology, specifically social media, help or hinder their personal and professional development. Though they all understood that these days you cannot afford to ignore  social media as one of the key ways in which companies and individuals communicate, there was this FEAR of it as well.

These were professional women who had gone through many technological innovations in the past but the idea of being transparent and authentic over social media didn’t appeal to them. They were worried about identity theft, making a wrong impression on a potential employer and above all were overwhelmed by the friend requests on Facebook (from people they don’t know). They were trying to get “tips” and “techniques” on which social network to use e.g LinkedIn versus Facebook OR how to do a check on someone from a different country OR how to save their children. Some of them were working mothers who were of the opinion that all that Twitter and Facebook were doing was to hurt their children since now they didn’t have control over who their friends were on Facebook. Some of them were scared that some nasty pictures of their kids might float on the internet and hurt their reputation.

I think all these are valid concerns.

Here is the BIG BUT.

Avoid Stupidity

I am putting this bluntly. This is nothing different from the way of life. Don’t do anything that you don’t want published or don’t want hurting you. This way you will not have to worry about what pictures your friends are tagging you in OR have friends you can trust for not hurting you. The idea of social media is not to use it for hurting people. That is not the intention. This is a tool like every other tool – if you misuse it, it will be destructive. Destruction is possible even if you speed in a car, over load your washing machine and/or overheat your food. Don’t do anything stupid and tools are usually effective in increasing your productivity. Similarly, social media is a tool to make it convenient for you to broadcast your POSITIVE message to your tribe. Read my previous post on this: Changing the World is Addictive.

Fear of Unknown

Fear and Suspicion are based on a lack of knowledge.There is nothing more paralyzing than fear.  Learning these tools is important. Speculating this as an observer will only lead to fear, uncertainty and distress. Social media is here to stay. We can learn it and leverage this to make it a powerful tool to create networks that connect professionals to opportunities in their career and personal branding. To let go of fear, in this post I share how it has helped women: The New internet Junkie

Build Relationships

Don’t worry about all the negatives, focus on being valuable. Share things that you believe might help others in their pursuits, connect with companies where you think you can add value, build a brand as someone who has something valuable to offer. Don’t waste people’s time, share with them your expertise, give good help, listen to people. To emphasize on building relationships, here is a post : Relationships matter more than ever before.

Last but not the least, don’t forget to have fun!