Posts Tagged ‘99tribes.com’

From Morse codes to cellular phones, from x86 processors to Intel’s i7 processors and from email to social media, mankind has come a long way. All these methods have one thing in common – need to connect. And the most important thing we forget is that though these devices and technologies are designed to improve productivity, they are serving the basic human need to communicate. And the litmus test for all these advancements is when you can use them during crisis situations.

The recent crisis in Japan is a reminder to us to that Technology can be a boom and a curse.

When a nuclear reactor has radiation leak, it makes it impossible to justify benefits of nuclear power even if it is designed for making the world Green or Safe. After all, what is the point if families inhabiting that place will virtually never be able to go there for decades due to the radiations. And then technology renders the only way to either give your location in a crisis or communicate with your loved ones.

In the recent Japan quake, all the telephone lines got disconnected, earthquake knocked out electricity supplies, interestingly Internet availability remains relatively unaffected, according to a blog post from Internet monitoring company Renesys. And what is most compelling is that Japan turned to social media for connecting with their loved ones. Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter. This is where the Twitter strategy to follow hashtags simply rocks. Check out #Japan #tsunami #earthquake.

Social Media sites such as Twitter & Facebook have also made it possible for people to get and provide real time help. There are numerous messages that provide links to charities for folks who want to make a contribution to organizations who are helping the affected folks. Then, there is also a “Trust” factor on sites like facebook – If a facebook friend of mine endorses a charity organization, chances are there is an implicit trust that I will have in doing the same… which basically helps the affected folks get help, quickly!

Also, people found it easier to share their stories on Facebook stories page. Facebook again became instrumental in not only connecting friends and family but also became a broadcast channel for people to share their updates and checkin with their friends. There was a positive outcome other than news and analysis since REAL people were able to connect.

In this mix, Youtube and blogs became instrumental in giving people eyes into the disaster ridden areas with the help of citizen journalism.

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”!

I am in Raleigh, North Carolina speaking at the North Carolina Governer’s conference for women. My role is to represent the Asian American women who are 5% of the Total US population.

As I started to think about how to represent this segment, I realized that the American Media has clubbed a large diverse community into one and coined the term – Asian American. There are many sub-groups like Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Cambodians, Koreans, Thai and Pakistanis who are part of this community.

And then I started to think of this Tribe as they have come to be known Asian American women Tribe. I started to wonder about their engagement on social media. I did a bit of research and found interesting that there are a lot of channels and organizations that support this Tribe. And most of them  have presence on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

But here are some cool facts that about Asian American women tribe:

  1. Second largest ethnic group in terms of buying power: Collectively this group had $500 B in buying power in 2009 which is expected to be $700B by 2014. Now, lets look a cosmetic company Avon. They have an Asian American CEO so I wanted to explore how they market to this segment. They have a twitter channel like AvonNewsJPN (in Japanese). The CATCH:  Lack Twitter channels for the Chinese and South Asian community. The Opportunity: To engage this segment who has the buying power and is culturally oriented towards beauty products.
  2. 26% of the minority business owners are Asian American women: If you do a Facebook search with “Asian American women” you find a lot of results. But all these organizations are oriented towards artists, lawyers or philanthropy BUT very few towards business owners.THE CATCH: Business owners need to have presence on FB. The Opportunity: There is a need in this Tribe to build FB pages supporting Asian American business women owners to be able to connect and network among each other.
  3. One third of Asian American women feel they need to play their ethnicity down to succeed in the workforce : This came as a bit of a surprise BUT many studies point to it. The good news is that the other two-third believes that they “don’t” need to play their ethnicity down. I believe there is more emphasis that needs to be put on role models like Indira Nooyi, Andrea Jung and most recent South Carolina Governor Nicky Haley. The CATCH: “Your Ethnicity” needs to be viewed as an advantage. The Opportunity: More content online that speak to this segment in a positive way can help marketers build relationships to 5.3% of consumer market segment with the largest income levels.

Conclusion

This Tribe is ready for PRIME TIME – where they can feel the collective power and presence of their small BUT influential and affluent community.

I always dreamt of Traveling to Eastern Europe. There was something that lured me to it. I wonder if it was the culture, mystery or the beauty. So, last week when I landed in Prague, I was in a search of why this place gravitated me to it.

Prague is a unique destination where the Travel Tribe of the world converges from all over Europe and United States. This place offers a unique challenge to the travel tribe of currency exchange, (they don’t have Euro – still czeck crown), unrealibale taxi drivers and a lack of a source to find info on tourist attractions. If you are traveler, who plans little and waits for the place to unfold its mystery then you are getting my drift.

But most important feature, is how social media is being leveraged to promote travel to Prague which is totally renovated and almost is a breathtaking spectacle.

Here are some insights of how travel is being encouraged to medieval Europe leveraging social media:

  1. Trendspotting: A new report  recently released by the China Internet Network Information Center reveals that online travel booking in 2009 increased 77.9 percent, a growth rate that exceeds online shopping (45.9 percent), online banking (62.3 percent) and e-mail (29 percent). Many hotels are now part of websites like hotel.com and tripadvisor.com to attarct visitors who have a certain budget. The current economic challenges in the market have allowed 3rd party travel agency websites to regain a larger % of online travel distribution.
  2. Bed and Breakfast: In 2009, the global recession from which we are still struggling to surface left us all short of cash, and it was thought that holidays would be one of the first luxuries to go. Not so. People didn’t necessarily travel less, they travelled differently, and, in fact, many of those who lost their jobs took advantage of the career break to fulfil lifelong dreams of travelling the world. All of this was good news for the B&B industry. At BedandBreakfastworld.com, only those who have made bookings are invited to share their thoughts, meaning all reviews are from genuine customers. Also, sites like airbnb.com took off as they offered places to share a room or sublet a room at a discounted price.
  3. What’s next: Aside from accepting advice online, more travelers will engage in creating, rating, and posting personal travel content online. There is no better place than Europe for finding cheap public transport like trains, trams, metros and buses…and they are safe.

So, if you thought travel is a luxury, think again…the new Travel tribe is taking travel to a new dimension…welcome to the connected world!


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…

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 #7: Is Twitter doomed to fail?

by Deepika Bajaj on July 28, 2010

More and more, I am observing that people are denouncing Twitter and there is an emerging war between the “For” and “Against” parties. Most recently, retired basketball star Sir Charles (Barkley), on a CNBC replay said that, “people who use Twitter are idiots”. Well! it is these statements that categorize people into “those who have a life” and “those who don’t have a life”.

I am not here to say what is “Right” and what is “Wrong”. I am here to illustrate what Twitter can provide if leveraged strategically.

  • Using Twitter is about reciprocation. You need to promote other people who work at companies you’re targeting and business leaders you respect.  If you are looking for a job, the best way is to help people in companies that you are interested in. This is possible by sending a email newsletter to your network, a Re-Tweet along with a link to their website. This will eventually have a better reciprocation if you ask them help with your initiative.
  • Using Twitter is about connection. Never before people had the capability to connect with celebrities but now twitter has some profiles like Ashton Kutcher and Oprah where people sense a direct connection with the individual they trust. Even if you have these connections, they build into relationships overtime. Helping someone increase their circle of influence is a gift you can give by simply tweeting about their link.  Also you can connect others on Twitter by simply making an introduction in less than 140 characters. “Relationships are like muscles—the more you work them, the stronger they become,” says Keith Ferrazzi, author of New York Times best-seller Who’s Got Your Back.
  • Using Twitter is about sharing. If you found something insightful, you can broadcast it quickly to your network. You will be surprised at the #FF what you will get if people find you are someone who has something valuable to share. This is a way where others give you a gift by recommending you to their followers and recognizing your thought leadership.

My 2 cents: Start today by contacting at least one individual you’ve never dealt with and asking that person if she or he needs help. The response you get will surprise you… and please let me know how may I help (@invincibelle, @99tribes).

Social Media and Tribes #3: Mob mentality

by Deepika Bajaj on June 23, 2010

Tribes today have shifted to multiple affinity tribes.   For instance, professional tribes, social identity tribes, etc. People move into and out of tribes online…..for work, fun, and play!

Herd mentality implies a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in order to avoid feeling “left behind” from the group. Herd mentality is also sometimes known as Mob mentality. A related idea is that groups which hang out together tend to stick up for each other. As can be seen on MySpace, FaceBook & Twitter, members of a tribe will work to promote each other.

The Classic Mob-Mentality

When we think about play, from Facebook to MySpace and now Twitter, Mafia-themed games have more or less taken over. Mobsters, a game created by development company Playdom, is the most popular application on MySpace’s platform. The mechanics of the tribes of this games involves that  you can  join a “mob” with friends on a specific social network on which the game has been built on. You can carry out missions, including “killing” other players in rival mobs, in order to earn points. Your activities are broadcast, via news feeds or Twitter posts, to your friends.

Tapping into Ego

Every tribe has ego associated to it. And that is why violence is a popular factor in making these games successful. When someone kills your character, you tend to avenge it forcefully and engage in missions that feed your ego. Similarly, the tribe derives special pleasure when they “get on the top” or “get recognized” (a.k.a. earn respect of your tribe) for some mission. This gives the biggest boost to your ego.

Social Tribes reinforce your beliefs

Contrary to popular conventions about the Web opening minds, people are more likely to read information or participate in social groups that reinforce what they already believe. In some cases, a tribe can show dramatic increase in the undesirable action compared with doing nothing at all, because it demonstrated that lots of others engaged in the behavior.

Is the Tribe capable of making a positive change?

Yes.

It simply depends on what is your message to them. And its quality.

Look for early adapters of your message and bring them into your fold. They are more likely to have a BIG impact when you have a critical mass. It has been seen that you get more comments on a blog where other people are commenting, you get more subscribers when you show the number of people who have subscribed or number of tweets for a specific post.

Try to keep the message positive and focus on where you want to go. Most likely people will have no fixed thinking of the future and you can then enable to act in a positive behavior. And since they belong to this tribe of positive change, soon they will adapt the behaviors that will have positive impact on the Tribe’s future.

Recently, I have been to many conferences where people are talking about how they have an email account that is just set up to receive garbage emails. One guess for the what are garbage emails. These are emails from marketers shoving their premier offers on you. Asking you to buy this OR that. And somehow they even get your work email and stuff starts showing up in your Work Inbox. And if you are an iPhone user like myself, you spend 5 minutes in the morning TRASHING garbage in your inbox.

What does this mean for the marketeer?

They are still using this fast dying technique to spread the word on something they want to market. They fail to realize that EMAIL has become a JOKE. And it is the user on the other end who is having the last laugh. Dumping it because there is no scarcity of such offers so there is no value they hold for him.

What does it mean for the career of the marketeer?

He is outdated and the technological advancements won’t stop. Email is DEAD. The newer web marketing is based on the foundation of TRUST with your Tribe.

So, how do we go about BUILDING Trust within our tribe.

Getting back to BASICS.

Tribes are a concept that has existed for a long time. Like as in the older times, cyber tribes are build on the people coming together, being authentic with each other and being in constant communication – which is nothing like the one way communication we see in email marketing.

A marketer who has mastered the ‘The art of building a tribe” is Lady Gaga. She doesn’t just sing and entertain.  She has connected people on an emotional level and has developed a Gaga “tribe” through a story.

Here is how to build TRUST with your tribe:

  • Tell your story: And tell it like it is. Don’t look good. Don’t even try. When you hide things, people can sense it – the disaster recipe if you wish to build TRUST. Lady Gaga is one person who is not trying to look good – she is just who she is – if she ever sat next to you on an airplane, I bet you will not be able to recognize her – she has a new wig everyday and she does a class act of being herself.
  • Build and Nurture your tribe: This does not happen overnight. It is a discourse. Be in touch with your community. Tell them about what you are doing, share your challenge. At the same time, hear their stories. Leverage social media to stay in touch. So that people can relate with you and with one another. Don’t ignore building a Tribe since you are what your Tribe says you ARE.
  • Authenticity, Authenticity, Authenticity – Please Authenticity. This word is used so loosely that it is almost shocking how it is misused. In the world of self-centered email marketing, people are craving for authenticity – for the real deal.  You can’t just make something up and expect to build a tribe. You must deliver on what you promise. Be accessible, tell who you are, what you after creating, what is the possibility you are in the world – repeatedly and consistently communicate it

Branding within a tribe requires two-way relationship. Be accessible, tell who you are, what you after creating, what is the possibility you are in the world – repeatedly and consistently communicate it. We can differ on how good an entertainer Lady Gaga is BUT her brand identity is visible by how her tribe continues to grow.

So, I invite you to become the part of your Tribe. If you have a Twitter account, you can join 99tribes by simply clicking on “add me to the tribes”… and if you don’t, create a Twitter account, join 99tribes and create your own TRIBE!

Social Media and Tribes #1: Tribal behaviors 2.0

by Deepika Bajaj on May 26, 2010

Media was designed to be an medium for the message of man. It was a way to broadcast a message to be able to connect with a community that might have interest in what you might have to stay. MOST importantly it was the extension of our Human Tribe. A Tribe which was based on interaction of the social community – where commerce was created through referrals, recommendations and participation. The objective was to tap into the intrinsic behavior of the TRIBE and most often people were motivated by certain social behaviors and NOT necessarily by money.

In traditional media, the idea was to blast something to everyone who had a device like TV, radio to receive it. These medium was designed to interrupt people like an ad within a TV program, a song on the radio or an article in the newspaper. It was an intrusive way of marketers to grab attention and shove their message. They wished that people will be touched by their message and will be moved into action to buy, refer or participate.

Here is the major issue with all of this, the media channels eventually took over the control of what will be printed. Newspaper won’t print anything you sent them. Sometimes, you have to advertise with huge sums of money to get a spot on TV, radio or newspaper. Over time, the power of community to share information over media got depleted. And the Human Tribe which was based on many-to-many communication was reduced to a DICTATOR model of one-to-many communication.

And then arrived social media, suddenly you could print anything on your blog, upload any video and even make your podcast on whatever you fancy. And media became TRIBAL.  We were able to share our opinions, our businesses and our tribes.

Speaking of tribes, the predominant characteristic of tribes throughout time is the need to communicate. So what social media can do combined with a tribal structure is very quickly mobilize a shared interest and becomes a powerful way to communicate. In effect, as Godin, the author of Tribes, says every tribe becomes a media channel.

Keeping this in mind, ActiveGarage team launched 99tribes, a premier site to discover people on twitter who share your interests and become part of their own media channel.

Here is how tribes are shaping their media channel:

  1. Communities as Tribes. People are able to find like-minded people and declare their interests. This allows for them to make themselves “discoverable” by those who share their interests. Given how hard it is to find people in the real world who share your interests, here is a way to become part of YOUR tribe – your own media channel.
  2. Think Tribes Not Market Segments. Modern human tribes are based on our need to use language and communicate. This enables the tribes to reciprocate, help or even hoard each other. This is your tribal broadcast media channel.
  3. Chalk your Tribal path. Each person becomes a valuable contributor of the Tribe and shapes its journey. And brings along people who then shape the tribal path – what will your Tribes journey look like now depends on you. Share and shape the journey on your Tribal media channel.

So, I invite you to become the part of your Tribe. If you have a Twitter account, you can join 99tribes by simply clicking on “add me to the tribes”… and if you don’t, create a Twitter account, join 99tribes and create your own media channel!