Posts Tagged ‘social media and tribes’

I recently attended Adtech in San Francisco, a digital marketing conference in US.  And some of the insights I got from speaking to industry experts and thought leaders validated my initial perception that mobile marketing and M-commerce is at the onset of taking off here in the US and in Asia with Japan being the only leader in this space. It reminded me of my days when I was getting out of Engineering school back in 1996.

As an Electronics and Communication Engineering graduate, I landed in the emerging wireless industry at the time. I was probably the only one who even had a wireless phone based on GSM technology (thanks to the wireless service provider company I was working for at that time). It was clear to me that I was at the intersection of the biggest mobile revolution that would change the world. And it did.

From feature phones to iPhones to Andriod Phones, the world of mobile communication has come a long way. And just like we were at the helm of wireless communication over fifteen years ago, I believe that we are now at the intersection of the biggest revolution at the intersection of  M-commerce and Mobile marketing.

Here are some of my observations:

The New Media renaissance: When SMS marketing was experimented with, it took a lot of heat from the mobile users.But with guidelines that were put in place by the mobile operators; mobile marketing via SMS has expanded rapidly in Europe and Asia as a new channel to reach the consumer. Now the industry is looking at mobile as not only a way of “Targeting” users but to become “Business solutions”. I love that I can use location based services by some cell phone networks as a way to send custom advertising and other information to cell-phone subscribers based on their current location.

The Mobile web : We all know that FB gives marketers access to over 200M users growing exponentially. But another statistics that is mind boggling is that 65M users are accessing FB through mobile devices.  Infact mobile FB users are 50% more active on FB than the rest of the users. And the 80 mobile operators in over 60 countries are to deploy FB mobile products in the coming future. Advertisers are increasingly using the mobile Web as platform to reach consumers. The total value of advertising on mobile was 2.2 billion dollars in 2007. A recent study by the Online Publishers Association reports that about one-in-ten mobile Web users said they have made a purchase based on a mobile Web ad, while 23% said they have visited a Web site, 13% said they have requested more information about a product or service and 11% said they have gone to a store to check out a product.

M-commerce: Gives the ability to conduct commerce using a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, a Personal digital assistantPDA, a smartphone, or other emerging mobile equipment such as dashtop mobile devices. Everything that you ever got from your AppStore on iPhone falls in this category. But this is reaching new heights when game developers bring out games like we city where you are required to get ZAP from Zap store within the game or in Angry birds, get frustrated in clearing a session and get power to get through it.

What will be the next big thing? Ever wondered about a mobile social network…keep a watch…its coming soon.

My work has given me the opportunity to be at the helm of rapid innovation in the world of gaming. And one of the fastest growing segment is interactive gaming where the user gets to play the game and also create content like videos, virtual goods and even produce story lines. This is largely influenced by video gaming.

Here are three scenarios to help you make sense of what I am saying:

  1. Communities get involved in creating content: Guitar hero is a game which allow users to create their own songs and share it with their friends. Also, game content creation enables users to create their own virtual goods to share with their friends. This leads to a new digital economy when the users can share the profits from the sale of their virtual goods with the developers. Allowing both communities of users and developers to benefit from each other – a win-win situation.
  2. Games become advertising channels: The massive amount of users on some of these games make it attractive for Brands to be in front of them. But now it is not an irritating ad banner but your hero in the game has the ability to get his favorite “drink”, stop by their favorite “Gas station” or  even dress their avatars in their favorite brands. For brands this is an ideal product placement since traditional media is not effective for reaching the growing demographic of digital natives.
  3. Story lines get interactive: Game developers are now building games where a player can engage in the story development. He is required to upload a video, find a clue in another website or even visit a real location to get a “clue” to progress into a next level if they wish to continue playing.

For this behavior to continue it is critical to nurture the communities of gamers. So, the marketing departments in different gaming companies have to become competent in listening to these communities and engage with them by tweeting, blog posts and updates so that they retain the users who are HARD CORE gamers.

Photo Credit: Papermag

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.

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 #29: The new BLINK!

by Deepika Bajaj on February 14, 2011

Last weekend, with my co-founders, I was working on a time sensitive project in my living room. They were sitting around the dining table with each of them having a laptop open in front of them. We had to get some work done and decided to make dinner together and make it a “work and eat” session. It was a creative session and we were working on a script for a radio show we have recently launched.

What I observed was that we all had multiple sessions of windows open and one of them was constant across every laptop on the dining table – this was THE FB window.

I was pleasantly surprised by this observation. And then started to pay attention to how each of them was using it.

To my surprise, no one was distracted by it (as per the popular belief). On the contrary it was used to take a break and check out the conversation for a bit and come back to work. And it was amazing how each one was always effectively contributing AND we were not disconnected from our world. I did observe that we went straight to the News Feed, scrolled down to see what was the current activity among our friends and came back to the task at hand… and all this sometimes happened in a matter of split seconds!

Almost reminded of the book by Malcolm Gladwell: BLINK: The power of thinking without thinking.  I saw ALL of us “essentially seeing something that doesn’t register at the conscious-level but provides us a gut-feel about the thing”.  Behind this behavior, the intention is to stay connected and enjoy our social interactions which is big part of our lives while we do our best work.

I think FB window is not a distraction but a sense of connection in your day’s work. I believe with the advancement of technology and mobile communications, we are no longer able to separate work and life. So, if we are able to make a comment, like a status and check a pic of our friend on a vacation – we get a sneak peek into their lives – connect, comment, like and share while we are working. All this is based on our gut-feel, the first impression of the status – the power of our sub-conscious mind.

At work, sometimes we deal with people we don’t like or people who mean nothing to us and part of the work life issue is that you get to spend less time with people who matter. I felt this could play directly into feeling motivated with being able to contribute to our friends who matter…I have learnt about accidents, operations, movements, birthdays and baby showers on FB and made instant calls, comments and even visits based on my gut feelings.

Of course! like everything – “Too much of everything is BAD”. Moderation is key. And you need to be aware of this habit not to get lost in it but to find yourself and get back to being more productive!

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”!

By the end of 2010, many of us have incorporated social media into our marketing campaigns. It is a no brainer to have a FaceBook Fan page or Twitter account for getting traffic to your website. Some have gone beyond and created their own blogs and even their own communities to get the word out to their tribe. Now the “BUT” part….in doing so, we have forgotten why this all started in the first place.

The concept of social media became part of our lives because there was a need for an “Online Conversation” – to talk, listen and engage with your influencers. Many companies have demonstrated their skills in promoting deals, managing customer grievances and even hiring using social media. Bravo! for the increased “customer satisfaction” and “personalization” of their customer interactions.

But looking into the future, I have a question that pops up in my head. “SO WHAT? WHAT NEXT?”

I guess I was impressed but after certain goals have been met and since it is all “the new normal”, I am  asking the question – “When are we doing to think outside of FaceBook?” OR “Is the number of your Twitter followers any measure of your influence?”.

Why I ask these questions is because we are now using social media mindlessly, sometimes, even without any specific objective behind it. The best analogy that I can think of is “It is like having your morning cup of coffee, whether it helps us wake up or not, we need it since we do it everyday”.

Here is what you need to look into as you plan for your engagement…

  1. Is Facebooking work? Recently I was pointed to an article Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction, where the author states “ I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.– “. If you are Facebooking – loading  or seeing pics, commenting on friends status while in the middle of a meeting or a paper you are writing – is that really work?
  2. Are you trusted? There is a growing mistrust with the rise of concerns regarding privacy on these channels and it is getting harder to engage your friends to “Like” or “Comment” or “Tweet” to garner support for your social campaigns. The only true measure of success in this scenario is “Trust”.
  3. Are you innovating your marketing? Winners are going to be the ones who are experimenting, failing and trying new approaches — again and again. New sites like Quora, Shoutlet and Foursquare will need to be considered when planning your marketing mix based on your marketing objectives.

So, if you thought that you have mastered Facebook and Twitter and are set for your social media marketing…Think Again. You have just scratched the surface…new challenges and new opportunities are in the horizon. The bars are being raised and the learning curve is steep….What matters is Are You Fatigued or Are you Adapting? Are you a Dinosaur or… are you still in the GAME?


When I am asked “Why do you write”, its usually followed by a “Everyone  knows most writers don’t make a living out of it. So, why would you do something like that?”

In answer to this,  the following quote by James Baldwin resonates with me.

“You write in order to change the world…. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin

If you keep this in mind, you can sense the difference writers’ and authors’ tribe makes to this world. And in pursuing this passion, you come to a point, when you meet and interact with many people who are changing the world one article and one book at a time. Seth Godin says, “He writes because there is no better way to spread ideas”… I agree. So, if you look at this Tribe of authors you will see their commitment to spreading ideas, sharing ideas – like a free trade of exchange of ideas to shift the world view in a medium called “language” which is what separates human beings from animals.

When I wrote my eBook, PINk and Grow RICH, I was sharing the idea that ” RICH means different things to different people. Most successful people did not start with the motive to get rich. They were more interested in helping others”. And then it was a matter of time when I saw the power of sharing ideas through social media. I found an aspect of “creativity” and “community” that I did not know.

Creativity

This was brought forth for me by Roger C Parker, who shared his review on his popular blog leveraging social media to do so . His review focused on sharing ideas on content, design and picking a title – ideas exchange for those writing or considering to write an eBook.

Read below his post on content and design

Content & design tips for e-book success

Read below his post on choosing a title for your book

Choose a memorable book title before you begin to write your book

Community

This became visible with post from William Reed and an interview with Rajesh Setty. They became part of the community that helps you spread the ideas using social media.

Read below article by William Reed
Lessons in Leadership from Deepika

Read below interview with Raj Setty
Pink and Grow Rich; Interview with Deepika Bajaj

And their respective communities “Tweeted” and shared it with their communities. And I became part of a bigger community – a larger community powered by social media.

So, as a gift this holiday season, I am taking 40% off the price on my ebook (regularly priced at $9.95, now $5.99).

We all have people who give us material gifts, this season give an idea as a gift and become part of the larger community of folks who share your interests. Make this Holiday count for someone, who is not stepping up to his maximum potential Or someone who feels robbed of his dreams Or someone who thinks if he had more money, he would be happy….Get your copy now and gift it to as many people…and become an agent to spread the ideas.

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”