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In 2007 the Washington Post conducted an experiment. They involved one of the best musicians in the world to play one of the most expensive instruments in the world (a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin) on a subway platform during morning rush hour. Most people simply ignored him, “the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.”

This experiment which i talked about is an example of Social Proof. Wikipedia describes Social Proof as:

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed.

80586159SW003_Tribeca_Film_So, what actually is social Proof. The roots of mind control stem from an arm of psychology known as social psychology. Social pyschology is the science of people’s behavior in groups and their interaction with others. We humans act quite differently when we interact with others than we do individually.

What is social proof? It’s forming an opinion based on what other people are doing. We visit a restaurant because our friends have visited and said the food tastes fab. We see long line of people waiting their turn. Even Movies!! we watch a particular movie because people have seen it, reviewed it, want to see it!!

Here’s example of social proof in action

Are we using Social Proof??

Yes surely!! If you tag photos, videos, articles etc in Facebook, Orkut, Blogs etc. Then you are using social proofing. If you submit your favorite articles, links to social bookmarking, then you are using social Proofing. The principle of social proof is particularly applicable to social bookmarking because it predicts that the tags applied by users will be more similar to each other if they are provided with a list of suggested tags.

Social proofing can be applied to Blogs as well. Some simple steps:

1. Show the number of visitors
2. Show the list of people following your blog
3. Show the ranking of blog/site
4. Show the most recent comments
5. Show the number of Diggs or Bookmarking if possible
6. Promote your RSS feed

Can you suggest some more methods? Or if you have some more Social proof Examples, do share.

Digg!

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As I had mentioned in my yesterday’s blog, I recieved the answers to my questions from Bhanu. I am thankful to him for taking time out of his busy schedule for my readers. I had a brief discussion with him on the answers given by him.The questions I asked are not the questions you getto read in other sites. I have tried to ask questions which are more on the implications of social media and its effects.

So, Not wasting more time I take you to the answers given by Mr. K Bhanuprakash.

Q1) How do you define social media to a not so internet savvy person who just has an email id as an internet usage or perhaps not even that?

Social Media is a different subject and needs to be dealt differently, hence if it is been communicated in a layman’s language with real life examples which can connect the concept of social media, I am sure anybody would understand it. Social Media is a Human like communication. For eg: You go to a party and say hello to anybody they would surely respond with a smile. In another example, if somebody is doing circus in the middle of the road, we all are curious about it and we watch it interestingly, similarly other people looking at our curiosity and listening to our discussion they also get influenced. This means there is a chain of influential publicity which is faster than any other Media. Similarly, the nature of Social Media is very similar to a human nature.

Social Media is all about Interaction, Participation and sharing information. It’s a typical Human nature. So it should be treated the way it is. Social Media is full of web technologies and one needs to be a part of technologies to easily relate to any Marketing campaign and explain it to others. In a nutshell, Social Media provides you technologies which help you spread information across the web.

Q2) Is social media just about Images/Video sharing, creating profile, adding friends only? What else?

No. Not really. These are methods of distributing information across the web. Social Media is all about news ways of communication with the target users. As the regular ways of Communication through TV, Newspapers, Radio are no more interesting and interactive. Social Media is all about understanding a Human psychology and then reacting to it. For eg. when we are in a Social gathering, we discuss, we participate in discussion, and we share knowledge, information about ourselves and people listen to and again re discuss amongst themselves and more people come to know about it, and the chain goes on…Hence spreading a word of mouth publicity. This is considered to be the best and the fastest than any other media and this is proven. There are reports and real success stories available.

Q3) Using Social media for PR is still in its early phase and it’s already so big!! What do you think of its impact on Traditional PR in Future?

Well, In India Social Media can not overtake traditional media, because of the Indian Mentality. Customers & Businessmen are not so web savvy and they always weigh the success of any product and then opt for it. They only believe in proven and successive methods of marketing. In India people are still not ready to digest virtual methods of marketing. So at least for the next 3 to 5 years Social Media will act as a value addition to Traditional PR.

Q4) Is social media helpful for established Brands/Products too??

Yes very much, but one has to understand how and in what way. Especially for FMCG, Telecommunications, Entertainment & Lifestyle, Aviation and other verticals where Mass public can be targeted for business communications. In India many brands are established such as Tata, Reliance, Godrej, Cadburys due to their old roots. But every Brand should be present in all kind of Medias, that’s the nature of any marketing activity. Of course one has to wait and watch now, as the implementations and anticipations are changing rapidly. As an example 6 to 8 months back nobody was talking about Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing, within these 6 to 8 months people have started discussing about it. There might be few Web Technology companies who have been working in silos. But now the box of Pandora is open to every common man. Thanks to Google & other Search Engines.

Q5) Is social media only for celebrities, products related to lifestyle, luxury only?? What about other products/industry? For eg: Cement/Steel industry

As mentioned in my last answer, Social Media can be frequently used to target large number of users, so naturally large number of people can be targeted only if a service or product is consumable by everyone. Industries like Cement & Steel Industry have a very niche target of people. So they cannot measure success metrics. But Social Media is again an inexpensive media to communicate, so they can still adapt it for communicating their brand & business on the web without spending on typical Search Engine Marketing such as Pay per Click (PPC), Purchasing & bidding of Keywords for unique keyword hits & promotion on Google and other paid advertising on the web space.

Q6) Is the traditional Indian client (Who is in to established business) open to adapt Social media?

Currently it is also difficult to say because of the current recession in India where it is difficult to read the client’s mind as they are cutting down their marketing budgets. But in some cases they still feel that it is nice to have a Social Media presence rather than to have it as a default thing. But this again depends on what kind of industry we are targeting.

Q7) Social media played a very big role in recent US Elections. Do you think social media can also be helpful in Indian Politics?

As mentioned in one of my answers that in INDIA we are still struggling with Internet Bandwidth issue and also the knowhow of Internet and its usage. On top of that Our Literacy rate is not that great at all. There are so many entrepreneurs who still do not or don’t feel like to update their websites, because they lack exposure towards the importance of updating their company’s information online. We all know how many politicians are at least educated or graduates. Well US is far – far head for all this. So they have tried out all possible communications and hence just updating themselves with new media. Yes, Indian Politicians can use Social Media for campaigns as it is the most inexpensive media to inform, interact and promote anything. The politicians can start using Social Media to promote themselves as the outreach is tremendous and results are swift. But the effects are very minimal.

For eg: After the current attacks in MUMBAI which is now knows as 26/11, lot of politicians have been discussed and scrutinized on Social Networking, Blogs etc. This actual reflects that people do discuss a lot on Politicians and their movements.

Q8) Can social media be 100% successful? Is there any chance of failure too?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but yes if tried and planned well, chances of failing is minimal and chances of gaining success at an average level is naturally higher. It depends how you plan a Social Media campaign, as knowing about social Media completely, the way people would react on these platforms. Again there has to be an effort on knowing social media completely, experimenting dummy projects online, doing a complete survey and a complete analysis to be carried on a product, service, celebrity, Company, Brand etc.

Q9) What are the points you keep in mind to develop social media strategy? What are the steps you follow?

Firstly it depends on the character of the Brand, If the Brand is People oriented Brand and how it can make difference to anyone, then the past communications which a Brand would have carried out using other traditional media, which actually would have reflected the reputation of a particular Brand in the online space. Also identify if there are already any social media presence, it might be user generated etc or any employee would have formed it. Also a complete analysis has to be taken out for a particular Brand in the online space. This will give a clear picture on what kind of Social Media Strategy should be used.

Q10) How do you Deal with duplicate Profiles, Groups other than the official ones.

You really cannot help with duplicate profiles. But practically duplicate profiling does not affect you anywhere. The entire Social Media revolves on the credibility of the information you provide, the way you interact, communicate, type of information you share. That’s a credibility which will drive users to you. People can create duplicity in the profile names, group names, but the kind of information will be shared, only a real person, or a genuine user would share it. So, it’s all about the credibility of the information and not the profile names.

Q11) What’s your decision making process for testing and implementing social media?

Referring case studies of other Brands help sometimes, but every Brand will have a different experimental approach based on the Brand reputation in the market. Well but it’s been clearly communicated to the client about the approach. Though we plan all possible exercises, brave businessmen would still opt to try social Media.

Q12) Do social media strategies tend to saturate or die after some time?

Yes, as the time passes they do saturate, you cannot engage any campaign for more than a month or two, unless and until it’s really an extraordinary idea. That’s also one of the specialties of Social Media and that is where one needs to work hard to engage users with creative ideas, content etc

Q13) I had a talk with a celebrity who was looking for the monetization of the (his/her) personal Blog? Can Social media be monetized? What are the issues with it?

One thing everyone should know clearly that the concept of Social Media never occurred with the intention of gaining money or any kind of rewards. This concept is been built for creating a democratic channel of communication. What ever mentioned on Social Media such as Social Networking, Blogs, Social News are all an individuals’ views and creation. Its one of the motive which abides an individual to get engaged to it. Hence at this point of time it can be considered as an awareness and Brand Building program and nothing else.

Q14) Please share some of your resources for the readers which can help them to stay on top.

Please Read My Blog. ha ha ha. . There are some informative sites such as Social median, Bloggers like Chris Brogan, a Social Media guru – he is on Twitter also, Jeff Johnson he is also on Face book, Twitter and he has his own Blog. I refer them regularly. But it all depends how you perceive after reading them.

Wo!! That were some great answers. Thats all for this session. Feedback and comments are most welcome. Still having some doubts, Mr. Bhanuprakash can be contacted on:

Ph: +91 98677 69061

Email: bhanu.karan@gmail.com

He is also on Facebook & Twitter.

Guys!! The Social media contest is still on.

You can win cool T-Shirt while clearing your doubts by asking questions!!

If you have any questions, doubts, queries which you want to get answered, most welcome. Just read THIS article and post your questions in the comment box, and I will get those answered. And the reader asking a question which would be Mind Boggling, Unique, and makes us (me and Bhanu) to have a brainstorming session to answer, will have a chance to win a cool Tshirt with a design of your choice, Courtesy Inkfruit

Important:

This Contest is open for Indian residents Only.

Please ask questions related to Indian scenario.

Please mention your email carefully, because winner(s) will be contacted by email.

The contest closes on Dec 16th and winners will be announced on Dec 18th.

And lastly, If we get some really good questions, we can have two winners!!

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Golden rules for finding your life partner by Dov Heller, M.A.

When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no one wants to make a mistake. Yet, with a divorce rate of close to 50%, it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to
finding Mr./Miss. Right!

If you ask most couples who are engaged why they’re getting married, they’ll say: “We’re in love”; I believe this is the ..1 mistake people make when they date. Choosing a life partner should never be based on
love. Though this may sound “not politically correct“, there’s a profound truth here.

Love is not the basis for getting married. Rather, love is the result of a good marriage. When the other ingredients are right, then the love will come.

Let me say it again: “You can’t build a lifetime relationship on love alone“; You need a lot more!!!

Here are five questions you must ask yourself if you’re serious aboutfinding and keeping a life partner.

QUESTION ..1: Do we share a common life purpose?
Why is this so important? Let me put it this way: If you’re married for 20 or 30 years, that’s a long time to live with someone. What do you plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together? You need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a common life purpose.
Two things can happen in a marriage:
(1) You can grow together, or
(2)you can grow apart.

50% of the people out there are growing apart. To make a marriage work, you need to know what you want out of life! Bottom line; marry someone who wants the same thing.
 
QUESTION ..2: Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this person?
This question goes to the core of the quality of your relationship. Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The basis of having good communication is trust – i.e. trust that I won’t get “punished”; or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and feelings. A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.
 
QUESTION ..3: Is he/she a mensch?
A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person. How can you test? Here are some suggestions. Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis? Are they serious about improving themselves? A teacher of mine defines a good person as “someone who is always striving to be good and do the right “;. So ask about your significant other: What do
they do with their time? Is this person materialistic? Usually a materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is character refinement.

There are essentially two types of people in the world:
(1) People who are dedicated to personal growth and
(2) people who are dedicated to seeking comfort.

Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing. You need to knowthat before walking down the aisle.
 
QUESTION ..4: How does he/she treat other people?
The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is theability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another personpleasure.

Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self- absorbed?
To measure this, think about the following: How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as waiters, bus boys, taxi drivers, etc.. How do they treat their parents and siblings? Do they have gratitude and appreciation?

If they don’t have gratitude for the people who have given them everything; can you do nearly as much for them? You can be sure that someone, who treats others poorly, will eventually treat you poorly as  well.
 
QUESTION ..5: Is there anything I’m hoping to change about this person after we’re married?
Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to “improve”; them after they’re married. As a colleague of mine puts it: “You can probably expect someone to change after marriage for the worse” If you cannot fully accept this person
the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.

In conclusion, dating doesn’t have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with your heart. It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; to be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues. Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don’t want to find yourself in trouble or in a mess because you didn’t do your homework. Do you ?

Another perspective…
There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance.. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible,
not-going anywhere relationships. Observe the relationships around you.

Pay attention…Which ones lift and which ones lean?

Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?

Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill?

When you leave certain people do you feel better or feel worse?

Which ones always have drama/ fake or don’t really understand, know, or appreciate you or just time pass?
 

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you…the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of
your life.
 
An African proverb states, “Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one eye”; Before you get involved and make a commitment to someone, don’t let lust, desperation, immaturity,
ignorance, pressure from others or a low self-esteem make you blind to warning signs. Keep your eyes open, and don’t fool yourself that you can change someone or that what you see as faults aren’t really that
important.

Do you bring out the best in each other?

Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or do you compete, compare and control?

What do you bring to the relationship?

Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past mistrust, past pain?

You can’t take someone to the altar to alter them. You can’t make someone love you or make someone stay.

Never waste your time on a person who tries to  fool around / or mess with you.

If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, and “a life”; you won’t find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain. Seeking status, sex, and security are the wrong reasons to be in a relationship.

WHAT KEEPS A RELATIONSHIP STRONG IS:
1. TRUST
2. COMMUNICATION
3. INTIMACY
4. A SENSE OF HUMOR
5. SHARING TASKS
6. SOME GETAWAY TIME WITHOUT BUSINESS OR CHILDREN
7. DAILY EXCHANGES (meal, shared activity, hug, call, touch, notes, etc.)
8. SHARING COMMON GOALS AND INTERESTS
9. GIVING EACH OTHER SPACE TO GROW WITHOUT FEELING INSECURE
10. GIVING EACH OTHER A SENSE OF BELONGING AND ASSURANCES OF COMMITMENT

If these qualities are missing, the relationship will erode as resentment withdrawal, abuse, neglect, and dishonesty; and pain will replace. 
 

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Lonely

I don’t remember the moment our friendship had changed into something else. It was not a sudden transition like the soft breeze turning into a howling wind.Not even that of the pleasant drizzling transformed into a harsh thunderstorms, It was quite vague, rather!

It might have started when I had missed talking to you for the first time…It might have happened when you had said something as though you had had the ownership rights over me…It could have occurred when I had dialled your number anticipating the pleasure of hearing your voice at the very first moment…It could even have started when you had called me up, hurt and bleeding in your heart, sharing your wounds with me and wanting to get the solace from me…It could have happened in a million other ways and it had happened!

We were just sharing…we were sharing the finer details on our family, friends and that of our work life! We were sharing the comfortability of being the people of the same age group.We were sharing the hardships, happiness and that of innumerable ups and downs of our respective lives! We were sharing the day to day activities that take us thru the sunrise till the sunset! We were just sharing…

It was so comfortable being together with you, chatting, talking, meeting, But essentially we had felt all alone together in the middle of all these happenings! There was this contentment of just being together with you. There was this huge safety zone of liking and understanding each other. It was so easy being with you that I could always complete what you had wanted to say. And amazingly most of the time, you did the same thing…

Though we shall be the happiest when we shall be together…….
Thinking of the end of all these… I  would be longing to get back together as well. Would be thinking of each other when we are apart from one another…

but by the end of all these, I shall be with my family. And you shall be with your own family.

We are together and we are not together. We cannot be together all the time as we have a history of our own. The history exists well before we had met each other and had started longing for each other.
I had evolved a strict code of circle around me and was circling within that circle all through my life. It was home, work, home, work and then home again! There was this sort of a basic contentment and calm in such a life. No complications and no troubles…just home, work and home again!
And then, I had met you!

You were an ordinary person, just like I was! Not spectacularly outstanding!  You were just you, an ordinary person, just like I was just I, an ordinary person…You were running around within your own circle, created by you for you, your family and for your friends, much like I was running within my own circle all thro my life…

Somehow, we had met and became good friends. It was as though we had been destined to meet and become good friends…Talking to you was as easy and as comfortable as though sliding over the ice sheet…May be this was the connection of the soul, may be this was something more beyond that! It had amazed me when I had realized that I had let go of thousands of people in all these years of my life and had just chosen you to be my best friend…It was as though unconsciously I was waiting for your arrival for a very long time now…

I had met you just a couple of times in all these months…Because meeting in direct contact with each other was very rare for us.You were living at one corner of the world and I was at the other corner of the world! We had met on a few rare occasions, which have been engraved in my heart!

Still, we had kept in touch on a daily basis…The trust I had had on you was something the most spectacular to me! It was amazing as though there was nothing I couldn’t share with you… You were accommodating, understanding and were always there to listen to my stupid thoughts…

When I had heard your voice, it was as though I had felt the peace and calm descending on me simultaneously! I had felt so happy that I could feel my entire body relaxing from head to toe…You had such a wonderful voice, soothing, teasing and being very nice to listen to…On your part, you had shared with me your daily life and living…the hurts, an occasional insult and the ups and downs of your day to day happenings…

I had felt sympathized with you, enraged at the audacity of the people to hurt or insult you…I just couldn’t stand if someone had uttered even a single word against you!

But then,

It shall be tough for both of us to get out of the whole history of our life time.I wouldn’t know what I shall do without my people.I know you wouldn’t betray the trust of your people either! But still, I long for you with such a longing which frightens my whole being. There are no visible chains that bound me. But still, there are stronger invisible chains that won’t even budge if I want to move off…

Why did I ever meet you?

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