How to download your Facebook Profile

Without wasting any time about anything irrelevant, will just tell you how to download your entire facebook profile information including status updates and photos etc.

1. Login to Facebook (of course :P)

2. Top right menu -> Click ACCOUNT–> ACCOUNT SETTINGS

You will see a page as shown below:

Facebook Profile Download

3. You will see a link “Download Your Information” and next to it a LEARN MORE link.

Click on that, you will asked to confirm that you wish to download and a big download link. Just click that…you are done!

Facebook Profile Download Link

You will get the information as a zip file, not immediately. It would take some time and you will get a notification when the file is generated.

Enjoy your profile 🙂

Featured in 'The Telegraph' : Social Sense

It’s a new year and it’s a new beginning for a lot of us, but this post comes as a result of something that happened right at the end of the previous year!

After getting featured on Rediff and Careers360, I was featured in a story by The Telegraph on the topic, of course, Social Media Marketing. The CareerGraph section, a weekly supplement has featured a few biggies from the big industry which makes me both honored and proud to be listed along side the likes of Mahesh Murthy and Sanjay Mehta.

To quote myself, the article says :

According to Abhinav Sahai, co-founder of Zapylacz, Bangalore, hard core marketing professionals aren’t welcome here. “They are keen on selling rather than engaging the community. It’s more about communication, less about selling and advertising,” he explains. It needs professionals ranging from content developers to managers. “Software developers, user interface experts (who design software applications and websites focusing on users’ experience), search engine optimisation professionals (who decide how search engines work and what people search for) and people who can conduct research or understand consumer behaviour,” he adds. Sahai himself is a computer science engineer but with no MBA or any other specialisation.

But is this sort of thing here to stay? The consensus among social media professionals is: it’s only set to grow. “The biggest advantage is its viral nature — each person has at least 100 friends. You can reach 1,000 x 100 users in just a week through re-shares on Facebook or re-tweets on Twitter,” says Sahai of Zapylacz.

But of course, this media too suffer from certain weaknesses. The audience is quick to point out the saleability or non-saleability of a product, points out Sridharan of Brand-comm. In other words, negative publicity is difficult to contain. “The biggest disadvantage is its uncontrollable nature — if something goes wrong, it can blow apart a company’s reputation,” agrees Sahai.

The interview was conducted last month and only the excerpts were published primarily due to the size of the story.

You can read the entire story here.

Sounds a nice way to end the previous year, hope there is more to come in the New Year. Happy New Year folks!

PVR Cinemas Sucks! Especially the Gold Class

No, I am not going to complain about the poor PVR Cinemas website which rarely works.

What do you expect when you go to a movie paying a thousand bucks for a single ticket?

1. Sitting just a few feet away from the screen, which makes you feel like you bought a 1st row morning show ticket for 50 bucks?

2. The recliner where you are seated doesn’t work? Yes it just stays where it is and does not allow you to stretch your legs!

3. On complaining, 1st staff member unsuccessfully tries, sends a 2nd one who tells you he’ll back in 2 minutes, but those 2 minutes never end, at least till the time the movie ended!

4. You are told you won a gift, yes after spending 4,000+ on tickets you should get some reward, but nobody is aware what is it about and none knows who will handover your gift to you and return disgusted after meeting some 4 different people, all with different answers!

I am sure none of you expects this when you spend so much. Well, this is what I experienced when I went to watch Harry Potter last Sunday at the much talked about PVR Cinemas Gold Class.

The seat was so close to the screen that I had to keep looking up and down to watch the movie, at least till I somehow managed to find some sort of comfort that would allow me to view the screen in one shot. Reason, my recliner was not working and I just could not stretch my legs and be at ease. Yes, I have been to Gold Class of other cinemas, they are not so close to the screen.

Well, I thought that it can happen, not a big deal, what disgusted me was the attendant 1st a lady couldn’t do anything, sent another guy, the guy after trying for a couple of minutes said that he would be back in a minute. HE NEVER CAME BACK. Obviously, I wanted to see the movie more than anything else and didn’t bother to look for helpers in the theater, none of whom could be found then!

If this was not enough, nobody seems to be aware that there was merchandise/gifts to be given. We asked 4 people about that, here’s what they said:
1st Person: Sir, I don’t about it, please find out at the ticket counter.
2nd Person (at the ticket counter): Sir this is not available as of now, you may on Wednesday Morning or Thursday Night, yes you read that right, “Wednesday morning or Thursday night” and not the vice versa!

We still had hopes, that’s our fault I guess, as we got the sms a 2nd time between the movie, so we thought maybe it’s there now, so let’s ask again
3rd Person: Sir, I have no clue about this. I will ask my supervisor.
4th Person (Supposedly Supervisor): [Reads the sms, seems clueless] Sir, this has not reached us, please check by Monday eve or Tuesday morning.

C’mon, we are working people and can’t come again and again especially on a weekday to find that out!

All I can say is that is was a great collection of poor customer service, bad management and unaware staff! Wondering how will they survive in such a competitive market with such characteristics!

You go to a movie expecting at least a good movie experience, forget the money that you spend, it may be any amount! Am I asking too much?

10 things to learn from 3 Idiots

3 Idiots, the biggest blockbuster of the hindi movie industry, a movie everyone saw and enjoyed too. Why did everyone love it? It was because it talked about points which we all wanted to do/implement in our life but never really did. Probably no one looked at small instances where we can apply some of them. Just thought about 10 small things which I learned and wish to share with you.

Life is a race – I dont think so

1. Life is a race – I dont think so. Ladki, bus, train and even exams/job – ek baar gye to dubara fir aate hain (girl, bus, train and even exams/job – all come back after some time so no point in running after them).

Apply your knowledge

2. Apply what you’ve learnt in school/college/job. Knowledge is of no use if you don’t apply it.

Fear – man's biggest enemy

3. Fear – man’s biggest enemy – It actually is, 2nd is Desires. Kill both of them, NOW!



4. Marks are not the only thing that students should be looking for – there are so many live examples – Sachin Tendulkar is the simplest one.
In the case of professionals – Trainings/certifications/Ratings : that’s not the only thing.

Letters need to be posted

5. Letters need to be posted, not to be kept in the bag, we have nothing to lose. Remember the famous song from Hrithik’s 1st movie – “Khali haath aaye hain hum, khali haath jaenge”.

Lying sometimes helps

6. Lying sometimes helps – really – as long as it does some good to someone. [Mind you – SOMETIMES]

7. The last step towards our goal is the most difficult but is the most important also. Had Farhan never said to his dad, he would have never become a photographer.

the last step towards our goal is the most difficult but is the most important also

8. Parents are happy if we are happy. Nothing gives them more satisfaction than that. Forget about what neighbors/relatives/acquaintances will think. According to the circle of life, there is a very small closed set of people that matter to you in your life. Recognize them and make sure you don’t hurt them. Rest will be knocking at the door of your circle, some enter and move out while some never even enter. Very few stay there forever.

Its really difficult to find friends like those in real life

9. Its really difficult to find friends like those in real life. Don’t try to find them, you will come to know who they are when the situations arise. Remember the saying which we learnt in kindergarten “A friend in need is a friend indeed“. So if/when you find them – never ever let them go.

Friends are forever

10. Necessity is the mother of invention. I know what’s shown in the movie is almost impractical but all of us come across situations in life where need to innovate. Invent then!

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Bonus point: This one is personal, maybe you won’t agree – bookish knowledge is waste, ALMOST always. Don’t need to mention, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc etc, never completed education! Had they, there would have been no Windows and no iPods!

Bookish knowledge is waste

Its difficult or almost impossible to follow all the learnings but the more we are able to do that, the more we can be satisfied of our lives. Its all about being satisfied and happy at the age of 70, not about the number of zeros we have in our bank accounts!

Do share with me what you’ve learnt or applied out of these or something else which I didn’t notice.

Previous movie learning: Things which we can learn from Rock On!!

*Images used are screenshots from an original bought DVD. No pirated stuff*

My interview in Careers360 Magazine

Update: The interview was also published on Rediff.com and you can find it here.

A few days back I mentioned about the Social Media Marketing as a career option in India. My interview with Careers360 magazine has gone live and I wish to share that with you. Since the interview was quite long and they had to cover the entire topic in 5-6 pages, so they cut the interview short but put my points in snippet form in between the story according to relevance. Here is the story, has my points in blockquotes along with interview at the bottom:

careers360_social_media
Careers360 Story on Social Media Marketing

DELHI lad Clinton Jeff starts his day with Gmail, followed by postings on Twitter and Facebook, a couple of breaks for lunch and coffee, with a hard day’s work ending on Flickr, YouTube and his personal blog. Keeping up with a few close friends, several hundred followers and several more readers can be quite exhausting, but doing it as part of his company’s business strategy is a totally different scenario.

But hey, he’s not complaining. After all, working extensively on these social media websites is earning Clinton, Head of Strategy, Blogger’s Mind, a social media agency, is his monthly pay packet!

What is social media?
The consensus is that social media refers to any online portal, community, technology or software application that is deployed or created to disseminate, manage, organise, share and reuse content – both textual and graphic. Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO of Social Wavelength, a Mumbai-based social media agency, explains, “We use social media for multiple functional objectives such as product launch, idea generation, online reputation management, driving sales to online store, and to create a community around a brand.”

Why do firms want a stake here?
“Social media is relevant to any company whose audiences participate in or are influenced by online discussions,” says Jeremy Woolf, the Global Social Media Practice Lead for Text 100, a PR consultancy based in New York, with offices across the globe, including India.

Corporate houses such as Wipro, Hindustan Unilever, Infosys and Maruti – are catching up with their western counterparts in terms of investing in this new channel. Star Network, the group of channels comprising Star Plus, Star One, Channel V and so on, has hired Social Wavelength to build its social media presence. Bloggers’ Mind created the hugely popular “Search for N” campaign for the Nokia N97 cellular phone and the “Tag Your Music” Facebook activity for Nokia India’s Music Page. Bloggers’ Mind is a ‘Word of Mouth’ and ‘Conversation Analytics’ company – basically, it helps companies to read, understand and analyse conversations taking place online on their products.

Sandip Maiti, CEO of Experience Commerce, the Mumbai-based digital agency behind the Cedia campaign adds, “It is important to understand the context in which the brand wishes to engage with its core audience. Some brands like to entertain, some like to seed conversation spaces while many prefer to take the utlitarian track. Social media is best used to build awareness and create buzz around new product launches.”

Then you also have unconventional entities like Bollywood stars, cricketers, chefs, new age spiritual gurus, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs making a splash on social media to connect to fans, release tidbits of information on their work, upload photos and respond to audience curiosity, instantly. Even organisations like NGOs, schools and colleges, public institutions, museums and art galleries, trade associations and informal society groups, are on social media, which is typically, viewed as a low-investment, high return of interest tool by those who cannot afford advertising rates of a tabloid or television to garner support for their causes.

Targeting new audience

Mid-sized book publisher Tulika Books caters to a new section of their audience – the Facebook generation. Malarvizhi Jayant, Online Editor of Web & Social Media for Tulika, says, “We announce new books, continue discussions about older publications, discuss issues of literacy and reading, share news, collect reviews of Tulika’s books. The goal is to tell more people about Tulika, the kind of books we publish, and have a communication channel open to fans.”

Bangalore-based Pratham Books, a not-for-profit trust is a children’s book publisher and has championed its cause using social media tools – Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Scribd, YouTube, and Flickr – quite effectively. Gautam John, the 31-year-old incharge of New Projects at the organisation, says, “Our long term vision is to build a platform to engage our community to co-create and do so much more to contribute to the cause of a book in every child’s hand using a legal framework that allows for a participatory culture.”

Even news producing media such as newspapers, radio, television and now digital TV, and online broadcasting media are tuning in to social media to ramp up circulation, disseminate news, involve readers through promotional activities such as games, contests and interactive quizzes, and constantly provide breaking news. “Twitter is currently perfect for what we do as a media company — offer readers the hottest tabloid stories as they break across the country — and is, as such, our core media platform. We also use Facebook and Orkut to engage with readers better, and allocate resources for social media marketing, using social news websites like Digg and Stumbleupon,” says Lindsay Pereira, Editor, Mid Day Online.

What is the job?

Mehta identifies two distinct domains of work: promotions and monitoring. “We use social media to create brand awareness or brand building, generate sales leads, product launch, re-launch or re-branding awareness, creating a community around a brand, driving traffic to client website,” he says. Monitoring is about understanding the customers’ perception about the brand, seeking hitherto unknown insights that people have, about the brand online reputation management, identifying influencers in the space for the brand and detecting a PR crisis before it snowballs.

At the entry level, the role of a social media executive includes:

– Assisting in planning and leading the management and implementation of strategic social media programmes

– Participating and initiating conversations across different channels.

– Consuming, creating and sharing relevant content with internal and external communities

– Monitoring and analysing conversations, social media activities and sharing the impact through reviews and reports

– Observing and assimilating trends in social media, tools, technology and applications and appropriately apply that knowledge in on-going/future campaigns.

In a nutshell, the entry level profile is (someone with one or two year’s experience in a communications field) either a role in social media monitoring, involving the “listening in” of conversations, interpreting and bracketing the same. Or a client operations role, where the person manages social media profiles for a client, of course, under supervision from a senior. Mehta explains.

“We have designer/developers – who are there to develop applications; we have social media addicts – who are there to keep tabs on the developments that take place within the industry; marketing guys are also required provided they understand the online and communication media,” says Abhinav Sahai, Co-fonder of Zapylacz.

Who can get the job

“An analytical bent is very important. When we hire for our company, we look for people who understand social media as a tool, much more than just connecting with friends,” says Sahai. The average social media executive in his team is a good communicator, he says. People are NOT from traditional advertising/marketing/PR background, though two to three of his team member may have such a background.

“Most people come from different backgrounds. Sometimes being from advertising/PR/marketing means a lot of legacy knowledge and experience, which has to be first UNLEARNED, before they learn social media. Which is why, we do not really look to hire from traditional advertising and PR backgrounds,” says Mehta. Since social media as an industry has just emerged a year-and-a-half ago, it would not be fair to ask for experience currently, so aptitude counts the most.

Qualifications at entry levels

Education-wise, it helps to have a communication background such as Mass Communication or English Literature. But this is not critical. “We have Engineers and Arts graduates also, but who are all fundamentally good communicators. On an average, there is one level of the team which has one-two year’s experience, another level that has two-five years experience, and then a few manager level folks, who have five-eight years experience,” concludes Mehta. One can be fundamentally good at language and communication, without being a Mass Communication graduate.

What is important is to have a fundamental feel for repartee, being able to feel the position of a brand in the marketplace, being able to empathise from a consumer’s point of view, and create conversations on behalf of the brand, with that perspective. “At the beginner level, we look at postgraduates in marketing communication with work experience or training in advertising, PR, online marketing or similar fields. At the same time, we are open to people from diverse backgrounds since certain verticals are best serviced by specialists in that niche,” says Amita Malhotra, Knowledge Manager at Blogworks.

careers360_interview
Careers360 - Abhinav Sahai Interview

Salaries are high but what is the catch?

As the table alongside shows, salaries range from about Rs. 2 lakhs per annum and raise exponentially to about Rs. 8 – 12 lakhs as one moves up the ladder. But the most important thing to know for anyone looking for a career in this space is that using social media professionally is a completely different ball game from personal use. Given the ease with using many of these tools, many aspirants do not anticipate the issues that need to be taken care of when managing presence for a third party.

A background in marketing and brand communication helps the individual to get the basics right, however, most social media enthusiasts are self-driven and get a better understanding of the space through self-learning and application of the latest tools and technologies. In the coming years, companies are going to be looking for people to manage their social media campaigns/presence and opportunities are going to arise not just on the agency side but clients directly, concludes Malotra.

Career growth

For a social media agency professional, alternative career options could be to work for a brand as their internal social media head, or in other media careers that will embrace social media soon, as extensions of their current media avatars.

Interesting designations are cropping up. ‘Audience Acquisition’ is one such profile. Profiles like Interactive Marketing Specialist, Social Media Marketing Manager, Emerging Media and Content Manager, Social Networking and Communities Manager, Social Media Evangelists, Social Media Addicts have popped up and will be considered quite the norm in the future.

The roles and designations vary right from the executive straight up to the VP levels. So people with little to abundance of experience are all in demand. Just to give an example, last week Hewlett-Packard, HP-India posted a vacancy where the role was to just look at their Twitter and Facebook profiles.

With this form of media growing, you will see more such innovative vacancies. Nidhi Makhija of Experience Commerce says, “The industry is so new and many opportunities lie undiscovered. There’s vast scope to grow either into a digital planner or as a business development executive. These are just stepping stones into higher positions – Account Directors and VPs of Business Development.”

“I would caution graduates to do a thorough background search on the company’s reputation and as the next step, initiate a dialogue with another fresher who has just joined a social media company to gain insights into his daily tasks and role,” says Abhinav.

Also, in social media, the definition of marketing has changed from ‘selling’ to ‘engaging’. So, hard core marketing guys are a strict no-no for the the community, is Abhinav’s parting shot.

The article in the end magazine ends here, though in the online version the following text is also added.

Rishi Seth of Text 100, too, shares this opinion. “As social media is both highly-dynamic and fast-evolving, it is entirely possible that social media will emerge as a satisfying and rewarding career niche under the umbrella of marketing and communications in the long run,” he adds. Text 100’s Woolf sums it up succinctly when talking about the staying power of social media, “Social media exists because it meets a human need to create, collaborate and share.”

careers360_social_media_interview
Interview with Careers360 Magazine - Online Version

[Click on image to enlarge]

MY INTERVIEW:

Young Gun: The future beckons

Q: What are the core social media platforms you deploy for clients?

A: The major social networking portals viz. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, emails (though unknown but emails are also a part of social media) are the platforms. Out of these Twitter and Facebook are the most extensively used ones.

Q: Describe a social media campaign that saw positive impact?
A. Billionsmiles Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore wanted to create a buzz and give visibility to their restaurant brand SouthIndies. Campaigns, contests and connecting with the community were important aspects of the strategy. Not only were the online results in the form of an increased buzz and attention inspiring, even the sales went up considerably during the four month period of the campaign.

Q: Do you think social media is here to stay?

A: Every individual accessing the Internet between 12 and 55 has a social profile on at least one social media site. Recently, I was at an Internet cafe in a small town when I saw a school boy entering the place. The first website he opened was Orkut.com and he started out with filling his name and other profile information to create an account. Well, that’s not what amazed me. What amazed me was the point at which he turned to the cyber cafe assistant and asked him the meaning of ‘email’ and how to go about creating that! Now for companies to market their products, what could be a better place to locate themselves? “Promote where the consumer is” a well known fact and in this case, the consumer is on a social networking site.

Here’s the link to the original article on Careers360.

5 things I learned from a driver in Delhi

On a recent trip to Delhi, I had the chance to engage in conversations with drivers on a couple of occassions. Since the journey on both trips lasted for more than a couple of hours, I had the chance to delve into the lives of a driver and was highly impressed with them, their beliefs and the way they live their lives. – truly King Size. Overwhelmed with the chat, I wish to share my experience and learnings from them.

Driver
No, not the image of any of those drivers

1. Work while you work and when in need, JUST WORK! [The drivers here don’t sleep for 24-30 hours on the trot].
Karan, a driver, was there to drop a colleague one day. The next day I called a cab, Karan was again there, though he had come to pick someone else, I chatted with him for a while and got to know that he hadn’t slept since then – 32 hours! In this case, his need is money. He would sleep 10-12 hours a week, work the rest and then rush off to spend the weekend with his parents.

2. Respect your job/profession like anything.
Rajkumar, another driver, was a class 12th passout, still he was driving a vehicle for living. He knows how to operate a computer and understands what a pen drive is. When I got to know that I told him that he could get a better job if he wants – his reply simply stunned me. “Sir – Main dilli aaya tha job dhundne. Jab 6 mahine tak naukri nhi mili to maine gaadi chalane se hi kamana shuru kiya hai, isi se kamaye paise se apni behn ki shaadi ki hai aur pitaji ko dukan khulvayi hai, ab agar ise thokar maarkar kuch aur karunga to yeh is naukri aur mere liye dhokha aur sharm ki baat hogi” (Sir – I came to Delhi in search for a job. But after 6 months of unsuccessful job hunting, I started earning through this profession, married my sister and bought my father a shop with the money I’ve earned through Driving, Now if I kick this profession and switch to another, it would be a disgrace to me and my profession.)

3. Respect your subordinates, give them more than they want and they would reciprocate – Learnt from his employer
Rajkumar’s employer started with 3 cars, now he owns a fleet of 82 cars, just within 6 years of operations. Still, he drives the cars, plays cards and dines with his drivers only. Shows no signs of a bossy attitude. How does that help? His drivers are available on a call 24×7 happily and have never let him down in the 6 years of his company’s history.

4. Build trust. It pays you more than anything else in your life.
The driver’s sister had to get married. His employer, without even telling him, transferred 1 Lac Rupees in the driver’s father’s account, and told the father that it was a part of his son’s pending salary. Two months later the driver got to know about that, when his father asked him what was his profession that he earns so much. Rajkumar, though explained, but was stunned to know that. 6 months was all that he took to repay the money, 99% of us cannot do that, especially at a driver’s wage! Just shows the trust Rajkumar has built with his employer. Reminds me, even I have huge pending debts, less than Rajkumar’s and my salary is more than him….

5. Build relations, money is secondary.
Rajkumar told me that people who travel in his cab often give him a tip, depending on the financial status of the traveller. When I got down and offered him a small tip, he refused to take it – “Sir, aap mujhe sharminda kar rhe hain, aapse to dosti karli hai, ye nahi le sakta main” (Sir, you are making me feel embarrassed, I have built a friendship with you, I can’t take this).
Another incidence same day, the first driver, Karan, called me next day to find out whether the colleague whom he dropped the previous day had reached his destination perfectly or not? Never seen a driver/stranger to that. I obliged and talked to him over the phone for a while. After 10-15 mins he said, “Sir itni der to meri setting bhi mujhse baat nhi karti, mujhe bahut achha laga aapne itni der baat kari mujhse“. (Sir, I even my girlfriend doesn’t talk to me for so long, I am really glad that you did). To end the conversation, he even offered me to shift to gurgaon and he would assist me in finding accommodation at the cheapest prices, even though I don’t plan to shift, I was moved with his gesture, especially in the tone in which he said that!

Just to mention why I say they live King Size – Both the drivers had almost double the salary offers from different organizations, but they had refused for reasons highly unknown in today’s world – Freedom, Respect and Loyalty to their current employer!

Probably we can learn something from them. What is that you would want to learn from them?

Happy New Year 2010

It’s been a long year and it’s been long enough since I blogged, last post dating back to November 6. Too bad I must admit and I wish to make excuses as well but I will not, for I know I have only myself to blame.

Phew! I thought i’d write a lot but currently I am thinking of even discarding of what I’ve written above. I feel it’s time to deliver some actual results rather than just talking. Time to complete all those pending assignments and show something worthy enough.

Happy New Year

No, this is not a new year resolution but I’ll try to be regular up here with something up for grab always. That’s what I hope to do. Coincidentally I have joined an organization [South Asia’s largest Media Group] where my boss asks me to blog more often (probably she might be the only boss or one of those rare few, at least in India, who ask you to blog). Glad to have such a boss/manager/instructor/guide.

Between, I also am joining the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB club in IPL[Indian Premier League]) bloggers bandwagon, so you can also catch me up there.

See you folks with some awesome stuff soon. Happy New Year. By the way don’t forget to drop in your new year resolutions, would love to learn from you, maybe it helps both of us so do share. 🙂

Sachin Tendulkar and the Twitter connection

India has always been a cricket crazy nation and probably will remain so for the next few generations as well. No, I don’t say this because I love cricket or that I am an Indian but because Indians showed their love for cricket to the entire world yesterday. And the best part is that they proved their prowess at a time not when India had won but when they had LOST a closely fought ODI (One Day International) match against world champions Australia.

sachin tendulkar twitter trending

Chasing a mighty 350 runs target in 50 overs, Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the world’s best ever batsmen and undoubtedly the best currently playing batsmen, played an innings of a life time and scored half of those runs alone (175 runs) but couldn’t take India to victory as the entire team fell 3 runs short of the target! Each and every Indian who saw the match was heartbroken and their broken hearts and tears flooded twitter with their emotional tweets. Eventually Sachin made it to the Twitter-Record-Books, he already has probably already has all batting records against his name. Coincidentally, he also entered the cricket record books yesterday with another world record of being the first ever batsmen in history to score 17,000 ODI runs.

Coming to twitter analysis, Twitter Trends is way of knowing what is currently hot over the web all over the world at any point of time. Although I knew about it from a long time but I realized the power of trends ever since I saw Michael Jackson trending. Yes, it was through trends that I saw that MJ had passed away. MJ’s demise stayed on twitter for almost a month. Making him one of the most trending topics ever (see pic).

michael jackson trending

For those who are unaware of what a ‘Twitter Trending Topic’ is, as Twitter puts it :

Trending topics on Twitter are keywords that happen to be popping up in a whole bunch of tweets. We measure these topics and adjust them in real-time throughout the day. It’s a great way of finding out what’s happening right now.

As far as the Indian twitter connection is concerned, although “India” trended on twitter on the 14th and 15th of August (reason being India’s independence day on 15th of August) there have only 3 incidents (excluding yesterday’s “Sachin” Trending) when an Indian individual has been a trending topic on twitter. India’s dram queen aka Rakhi Sawant, Late Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, and eliminated veteran BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) leader Jaswant Singh, have made it to the trending topics. Unfortunate but a matter of fact is that all of them made it to the trends for the wrong reasons. Rakhi sawant for the disgusting swayamvar show, YSR – when he died of chopper crash and Jaswant Singh – when he was mercilessly thrown out of India’s 2nd biggest political party – BJP.

ysr-trending

See Rakhi trending here.

The fourth instance of an Indian making it to the trending topics was Sachin Tendulkar, though made it for the right reasons, his heroic knock, but what was heartbreaking to see was that India had lost the battle. Well, what’s important is not that Sachin was the fourth Indian, but the fact which is overwhelming to know is that he’s the first cricketer who has made it to the list.

sachin trending on twitter

We all know that records hardly matter for a man of his stature, but for all of us they really do. Hats off to Sachin for making us proud yet again – on the virtual world this time. Kudos to Sachin, you truly are a Brand. Cheers !

Joy of Giving : What did you give last?

Last week Teach for India celebrated the Joy of Giving week. There were free hugs campaigns in Pune and problem solving free marches around the city (2nd october- TFI fellows along with volunteers went around the city talking to people asking what problems they see in the country and what are the steps they have taken or plan to take in order to eradicate them). Being in Bangalore I could not be a part of the campaign but does that mean I should stop giving? Of course the answer is NO.

Joy of giving week reminds me the thought of giving. We often give gifts to our loved ones, we give money/food/clothes to beggars/needy ones, we give …. probably lots of things to people but what is that that cannot be measured in terms of money? I thought for some time that what is that I have given to the society that doesn’t involve monetary transactions? What is that which I gave or wish to give in future for nothing in reward? What is that which I gave and made me happy, just that feeling of happiness? Yes, I came up with an answer, it was ‘Knowledge’.

As a student and even now as a professional, there is one thing which I don’t stop giving or sharing and that is knowledge. Educate somebody about something, spread what you know and preach what you practice. There are some things which we can learn only from our peers, and education is one of them. Everybody reads the same text books but still someone knows more, someone less. Why not share our knowledge and make the world a better place by giving everybody the power of information. I have often seen people hiding their knowledge or not sharing what they know, reason being they fear their friend might overtake in the particular field/subject. How can someone overtake you if you told him/her how to take the first steps? And even if he does, you should feel happy about it, and that too for two reasons. First is, someone listened to what you had to say and has actually implemented what you were trying to convey, how many of us do that? And secondly because if he knows more than you some days later, you can learn all those new things from him and that too in a much lesser time than you would have originally spent. So its always good to ‘give’ and the joy of giving can never supercede any other joy.

Now let me know (in the comments section) what is that you’ve given or plan to give in future which would give you ‘Joy of Giving’.

What is a brand ?

Of late I have been asked by quite a few people about branding and what are the steps to become a brand but today I was asked a good question, What is a Brand or better put Define a Brand.

Wikipedia says : A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as “cultural accessories and personal philosophies”.

FreeDictionary.com says :

    A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
    A product line so identified: a popular brand of soap.
    A distinctive category; a particular kind

apart from a 100 other definitions.

Let’s talk practical : Shahrukh Khan is a brand, Farhan Akhtar is not; Harsha Bhogle is a brand, Arun Lal is not; Michael Jackson is a brand (yes, he still is), Rakhi Sawant is NOT. Even though I did write about her sometime back and that too in relation to branding, but she never was and can never be.

Shahrukh Khan
In terms of product value, I will say they are brands because the first thing is that THEY SELL. Any Shahrukh film just sells, even though the promos have not been good, even though the film is crap, even though it may have no other superstar in it, what matters is it sells. Same does not hold for Farhan Akhtar.

If Harsha Bhogle is on air, everyone listens to him, his name sells there. The same is not true in the case of an Arun Lal or a Rameez Raja, even though they are seen commentating on all channels and are all over the place, people may listen but do not respect their commentary.

Brand Michael Jackson
Brand Michael Jackson

An MJ album used to sell without even people listening his songs, they just bought. His shows were a sellout because people knew its M-I-C-H-A-E-L J-A-C-K-S-O-N who’s performing. However old he grew, his shows were always a sellout. He was a household name, even my dad knows his name, even though he never heard a single song of him. On the contrary, even though Rakhi Sawant is a household name, but is her show watched on each and every person ? Though people like me watched a few of her tv appearances, but did we watch it because of Rakhi? No is the answer, and what’s more is that more people switched channels when they saw her on air.

So who is a brand ? Let me tell what does not define it. Any person/product/company which catches the eye of the people simply is NOT termed a brand. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Something which fades away with time is NOT one. Negative publicity does NOT make one.

A brand is something/someone/product or company which :

    is famous (the primary condition)
    has earned respect in the society (society may be a variable term here, but constitutes of people who do not know or are NOT associated with the brand personally)
    has value (the product is good or the person has excelled professionally or the company has done exceptionally good business)
    which sells outright (does not need much of marketing)
    raises eyeballs every now and then, with positive actions or sometimes even with neutral ones
    no of people who love the brand >>> no of people who hate it (yes you ought-to/must have those who hate you)
    does not become news for negative reasons

May be you can add more points ? I put what I could recall of but I guess you may have much more to add, looking forward to discuss and learn more from you people.