From the category archives:

Social Software Social Networks

India Inc – wake up! Social Networking’s here to stay.

January 11, 2010

Tweet An article titled Social Networking plagues India Inc which is based on a survey conducted by Assocham just goes to show that they’re really sleeping or threatened, while their world’s moving forward! A recent national survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India’s (Assocham) Social Development Foundation revealed that 84% […]

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Twitter Shortcode for India

January 31, 2008

Tweet Aaah finally …. a Twitter shortcode for India which means we don’t pay international SMS charges! Nice. Thanks to Moksh Juneja for pointing this out. The shortcode is 5566511. “Twitter asks you to verify your phone so we know that you’re you. You’ll never be signed up for mobile updates unless you really want […]

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Orkut vs Facebook in Indian Organisations

November 13, 2007

Tweet I was at a meeting today, and I learnt that Orkut is banned by the organization, but not Facebook and LinkedIn.  I was told this is true in many organizations in India.  The perception is that Orkut is frivolous  and people spend lots of time playing.  The funny thing is,  I have never spent […]

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Flock 1.0 – More Intuitive, More Social

October 20, 2007

Tweet I first saw a demo of Flock at Pop!Tech in 2005 – I remember feeling it was cool because it brought together so many tools into one space. And I’m re-visiting Flock today, withe the launch of Flock 1.0 beta. What I like: I’m liking it – it is like integrating my desktop-browsing-bookmarking-tagging-publishing-social networking […]

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Off to Deauville, France

October 9, 2007

Tweet Am speaking at the World Women’s Forum on the 11th and leaving for Paris tonight. Thought I’d just bring back a post I did a few days ago at Mosoci, on our session. There’s also going to be live-blogging from there, and I will do my bit too. Women’s Forum for the Economy and […]

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Free Burma! International Bloggers’ Day

October 4, 2007

Tweet is today: Free Burma! International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning […]

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August 30, 2007

Its been quiet here too long ……. the result of many many shifts. A new home, getting things to work smoothly, much travelling, transferring from a PC to a Mac, not being able to figure out how to get my Radio blog easily onto a Mac (Paolo has very graciously offered to help after I left a comment at his blog)….

And mosoci β

Mosoci is more than an idea – it is a beta platform, an emergent plan.  It is jazz, bricolage and serious play.  It lets us play a little music where chaos, creativity, diversity and complexity are all welcome.
It fulfils our desires and needs which are driven by the fundamental experiences of our souls, to live and work in an emergent, globally connected community.

What it is not, is a formal traditional organization.  We hope the lifestream we have built at the Mosoci blog demonstrates this.  We want it to be more than just the two of us.  Stuart spells this thought out really well:

know we would not be doing this without everyone that has read our
blogs over the last few years. Social Media built the platform for our
collaboration and the sense that our network and community would
support, participate with us and help us grow. Now it is beyond an idea
and yet it is still being formulated. We certainly don’t want to end up
as just the two of us. Today though we are happy to feel like we are in
a constant state of beta. That’s the zone where it is a real rush.

you for your support, praise and interest. Our blogs and blogging will
evolve just like our other social media activities are. For example we
are really enjoying bringing our
into the feed. For now our tweets are there too. That may be
overwhelming. Then it may also be helpful. We’ll let the readers tell

A picture named mosoci2.jpgIt is born out of our curiosity, passion and deep belief in the strength of social technologies to make a real difference, our willingness and drive to share, learn and grow allowed us to experiment with and use those very technologies to communicate and collaborate on several projects over the years. More details from Stuart:

“Much happens today by chance. Things also emerge and we find ways to
jump on them and adapt. Over the years Dina and I have enjoyed telling
parts of our story. We first met in an online forum. I set her up
blogging “Conversations with Dina” with install instructions over an IM chat session, long before voice and video connections were possible. Skype
also helped to revolutionize our collaboration and connectivity. Open
channels between India and the US made collaboration around Learning
Journeys, research, and just links and interests possible. Working in
India for most of the last year, attending some conferences together
around the world and we knew we were at the point where where 1+1 makes
more than two.

Mosoci is the platform of our collaboratory around the interests we
love, are passionate about and to reinforce the direction and learning
we need to go in. We won’t be successful without our network and our
community and the power of social media. Blogs, wikis, forums, twitter,
bookmarking have enabled who we are today.”

You may ask, what does Mosoci do?  Simply put, a) we immerse ourselves in research and deep dives, b) we facilitate change and help re-frame value for organizations.  The time and opportunity to conduct and deliver research and strategies in new ways is here. We constantly push the boundaries with emerging
social tools (blogs, wikis, SMS, RSS, social networks, beta
communities), with clients when and as appropriate.  We want to take this practice, this method of working, along with others who are doing some excellent work in this field, to the whole world.

Let’s create that map together, in the hope that the map will bring forth the features of the territory.
We want your comments, perspectives, and just plain old honest
help and advice to make this a success. We are open to suggestion and
really don’t want to stop at just a few of us.

It would be great if you would jump in on the conversation at Mosoci and add Mosoci Feed  to your reader. We’d love your feedback and suggestions.

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Travelling to the US and UK

July 11, 2007

I will be in the US from July 18th to 27th – am attending meetings in Cambridge MA on the 19th and 23rd. Have some free time over the weekend July 21-22nd. Am meeting up with Yazad who touched base with me on Facebook when I mentioned I was going – and looking forward to meeting him on Sunday. Would love to meet up with bloggers and other folks in the Boston area who are interested in the social media scene or in qualitative research and ethnography or just want to hangout and yak!

I will also be in London for a few days on my way back – July 29-31st where I am going to hangout with friends. Again, would love to meet anyone who’s free on those days.

Do drop in a comment here or send me email to dina(dot)mehta(at)gmail(dot)com if you’d like to meet up.

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Framing the context for blogging

July 11, 2007

Had an interesting interaction with an FMCG Client for whom we are setting up some presentations and workshops around how they can take their brands into the social media realm. I sent a client a detailed note on what we could provide, and she forwarded it to one of the marketing guys who felt it is exciting, but perhaps too focussed on blogging and not enough on youtube!

I dashed off a response to the person who is leading this effort that she must frame this workshop for her organization, only then can she get buy-in. It is one thing for us as consultants to deliver on the content, but because it is such a new field here, and because of the tremendous hype and buzz around it, there are many misconceptions; the most salient one being that blogs are individual personal spaces.

My response to her:

Please frame the workshop when you send it out internally – some thoughts on that … assure them we will talk about youtube and many many many more such
services like flickr, twitter, podcasting, facebook etc. All these
are microblogging applications. And we will do a whole session on
facebook – which is the latest ‘hottie’ and is a platform where users
are encouraged not only to create their ‘user-generated’ content, but
also build new applications bottom-up.

I think there is a mismatch here in what your team
understands about what blogging is – and what it actually is. Most
non-bloggers seem to refer to blogging as merely writing a diary. But
that’s not complete, nor does it do blogging any justice. Blogging is the act of publishing content online
in a space that is yours – usually chronologically ordered. It could be
videos, audio, short text messages, photos – all forms of multimedia.
It could be in your own space where usually you use a text-driven
blogging platform, and to which you can add plugins for a multimedia
experience, or it could be within a social network space – like
youtube, twitter, etc

So, in the presentation unless they understand what blogging
really is – and what influence bloggers have, I think we will be doing
the social media space no justice at all. Moreover, it is bloggers
that are the early adopters, analysts and consultants in this space —
unless they had built it, it would not exist. Much the same in the
potential for products and brands. They are the new influentials – and
they have the potential to really evangelize or rant big time.

This is not just an international phenomenon – a recent study
in India revealed that 85% of active internet users claimed to read
blogs regularly! This is their growing influence. Today most news
channels in India have a list of bloggers they call
upon on general stories they are covering – to get the buzz on what’s
going around on the web. When Sunita Williams and her safe return to earth was the big thing on TV, I was asked by a TV Channel to participate in a show on it – I turned it down, as it was not really relevant to either blogging or my areas of interest – but that’s a different issue. A lot of civic and political action is now
being mobilized through mobile phones and online. Many of these use
blogging platforms for their causes, and build large communities around
them by taking them into Orkut and Facebook.

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User-Generated Content – Just more ‘Us vs Them’?

June 29, 2007

Bloggy thought three. Something I was mulling over for a while, even shared in a completely inarticulate manner with Rajesh yesterday, who by the way awarded me with the Thinking Blogger Award.  He shared with me some links that report on the recent IAMAI Web2.0 conference, with the comment – “am getting a bit restless with marketers”!  Then I got a call from a journalist, who wanted to discuss ‘unconferences’ – and I took off on her a little and told her how I dislike the term – any activity that is prefaced with an ‘un’ makes me feel not-so-nice about it.  Anyways, it also reminded me about another phrase or term in the social media realm that I generally dislike —- user-generated content and I started my rant on her! 

I particularly dislike it when I hear mainstream media and corporate organizations get a high on the phrase ‘user-generated content’.  In India, many times, its shortened to UGC (the only UGC I know of is the University Grants Commission!) and it bugs me no end. 

I dislike it, especially when, in the background, I hear their minds ticking away the rupees they can generate, behind all this buzz and excitement around the term.  When they have not really embraced it themselves.

I dislike it when they distance themselves from it – it’s something other people — oops users do.   How many of them have actually generated content themselves?

I am happy with adopting the term when I am talking about content that is created by users of a service – so there is user-generated content on Youtube, or on blogging platforms, or on wikis.  But I dislike it when marketers, PR agencies talk about the ‘potential’ in harnessing user-generated content for their brands, products and services through advertising messages on the user-generated content spaces or sites, and then believe they are really using social media in their strategies.  Am not knocking advertising based strategies – I just feel they are skimming the surface of the true potential in participating in the conversations, co-creation, community and collaboration that occurs when there is user-generated content.

I think they have it wrong, when they feel that getting onto the user-generated content bandwagon is a quick-fix for their social media strategies. Inherent in the phrase is a division, the notion or assumption of ‘us vs them’.  They have got to see themselves as co-participants and partners rather than marketers or advertisers who are ‘using’ user-generated content as another media opportunity.

I simply loved Toby Bloomberg’s rant at Unilever which so well illustrates what I am trying so hard to articulate!

“So I really want to see that ad. I really Need to see that ad. What do I do? Do I search for Lux? Do I go to the Unilever website? Nope. I head for YouTube and sure enough here it is! It’s a must watch. Oh and the Unilever Lux site?
Good I didn’t head that way, my coffee would have turned cold looking
for any mention of the campaign. Anyone for integrated marketing?

Questions To Ponder
Does a marketing campaign have to be “social” to be successful?
Is traditional advertising dead?
Is there room in the proverbial marketing mix for the good old 60 second TV spot?

Diva Marketing Thoughts
Marketing 101 tells us to hang where our customers hang. For some the “tube” means television and for others it means YouTube. And for many people it means Both

While there were quite a few Neon Girl videos on YouTube, I didn’t notice a Unilever Neo Girl YouTube Channel.
Unilever you missed an opportunity. Actually you missed several. Never
too late to get into the game. Would be a good idea to consider
especially if a sequel is in the works. Work it right and you might
have the next Lonely Girl.”

Bonus link: Here’s Jon Udell on why he dislikes the term per se.

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Does everything have to be ‘searchable’?

June 29, 2007

Bloggy thought two. It’s not worth it, if it’s not searchable. Robert Scoble and Steve Rubel seem to feel so. Am actually feeling the contrary only because of my recent experiences with Facebook and Twitter. The other day, I was chatting with a young friend who is 18, and he told me a few things around Facebook. His dashboard and homepage is Facebook – all his social interactions happen around it, along with a few IM clients. He doesn’t really use email very much. And most pertinent to this post, was his comment that he was disturbed that his whole family including aunts and grand-aunts could ‘peep’ into his entire life. In fact, it was so funny when he related a story about how an aunt actually sent his grandma some pictures of girls who wanted to ‘marry’ him. He’s now got most of his family on ‘limited’ profile — but his friends have full access to him!

I still believe that what you write or say or show on the web is there for everyone to see, read or hear, and I like that openness and transparency of the web. Still I am enjoying the levels of privacy that Facebook offers me. When I blog, I do sometimes (not when I am feeling particularly ranty) wonder whether what I write will come back to bite me some day or how people will view me as a result of what I write. I do feel more ‘responsible’ about what views I share on my blog – perhaps this happens when you have been blogging since 2003 and when your blog becomes your single-point public profile, for the whole world to see – family, friends, clients, potential clients etc.

But on spaces like Facebook and Twitter, I feel so much more comfort – I can rant, I can be silly, throw some food at a friend, hug someone else, share when I am upset or ecstatic. I don’t ever ‘think’ too much when I am on Facebook – my mode is a more feely one. It’s more about me and who I am. And less about my thoughts on a particular subject and less of the ‘Dina’ I want to project or promote or share around what I do.

I loved this comment at Steve Rubel’s post by Ryan McKegney – it resonates:

“As Steve points out above, there are advantages to having a walled
garden. In real life, I have a public and private life, but because of
Google and the general openness of the web, the balance between public
and private online is out of whack. The existing “private web” (IMs,
email) has been largely static for the last half decade, but if it
chooses to be, Facebook could be the next evolution of the private web.
Facebook isn’t just a walled garden, it is MY walled garden.”

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Does your company have a social media strategy?

June 29, 2007

I was driving back from a meeting when I had a few bloggy thoughts … long drives in traffic and beating rain tend to do that to me! It was a good meeting – regular (I actually said that!!!) qualitative research project among IT students and professionals to understand motivations that drive them to join certain sorts of organizations in a highly competitive field, to figure out a strategy to draw them to my Client’s organization. As we were discussing the research, I suddenly felt – wow – this is the perfect case for a social media / new media strategy —- you have young professionals, in the IT industry, probably heavy users of the internet, a captive target audience that must be familiar with blogs, social networking sites, youtube and the like! When you think of motivations and drivers for this segment, how can you not think of The Influentials, who help them frame their opinions. Am waiting eagerly for my copy which is winging its way here currently. It would be neat to figure out who or what they are in the project I am doing. So somewhere midway in discussing sample definitions, I broke away and asked my client – do you have a social media or blogging strategy – you need one! She was interested I think, particularly since one of her marketing objectives is to build a powerful corporate identity in order to attract the best talent.

Now am hoping it’s a qualitative research +++ project!!  Am beginning to believe any organization or brand that is targeting an audience that is ‘online’ must have a social media strategy.  Social media is in-your-face today, no web user or surfer can really escape it.  

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Supermarket 2.0

June 11, 2007

OMG this is soooo funny – a supermarket going web 2.0!! Thanks Toby.

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