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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" ~ Guy de Maupassant ~

Wednesday, 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.

11:58:59 PM    comment []  trackback []

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.

11:49:46 PM    comment []  trackback []

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Global Voices Online has announced the first five citizen media outreach projects to receive Rising Voices microgrants.

"The overwhelming response is a testament to the global enthusiasm for citizen media that stretches from Southern Chile to rural Nigeria, from a village in Mali without electricity to urban Mongolia; from an orphanage in Ethiopia to a center for disabled HIV/AIDS patients in Kenya. The list goes on and on, but what all of the project proposals have in common is a desire to enable their communities to tell their own stories, to write their own first draft of history, to document their traditions and culture before they are washed away by the tides of globalization."

Congratulations to all those receiving the grant - I really believe this is a huge step for blogging outreach programmes!

9:43:04 AM    comment []  trackback []