Guest Lecture on Future of Blogging & Twitter

A week back in my office, when I was busy doing the testing for one of my applications, an email popped up which said

FUTURE OF BLOGGING AND TWITTER

Guest Lecture by KIRUBA SANKAR

This caught my attention and I was so eager to attend this session. I was just curious to know what the content would be under this topic. If someone can really forecast the future of this blogging and twitter, then he must be a magician! I finished all the testing tasks, putting off the documentation work after the lecture; I started towards the seminar Hall.

Before writing about the session, let me give you a small intro on Kiruba. Well, he is the CEO of Business Blogging, Board Member of Rang De, Founder of F5ive Technologies and Columnist of Business Standard. So he has so much of titles in his pocket!!

I found two of my friends waiting outside and three of us joined the crowd and settled in a comfortable place in the hall. Without much delay, the session started. As usual there was this introduction by one of the MC and there the Collar mike occupied a comfortable place in the suit of Kiruba Shankar who enlightened us with the world of Online Social Media.

He was obviously different from the umpteen number of guest lecture folks, who used to come and start the session right away. He was trying to make us comfortable. In the hall in which we were seated, we have a computer monitor in front of every seat in the audience side, behind which many of the folks found a comfortable abode for the session.

He rightly caught the mind set and asked us, “So this hall is well designed for a lecture is it? Dim lighting, spacious hall and a monitor to hide your face so that you can sleep happily throughout the session, isn’t it? Can someone please switch on the lights please, so that I can see all of their faces?”

I liked this attitude of his. He was so concerned on everyone and he wanted everyone to listen. I obviously became curious.

The ice breaking session was really fantastic. We were made to mimic and jump as a duck and were asked to do becka-becka-becka loudly jumping!!

After the audience is set, there went the first question,

1. How many of you out here have a blog?

A few of the hands rose in the air and few were down. There came the next question.

2. Why do you think, you don’t have a blog?

He was expecting an answer from us. Since many of them had blogs, there was less probability of getting an answer. At last one guy from the crowd spoke, “I did not see any need to have one”.

One more reply was, “I do not get any comments in my blogs. Nobody reads it, so why should I simply right something?”

After some interaction with the folks, he gave an example of a three legged stool of sticking to some decision.

A stool with a single leg cannot stand.

A stool with two of its legs still cannot stand.

A stool with three legs can stand with a decent balance

A stool with four legs can stand well with a good balance

Similarly, to start blogging, think and come up with solid three reasons. Why should I start a blog? Ask this question to yourself and find three answers. If you are able to come with an answer, then stick to it and start blogging. Daily spend an hour to write down things and put in blog. Maintain it for a few days. Even after doing that, if you feel dissatisfied, then you can just leave it and stop blogging. You need not get back. That is perfectly fine!!

Tip: Start blogging

Then came the next question

3. How many of you have a personal email id apart from Gmail and Yahoo?

Again there was only one hand coming up. Then Kiruba gave his Gyaan on email ids. He said, “I’ve an 8 year old daughter who has an email id. She uses that for her personal use. So what makes the difference between you and her?”

This question made me really ponder on the topic. He says, “First of all, stop using all the Gmail and yahoo emails. Buy a domain first and get a email ID in your name. Something like yourname@yourname.com. Like suresh@sureshgopi.com. This gives you a dignity in the social media and it silently gives all people out there, a hint to look into your website that’s sticking after the “@” symbol in the email.”

He also asked us not to use wordpress and blogspot and other free blog hosting sites for blogging as we are just promoting their product. It is wise and professional to have a website or a blog in our name. So every time you send out a communication or an article in the Newspaper. You can attach the email ID and in turn that will carry your website name as well. This may increase traffic to your website and also it gives a professional touch to your online presence.

Tip: Have a personal email ID in your name and a personal blog in your domain name. Use it in your blog, Official communications. It will be really good to see your name and domain in the recipient inbox.

“How to promote your blog?” was another question in which various ways of blog promotion were discussed. Few of those were, putting the blog link in email signatures, clipping it along with the article that we publish in the newspapers. Yea, we can send in articles to the newspapers, which may appear in the editorial or in the supplementary columns. Even using it in the text messaging was one of the options.

Then came the discussion about how blogging has helped him and many of his friends, to come up in the life. Just a dedicated maintenance of the blog and constant content update will help one to reach unimaginable heights. It will help you a lot in the professional front.

The discussion steered on how blogging can lead to negative effects. He again narrated two incidents on how blogging has led to many problems. It seems he has written an article about the tamil actress Trisha scandal video that was in the circulation spree sometime before and that article which he wrote in his blog, came as the first result in the Google Search results. So when the cyber crime guys were into the hunting spree for the source of that video, his blog hooked up in the investigation as the article carried around 400 comments below which raised the page ranking and he was asked to report for an enquiry as it came in the top Google search results. Later he had to negotiate with them and explain them that it was just a blog and a small article that spoke and discussed if it was the real actress or it was a morph. Later he was able to come out of the issue without any problems. Thus simple things like this may create unexpected problems.

There was one more narration of an incident about Club Mahindra. The incident was about a single blog which devastatingly ruined their sales and revenue. That’s when it struck him that blogging is a powerful tool which can change anyone’s life. He also spoke about the problem he faced when he blogged about one issue about credit cards. The learning is that, anything we blog about, first thing we need to do is to get the data correct after verifying and validating for its correctness and credibility and only then it has to be put in blog.

50 cents about Twitter

Twitter apart from being highly informative and gives a “being-connected” feel, it can sometime pose menace to you. When people post twitter updates in their timeline saying I’m going to Bangalore, in airport now, going out of station for a week etc it can pose threat to your family. When you have put all your address and phone number in the website, any Tom, Dick & Harry can pose as your friend since he/she knows everything you do. The person knows your profession, what you do and where you go and where you are up to currently and all such information. Thanks to the social networking sites which gives anyone a full profile of yours and this gives an easy way to loot your house and not only that, anything can happen when you are away from Home. It is interesting to post updates about every activity you do. But it is wise to use it appropriately and usefully. So better be careful than sorry.

Kiruba recommends us to try podcasting, audio blogs – like you can record your voice describing about anything under the earth and post it in your blog. Normally we used to sit and write. In audio blogging or podcasting we can broadcast our thoughts, experiences etc visually and in voice. I’ve to admit that it was a scintillating session.

Then it was a question-answer session. So one guy shot the question, “Well about the future of blogging and twitter…”

“haha..errr..Well to my knowledge, twitter won’t last for more than five years. But in those five years, how to use all the social media to enhance your online presence is the point you need to focus.” This was his reply.

I guess, I’ve discussed most of the topics that were presented in the session. Though the session did not cover anything about future of things as such, but it did give an insight on the pros and cons of blogging & twitter. Moreover this topic is vast and it cannot be covered in the 1 hour time frame. I’ve kept the details short here since I want to keep this post a bit short, and so I’m concluding the post here.

Overall, this was the only session I was fully awake & interactive amidst all the sessions that I attended in my office.

Do drop in his site & find more details about Kiruba Shakar here in the About Me page – http://www.kiruba.com

Last but not least, He tweets here @kiruba

Thanks for the wonderful session!

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Socially too much!!

It was an ordinary evening in my computer lab, sometime back when I was in the end of my second year engineering. One of my friend asked me to join orkut. He said he has sent a request to my yahoo email.

Orkut!

I was hearing that name for the first time. I was completely clueless on what it is or what it has to do with me. Then, one of my another friend beside me, sitting in front of his computer in the same lab said that he found his very old friend with whom he did his second standard in Madurai. He also said, using his profile, he found all his lost friends after the schooling.

Using his profile, he found all his friends..

These sentences were Greek and Latin to me.  I logged in to my yahoo mail to check what request he has sent me. It was a mail which said that my friend is in this network and he would like to invite me and discover millions of friends. It also ensured me that, I’ll be able to find my friends and keep in touch with them.

I was wondering that when I have all of their residence address, land line phone numbers along with their birthdays and their father’s name written securely in the thin plastic covered diary with some LIC or Indian Bank or State Bank of India logo printed on its cover, why at all I need something like this orkut-workut to keep in touch with friends?

I clicked the link which was in the email with the logo of orkut in the left. A new page opened in the Internet Explorer 6.0 of my Windows 2000 operating system. I didn’t realize that, this page into which I was going to create my profile is going to change the perception of what we call “keeping in touch” with the friends.

It was the beginning of the social networking era in my life. It was the first time, I’ve been introduced to this stranger called “Social Networking”. The stranger was very few in number, when I started getting acquainted with him. Even I was unaware that I was into “Social Networking”

But with the course of time, I’ve scaled myself with the internet. With its drastic growth in all seepages of human life, I’ve been able to grow in par with it. Four years back, I was still in the Paleolithic age of noting down the phone numbers and address in the pocket diary which we used to get from the near by “Potti kadai” (Petty Shop) or from the nearby stationary shops. But now, I do not even care to look into the diaries. I even remember fighting with my sister for the biggest diary with all the provisions of writing birthdays for most number of friends.

But now, online world is changing devastatingly. It is competing with its own status. Today social networking websites are everywhere. You open your inbox in any email service, it can be either Gmail or Yahoo., you would have got few twenty mails from various friends asking you to ‘join their network’. Orkut was the only ‘friendship making’ site I know earlier. I still know many of my friends having an ‘account’ in multiple social networking sites. It is the excitement and urge to see what’s new in it, that makes people join the network.

My second encounter with such a networking site was the Facebook. Yes, I shamelessly accept that I have an account in that too. Now-a-days, it has become a question of status. When you are not in any of such sites, the whole world looks at you as a loser. You may be subjected to not-fit-to-be-a-person look. Girls will look at you and throw such a cheap stare of He doesn’t have one (account I was referring to!). When you are in a get-together, when parting,  they say, “I’ll share the photos in Orkut/Facebook. Do leave comments”. When you don’t have an account, you look insane. You look blank.

And this Farmville thingy is quite irritating; many of my friends are sending me goats, lambs, monkeys and all kinds of animals to me in the FB! God, I’ve not used it till now. And very humble apologies for all my friends whose animals I ignored. I even remember someone asking me to be a neighbor in the Farmville and even I can gift them a sheep! Dude, I’m not a farmer!! (hehe on a lighter note :))

I can name a few of them, after Orkut and Facebook, and this list goes on like Mingle box, Friendster, Hi5, My space, Bebo, ibibo, Netlog, WAYN, Yaari, Fropper, Linkedin and these whooping websites grow on and on and on. Actually, these social networking sites enables us to find friends but with the growth of such sites, one day we will find ourselves lost in the networking sea.

After this entire networking buzz, there comes another monster that usurps our life into the networking ocean.  This discourages you to fill much information like interests, movies you like and all. But it asks you to keep information short. Yes…and the status messages you share must not exceed 140 characters. By now most of you would have hit the nail Yes it is Twitter! People do find many of the others whom they like and ‘follow’ them

Initially I had the least interest in Twitter. But slowly once I started getting familiarize with it, I started tweeting, and use hashtag for tweets. I follow people and many of them follow me. So this social networking has brought in many new lingos.

“What ya…orkutting ugh?”

“Did u see my tweet last night?”

“I’m following her in twitter!”

“Put it in Orkut!”

“I tagged u in one of your pics…”

So this thing has changed the way people associated with each other. I should accept that I found many of my friends whom I have lost in contact with them after school, through this social networking thingy. I do not deny the fact that it enables you to keep in touch, but what I insist is that, too much of anything is bad. Almost all computer users show their activities happening in their life through these mediums. Everybody share photos of marriage, get together, family outings, office parties, tours, birthday celebrations, International tours and everything that’s happening in their life in the orkut. And moreover these days I get lots of innovative marriage invitations in my inbox which have been designed with relevance to Orkut and Facebook. The powerpoint presentation will have the screen shot of their Orkut profiles!

So this has become the medium of letting people know what they are up to currently and what they are going to do in the future through status updates. Indeed it’s a very good sign of how technology has seeped into human life’s small pores and the permeation persists as long as the internet exits.

It hasn’t made people’s life easier, but it has made their life vulnerable to threats in various forms! A simple “Hi your DP looks cute, can we be friends?” kinda scrap in orkut seems to be harmless, but many of them are not aware that how unsafe that scrap can be and it may even lead to end of life. Many cases of social networking frauds and murders have been registered in the Indian courts. It has also incubated the rate of internet crimes for its considerable rise.

Technology development has both its pros and cons. It is to be handled with utmost care. It is upto us to use it safely. We all know that a fire can be used to bring light to someone’s life and it can also prove ominous to one’s life as well.

So, I would say that, too much of anything will lead to destruction in its value. So be socially well and groomed but see to it that, it doesn’t cross your secure borders.

I still remember that my grandfather used to have accounts in multiple banks. But now many of them have accounts in multiple websites!

Well, nothing much to say. I can see “India ‘Sign’ing”.

P.S: Wish U all a Happy & Prosperous New Year 2010