Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sharing the Journey

Makes others fellow travelers.

Bombay Addict ruminates what makes him share deep personal details on Twitter

I don’t know why sharing with strangers worked for me. Maybe because I’m not good at being alone, at being quiet, at being pensive. I like talking. About myself, about my very boring and ordinary life that I love and enjoy. About my mediocrity. I can also go on and on. Thankfully, I remember someone even hauling me up on Twitter last year when I became too depressive. I’m glad he did. I did slip into a depression that I’m still not sure I’ve come out of. My grief was still my own. The warmth and love and support help, but the loss is mine and I have to carry it. (Aside: This NewYorker article helped in a very big way because it questions our traditional idea of grieving).

So no, I don’t know what it is about Twitter that works. I’d be daft if I started to talk with strangers in the local train. Or roll down my windows in a traffic jam and tell people that I’m sad and depressed. They won’t care. They don’t need to. But I guess Twitter is different in how it gets us together. All of us together in a journey. Friendships and relationships can get made in journeys. We laugh and cry in journeys. We unite and fight in journeys. We love and lose in journeys. You can choose to be alone in the journey. And you can see the train go by on its journey. All that’s left in the end is the journey.




Quora is not like Blogging

I really don’t think of Quora as blogging. More in the nature of Linkedin Answers or Yahoo! Answers. But Scoble does make a point as to what it borrows from.

I don’t think Quora will replace or even be a substitute for blogging by a long shot. The big value it has is the quality of people who are answering, IMHO.

Amplify’d from

So, what is the innovation here?

First, it learned from Twitter. Ask your users a question and they’ll answer it.

Second, they learned from Facebook. Build a news feed that brings new items to you.

Third, they learned from the best social networks. You follow people you like. But then they twisted it. You can follow topics. Or you can follow questions in addition to following people. This is great for new users who might not know anyone. They can follow topics.

Fourth, they learned from blogs about how to do great SEO. I’ve started seeing Quora show up on Google.

Fifth, they learned from FriendFeed, Digg, and other systems that let you vote up things. If you watch a question that has a lot of engagement you’ll even see votes roll in live. It’s very addictive.

Sixth, they brought the live “engagement display” that Google Wave had: it shows who is answering a question WHILE they are answering it.

Seventh, it has a great search engine for you to find things you are interested in.

Anyway, I find that there’s something addictive about participating over there instead of here on my blog. Why? Because when you see people voting up your answers or adding their own replies in real time it makes you realize there’s a good group of people reading your stuff. I don’t get that immediate rush here (here I have to wait for comments to show up, which isn’t nearly as immediate).



Understanding Meta-Products

Hadn’t ever heard of this before

Amplify’d from

I am liking the idea of ‘Meta-products‘. What is a meta-product? The best  examples are Nike+, the fabulously daft Nabaztag and, more recently, Alertme. Generally speaking they’re physical objects, rooted in networked technology that are driven by mobile and web services. There is nothing new about this idea, it’s roots are well established in many sci-fi and computer science paradigms like ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing or more broadly the Internet of Things

The idea of meta-products perhaps gives us semantic framework within which we can talk more comfortably about experiences, without slipping into the void of intangibility that’s always felt like a hinderance to the service design dialogue or worshipping the design of objects for their  own sake. Primarily it gives consumers something much more tangible to understand and of course – buy.
The new meta-products will free us from myriad lcd displays, flashing leds and long learning curves, they will be smooth shiny, sculptural and most importantly – connected. The only issue now – is how to refer to myself as a meta-product designer without sounding like a git.



Social CRM and Employees

Article on what it takes to make the transition from CRM to Social CRM. However most of such discussion is missing the critical point of getting employees ready to make that transition – and whose role that is

A lot of HR people now are approaching me to conduct “social media awareness” sessions – so I guess is the movement to really becoming a “Social Business” is still some way off in India

[…] instant gratification and proof that companies are actually using their commentary. “It’s just basics,” he insists. “Saying, ‘Hey, that was a great comment and we’re looking into it’ can work. But you have to get back and show you’re making changes, otherwise you’ll see the community start dying off.”

That last point is key: participation.  Customers and clients want a relationship, a dialog with the company with whom they are dealing.  That puts a human face on it and creates customer satisfaction.

Another focal point of the article was the help center and the way the help center will change as a result of social media.  The help center is the point of contact with which most clients interact with the company/business and because of that there will be changes in the staff and capabilities of the staff:

While this article mostly dealt with the idea of on-line forums, other aspects of social media interaction were touched upon as well as the need to have a strategy for that interaction.  In fact, regarding that last, the entire June 2009 issue was the Social media issue and there are a lot of articles with interesting and valuable content.



Thoughts on Online Influence: Social Media

Am not sure if you saw this, but I was named one of the 25 HR Digital Influencers of 2010.

Now that could be hilarious.

It’s important to remember that influence/popularity/power in the digital world is totally different from the real world.

The issue is that the online world enables one to measure a lot of things – like impressions, number of readers, followers, fans across various platforms – which are collectively called “engagement metrics” because they show the number of people interested in the content you put out and the community that you help build.

On top of that there are things like PageRank by Google, Alexa Rank which show over a period the number of people who link to you and hence the “authority” you have.

It’s no wonder that there are enough services and information providers that slide and dice this data to enable people to make sense of these numbers.

Earlier there were directories like Technorati.

Then there came lists like the Career 100 – which combined data to rank blogs roughly in the same domain.

However with the rise of social and information and professional networks – and movement of the focus from pure content to the people behind the content – services that track “influence” based on Twitter numbers, Facebook fans, and Linkedin connections rapidly are making strides.

The demand is being driven – primarily in the western world – by companies who believe that “social influencer marketing” is the way to reach out to an increasingly splintered audience across these networks.

Enter services like Klout (my profile here) and (my profile here) which want to enable people and others track their “reach” and “audience”

Then there is traackr which use algorithms

However, it’s early days yet and these systems can be easily gamed.

Let’s see how it evolves in the future