W.G.T. Fernando is an author of over 15 ICT books and Founder/CEO at GTS. Gihan is a former lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. He began his education at Thurstan College before going to Wycherley International School. He graduated with Honors in Computer Science at University of Liverpool in the UK and MSc in Advanced Software Engineering at Kings College, University of London.
If you are a regular twitter user in Sri Lanka, you would have noticed by now a few local hashtags such as #sajje and #FASL being used by tweeps regularly. Firstly, hashtags are fun cause it gives a common topic for tweeps to tweet about. It also allows us to connect with new people who are outside of our friend circle since we notice the tweets via the hashtag search. Thirdly, hashtags also educate us about certain topics and open our eyes to how we think or even change the way we think (hopefully for the good). Fourthly…. nah the above 3 reasons are enough to justify the importance of hashtags. So what now?
Social media have eaten into the regular traditional media such as the television set (aka the ‘idiot box’) and this is showing even in Sri Lanka since we see more smartphones (equipped with inbuilt social networking apps) coming into the market and more people viewing content online (via youtube). Though facebook is still the number one networking site used by Sri Lankans, there is growing use for twitter with its own unique features and simplicity.
With twitter users growing exponentially, why don’t the television stations look at the new media optimistically to increase viewership? How you may ask? ‘Hashtags’ is simply the answer. This is how it could be done:
As a starting point, a television network could pick a popular programme or a controversial programme to test the hashtag proposition.
Say we pick ITN’s ‘Doramadalawa‘ which is a good pick to use a hashtag since the programme itself is opinion orientended and could really drive the tweeps to have a live discussion amongst themselves. All that the programme needs to do is to mention the hashtag ‘#Doramadalawa’* during the programme on one end of the corner of the screen.
With more and more social media companies mashrooming in Sri Lanka, a team (more realistically an individual) could monitor the statistics for the use of the hashtag on twitter during the programme. From past experience in running hashtag promotions I would say 100 tweets (with hashtag ‘#Doramadalawa’) every 5 minutes could be considered as a success for phase 1 of this experimentation.
So with phase 1 a success, the social media ‘guru’ (as every Sarath, Varuni and Hashan who has tweeted a month in the social media world is called nowadays) can proudly present these statistics to the programme head or director if needs be and get approval to start the important ‘phase 2′.
With an audience now watching the programme and also tweeting about it, its time to make a connection to the programme by introducing a ‘twitter marquee’ onto the screen displaying the real time conversations happening. This will also encourage engagement and viewership: engagement via viewers who will turn on their smartphones and viewership with twitter users switching on to the channel to see what all the fuss is about when tweets are noticed. Which ‘programme head’ with the right mind wouldn’t want such an outcome for little effort and cost?
The programme itself could have a twitter handle and update important discussion summaries as the programme is playing. (This is actually one way to initally start the engagement if it needs an artificial push to get things going.)
Phase 2 should pretty much take care of things to spread the word about the programme and increase viewership and be the talk of the town. Back up plans could be to have incentives like gift programme merchandise or even pick audience for live recordings (For programmes like ‘Derana Dream Stars’ or ‘Obada lakshapathi’).
Which television network in Sri Lanka would start the #hashtag revolution and get the country going towards a more educated connected society? Dear Television network, this is for your awareness.
Maybe the regular twitter user could start the trend too? Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
* – Instead of #Doramadalawa, a hashtag could be created for the topic in discussion but this might be more appropriate if the programme has its own twitter account and has a good following, but keeping in mind that there is no 1 way to go about things on twitter when it comes to driving in traffic and getting people to converse.
A small group of individuals accidently created the first Tweetup in Sri Lanka. It was when @udaraumd, @moshanthi and @rebelinpurple were discussing on Twitter about meeting up. A few others joined in tweeting to meetup in person too. This ultimately resulted in having the first Tweetup in Sri Lanka with just over a hundred participating. That was 26th August 2010.
The Second Tweetup
Event compered by Halik Azeez (Snap by @udithaumesh)
Jump to 27th August 2011. Close to 300 participants turned up at Dialog Future World in Colombo. The organizers had really got themselves a role model concept with a dedicated Tweetup website with in-built apps to monitor reservations, hold interesting polls and also assign personalized t-shirts courtesy @dialoglk.
@GBSlk provided a memorabilia too with a notebook (with DPs of most of the registered Tweeps printed on the cover) and @PereraAndSons provided a Rs 100 voucher for all who turned up. To feed all these hungry souls, @cocoveranda took on the responsibility and did a praise worthy effort. @ITNsl provided the media coverage.
The event was compered by @HalikAzeez (aka Kamal Addararachchi in disguise) and entertained the tweeps throughout the event.
So the cake was cut, the food was served and the tweeps had a great time meeting in flesh all the people behind the twitter handles.
The most interesting part was when the results from the twitter poll was announced. 10 notable tweeps walked away with valuable gadgets from @dialoglk, few books from @GBSlk and Rs 500 vouchers from @PereraAndSons. The winners list can be found on the tweetupsl.org website. (but be sure to watch the video embedded below to see what the winners (and some of the crowd) had to say)
Although social media is still not used as a major component of marketing in Sri Lanka, events such as this would certainly open up the eyes of the companies that are still putting in big budgets on traditional media. Compared to last year’s event, this year had many more sponsors involved and they have all been very generous in assigning various gifts/giveaways since they know the importance of these twitter individuals who are trend setters in their own rights.
With Sri Lankans crossing 1 million mark on Facebook just a few weeks back, it seems that twitter is also fast becoming a platform to get customers involved as can be seen with a number of large companies being actively involved on twitter having a dedicated team to listen and respond to queries (such as @dialoglk, @Pereraandsons).
Once the event concluded, the enthusiasm did not run dry as the #TweetupSL hashtag kept appearing on the timeline frequently. The event also opened up the accounts of some twitter users who had earlier had reservations about following the unknown. With more followers and followings, the experience for twitter users in Sri Lanka will only get better and could create a platform for many more users to join the twitter platform.
With technology and devices becoming cheaper in the country, it can be certain that these trends will only get better and whatever platform arrives, there is a surely a crowd that wants to ride it. Look forward to TweetupSL3 and I have a feeling that we might need to book BMICH to accompany the expanding tweeps.
I have been on twitter ever since Sukanti encouraged me after seeing our first issue of diGIT in February 2009. It had been slow at first but did not take me long to realise the importance of having a twitter account and the benefits that could be shared among the twitter followers.
At the time, there were very few Sri Lankans on Twitter. Actually, come to think of it, I am very wrong in saying that, because that might not be true, that was just my judgement based on the Sri Lankan twitter followers that I came across. I think that is the perception now as well for any new twitter follower. Unlike Facebook with the obvious presence (and now just about reaching the 1 million mark in Sri Lanka), twitter has a simple layout with just 1 purpose: say it (whatever) in 140 characters. The connection has to come after that and that is why many people have heard of, created an account, but not really got the hang of it.
Discovering and connecting..
So now its been over 2 years since I’ve been on twitter and I’m happy to say that I have come across close to 2000 twitter users from Sri Lanka and I follow most of them. I am sure there are many, many more out there and this small memo is just a way to see if I could reach the others I have yet seen on twitter through the current twitter users whom I follow.
So what can be done?
The following are just my thoughts and you are more than welcome to add your thoughts as well to the below with a comment:
I have seen many accounts having more ‘followers‘ than ‘following‘. Yes, it is your personal preference to follow whom you like, but maybe if we could at least follow more of the other Sri Lankans who follow us, it would really add value to the community as a whole since connecting with more such people is when twitter can be used to the true potential.
Today (The day the article got published) is a Friday. For many, that word normally relates to none other than ‘Rebecca Black’(this article was written in 2011, if you can’t recall who ‘Rebecca Black’ is, you are probably reading this in an year after 2012 :p ). Moving on… what is important about Friday is the ‘Follow Friday‘ concept used by twitter users to recommend their favourite/worthy following to the followers. So they use the hashtag ‘#FF‘ and then put the twitter handles of their recommendations. We could use the same concept, rather than use #FF, we could use #FASL (Follow a Sri Lankan) and recommend a Sri Lankan(s) for others to follow.It might also make sense to maybe give an indicator as to why they should be followed.
For e.g. “Follow @GTSlk cause that’s the twitter account of the company ‘GTS’, that creates games and does SM campaigns”
When you see another Sri Lankan twitter user having a twitter conversation (sometimes frowned upon if conversation is continuous on public timeline for too long) and you find that the other party is Sri Lankan and seems interesting, then why not just click the ‘Follow‘ button on that person.
Not many use ‘Lists‘ on twitter but I have come across few who publicly share a ‘list’ tagged ‘Sri Lankans’ etc.. Feel free to have a small peep and follow any you find interesting. (Got such a list? share it with a comment below, thanks)
These are just some very simple ways in which we can connect a country together (please do mention other thoughts in a comment if you got one).
… reaching many twitter users
So I hope we can use the hashtag #FASL and help connect people together on twitter and ultimately use twitter to share worthy information that could help us in our work, help us have a bit of fun, connect with others in the field… I could go on, but you get the point, twitter is a tool that we can use for the good.
So what you think? Found it interesting, do share on Twitter
I was first introduced to a book of David Meerman Scott (World Wide Rave) by Sukanti Husain (@sukanti) in April/May 2009 and have been a fan of books by David ever since. His site has been a great resource for some of my work and in addition to the books for sale, he has practiced what he preaches by giving away free ebooks on his site.
So now David has got together with Brian Halligan (CEO of Hubspot) and published a book titled ‘Marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead’.
Truth be told, for someone living in Sri Lanka (with interest mostly in local music) and for being born in the 80s, I had not heard of the band ‘Grateful Dead’! But after I got the book from Wiley Publishers, I checked them up on Google (and Bing for that matter) and was overwhelmed by the work that they had accomplished. I ain’t a ‘deadhead’ but have been intrigued by the ways in which they were able to satisfy their fans. This is clearly reflected in the chapters highlighted by David and Brian.
We see many new artists giving away music for free but it was Grateful dead who came up with the ‘freemium’ business model way back in the 1960s! And they have been successful at it.
David (left) and Brian (right) at Barnes & Noble in Burlington
What David and Brian have done in this book is shown how to think and market like the band, thinking of ways to market differently from the competition. In addition to the crisp clear writing, I like the “Rock On” sections at the end of each chapter which acts as an excellent guide to inspire new ideas and ways to do things differently. It felt like David and Brian were sitting next to me and guiding along and encouraging as I read each chapter.
Just like with Chris Brogan’s book ‘Social Media 101’ which I reviewed last month, this book also has short chapters which makes it very easy to grasp all that is being said in the 192 pages. Each chapter focus on one element of the Grateful Dead’s marketing.
In each chapter you get little orange boxes which highlight some important aspect of what the Grateful Dead had done and these can even be printed and put up on walls for inspiration.
This book is clearly broken down into 3 parts with the first focusing on the band, the second focusing on the fans and lastly on the business.
Just like the band choosing a memorable name, David and Brian share their own story about having a memorable brand name like HubSpot and David using his middle name ‘Meerman’ to distinguish from the other ‘David Scotts’ out there. Ahem.. I guess I am on the right track myself by using my initials W.G.T.Fernando to differentiate from the other ‘Gihan Fernandos’ out there. I have a long way to go but the start has been made. Maybe it’s not late for you to use a clear brand to differentiate yourself from the pack either.
The duo talk about having ‘digital citizens’ in a company’s team and creating a diverse team like the Grateful Dead did. It’s all good advice and are worth looking into in order to sustain and be successful in this technology driven world we live in.
Chapter 7 was a very heartening one since it opened up avenues by redefining the boundaries set for raising funding for a startup. David and Brian had used ‘Y Combinator’ as an ideal example in which to explain about redefining boundaries and going the extra mile to be different and making things happen. This chapter is a must read for any startup company and a chapter to watch out for traditional VC firms.
The Grateful Dead had respect for its loyal fans. For e.g. they announced tours to fans first and treated supporters to the best seats. Just like the band showing a lot of loyalty to the fans, businesses nowadays should also adopt this approach. David and Brian highlight a few occasions where companies have gone the other way by only trying to gather new customers and ignoring and alienating the old ones. Great examples that can be taken from the band that can be easily adopted by companies that want to survive in the market.
Talking into consideration a chapter from the 3rd section ‘Business’, chapter 15 focus on upgrade to premium. The Grateful Dead encourages people to record shows for free but also sells high quality recordings directly via their site. This approach is one which many companies are adopting where they provide a limited edition of a product for free but if want the best quality/full product, you pay a small premium. We have a few companies (http://creately.com & http://curdbee.com to name a few) in Sri Lanka as well who have adopted a similar approach. Like I mentioned at the start of this review, David has a similar approach where he has a few titles of his which can be freely downloadable, once you like his style of writing, you would then want to buy his remaining titles. A classic case of an individual showing by example.
The book concludes with the chapter titled ‘Do what you love’. “We are taught as children that work and play are opposing forces in nature. This teaching is incorrect- it is possible that your work can be like play!’ says the authors and I won’t argue with that. We need to live our own dreams and not someone else’s. Be passionate about your job, else do yourself a favor and find another place. Like Confucius said ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’
Not only is the content of the book worth the money invested, with some great photographs by Jay Blakesberg and illustrations by Richard Biffle, it amplifies its worth.
So go ahead and dive into this title and pretty soon, you too will look at things differently and be a change maker. Are you up for the challenge?
26th August 2010 was a special day for twitter users of Sri Lanka. ‘Why?’ you may ask. In order to make the 26th a special day, we need to go back to the 1st August when Lasantha David (@rebelinpurple) and Udara Madushanka (@udaraumd) decided to meet up with Moshanthi Suzuki (@moshanthi). Then Shazly Makeen (@mack005) joined in and they made an open request for anyone else to join in. And the result was the first ‘Tweetup’ in Sri Lanka.
A few more people joined in and took the role of ‘organiser’ and made sure that the Tweetup was well organized. These include our fellow diGIT contributor Amitha Amarasinghe (@amisampath), Nazly Ahmed (@nazly), Milinda Tillekeratne (@milindat).
Some of the organizers in discussion during the Tweetup
Participants queuing up for registration
Coca Veranda, a coffee shop at Ward Place was chosen as the lucky place to meet up. The owner Sarath Sathiamoorthy (@sarathsc) was kind enough to offer free refreshments to the large gathering.
It was a pleasure to watch as each twitter user joined in via the Twtvite site. By the 25th August over 85 users had confirmed their participation.
Even though the event was scheduled to start at 5pm, such was the enthusiasm of some that by 4pm the twittersphere was filled with tweets from some of the participants that they were already at Coco Veranda.
Each participant got hold of a free tshirt from Dialog Axiata upon registering their details.
A special (one time only) card was given by Coco Veranda to each of the participants (to get discounts for future visits to Coco Veranda).
Loyalty card from coco Veranda for Twitter participants
In order to make the meetup lively a few entertaining games were organized where the participants were shown twitter messages and asked to guess who said it. Gifts were given by Future World where Chandika Jayasundara (@chandika) walked away with a free iPod Shuffle. Another winner was Chandra (@himalk) who won a free dongle from Dialog Axiata.
Then there were the lucky participants who got hold of tags with special labels pasted on the back. Uditha Umesh (@udithaumesh) and Akira Suzuki (@icingphoton) got Nokia gift packs.
Malinthe, a former contributor of diGIT giving Chandika the book ‘World Wide Rave’.
Chandika Jayasundara (@chandika) (yes again!), Chamila De Alwis (@chamilad), Paheerathan (@Paheerathan), Nipuni Jayasuriya (@morbidAngel_86), Harshana Weerasinghe (@wmharshana), Deependra Ariyadewa (@Gnudeep) and Yshani Anne (@yshiromi) got a social media book (7 different titles) from diGIT magazine & Wiley (published by Wiley).
Chanuke giving Harshana ‘DigiMarketing’.
Amitha Amarasinghe giving Nipuni ‘This is social media’, a Wiley publication.
The most popular tweep and tweepie was won by Thameera Priyadarshi Senanayaka (@thameera) and Vishmi Ranathunge (@vishmir). They received giftpacks from Dialog Axiata.
All in all, the event was a great chance to meet up in person and have lively discussions with like-minded people (though ages differed). With the brief duration and many turning up, I would guess that some of the participants missed out on chatting with some. There were even a few on twitter after the event wishing they had a chance to talk in person.
Well, the good thing is that it can happen at the next tweetup. If you missed out, then do tag along when that happens. I hear there might be a cricket match tweetup. My guess is, with such a success for the first tweetup, the second one is sure to be a carnival.
What is twitter?
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends list. Users may subscribe to other author tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers.
I first knew about Chris Brogan last year when someone retweeted about Chris shaving his head for charity. Someone new to twitter back then, I thought to myself, this guy is an interesting character to follow. Little did I know about this gregarious individual (back then) and how he ranks in the top list of marketing guru’s (with Seth Godin as God of marketing).
I have been following his blog (http://www.chrisbrogan.com) whenever I get the time (still do) and when compared to some blogs, most of his blogposts are brief and to the point. I guess its one reason why he is so successful in his chosen field.
For someone new to social media and into marketing a particular brand (or oneself), his blog is a goldmine with so many pointers and lists of do’s and don’ts. You sometimes wish there was a book compiled of all his best bits so that you can read while commuting or relaxing where you can just brush through some of the topics that you feel like reading. Well now you can since Chris has been kind enough to publish a book titled ‘Social Media 101’
He emphasizes that his motivation for writing this social media guide book was due to the demand from the people that bought his book ‘Trust Agents’. So in order to cover the areas of social media that exists at the moment, he thought of compiling several posts from his blog while also adding updates and edits. So if you are a big fan of Chris’s blog, its worth investing 20 odd dollars to get this valuable book, it might even turn out into a must have collector’s edition in 5 years time, you will never know!
So as Chris would put it, ‘let’s begin’ with the review of ‘Social media 101’.
First of all, I like the dimensions of the book making it very easy to carry. This can also be seen in books by David Meerman Scott (http://www.davidmeermanscott.com). 320 pages might seem a bit of a bulk amount to read but when you get most of it in point form, it’s more like a guide that you can just dive into at different stages of your life/work. My point is further emphases when comparing the pages to the number of chapters the book contain: 87! So that’s only an average of 4 pages per chapter.
Let’s just highlight a few chapters that caught my eye and is worth sharing to further entice the review readers to go order this very valuable book. Social media starter pack (chapter 16) – What better starter pack than 4 ways to optimize the way social media can be used. Listening, Speaking, Community, Rich media. Let me just touch very briefly on what we can take from his starter pack.
Listening: With the vast amount of information that’s get into the internet, it’s not easy to keep up with the information. Ways to organize the way you listen to the content is highlighted here.
Speaking: We put content but will they come? Well they will, if we use a few techniques to increase awareness. Having an RSS feed on our blog is one important task that is a must. Making your url appear in your emails is also important. ‘Make sure folks know who you are, where you are, how to reach you, and what you are all about’, says Chris in his conclusion.
Community: From Twitter, Facebook to the ning and other social networks, just a few places to increase the followers and build a community of friends.
Rich media: Just like our magazine, we use various ways to give information. Be it in plain text or a video editorial, we try to connect with our readers to save their timewhile giving them the information they need. Here Chris points out a few of these media to use and what tool to use.
Skipping on a few chapters to 24, and a topic I like ‘Twitter revisited’ – I was shocked and a bit insulted when I read his first paragraph ‘Twitter is the stupidest thing anyone could ever imagine inventing.’ I kept my calm and read on. Phew, he really does know how to keep the reader interested. He goes on to explain how an addictive, time consuming, cross platform accessible application can be used to good use. Twitter is truly a great place to share ideas and build a community. No argument about that at all. In his twitter tips, he adds ‘Instead of ‘what are you doing?’ try asking ‘what has your attention?’, I find the answer is often more useful to others’. Now that is a worthwhile tip indeed.
In Sri Lanka, I find many new blogs being created. But only a few of them really survive. Many times, I see the messages like ‘not enough time to blog’ etc and I wonder whether there was a real reason behind actually starting a blog? Well if there was, then the goal should be achieved. In order to achieve a goal (whether it be about promoting a particular product in a company or just writing poems) chapter 27 titled ‘A sample blogging work flow’ is a very useful chapter for anyone who wants to clearly start a successful blog that could be maintained without stressing about keeping it up-to-date.
Working with a team entails having meetings and a way to effectively manage these meetings is important for any field of career. In chapter 34, Chris breaks down meetings into three types: Announcement, Status, Brainstorm. Mentioned in order of how fast they should run, lets quickly give an idea on what each is about.
Announcement – When a new member joins the company, when a shift in direction has taken place, these are areas in which an announcement meeting might be a good idea.
Status meeting – Time is important and ensuring that a good meeting happens rests on the effectiveness of the project manager. The project manager would get the status of each team member in the project and announces it to all. Any action that needs to be taken can be taken offline and dealt with in an individual basis so as to not waste another persons time.
Brainstorming meeting- This is the one that you can’t really put a time (though you must). Laying out the goals of such a meeting are important to run this type of meeting in an effective way says Chris. Chris also shares a good online social media tool that is useful at brainstorming sessions (the mind mapping tool MindMeister – http://www.mindmeister.com)
He concludes the chapter with tips for all meetings as well.
I should conclude this review so that you can go and grab a copy but let me just add one more chapter which I think you will surely like. I will however keep it to the point and just mention only the topic so that you know its covered. ‘Making a business from social media’, that’s chapter 53 in the book.
This would be a handy reference manual for me for a few years to come I guess (until we hear of unheard new social media being introduced by a 14 year old).
Erik Qualman is a very passionate individual who has been involved in online marketing for over 15 years now. His latest book ‘Socialnomics’ is in essence a timely book and a must read for anyone that has not taken advantage of using social media to leverage in the business field.
Even with his busy schedule, he makes sure he practices what he preachers. After getting hold of his book, whenever I wrote to him on twitter (@equalman), he would always send me a reply and that shows a man with dedication and an understanding in the social media field.
So onto his book which is a pretty easy read, first thing I noticed while doing a speed-read was the methodical way in which he has a summary at the end of each chapter. This book is a fun read and also one where we can learn some tips on improving our ways in which we use social media. So having a ‘key points’ summary really adds value to this book.The first chapter gives us the importance of going from ‘word of mouth to world of mouth’. I like his subtitle on page 9 where he says ‘we no longer search for the news-it finds us’. Five years back I wouldn’t agree with that but how things have changed.
Up till recently, Google has been the number one site that people visit but it has been overshadowed by Facebook who topped Google in most viewed sites! Facebook has shown that we don’t have to go searching for the news, the news will come to us with one update from a friend or source. Twitter is a similar tool and having a well planned twitter account with lists can really help filter out the noise from the information that we really need to hear.
This is clearly stated on page 11 where Erik says
‘We have shifted from a world where the information and news was held by a few and distributed to millions, to a world where the information is held by millions and distributed to a few (niche markets)’.
I can’t agree more on this. We encourage full access to our content at diGIT magazine and that is the message that Erik portraits by mentioning that to effectively leverage the social graph, every company needs to understand that they need to make their information easily transferable. We have twitter widgets where people can send a re-tweet about any article that we have and we have learnt something from this book.
He concludes his first chapter by giving a good example about how an idea was sparked and turned into reality and how a business was started without any big marketing plans. What an effect social media tools can do to businesses now and in the future. It’s high time the marketing degrees have one or more courses on the importance of social media. This book could be a recommended reading too!
Chapter two is somewhat short and in gives examples in which big businesses can put that personal touch and control if there is any bad publicity going on. With a simple key word search, a company can check what people are talking inside social networks. The good thing is that something can be done to prevent the bad publicity from increasing. After all, if there is a problem, there is most likely a solution for it. Even in Sri Lanka, we now see big companies like ‘Dialog Axiata’ (@dialogtelekom) getting into the social media field and getting in touch with its customers.
Chapter three says ‘Braggodocian behavior’! What in the world is that all about? Well its simple, it’s all about me, me, me. When on twitter, we want to brag about the cool things we do, we don’t generally tell about the dull day-to-day activities (well there are some who do!). Remember the explosion of ‘reality tv’? Well, things have diminished in that aspect because people are actually living their own lives rather than watching others. Stunning statement to make and something for the tv networks to look into. Moving one step further from emails is the use of social media tools. We used to meet friends after a long time and say ‘long time no see, what have you been upto?’. But now, when we do actually meet them in person, we continue a conversation we had on Facebook or Skype and say ‘so how many more hits has the new game you just launched…’ etc.. Social media has truly changed the way we have conversations online and offline!
So go and grab this book to see what else he has in store for tips and success (I was also fascinated about his vision for online voting becoming a reality as mentioned in chapter 4) on the social media front. As stated on the summary, it’s all about a people-driven economy. Whether you are a businessperson or a high school student, social media transforms the way you live and do business.
You can contact Erik directly via twitter @equalman.
You can get a copy of ‘Socialnomics’ via the following link:
January 27th 2010 was a special day for us Sri Lankans for 2 reasons. One was the announcement of the 6th executive president of Sri Lanka. Secondly, Apple introduced the latest device that will be a big hit among book lovers and internet users. A lot of rumours had been published about this device and I am sure most of it helped in Apple’s marketing campaign. We also had an article on it based on rumours in our November issue (see http://digit.lk/Nov_hardware). Anyhow, let’s now take a look at the real product that Steve Jobs introduced to us on 27th January.
Some might say this is a giant iPhone which can’t make calls! But as Steve Jobs highlighted in his keynote address, he was addressing a device that stands between a Smartphone and a laptop, and the iPad is his solution. A device that can be used for browsing the web, checking emails, going through pictures, watching videos, enjoying listening to music, playing some nice games and most importantly reading eBooks. A device to enjoy during leisure times or on the go.
The Multi-Touch screen is similar to the iPhone but obviously in a larger scale. Hence Jobs reason to state that it’s the best way to browse the web using the most natural pointing device: your finger. Scroll through a page just by flicking your finger up or down on the screen. Or pinch to zoom in or out on a photo.
Due to the device being able to detect the way you hold it, it automatically fits the orientation. This is useful when checking email. In landscape, you get a split-screen view showing both an opened email and the messages in your inbox. To see the opened email by itself, turn iPad to portrait, and the email automatically rotates and fills the screen. No matter which orientation you use, you can scroll through your mail, compose a new email using the large, onscreen keyboard, or delete messages with nothing more than a tap and a flick.
The Photos app displays the photos in an album as though they were in a stack. Just tap the stack, and the whole album opens up. From there, you can flip through your pictures, zoom in or out, or watch a slideshow. Getting photos from your computer or via email is easy with the sync facility.
The iPad specification gives a resolution of 1024×768 and this is enough quality to watch a good video. However I feel that due to its near square screen, viewing widescreen videos would not as worthwhile. Although it gives the option to go widescreen using a double tap, I feel that either a percentage of the video won’t be shown or there will be too much black screen which makes the viewing pleasure a bit on the low side.
As all were expecting, this would be a device that will give the Kindle a run for its money. With the release of the iBooks app, it puts a new dimension to reading books. The device promises to give a sharp, rich color even in low light making it easy to read. Also iPad supports ePub overcoming publishers’ resistance to having to support a proprietary format such as Kindle’s. When compared to a Kindle where you have to press a button to turn a page, the iPad allows you to swipe through pages in a more natural manner.
The iPad has a number of other worthwhile applications including Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts which are all useful in organizing workload and for time management purposes.
The device is thin and light when compared to a netbook (I don’t think Steve Jobs would have liked that comparison though, since he feels netbooks are inferior and can be used for absolutely nothing these days). The iPad is 9.56 inches in height and 7.47 inches in width. It weights just 0.7kg and the design of Apple is first class to say the least with the slight curve to the back makes it easy to pickup and comfortable to hold.
So you have an iPad and you are on the move, so how long will the device last until it requires recharging again? That is the basic question we would normally ask for a device such as this which will be used during movement. You would be surprised to hear that the device can last 10 hours!
The device comes in 2 models, one with wi-Fi only and the other with 3G as well.
After Apple bought the semiconductor company PA Semi in 2008, it now boosts of its custom-designed A4 chip (created by Apple engineers) inside iPad which they say is extremely powerful yet extremely power efficient.
So overall, I think this device will set things up for others to come up with better devices and I believe one is already on the works with the HP Slate that will be out soon this year.
So taking all things into consideration, I believe it deserves a 9 out of 10 with a point lost due to a camera not being present nor a USB slot.
Twitter has been in existence since 2006 but yet I only created my own twitter account in February of 2009 (you can see exact date by visiting http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com and typing my account name ‘gihangamos’). That was also the month we created this magazine (http://diGIT.lk) and when I received a very friendly email from a fellow Sri Lankan who was living in USA. She gave us words of encouragement and suggestions to improve the readership of diGIT. That’s when she also suggested I should join the twitter club or as Shel would put it, ‘land in Twitterville’. I am grateful to Sukanti Husain for her kind words of encouragement which has given strength to the diGIT magazine and has helped in reaching out to the right readership for the magazine.
So what’s so great about twitter you would ask? A good question and a question which has a million answers. As Shel puts it in his book, each of us use Twitter in our own unique way, which is why we all have different followers.
What makes twitter great is in how well you want to make twitter your companion. The book gives us great examples (stories) on how people have used twitter in times of crisis or how people have resolved customer care issues and got back faith in a company.
It’s worth mentioning that Shel is humble enough to suggest Chris Brogan (a fellow social media writer) as the mayor of ‘Twitterville’. Shel justifies his decision purely on the fact that Chris is everywhere, as a mayor should be looking after the people of the city. I too follow Chris on twitter (@chrisBrogan) and its true. Chris has written and continues to blog post almost every day with many of them focusing on tips to businesses to use social media. Shel points out how Chris once (in Feb 2009) ended up shaving his head so that kids could get laptop computers that they could not afford! You should definitely read the book to see what initially led to him shaving his head.
He also coins a term ‘braided journalism’ which in his own words is ‘convergence of old and new media’ reflecting on the influence blogs and micro blogs such as twitter has on newspapers, specially the dailies. He gives us insight into a few tweeters who became ‘citizen journalists’ in times of adversity (such as when Katrina was hit or when Mumbai was hit with terrorists).
As James Governor (cofounder RedMonk) says Twitterville ‘is a marketplace of ideas, thoughts and prejudices. It’s where people live declaratively, which creates opportunities and challenges for companies of all shapes and sizes.’ Shel has clearly brought out that in his book.
So as Shel has put it in his sub heading for the book, Twitterville is clearly a place where you’re business can thrive in the new global neighbourhoods. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small startup company as long as you use the easy to access technologies such as twitter to get the attention of the world!
As I kept reading the chapters one by one, I couldn’t but help wonder how everything falls into place in this technology driven time that we live in. I can’t wait to see what we will have in, not 5 years, but in 2!
I like to end this review with a tweet that really captivated my eye and hope it will be an inspiration for you. Its on page 132 (of Twitterville) and by @gapingvoid who twittered:
I work extremely hard doing what I love, mainly to ensure that I don’t have to work extremely hard doing what I hate.
It all began in 1973 when the first mobile phone call was made by Dr Martin Cooper (former general manager at Motorola) to his rival Joel Engel who was Head of Research at Bell Labs. Dr Martin Cooper invented the mobile phone in 1973 but it was sometime before mobile phones were available commercially.
It was not until 1989 that Sri Lanka was introduced to mobile telephony by Celltel Lanka Limited (now rebranded as Tigo). It is worth noting that Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to be introduced to this service. Back in the time, handsets were large, expensive and typically used only by well to do high flyers. Today things are very much different: nearly 40% of Sri Lankans have a mobile phone. It is predicted to reach 50% penetration by mid 2009.
So with nearly half the population carrying a mobile phone, it is fair to say that it has become the new mass media. Statistically, it is the 7th mass media. The traditional mass media are well known and established with known formats. Starting with Print (dating from the 1500s), it introduced the business model of owning a book and introduced advertising and subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. With the invention of a sound recording device by Thomas Edison in 1877, it (Recordings) became the new form of mass media in the 1890s.
Cinema soon followed (1900s) with moving images and multimedia content and the business model of paying every time you viewed a movie. In the 1910s, Radio broadcasting was introduced and this brought about a ‘streaming’ approach to content delivery (that is, if you didn’t listen, you would miss the content). Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation became the first radio station in Asia when it started broadcasting on experimental basis in 1923. Radio was a powerful medium as it was received simultaneously by all once the content was broadcast. Television (1950s) bridged the multimedia present in the cinema with the broadcasting in radio. TV has been a dominant mass media for the past 50 years.
1990s brought about a shake in the mass media industry. Imagine having all the previous mass media replicated in one medium. Yes, enter the Internet. Read a book, download a recording, watch a movie, listen to radio, view TV: you name it and it can be done. Add 2 more features to it, and it’s a threat to the previous five media. Interactivity and search. We don’t end our connection with an article by just reading it. We can respond immediately by sending a comment on how we feel about the article. It has opened a new window towards bringing the world closer by connecting people. Search has become the most used application on the web and has made companies such as Yahoo and Google worth billions of dollars. With such a big player in the market, is there any room for a newer form of mass media that can replicate the success of the internet or the other 5?
Enter the 7th mass media, the mobile phone. Like the internet before, it is able to replicate everything the previous 6 mass media can do. Mobile media’s influence will be greater than all we’ve seen so far of the internet, so much so that mobile to internet will be as dominant in its media audience reach and media impact on society as TV was to radio in the second half of the last century. Don’t believe me? I wouldn’t either until I read what is to follow.
The mobile phone has a number of prominent unique benefits not available on previous mass media. Firstly and most importantly, mobile phone is the first truly personal medium. We do not share it even with our spouse. It is that personal. Secondly, we always carry it around. Even going to bed, we would sleep with the phone physically in bed. Most of us even use it as our alarm clock. Which brings us to the third benefit. The phone is the first always-on mass medium. It is now catching on in Sri Lanka for people to get alerts via SMS onto one’s phone.
The fourth benefit is of equal importance. The phone has a built-in payment mechanism. No other medium has a built-in payment mechanism, even on the internet you have to provide a credit card or subscribe to a service like PayPal, etc. But already today, older media collect payments through the mobile phone. TV shows like Super star earn millions via SMS votes.
With phones coming with built-in cameras and prices slashing, more people are able to afford a device which can nearly replace the digital camera. As the cameraphone (also our video recorder) is in our pockets always ready to snap images and clips, we rarely need to use a digital camera which is safely stored away under the camera case at home). With a fast paced volatile world, it is possible to capture unique events using the mobile device and then share it with the world by submitting the user generated content into YouTube or CNN’s iReport thereby radically changing the media world.
With a high level of young adults using a mobile phone, it has become a trend for them to fiddle with their phones while idling among social gatherings or on a journey via bus/train. If not sending a text message, they would be busy playing an addictive game downloaded free from the web via GPRS. These are potential hot spots for companies/advertisers to seriously think about, not in the future, but now. They can incorporate advertisements embedded within mobile games which allow the game to be made available for free, thus reaching a maximum user base. The possibilities are endless.
Finally, the seventh benefit is that a mobile phone captures the most accurate customer information in any medium. On a report in May 2007, AMF Ventures measured and found that TV is able to capture about 1% of audience data and 10% on the Internet. However, on a mobile, 90% of audience data can be identified.
What is important to note, is that the phone will not kill other medium, they will all adjust, like radio did to TV.
So with the above facts noted, it can be fair to say that mobile advertising is here to stay and could revolutionize the way it will penetrate the end user. With a high level of precision that is not even present on the web, targeted and personalized advertising content would make the end-user actively participate in the promotions. Here in Sri Lanka, Value Added Services (VAS) for mobiles is still in its infancy. The mobile networks in Sri Lanka have a lot of work ahead and should educate its subscribers to the doors of VAS. For advertising firms, if the importance of the 7th mass media is not taken seriously, be prepared to fall out from the competition.
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