Debunking Myths About Facebook. Really?!

Everything that catches attention always comes under the close scrutiny of the critics. Everyone has an opinion be it the tech geeks, social media experts, politicians or the general public. And when it comes to Facebook –  we love to have conversation about it both on and off it. facebook engancha

Cynics have suggested conspiracy theories of world domination in Facebook’s policies. Well, it could seem quite believable when you find the company imitating ever walk of ones social life and wrapping it for display online. It’s not that no one has tried it before- MySpace, Orkut and loads of other have traveled the same road and got lost in tech graveyard. Sometimes the burden of rising user expectations have pulled them down while at other times extreme focus on monetization of user base have got them bleeding.

Though the jury is still out on Facebook’s future – nearly a billion users network can’t be discounted that easily. The social in facebook is still strong and those who think getting the taste of e-com to the network could be the beginning of the end are in for a big surprise. Simply because ‘Money is Social’. That’s where most networks in the pre-Facebook era have lost the plot. They tried to monetize the social by selling it i.e. the numbers to advertisers anyone and everyone. Perhaps it was the only logical model that they saw delivering the moolah following the steps of big brother Google.

But Google didn’t have stakes on social until recently with G+. What these networks didn’t understand was that Google was all about numbers and algorithms – a mechanical code that barely touched upon the psyche of social existence. In fact, only thing it managed to capture was the hype and persona of the glittery banner ads with somewhat segmented traffic base which came in hordes and disappeared even quickly. But Google has evolved and learned it’s lesson about where the real money is.

So where is the real money? Well, its there where it has always been. Any guesses? Yes, its the people. People have the money. But people have a nasty habit – they don’t give you the money when you want it unless that’s what they want and they have to want it badly. And Google or Facebook  would want them to do just that.

So, what’s the great idea – Make Money Social. And Facebook is doing exactly that. It is enticing enough for people to mirror their real life or reel life relationships on the network. And now that everyone I know and you know is on Facebook what’s the next thing we can do.

Well, it’s the same thing you do every Friday after work? PARTY.

Only difference is this party doesn’t need a Friday to start. It lasts the whole week. Your fancy clothes retailer is even offering an ‘Offer’ with exclusive discount. You got shoes available too. Well, why not invite everyone else too! And you know what’s even better let’s show off to the losers who missed out. Blahhh.

Well, that’s facebook. So when next time someone tells you Social is money! They are almost right but it has always been the other way round. Remember this – whoever said money can’t buy everything didn’t know how to Facebook.

Help him log in. Peace!

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Well, this article was actually supposed to be about Myths about Facebook. The serious stuff. Will write that sometime today.

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Is Google imitating Facebook?

Google+ today came out with a redesigned user interface for the social network. More than 170 million people have upgraded to Google+, enjoying new ways to share in Search, Gmail, YouTube and lots of other places.

Google claims this to be a ‘more functional and flexible version of Google+’. The cover photo looks very similar to that of Facebook, though its smaller in size. There is more focus on photos view and apps arrangement. Seems very much inspired from Facebook.

One of the first things you’ll notice is a new way to get around the stream. There is a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left. This approach comes with lots of perks, but some of our favorites include:

  • You can drag apps up or down to create the order you want
  • You can hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions
  • You can show or hide apps by moving them in and out of “More”

Google is aiming for an experience that fuses utility with beauty—one that inspires users to connect with others, and cherish the conversations that unfold. Other updates include:

  • Full bleed photos and videos that’ll make you really proud to post
  • A stream of conversation “cards” that make it easier to scan and join discussions
  • An activity drawer that highlights the community around your content

Android Phones or Condoms?

We all knew the market is crowded for Android phones. Samsung, HTC and others have been coming out with multiple new phones every year. Now the million dollar question is what to name them other than names like these Mega 3G PTI LXX Super.

And believe it or not these are beginning to sound like the names of condoms. The Intercom blog has come up with a checklist to show how closer our android phones sound (if not look) like condoms e.g. Samsung Tingle. Here’s the checklist you decide.

Google’s new privacy policy goes live

Google 的貼牌冰箱(Google refrigerator)

Google (Photo credit: Aray Chen)

Google‘s new privacy policy has gone live today i.e. March 1, 2012. This is supposed to replace 70 different policies that currently govern different Google products.

The new policy is said to be more simple and easy to follow and understand. Google is trying to unify the user experience across its products mainly the most popular one YouTube, Gmail and search. This will bring more consistency to user experience no matter on which Google platform you are. The search result accuracy could go up based on data Google collects on each user understanding your needs.

Based on the principle of ‘One Policy, One Google Experience’, the company has taken a leap to simplify processes giving user experience a priority. You can learn more about it here.

Watch this interesting video to understand what is Google’s motive behind this update.

Facebook unveils Timeline for Brands

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Timeline for regular Facebook users have been loved by some and hated by others. Bloggers have went on to write several posts, some even got out with a global study on whether Timeline should be there or not. Not minding the much negative attention Facebook has gone ahead and unveiled Timeline for brands.

Citing brand consistency requirements, Facebook Timeline will be mandatory for all pages from March 30, 201o2. For those brands which have been actively producing content this would be a great visual treat to decorate their pages with their company history and important milestones. While for the others who have got loads of fan but no content flowing through their pages, it would be sad!

Brands will be able to add a cover photo to their page. Mind it, no commercial messages, product prices or call to action will be allowed. This is what shouldn’t go in the Cover photo:

Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
– Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
– References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
– Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Another important feature that will come is the ability to exchange private messages with your fans. Another step towards the social economy and enabling SCRM through Facebook. If you remember Google+ allows targeted conversations through circles too.

Brands will also be able to  pin selected posts on the top of their feed for a maximum period of one week. Isn’t Twitter doing the same with its enhanced profile pages aimed at brand? Okie, so Facebook is  catching up  and some love for brands never hurt.

What is going to be most criticized about Pages Timeline would be the lack of ability to set an app as a default landing page. This means you won’t be able to direct your incoming traffic to your widgets or contests. It’s going to hurt the ones who believe a fancy app is a substitute to quality engagement time on Pages.

With this  new social wave just wait and watch for colorful and visually engaging Pages from brands. Especially the ones who have a long history and more milestones to showcase. Its time to get those images out of the closet and showcase the best branding content you got. But don’t forget to engage!

Watch this interesting video from Facebook on Timeline on the ways it can be used. Here is the product guide from Facebook that you can download to learn more about its features in detail.

Have you Pinned something lately?

Pinterest!All that buzz about Pinterest being more than just the new kid on the block is getting more eyeballs than anything else in the social media circle these days. Some reports suggest that it is has more members than Google+ and perhaps is getting more traffic everyday than Twitter.

Well, you can be the judge of that. However, pinning things on a board is not bad and guess what, brands like Adidas are already pinning their stuff on it. For retailers this is another opportunity to share their content and connect with their community.

Though I have been one of the early adopters of Pinterest, it only recently that I started using it actively. You can find my two boards Social Media in Pics, and My First Month in Delhi. I plan to start more boards and keep pinning on a variety of social media and online marketing topics in general.

You can follow my Pinterest profile here: http://pinterest.com/vishalsharrma

2011 as year of Social Media revolution

2011 was truly the year when Social Media and technology took big leaps making its presence felt in the mainstream discourse of the country. Impressed by the revolution brought about by Arab spring, Indians immersed themselves watching desi viral videos, tweeting about their love for fighting corruption and also being threatened of censorship.

The year of Social Media revolution

Anna’s fight against corruption proved how to use Social Media socially in true terms. From uploading Anna’s speeches to YouTube right from Tihar jail, to letting supporters know the nuances of Lokpal through collaborative Google docs and presentations. Facebook and Twitter was used to their best advantage garnering more than half a million followers on Facebook, and thousands of tweets every hour.
Internationally, the Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi in Dec 2010 e posted his last message on his Facebook wall before setting himself on fire after repeated police harassment. What started in Tunisia was tweeted and blogged throughout the Middle East leading to Arab spring. Countries like Egypt, Libya and Syria erupted despite government imposed internet blackouts. Armed with their cell phones and access to proxy servers the Arabs let the world know about their revolution through YouTube, twitter and Google Maps among others. Common people like Google employee Wael Ghonim played their part in mobilising people, reporting the massacres and atrocities by using technology to stay one step ahead of the government.

India Wakes to Flash Mob viral video after 26/11 anniversary

A group of 200 dancers dressed in casuals danced to the tunes of ‘Rang de basanti’ at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus generating more than a million hits on YouTube within first 4 days. Organised by Mumbaikar Shonan Kothari this flash mob synced into the national psyche riding on a patriotic wave.
Inspired by the CST Flash mob, cities like New Delhi and Chennai organised their own riding the viral wave. Talking about viral Videos, Kolaveri Di a love song sung by Dhanush went viral within 24 hours of its launched. Loved and tweeted by celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan led to the viral onlslaught on YoutTube. In little over a month, the video now has 30 million hits and has been even featured on YouTube’s blog. Several remakes of the original version has only led to its popularity establishing the importance of video as a critical content marketing tool.

Social networking top pass time among Indians

Nothing suggested otherwise but the final reaffirmation came in the month of December through a a report titled ‘It’s a social world’ by ComScore which proved beyond doubt that online Indians are truly social as much as their international counterparts. From a total online population of 45.9 million users, 43.4 million spend time on social networks like Facebook, Orkut, BharatStudent, LinkedIn and Twitter. 94.8% of online Indians use social networking, that is an average time spent of 3.4 hours. Facebook became the dominant network in India last year and continued to stay ahead of the competition.

India gets tough on Social Media

Kapil Sibal, the Indian took the Social Media companies by the horns asking them to remove offensive material from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google. As netizens cried censorship there was confusion all around regarding what measures he intended to take to clean the web for Indians. Pharses like #idiotKapilSibal were most tweeted the day this announcement was made. Sites like Facebook and YouTube have extensive set of guidelines to remove defamatory content from their streams. However, Kapil’s pre-screening of content was considered just undoable and simply an impossible task which would required millions of pages to be screened.

India delivers Akash, the world’s cheapest tablet

What was supposed to be worth $35, the Indian tablet was launched for $60. The wifi enabled tablet based on Android operating system is set to revolutionise the education sector. Akash was widely reviewed internationally for features that prove its worth for the money with rugged features suited for Indian conditions. However, it was also criticised for its poor battery life with limited options for apps,, software, and not so impressive construction.

Lets sign off 2011 with this interesting video from Google