Every Indian when you say ‘Pakistan’ .. something will flair in his or her heart. Anger, Passion, Sorrow, Hurt, Victory, Hope, Dream, Desire – whether positive or negative but something will flair in his/her heart. The passion and craze that surrounds any sporting activity between the two countries is testimony to this.

I am just an Indian like this. Today the turn of events on Twitter have touched my heart.

I want to document this here, for people who may miss it and just because it needs to be said,

A couple of days back, Pakistan had a tragedy. Over 100 school kids were slaughtered by Taliban terrorists in Peshawar. The world was shocked and everyone condemned this attack. Naturally what the Peshawari people must be going through is difficult to imagine.

People in India also rallied and most of us buried any ill feelings and just wanted to pray and support Pakistan in this tragedy. The ensuing hashtag #IndiawithPakistan was trending on Twitter for a day or so. (don’t know exact stats there)

The trending hashtag implies the large number of people who subscribed to that sentiment. Hence, it is important that a large mass of India was behind it and they truly in their hearts were with Pakistan in this tragedy.

Now, in the last few years India has faced terror attacks & the source of that was in Pakistan. So we have been petitioning Pakistan to hand over certain criminals to us for trial and so on. Pakistan on the other hand has not even arrested some of them. Now one of the criminals called Lakhvi had been arrested earlier but today he was given bail and freed. Imagine doing this, when terrorists had just slaughtered so many innocent children a day before.

A lot of Indians were pissed but by it. A few rude and angry tweets started surfacing. Till then this government decision to free a terrorist was ‘Pakistan’.

But later in the day… the Pakistani Twitter junta responded and we had #PakwithIndiaNoToLakhviBail – and now this is ‘Pakistan’. Moving beyond the governments decisions the Pakistan mass responded with something so heart warming. :)

I am so touched. Truly.

At least both the Twitter juntas are sane!

& To my knowledge this is the biggest mass level peace act that has taken place between the two neighbouring countries – India & Pakistan.

Educational institutions need to work on imparting meaningful life skills in students. Not just rote learning and some academic knowledge. If the student chooses a field of academics – teaching or PhD, then the academics help. For most of us who have gone into a different field of work after studies have found that, the work has pretty much nothing to do with all the stats, facts and theories we learnt in school. Now, for the last few months, I have been actively interviewing many candidates and hiring for @DigiWhirl and I find bizarre interactions happening. I have identified three very fundamental life skills that a large number of candidates especially freshers just don’t have. And I am now trying to figure our a ‘good’ way of imparting them on the job, but only the smarter ones will pick them up…

1) Make a to-do

I see the basic to-do list as the fundamental block towards organized working. Take it a few notches further and actual professions like ‘project manager’ or ‘co-ordinator’ and so on develop.

The problem is not that some freshers don’t make a list of tasks that need to be – the problem is the sheer strangeness to it. It is palpable that never has there been a culture of ‘organized working’ built into them. Some have an inate flair for it, so they come for work and pick it up. Rest however, they hopelessly flounder because just the simple task of writing down what all needs to be done and then do it one after the other is not there.

2) Build Relationships

You don’t want the boss to be your ‘boss’ but a friend? Then you need to first start building the relationship that way. Often breaking the ice can be difficult…. but Social networks provide the opportunity to very easily connect with the person you have interviewed with. Then moving to a friendly banter is possible once you understand their interests and so on… the idea is not to butter up a person or get ‘creepy friendly’. The idea is that while right at this time, being hired might not happen, but a relationship can have many other benefits – tangible & intangible ones. They may refer you to some other company who may be hiring for a similar role… so many different things are possible.

In fact this is even more important for candidates coming in for social media roles. Social Media work very largely includes building relations with influencers, fans, other brands and so on… the idea is never to get your work done n then ta-ta. That is so old style!

3) Follow Up

This is something that I also never did & really lost out on many things in my early years. Everything needs some follow up, even if it’s just to understand ‘why didn’t things work out’ or ‘so did you consider the proposal?’. Couple of my friends have had incidents where they finally got the job/scholarship they wanted and main reason cited once was that ‘you were persistent and we appreciated that’.

Follow Up is not badgering or pressurizing the other person (it may sometimes come to it, but that has consequences). Follow Up is just a way of saying ‘I am interested’. You have gone for a job interview – are you interested in the results or no? Even if you go for the interview and realise “ok, I don’t want to work here”, then build a relationship! Give a decent reason and back out of that job, maybe they will refer you else where n that place might work!

It may well be that your proposal/pitch/idea was rejected but at least find out for sure. And also try and figure WHY. You may get a very useful tip to improve.

I can’t stress on the need to Follow Up … because this is also what leads to ‘Relationship Building’ … there cannot be any relationship when you haven’t bothered to follow up on the interview at all.

Hope this helps some freshers. But more than them… I think educational institutions need to make these skills a part of their teaching process. Currently kids only learn to mug and understand academics. These other skills are so bad and yet they are often the ones responsible for lot of the success people get in their lives.

Realizing the limitations of educational institutions, I know some parents who have actually taken upon themselves to inculcate life skills into their kids. For eg: One of the uncles I know, asked his daughter in early 20s to do the entire passport work for renewal. The moment the girl went about doing this… she learnt so many things. She had to follow up until she cried… hell, Indian passport system can frustrate anybody! The point is, after this experience I doubt she will find it difficult or fail in following up on a job interview.

:)

 

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Recently I have been working with Rohit on his new mobile application designed to connect Gujaratis across the world – GoGujarati! App download links: Android ; iOS

Decided to interview him for our entrepreneur series,

Why GoGujarati?
I started GoGujarati because there was no application which targeted a specific community as a whole. I am based in Mumbai and have grown up in a Gujarati community – I know this community is spread around the world with many unique cultural aspects. I feel this community is currently divided across distances and not united. They need to be connected so they can work together and grow together. I hope this application will help all Gujaratis across the world to connect. This will get them closer to each other and help improve the community. It is an unique concept – we don’t think there is such an application as yet.

What was your biggest challenge in developing the GoGujarati app?
The biggest challenge was to take GoGujarati from an idea to a clear cut concept with possible business sustainability.
Considering the Indian society is not as advanced as international community… the revenue to build the app and then promote it was another challenge – I am still facing this challenge.

What is your advice for students: Startup straight from college or get some work experience beforehand?

There are two kinds of people. Born entrepreneurs who cannot work for other people. Go out and try whatever you want to but realize the money you will put in will be someone else’s money, at least to begin with. Learn slowly. Get experience working for fun, volunteering in college events and so on. So you understand the challenges you will face in your business.

Others who can work with others should take their time understanding what kind of business they want to do. What is possible and what is not possible. Think about ROI, timelines and other factors before jumping in….

How can a startup create a distinct brand?
The brand should be a mirror of your own personality. Believe in your product completely. Differentiate from other competitors.

Future Plans?
I want to grow GoGujarati much further. I want it to provide a much larger opportunity for all Gujaratis across the world.

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Have been running an ad campaign for a healthcare client for months. Considering its healthcare with medical content ad rates were quite high.

$0.15

A good rate is between $0.03 to $0.08.

Tried few different creatives – funny, informative, interactive – didn’t matter much.

Initially we were posting the ads in a geographical area where the client wanted to enter. Not a lot of people knew them there.

Later decided to place ads in the area where they were better established.

Bazinga… ad rates fell to $0.05 in the area where people already knew about them!

The Offline Factor.

Leverage the brands existing offline popularity in online activities like Facebook Ads!

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Recently a lot of brands are looking to publish some really interesting and fun content through their social channels. Specifically brands into serious stuff like insurance and healthcare want to be cool, fun, light and yet meaningful out there on social media.

At a meeting with such a client, I was showing an ad campaign idea where we used some comics and fun images. For a moment the client was lost because fun, cool updates are understandable but an ad – which is a comic strip?

I just realized how much advertising is changing on social channels. I have been seeing so many fun ads lately especially on Twitter. This ad by CA technologies shown below is one such example. This cartoon it shows is actually really funny! Intel is another mammoth brand which uses some very fun and basic trivia not just as updates but even as their ad campaign on Twitter!

Imagine that a brand spending so much moolah to bring you some fun cartoons! :)

Twitter Ads

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Social Media is one hell of a dynamic field to work in.

New social networks, changes to old ones, innovative case-studies, game changing technology – its so dynamic! New ventures entering the market and the existing brands are evolving so fast! More than anything else, the gazillion little changes announced by Facebook!

When talking to other social marketeers or brand managers, I realised that very often, they aren’t up-to-date on the various changes introduced by Facebook. Let’s not even talk about the users – a lot of them have no idea about their own privacy settings nor many useful features!

At DigiWhirl we started off 2014 with the launch of a brief newsletter service – short bytes about these Facebook changes! We want to keep users as well as social marketeers aware of the important changes on Facebook and plan for it in advance if need be. If this newsletter interests you ,

Sign Up for Facebook Express!

or you can sign up here,

powered by TinyLetter

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On an average I have written two posts a month here in 2013. A brief overview of these posts,

Awesome Content Strategy from your Workplace

One of the most popular content on the blog a series of posts on how brands can generate great content right from their workplace. I plan to do more such post series, but so far I have only made some slideshare presentations on topics like healthcare/crowdsourced content generation / photographers and so on.

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Interviewed a few more rockstar entrepreneurs – Kashyap Dalal of Inkfruit, Annkur of PriceBaba, Rajesh of Percept frozen foods & Gaurav Munjal of Flat.to.

Also wrote a few research based posts on different topics like,

Social Brand Movement v/s Viral Marketing

Is Linkedin the right platform for B2B businesses

Social Media in Politics & Governance

Would love to notch up the number of posts in the coming year, with a lot more series and contextual content.

Happy New Year!

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Pic Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264586546831920611/

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