Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Don't let the Social-ball bounce back and knock your face!

In this day and age, where availing information is becoming unbelievably cheaper, acquiring attention of your intended audience is becoming painfully difficult. Deepening internet penetration is motivating young minds to turn their ideas into actions, by participating in the start-up trend. As a result, you have so many people aiming for the same thing, and that is certainly not a thing to look down about, because we do know how client acquisition through presentation of impressible design, is important not just for the company name to float amongst the retail giants, but also for it to substantially grow.

But, how to get onto the stage of social media, in a way that everybody is aroused with great interest to hear your idea? Surely, not everybody is going to drop by your website just like that. For, as blogger, I do understand that to bring traffic to your blog, you need to either mention that in your work profile and be circulating that quite often (which perhaps, you actually won’t do if you aren't actively looking for a job) or you can tweet or post your latest blog-link and promote each deliberate buzz, organically or otherwise.  Yeah, you do know what I mean by otherwise, don’t you?

So, when I was interviewed for my first internship, I was asked one simple question “Do you understand Social Media and its functionality?” I hopped with excitement and smilingly answered “Yes, of course” and the question which was shot next was “No, I'm not asking whether you are there on social media, I'm asking whether you do know, for example the pitfalls and how to avoid them?” and I was like “Okay, yeah a bit” and somehow strangely they picked me up for my honesty.

But, to make you understand my interviewer’s point, let me put it this way, that not so strangely, promoting your personal blog and promoting your company’s blog or your company’s client’s blog, happen to be three entirely different things. Sadly, a lot of people end-up getting injured by their own social ball throw, for it sometimes bounces back. And, thereby such people lose out the opportunity to actually handshake with people, who could fetch them not just great possibilities of growth and wider recognition, but also the actual good opportunities for wholesome growth in their respective sectors.

So, I gradually allowed myself to learn, through experimentation and experience, how to be cautious of such accidental possibilities and instead, have a better grip.  And for this, I just kept notice of a few things, in particular, especially while addressing people, with the content that I had, at social media like-

Don’t jump-in without a schemed-out strategy:  Social media is an interesting place to kick-off your gig, but you mustn't forget that just like you shouldn't hop-in a corporate party with your pyjamas on, you shouldn't launch your business idea, without having figured out a workable strategy. Because, otherwise, you’d be “doing” social media but your overall efforts would be disjointed and lacking the required direction and focus.

Be consistent, or don’t be there at all: A lot of businesses get-onto Social media networks, quite enthusiastically, but, like air balloons they pop-out of existence too soon. Consistency is very important; you can’t just slide off at the back stage whenever you feel like. Social media is a powerful tool, which must be employed only to speedily promote your big idea, only when you are ready to regularly put in a consistent amount of researched data and observation. People rarely achieve desired success at their first attempt, but after every failure, they actually have double the chances of success, because there’s so much to learn and work-upon. So, don’t go there just for the namesake, go there if you wish to stay and change the game.

Do engage with your followers: There are endless options today for people to navigate to and get informed or entertained, believe me. So, frankly, you just can’t afford to not engage with your followers. Not engaging with followers. And, to do that, social media should not be a ‘one-way street’. To actually be successful and to actually build a following that does matters, you would actually have to be social, actively social. So, assert, that you are concerned, by asking questions and also answering the ones you smartly can.  This would help people understand and accept your existence.

Never, skip-out tracking analytics and KPIs:  If your goal is higher and bigger, then you need to strategize accordingly. You need to be concerned about details, yes, you need to study and observe the analytics to better curate your policy. And, for that you need to treat Social media same as your other marketing activities and properly measure it.  For, it isn't at all wise to assume, that by simply keeping track of the number of fans or followers is an apt enough indication of successful growth. As, Social media channels have matured to the point where there is an increasingly high level of analytics behind them. So, it’s always advised to keep a close eye on your social media analytics, such as Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Page Statistics and Pinterest analytics.

So, work hard, because nothing at all is easy, but work smart, because nothing at all is impossible. And, do keep in consideration these probable Social-ball bounce back angles, or else you might just get badly hurt.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

B-E-A-C-O-N with a 'E'

So, I was lately asked to work out a story, featuring the buzz about Beacons. Somehow, I was back then unfamiliar with what it referred to. The next second, I phone called my brother and inquired if he had come across such a thing, but he laughingly asked “You mean B-A-C-O-N, right? I'm munching a bacon roll right now!” and I sympathetically answered “No, bro, not that. I meant “B-E-A-C-O-N, enjoy your snack by the way!” So, I, of course, was left with Google and I was actually pretty much amazed to know what all can a Beacon (a small device that works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and has the capability to interact with applications on mobile devices) actually do for you.  

Well,  Beacons have actually been creating much buzz over the internet because of their surprisingly versatile-utility; they are now used in various industries to build proximity based unique experiences for the users. Though, the verdict is not yet out, on about how much of an impact beacons will be able to make. But, they surely happen to hold an astounding potential in building some very personalized experiences for the end users especially in the indoor retail segment. Did you still not get it what I'm really trying to talk about? Here, watch this explanatory video.

So, did that arouse your interest? If yes, then come let’s go into details, and understand how Beacons do it- they broadcast small packets of data at regular intervals through radio waves. These packets can interact with your smartphones to identify your location and trigger events such as push notifications with ads, promotional coupons, and product information. So far cool, right?

Taste some Beacon-facts now-

  High Battery Life- Yes, they happen to have high battery life and can last up to 2 years and even more.

Low Cost- They are low-cost devices, with the cost varying from 25 USD to 100 USD per piece.

Bluetooth Low Energy- They efficiently work on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which is an advanced Bluetooth technology.

Small Devices- They are small and thus can pretty much fit anywhere, ranging from 1-5 inches and come in many shapes, sizes, and battery lives.

Good Range- Beacons transmit small Bluetooth packets up to a range of 70-100 meters. Mobile devices with compatible apps pick up these packets and the apps, in turn, present contextual information to the users.

 Manufacturers- Some of the prominent beacon manufacturers are Gimbal, Estimote, Kontakt, StickNFind, BKon, etc.

 Compatibility- They are engineered to be compatible with iOS as well as Android devices. This lets brands build contextual experiences to run across mobile platforms and can be used by a large audience.

 Easy Installation- They are easy to physically install anywhere. Beacons are generally small enough to be attached to a wall or a counter top.

        And, here is why there has been so much hype-

 The context that makes beacons so powerful, for brands as well as end users, is that with the emergence of mobile, as a primary channel for digital experiences, it becomes imperative for brands to connect with their on-the-go users. And, to not miss on cashing the opportunities, brands are interacting with their customers in varied environments like retail stores, sports venues, entertainment halls, concerts, events and much more. In order to deliver, a more enriching and above all a relevantly personalized experience to their customers, brands need to have the Context. Beacons help provide the proximity context of the user to the marketers. For example, through beacons, you can detect your customers as soon as they enter a retail store or when they are in a specific aisle in the store. With this context, you can build personalized experiences for your customers. That’s quite angelic of beacons, right?

These astounding capabilities and opportunities of building proximity based contextual experiences for customers make beacons a sure shot deal for brands. For, it shall most definitely, help brands engage with their customers in real time and at right time.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Something Worth Mentioning

“Congrats on your new role! Hope you’re doing well. “About 50 odd people having 50 different jobs and skill-set, sent me the exactly same message, on LinkedIn when I made an experience update. I was astonished to see, how everybody was becoming like everybody; no difference at all between one LinkedIn user and the other. Sadly, over time they've become just another brick in the wall; they all seem too lazy and disinterested in initiating change, in the smallest possible way. Which is why none of those flyer texts, could actually make me feel congratulated. And, this is so because I am a passionate out-of-the-box thinker. I see no point in imitating and delivering things without making a flavoured stroke of my own.

Yesterday,  while sitting in a busy café’, I read something remarkable, wittily written by  Seth Godin in his new book “Tribes” and like every other time I just couldn't stop smiling. Well, he wrote “A remarkable product or service is like a purple cow. Brown cows are boring; purple ones are worth mentioning. Those ideas spread; those organizations grow. The essence of what’s happening in the market today revolves around creating purple cows. Here’s the marketing math: Ideas that spread, win. Boring ideas don’t spread. Boring organizations don’t grow. Working in an environment that’s static is no fun. Even worse, working for an organization that is busy fighting off change is horrible. So, why haven’t you and your team launched as many purple cows as you’d like?”

I personally, think that everybody is capable of thinking out of the box; of creating not just purple but maybe a yellow cow. But, to even make a start, one first ought to believe in the bright possibilities and accept the necessity of change. No, I'm certainly not talking about the texture of your tie or the colour of your liner, but of your attitude towards people and situations. I suggest that you let yourself be; don’t cover-up, just pick-up the courage and voice your opinion.  And, reach out to people, in whichever way you think is fit (of course do be ethical), and thereby encourage people to respond back with a more openness. So, common’ create a mind-ware; room for collaborating free and bright ideas, instead of mundanely adding on to the bulk of conventionalities.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

7 International destinations you must try find time for!

Life is a process, wherein everything we do, every place we go to, contributes to our collective experience, making it beautifully wholesome. Today, to book a vacation, is far easier than deciding a new haircut for yourself, not that they are no apps in specific for that, but because more and more people are interested and excited about investing in travel as an industry and thereby producing and offering a variety of options with attractive discount deals. 

So, gone are the days when we had to figure out ways to comb the unexplored. Here, I present to you the 7 top international travel destinations. Yes, International, for I believe that to better connect with the world outside, we need to do lot more than just interacting with people through the internet, while sitting distantly apart; like we must allow ourselves to inhale the indigenous fragrance, taste the delicacies prepared by cultural vibes and weather, and of course, meet people beyond the borders.

1-Mont St. Michel, France,
  (Up above the rainbow)
 It’s always somehow more serene, to look down from the bird-view angle, at the world and its creatures. If you too consider that to be an ideal way off letting your troubles wind-off, then this is the place, which above the rest, you should make a visit to. It offers total isolation, though, the play of light, sky, and weather, will make you feel beautifully accompanied and enriched. 

2-The Faroe Islands
 (Where the North Atlantic Sun shall bless your soul)
The Faroe Islands are a forever beautiful destination, no matter what time of year you may decide to go. Specially, on March 20, 2015, there was a full solar eclipse boundlessly visible from the Islands. And, of course witnessing a full solar eclipse, is not casual thing, it happens to be a majestically mystifying moment for most people.

3- Koyasan, Japan
 (Let enlightenment pour-in)
Ever wondered, where from do the Japanese get their calmness to ideate technological innovations and never go off-the-beat? It’s their much kept heritage, Koyasan, a monastic complex that stands firm and bright, about two hours by train south of Osaka. Koyasan, happened to mark its 1,200th anniversary in 2015. It's here that you can get that blissful opportunity of staying in one of the temples which welcomes guests and opens to them a peep-in, onto everyday monastic life.

4- Zermatt, Switzerland
 (Point of inception)
Zermatt happens to be the only village on the Swiss side of the Matterhorn, which has been luring travellers from across the world. Certainly, nobody can resist pointing a camera up to that majestic wonder of nature. But, there’s something more than the Alps for you to look onto; Zermatt Unplugged acoustic music festival and the Swiss Food Festival, which both happen in the months of July and August.

5-Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
 (Reaching the blue bed)
It so happens, that humans in specific, are attracted much deeply to anything forbidden. And, Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago does just that, as the Burmese government kept the whole area off-limits to foreigners until 1997.  It rouses curiosity, like an exotic fairy-land tale, where there are hundreds of undiscovered white-sand beaches, dense uncombed jungles, and clans of various mysterious Mokena sea gypsies. You can dive deep in the water and explore an aquatic festival of life, with swarms of eagle rays, schools of sharks, and also the occasional whale sharks.

 (Where Bonaparte’s soul still resides)

Two hundred years after Napoleon Bonaparte suffered his final military defeat, Corsica, was the Bonaparte’s birthplace and fortunately it still hasn't lost its own cultural Waterloo, wherein its people still keep their head high with a fierce sense of pride, keeping their proverb-rich Corsican tongue in existence. So, if in case, Bonaparte happened to stir inspiration in you, then this place is surely awaiting your acknowledgement.

7-Port Antonio, Jamaica
 (Salient shore)
Does tribal beat, infectiously stimulates you? If yes, then this is the place for you. A gorgeous island, which shall give you a hundred beautiful reasons, to keep coming and exploring, the dense breeze and achieve a sense of calm sitting by shore-side, sipping a bottle of local bear or two. In fact, when in 1942, Errol Flynn, a Hollywood heartthrob, discovered this paradise in Jamaica’s Port Antonio, later on proclaimed it to be “more beautiful than any woman I have ever known.”

There are lot many more places, but these 7 are in my consideration, the best possible escapes. I believe, every activity to which we expose ourselves and further participate, somehow always adds-on to our understanding of the whole universe. Travelling is one such activity, whereby a traveller goes into the wild, in order to come closer to the expanse of universe which already resides in his soul.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Music IS therapeutic

Just when Aerosmith picked-up the high note while giving a stunning performance for Dream On, I felt tranquilized to an extent that I felt enormously empowered to give birth to a beauty; this article. I can’t imagine anything other than music to make me feel above and beyond. What is good music to you? The one that makes tears trickle down your numb eyes? Or the one that cheers you up and makes you feel high? Or the one that inspires you to go for that final round and show-up to everyone that you too are strong? Or is it too difficult for you to categorize your adoration for music because, you too have spiraled and curled on the cradle of music, in all your dark nights?

But, music happens to hit different people, differently. Because, the fact remains that none of us were born in bulk; we all have our own sets of exclusive psychological and emotional skills, which is why we all have not-the-same behavioral patterns; we perceive and reciprocate things differently.

In this day and age, dosing music is a part of everybody’s daily life; you can easily notice that while traveling in a metro, you’ll see most people gazing out the window, transporting their minds to a land of musical isolation. Well, whichever career or profession you may pick for yourself, you’ll always get to see that stress and anxiety have their own smart ways to leak into your mind. Unfortunately, due to our ever-increasing stress levels, an awful variety of disorders have come into existence. Depression is these days one of most common health problems faced by people of almost every country in the world.

But, if you try to look for the bright side, you will be amazed to find that today, more and more people all around the world, are coming forward and are building foundations, with the sole purpose of finding not just medical solutions but also the other alternative solutions to chronic health conditions such as depression, which often is seen as a root cause of many other bigger issues; ranging from crimes to suicides.

Music Therapy is one of the most trending ways of dealing with various health disorders like; Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy,  Learning Difficulties, Down’s Syndrome, Epilepsy, Emotional Behavioral Concerns,  Communication Problems, Challenging Behavior, Mental Health Problems, Neurological Conditions, Physical Impairments, Sexual Abuse, Cancer, Life Threatening Illnesses, End-of-life Care, HIV / Aids,  Post Traumatic Stress,  Addiction.

Bruscia (1989) defined music therapy as “a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to achieve health, using musical experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change” The “systematic process of intervention” refers in part to the rationale behind the use of music as therapy. A basic assumption is that musical behaviors, such as the way a client makes music, reflect and parallel underlying psychological functions. Systematic interventions in music therapy may lead to changes in a client’s musical behavior and that are indications that a psychological change has also occurred.

As per the psychologists, the very notion of music being therapeutic is much wider and deeper than what our minds can ever perceive. Be it be any disorder, music has the capacity to play a huge role in one’s treatment, it cannot only cure but also prevents us from various disorder-possibilities, by auto-suggesting alternative psychological landscape, which can successfully elevate the patients, gifting them the opportunity to think beyond the world they think they are tangled in.

Everything we do; hear, read, watch or write, it all leaves a certain amount of impression on our sub-conscious mind, absorption of which we only realize when at certain situations, it pops-up as an auto-suggestion. Humans aren't machinery, made of flesh and bone, we all are rhythmic beings; the beating of our heart, our sleep cycle, our breathing process, we all have the rhythm in us and as per our mood swing, our interest in the music genre, varies. Today, there are so many centers which help provide Music therapy to the ones in need. You can not only get yourself therapeutically treated but can also become a Therapist yourself, if you have a deep interest in music or are a clinical psychologist.

 So, come let's put Music to a more noble use and make our society a healthier place to be in!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

My 2016 resolution is to pick my old-self-up!

Yeah, I know it’s been a few days since the New Year started. But, I was really wondering which out of all resolutions, should I this time pick-up, for I am really no more interested to do things for the namesake. And, I came to this conclusion, that the best thing would be to pick-up my old-self and accomplish all things, this year, which I ever desired. And, start my life on a clean new slate, with a kick-ass fresh new attitude. So, here’s the list of things that I figured out for myself:

Pick the thin point pen and sketch a cartoon or two- It’s quite disappointing to see people underestimate the potential of cartoons. They consider it nothing more than a child’s-play. It actually isn't so; cartooning, like any other art form has a great amount of capacity to communicate loud and clear. All you need is to have a bright idea, worth communicating. And, I have decided to add it back in my routine.

Strive for perfection or nothing- Yeah, you now might laugh and say “Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.” Well, I don’t agreeably buy that, because I do think perfection can be achieved, provided you try. Perfection is dynamic, because a lot of people out there are making efforts to raise the bar and see what is hanging up there. And, anyway, every time you sit back with heart unsatisfied and thirst unquenched, you actually lose out on bright opportunities. So, this year I have decided to not settle for anything less extraordinary.

Post-less- I see a lot of people dolling-up and going places, just so that they have things to post and tag, on social networking sites. People lose out the exclusive time, which they with great difficulty draw-out from their tight packed schedules, by just going on clicking hundreds of selfies. And, I'm sure that they all feel the void, but ‘posting’ appears to them far more important than addressing the void. So, this year, yet again, I have decided to not become part of the madding crowd.

Set things in order- It’s very important to have a neat and tidy environment to grow in. whether, it is your classroom desk or your workplace cubicle, just keep the minimum, so that you have enough room to ideate and create. Which is why, I have decided to box-back the unwanted and cut the clutter.

Socialise offline- I lately read a book, titled- Collaborative Intelligence, wherein Angie McArthur wrote “Despite our unending love affair with digital devices, we still crave face-to-face connection with other people. Too often we find ourselves working alone, through our screens, cut-off from the regular sources of renewal and inspiration.” And I realised how a sad a fact that is. That is why, this year, I've decided to go offline more often and cure the intellectual draught that happens to have come upon.  

So, keep calm and pick your old- selves-up!