i thought yahoo chat was THE medium to socialize and still remember collecting all my NIIT coupons to surf the net and chat with some stranger a thousand miles away. internet surfing was an expensive affair @ Rs 50/hr and NIIT’s coupons saved the day. never completed GNIIT but exhausted the coupons and ran a thriving industry trading coupons till i joined the media bandwagon.
messenger came and caught everybody’s imagination and at one point in time that was the only and cheapest way of communicating with someone in an overseas bureau. we didn’t have vonage then nor video conferencing. this was still something that polycom was working on.
google chat took over and i remember the organization head asking a motley crew of 80 stationed all across the country to add each other for quicker communication. of course we readily accepted. it was easier to crib and pass rude comments without having to contort our facial expressions plus when you got pulled up it didn’t turn into a public lynching.
suddenly facebook came along and everyone was on it. after much prodding and social blackmail i hopped on too. very soon i received minutely updates on ppl crapping, taking a pee break or a coffee break, the hottest guys and the coolest chicks, photos of sloshed pals dancing in phsychedelic discos. you could never share too much or too soon.
i got bored and switched myself off. then Farmville came calling and i even had sober ‘mature’ folks tell me Farmville allows them to get back to nature, farm and get away from it all without having to spend much dough. i agree. after all you can’t afford Rs 4lakh+ for an acre, wake up at 5 in the morning to take ur oxen to till the land and go on till 11 under the blazing sun. after all not all farmers can afford a john deere tractor can they. much better off on Farmville eh? Of course you had to have fishville and dogville come right after 😉
meanwhile, someone sent me an article on this great new medium which was more like texting but a lot more so, which was like facebook but a lot less so. There was also a word limit of 150 characters and how there was this Irish chef ( a woman wouldn’t you know?!) who was able to crunch her cookie recipes into this limit. wow, you are in the media and you haven’t tried it yet, shame they said. so of course, i logged in to check this sms-like service and found out it was something called twitter. (in the midst of all this i discovered blogging too. as if facebook weren’t enough people were hell bent on revealing all their sexcapades, escapades, phsycological trips and what-have-you to anyone who cared to read. ahem, predictably my blogs reached their blog graveyard in an all-too sudden and unnatural fashion. by last accounts I am told there were 33 million blogs of which only 3 million are still active, so says technoratti. short attention span and attention deficit disorder. humans you see can’t be bothered to focus long enough to hear what they say let alone what someone else says!!) So getting back to twitter, i dialed in with one of my numerous email aliases (this helps when I skip town for non-payment of credit card bills) and got a twitter handle. wow, i’m hep and happening i thought and started tweeting. but restricting myself to 150 limit was worse than trying to learn differential calculus. you see Indian journalists are trained in pedantic prosey writing. a tweet from a twit like yours truly took her close to a whole day of laborious composition. will deleting all the vowels help. will numbers instead of words help. i had tried this with texting earlier but got back curt messages asking me to make more sense or see a shrink. so my first unsuccessful tryst with twitter ended on a bitter note.
i dismissed twitter and the collective platforms of what were defined as social media to the bin and moved on with life. back to my nice simple Nokia, my Reynolds and Compaq till my news editor decided i got myself a handle and tweet. he was trying to make the pub mor e with it, and twitter was with it. yea the damn thing had stayed on and collected itself some 75 million users and still growing on. not only ppl but companies and the giants at that had discovered what a wonderful mass medium this was – to market, communicate, develop spin, gauge markets, etc, etc.
so where am i. well for those who are still wading thru this. i’m now (trying to) build myself as a social media specialist (hic). after all you see i believe having buried 3 blogs and resurrected two besides starting off a few more and connecting with like-minded folks across the gamut of the social media space (linked in, fb, twitter, myspace, youtube) i am an expert on what ticks and what doesn’t!!