Facebook Fatigue

Selfies

Gorgeously dressed bodies lolling about on beaches, canoodling in night clubs, more selfies

People I remembered as hunks having balding pates and bigger paunches strolling down beaches and puffing up hill

Once hot women trying to look hotter and younger

Ibiza, Shanghai, Scotland, Paris, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Washington, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macha Pichu, New York, Himalayas, Ladakh, Uttaranchal, Uzbekistan, Gobi Dessert, Dubai, Turkey, Afghanistan (yes that too)

Lovey dovey couples striking poses, once-self-proclaimed enemies now bffs

Change the world, stop the war, stop rape, conserve the environment, feed the hungry, liberate the inner child

Sign a petition

Join a movement

Like even if you don’t like to

Comment

Update

even it just means telling the whole world and the Martians (like they care, yes they do exist havent’ you read, really where were you) that you are happy/sad/lonely/hurt/intelligent/bitch/asshole/loaded/mental

that you burnt your biriyani

that you can boil water

that you can cook maggi noodles

that you woke up early to make breakfast for your lovely wife

or you stayed up late to make out with your doofey husband

Ah facebook

life doesn’t exist outside of it

friends don’t exist without it

you fart, you sneeze, you orgasm, you burp, you are alive

Yay facebook

So what happens one fine day when you wake up and see your life has passed you by on facebook

where everybody has travelled everywhere

married

had kids

got divorced

got promotions

lost jobs

lost lives

RIP

RIP facebook

Living

Still Alive

Breathing

Sleeping

Awake

Aware

 

 

 

 

Staying Unconnected

I have practically lived in a cocoon these past 3 weeks strapped to a bed with a white ceiling and a whirring fan for company, if I don’t count my family, the reliable i-pad and books.

Cut off from the outside world the internet was my gateway to the world since the daily paper brought with it the daily dose of rape and mayhem, corruption and petty politicking.

Predictably, I have piled on the pounds.

I have also been hit by the need to know, a child-like curiosity about everything.

How the concept of time came to be?

Why is it I remember anything related to movies but nothing with maths?

Why do kites come out only between 10 and 1?

Why is it that my neighbor’s baby quietens when it is wrapped in her bosom and starts yodeling when he goes to his dad?

How technology has evolved? Where once I used to dial in to numbers whirling the numbers around the phone now I touch a contact and the dear one is on the other end, both audio and visual and as live as virtual gets?

Why Linkedin brings better job openings than a monster does?

How a chip inserted into the skin can track and monitor your vitals? A boon, considering that we will in less than 2 decades become a fast aging population and geriatric care will be the need of the hour. Scary, if this same chip can trace my every move; know my DNA structure; the number of times I have donated blood or visited hospitals for illnesses; the mind boggles at the possibilities.

How children staying in very remote areas can still get access to quality teachers thanks to initiatives like Skype in a Classroom and Coursera? Surprisingly, high speed connections are not even required!

How is it that initiative not experience lets you surpass your current economic or social limitations?

How the world is filled with infinite possibilities?

How the world is limitless?

And it all starts in your mind……..

 

Must-haves – POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS MADE EASY

No, this post isn’t about must-have accessories or footwear or clothes that you wear as opposed to ‘what not to wear’ that flop actress turned fashionista Soha Ali Khan hosts on one of the lifestyle channels.

This post instead is focused on life skills.

POWER POINTS

If you thought you are done with power points after your basic computer classes, think again. The corporate sector thrives on it. There is nothing  and nowhere that .ppt or .pptx (depending on which version you use) doesn’t exist. Power points are sacrosanct be it creative, communications, IT or any other department you can think about. So PRACTICE AND PRACTICE. Perfect those skills.  But before you start to jazz up your presos with animations, remember:

Have a story board in place before you start to put together a slide

Remember, your slides are just helping you tell a story and is Not the story itself

Keep it Simple Silly (As in everything else, keep it simple)

  1. No more than 3 major  bullet points
  2. Do not clutter your slides with text . (You do not want your slide to look like the standard disclaimer that insurance/banking firms throw your way)
  3. Go easy with the colors. Keep to  the standard color palette that goes with the template you have chosen
  4. Keep to 2 fonts all through (Corporates usually prefer Arial and Calibri; Cambria and Book Antiqua) and don’t use fancy fonts like Wing Dings 😉

Go Visual

  1. A single picture is equal to a 1000 words
  2. Power Point has a nifty tool called Smart Art which helps you represent relationships – pyramid, matrix, etc
  3. Template layouts also allow you to craft a slide to make story telling easy
  4. Go on the web to get graphics that allow you to use visuals more effectively. Eg: Graphic below can be used for sales network, ecosystem partnership, etc..
    (Courtesy: Google images)

Easy-to-understand CONTENT

  1. Keep the language simple
  2. Since text is usually in bullet points you can go easy on article usage but good grammar is still a must
  3. Do a spell check, fact check
  4. Avoid acronyms: More often than not companies think that the audience understands acronyms which are industry or company specific

AND REMEMBER…

  1. Light text on light background do not work, same goes for dark text on dark background
  2. To Go easy with animations and builds, they are distracting and can take away from what  could have been a great presentation
  3. To Check for formatting. Eg; alignments of boxes and grids (Power Point 2010 makes it easy to ensure proper formatting as there is an inbuilt grid that helps to keep all the boxes, graphics, texts, photos, etc… in place)
  4. Different locations require different formats. Eg; 16:9 is great if you plan to show the presentation in a large room & big screen but if you plan to play your slides in a small room go with a 4:3 set up

What you say stays!!

It isn’t for anything that we have proverbs and fables!!

Ever heard of, Words flung from mouth and arrows from a bow can never be taken back.

WHY this proverb and now??

Well, for the past hour and a half I have been browsing my entire stack of posts to laboriously trace comments made by a regular reader and friend to delete all of it permanently.

Now this gentleman is a regular reader of this blog and held forth his opinions quite strong and loud.

Imagine to his surprise when he was quizzed about his opinions on certain topics expressed in this blog during an interview. And he actually fared poorly despite the right qualifications due to his views.

What does this mean and why does it give me a strange foreboding??

Not only do we have moral policing but we now have social policing as well?!

Tell me dear readers, is this right or do we fight???

 

Awake Asleep Awake……..

It’s been 10 days since I logged out of Facebook.

Quitting the stub was easier I think.

Tempted to go back and re-log, not to stay connected but to be a voyeur.

All the people I’m truly connected to stay on. I’m back to calls and starting to meet folks I haven’t met in ages. I was too busy trawling  to comment on a feed or a photo they were tagged in.

How long will I stay off? Your guess is as good as mine.

I have never been the truly fortunate who multitask and accomplish much. I do one thing at one time and try to do it well. I would describe myself as mediocre at best. I thrive on my mediocrity.

I know if I die tomorrow and an obit is sent I will have 2 handfuls of friends who may shed a tear and sport a smile. High hopes?!

Am I rambling on?

Mayhap yes. But here is my list of accomplishments during the FB-off phase.

  • Unpacked my books, indexed them and stacked them in the library
  • Opened P Sainath’s Everybody Loves a Good Drought and Roald Dahl’s Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Half way through the first and almost done with the second)
  • Started my driving classes
  • Seldom log on to the laptop once I’m home
  • Miss my dog constantly, make up by picking fights with my mom (at least I’m starting to communicate)
  • I call up random friends, who send me snide, sarcy messages for remembering them finally, and oh yea, did I want something? (I deserve that I guess)
  • I have learnt to say no (lying actually but starting to say No when I mean No)
  • Taking care of myself (You detect the I-me-my pattern right?!)
  • I call up folks I care about more often (Sure I don’t get browny points for this but heh, you love me so better put up with this)
  • I’m sporting a smile and humming a song (I actually mouth lyrics these days, a huge WOW for me)
  • I hope to catch that interactive theatre my friend has been telling me about
  • Organised my wardrobe and my bills and my closet and gave away gunny-bag full of clothes and books (Oh yes, I’m wasteful but trying not to be)
  • I text friends (again, greeted by snide remarks, sarcy messages, etc etc..)
  • Dusted my dictionaries and my french notes (no, not the ones which says 1001 ways to french kiss but the legit stuff)
  • Cleaning up the workspace
  • I have 2 guppies that have survived in a fish bowl placed on the table at the work bay and a money plant that gave its first lil’ leaf (Thank you God, I love you)

Well, I think that’s enuf. I didn’t realise I actually managed to do so much till I started writing down this post. So Awake I’m. Trying to make the most of the 14-hour day. Yes, yes I still haven’t given up on sleep.

P.S: Rocksta I came back to Greyzed. Finally decided this suits me the most. And yes, we must meet. Let me know if next weekend works for you.

It’s that time of the Year

Red, green and all colors not black or blue. Tis the season to be jolly. Tis the season to give.

Balmy weather already has me warm and happy.

Yet another year drawing to a close. 3+ decades of existence, is it time for me take out my paper and pen and list my accomplishments and draw up yet another list of resolutions.

Naa, don’t think so.

Happy to let that be for the do-gooders. Like a friend remarked I’m one of the rotten apples, as goofy as they come so letting all the resolutions out the door.

And here is what 2011 has been like:

  • No resolutions
  • Stayed on in a job for almost a whole year, a big phew
  • Stayed on in a relationship for more than two years and counting, a bigger phew
  • Malty stayed on with me despite the constant peeing and turned one, thanks mom
  • La familia still together, tg indeed
  • Mostly stayed off the booze, not surprising since old age is catching up 😉
  • Didn’t dope, now remember that i never did 😀
  • Kept my heart and mind open to new experiences and the richer for it, amen!
  • Almost curtailed my credit card bills, but then again what’s life without a lil’ debt
  • It’s not been all about money, had more than my fair share of love, honey, adventures, travel
  • Travel I did and not only to an exotic bucket-list country but got to see a lot of my country, double amen!!
  • Made a lot of closures, realised all it took was a wee bit of courage & a few puffs
  • Love myself more than I did, hope this continues into the New Year

So folks, for all those who stayed on with me this last year, THANK YOU. For those who may come in next year, THANK YOU and for those who dropped off well GOOD LUCK and THANK YOU…..

HAPPY HOLS ….

Spamming

I have written on Netiquette earlier but a spate of incidents in the recent past prompt me to add a postscript to the post 😉

Nearly everyone’s FB wall has been spammed with links that proclaim to contain Bin Laden’s video (the Seals attack!!) and links that claim to let you know who your top follower is and how it may include your ex and not to mention all the comments on IPL!!!! NOW REALLY….Are we living in such a voyeuristic culture that we need to click every link that promises SHOCK value when we know its spam.

Not only Facebook every day living has gotten to a point of getting spammed.

Mobile phones are replete with messages from banks promising personal loans, health insurance, great investments; travel agents promising once-in-a-lifetime offer and free tickets to godknowswhereandwhocares; yoga classes at your doorstep and home delivery of something akin to ATKINS diet….NOW REALLY….

Emails have too few mails and too much junk. You would never realise you were important or even LIVING until you have mails from YAHOO, MICROSOFT, SHELL, BRITISH PETROLEUM,GOOGLE sending you lottery winning notifications; mails from MARUTI, VIDEOCON, WINDSOR SHERATON, BPOfirms, unknown recruitment firms offering you a BIG break, a GREAT job; mails from your Nigerian uncle, Chinese grandad, African relative and European cousin offering you an inheritance; mails from the FBI, WHO, UN asking you for personal details……….NOW REALLY….

And try having a conversation with someone and if the topic, God forbid, is politics or cricket, everyone and his uncle has an opinion on it and the conversation is no longer a dialogue but a frenzied babel…NOW REALLY..

Spamming culture is here my friends, and where do we go from here??!

YOU TELL ME would love to know………………………………..

Underpaid + Unappreciated

This is the third attempt at writing the post. Perhaps because the title affects me on an extremely personal level.

Left an organisation for the second part, left another for the first, seen a few good friends leave for both parts while some are hanging on by a thread of sanity for want of anything better. UNDERPAID + UNAPPRECIATED – the recession helped companies/individuals to spread this knell along. StOP already.

A word of appreciation or a letter of commendation in front of people who matter is not that difficult a task. Value your Employees and They WILL STAY, and even if they don’t, you have built a positive network who may help you sometime.

A friend said my posts are angsty. Had to refer to a dictionary first!! , and here is what I got.

angst – an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom

Bang on.

Why is it difficult for corporates to get rid of corporategiri and why do normal people live up to the adage Nothing Corrupts Like Absolute Power.

Over the span of a decade I have been mentored and groomed by some amazing professionals, some did it intentionally and some unknowingly. I have learnt to:

Be professional at work=Don’t carry a baggage and your kitchen sink to work; Stay focused; Don’t Take your work home=prioritise work/ Make a list of Things to Do/ Work at Getting Things Done on Time or Well Before

Don’t Overpromise & Under-deliver = Walk the talk. If you can, you can. If not YOU CAN’T. Don’t Commit yourself if you do not have the specifics and Do not know what is required. DO YOUR HOMEWORK always.

LEARN– Constantly upgrade your skills. Spread yourself and learn. Teach yourself if you can’t be taught. Never be afraid to ASK even if it means you make a fool of yourself. BE OPEN to receiving.

DON’T UNDERPRICE – yourself and the work you do. Find out the market value for the services you offer. After all, you are the product and undervaluing and underestimating yourself will amount to a Huge LOSS and possible bankruptcy. I learnt this the hard way when I offered to write an article for 100 bucks a piece, and found that the market rate was five times that. WHICH ALSO MEANS when it is appraisal time do not be afraid to ask for a hike and that promotion you deserve.

SHOW YOU CARE– Whether you Start Green Horns, a green initiative, like a few friends did, and they even went on to win an award for their documentary OR you are just saying Thank You to the lady at the reception who goes out of her way to make Life easy for you OR your young colleague who shares his insights into the workings of your organisation.

DE-CLUTTER – How can you get work done if your desktop is filled with a zillion icons and redundant folder or your table strewn with paper and chocolate wrappers or your mind anxious about the upcoming appraisal when you actually have a looming deadline waiting to be completed. Take one thing at a Time.

ADOPT NEW MEDIA – You do not have to be on Facebook constantly to adopt new media. There are networking platforms aplenty to suit your requirements but a few that any professional is well-advised to adopt. Linkedin and Slideshare being a few. Most HR professionals these days check your Linkedin profile and use their network to check and evaluate you. Who knows New Media may be where your next paycheck comes from!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leveraging Social Media

Often heated arguments erupt between Bambubhai and I over the power of the Social Media. (A quick note: Bambubhai is my sounding board, thick as brick and sharp as a harp with his tongue and wicked wit!!) Oh where was I, ah yes the arguments. He being a SM-hater and me being PRO-SM or New Media as I prefer calling all these great platforms.

Bambubhai: Pah and boo to Social Media, what social media?? This is nothing but intrusion of privacy. I don’t know why fool people want to waste time posting pics and boasting about stuff they would normally dare not get associated with including sloshed out pics and rave parties!!!!! And don’t you ever talk about getting me into all this NONSENSE.

Me: But honey, you don’t get it do you?? You need to be on these platforms and increase your network. Who knows someone may be needing your help right now.

Bambubhai: Like hell I care. If someone wants my help they can call me or meet me. See, that’s what social media does. It takes away the human connect. People spend more time on FB than they do with family. What’s the point? And networking, well I go out for a beer with my boys and yap with the gang. What better way to network, eh??

Naysayer though Bambubhai is, he still has hooked up with buddies across the globe on FB but not capitalized the rich network that Linkedin provides. Well to those of you interested to taste some of my pickled wisdom, here goes:

Facebook not only serves as a great place to hook up with friends, keep tabs on shall we say pppl whom u r green-eyed about, catch up with DJs/RJs/MCs and all the other alphabets, know the latest dos and win free tickets…FB is also a great place to set up your page if you are interested in getting your business/hobbies off the ground. I know of a theatre group, Yourstruly, which has optimally used FB to capture a ready audience.

The like/share button available on FB page also allows you to get more people involved in this type of marketing who would attract even more people on their page to see your project and thus it goes on.

Trick is to keep the content INTERESTING, involve reader participation, encourage comments, make it INTERACTIVE

Linkedin is a great platform to network professionally not only with peers or seniors in your field but related fields too. I have checked out other sites like ApnaCircle and Viadeo but personally, did not get much value from these as compared with Linkedin. (No: not getting paid to promote).

Look up for people whom you know ONLY and get connected. Very simple reason for this thumb rule: you do not want STRANGERS/ppl with whom you share a bad rapport use this site to badmouth you or spike your chances of creating helpful connections.

Join groups that are from your area of expertise or potential area so you can gain valuable insights into the industry or market. Unlike FB where you would go around adding folks with whom u would share a Hi once in six months, be selective about whom you add on in professional networking sites.

I scratch your back, you scratch mine may be crass..but it works best this way for those who are just starting off on a professional networking platform. Later, you can use even more discretion in adding folks on your connected list.

Do not go around plastering recommendation with/from people whom you have not worked on in a personal level. And even if you do, specify the key adjectives on which the commendation can be framed so it at least has credence of authenticity.

Participate in group discussions and follow normal etiquette that you would in a formal face-to-face conversation. Smart alecks and Talking down are not welcome. Initiate discussions. Be genuine.

Twitter isn’t a fad. Yes, I wrote it off a few years back when it started but the micro-blogging platform has survived and thrived despite naysayers like me. I’m a believer in Twitter reach especially after the Brigade Carlton episode. Twitter is yet to be harnessed fully.

Twitter not only provides you the freedom of creating lists but also allows you to create new trending topics with the use of a # tag. Again, follow common day-to-day etiquettes. Your stepping into the loo doesn’t require a 140-word tweet, does it 😉

Blogging is more than a personal journal.

And some new age consultants like businessblogging.com are an eye opener as was the great social media experiment I was privileged to be a part of. CIIConnect 2010 was a great experience and ardently hope that I get the opp to participate in more such events. Meanwhile, remember a blog is a great outlet to outpour your angst and showcase your wit aka ‘A’ Corner but also is a great way to increase your network and visibility.

Whether WordPress or Blogger, all the widgets these blogging hosts provide can be creatively used to increase traffic. Check HellBound Bloggers and Mashable for updated+Tips on optimal use of New Media.

Rules to be followed are same as the other platforms. Refrain from foul language unless that is your USP, but be wary of the followers you attract. Always Pay It Forward. It helps to give because end of it all .. what you give is what you get my friend.

Happy networking, and do keep on coming back to share your valuable insights and great feedback.

How Much Is Too Much??

You could consider this post as an addendum to “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” but it is the result of a botched online makeover that I attempted recently and some spontaneous reaction to it.

Circa 2005 – Google vanity, ahem, (googling oneself) was a random act I did as a journalist. Seeing my content appear on web pages other than the publication I worked for gave tremendous satisfaction ‘coz it meant that content I had put up made sense to a few people, who also saw enough value to post it on their sites. Of course, most times these were companies or people on whom I had based my stories, but at times, these were people/corporates that used my stories to sell their product/services/ideas/arguments.

2009 – Away from the select band of people for whom pen was mightier than money or God I was still curious to see if there were traces of me on the world’s web. There wasn’t. Deflated I was. Where were all the stories I wrote and the interviews I conducted, the trend analysis and the catchy interviews?

2010 – Then came Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and of course, my favourite – blogs. While I have been blogging off and on, ghetu inspired me to come back full flow. Now in the midst of all this, I went back to do a vanity google.

And guess what. Twitter has brought me back virtually. What it directly meant was the net is truly a web, where you can always get caught and worse any info uploaded was there for all to howl about.

Pondered Points:

– > Anytime you post a comment or tweet, remember your HR may trace you or that ex-colleague who zealously tracks your every move, or that creditor to whom you owed a few thousands or an ex-whoever you are trying to hide from.

– > Don’t post, tweet or comment on anything that you regret later including offensive comment trails replete with F words and B words

– > Most HR these days routinely scan FB and Linkedin to see how potential employees have been behaving, albeit online. Yes, this practice has become very prevalent in Indian HR also. So exercise caution

– >If you are employed with a company and plan to put in your papers but haven’t announced it officially, be wary of even veiled comments or a sudden spurt in your linkedin activity like asking present colleagues to connect or ex-colleagues to recommend

– > While on Linkedin, do not ADD or ASK colleagues or acquaintances with whom you share a tepid rapport or even something that borders on the negative, to your network. That can do you more harm than you realize. Linkedin warns of this quite often

– > Even more on Linkedin, it has a great option of deleting comments by you or someone on you (if they are within your network) but try not to use it too often, when a little caution would never have got you to that stage

– > If you plan to link your Linkedin and Twitter profile be careful of what you tweet. Looney comments about that great party you attended or that hot guy/gal you dated or that ridiculous place with the pathetic service may make you look hep but doesn’t bode too well with most HR personnel, who are still jurassic in this aspect

– > Not a good idea again to link FB and Linkedin. Remember the two are for different purposes, unless you have a professional page or persona on FB, which I doubt most of us do. FB after all is a social networking site while Linkedin is for you to network professionally. A friend of mine very wisely asked, “Now why would I want my boss on my Facebook page?, “ after she was routinely bombarded with requests to accept a Friend invitation. Ahem, remember FB has something called an Ignore option

– > Again, the same works with Linkedin, you have an option to ignore a contact with whom you DO NOT want on your list of connections. Exercise care, while clicking on the button because Linkedin at times can fool you and present only the Accept or Reply options.

– > If you do not want to be traced do not check the option for ‘let your contacts find you by email address’ and ‘let XX help you import contacts through your address book.’

LET ME KNOW about other wise choices one can make while Socializing personally and professionally to maintain discretion and avoid hara kiri!!

Meanwhile, here is an interesting read from the WSJ