Sunday, February 21, 2010

How social are we?

Pick up a newspaper and you can’t fail to read an article about social networking somewhere in the paper. I just saw three articles, (one of which my mum pointed out in fact) that are all related to social networking. The one, which my mother pointed out to me, is related to the field that I am in- Advertising online. In the article, one of my agency’s top honchos Srinivasan Swamy, is quoted about the Indian youth’s online and social networking habits. He says the average Indian youth spends some sixty percent of their time online, via the internet or their mobile phone. This translates into 25,800 minutes a month. Which is why, marketers are now furiously factoring social media into their marketing strategy.

Right next to this article was another important article that should not be overlooked. The article covered how the rise of PC sales is increasing overall. True during one quarter there wasn’t very rosy for computer manufacturers, but the bigger picture tells us that India is growing more and more computer savvy by the minute.

The final straw which prompted this post was an article that I saw in today’s newspaper. It talks about how Catholic priests Father Nigel Barrett and Father Warner D' Souza from Mumbai are getting online to talk to their parishioners and the youth. Their strategy is to take the message where their audiences is. A laudable move, when you think that a lot of churches in South Mumbai are quite empty, and if they are full the number of youth and young adults present do seem to be dwindling The past year has seen everyone jump on the internet bandwagon, from wannabe India politicians who tried to ape Barack Obama’s successful online political strategy to the current generation of net savvy priests. What’s next I wonder.

This entire social networking craze brings me to the point at moot. Everyone knows that man is a social animal. I forget who said that first. We spend so much time on social networking sites, but how social are we? How many of us really meet new people online using such sites?

On one side of the scale is the user whose so-called friends list is just a list of people they’ve run into during their life and are way too impolite to refuse a friend request in the virtual world. On the other hand are those people who seem to add every Tom, Dick and Harriet, just to see the total number of friends in their list growing.

Most people are likely to talk to less than 10% of the people on their list. Honestly, ask yourself this. How many new friends have you made using a social networking site, whom you have been in touch with for over a year at least. Truth is not many I am sure. In addition, if you have, you might be one of the madding crowd who has chucked that friendship after a while because let’s face it, everyone is so busy that even online friends don’t meet. Online social networking is all about instant gratification to connect with someone when you have nobody at hand. And for that it works well, in a generation that is tethered to the mobile phone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Apple a day

I am still discovering the joys of my new iPhone and the new ipad has already created quite a ruckuss. To me it's a bit like something out of Star Trek or some other science fiction movie.

What interests me is it's potential to be the first fully coloured e-book reader. This means reading photograpy magazines will be possible to say the least. The question though is whether we will be able to read our own PDFs or will be forced to get it from an apple store, a store that will not have books outside the US market. You do have to hand it to Apple for aceing the design.

On one hand some might argue that it's nothing but a larger albeit stripped down verion of an iPhone a closer look tells us that the added screenspace has resulted in additional functionalities. And if the iPhone is anything to judge by, the iPad is going to be easy to use. Make no mistake this is a device that seeks to exist in that space between your PC/laptop And your digital photo frame. What would have really made it nice would have been the inclusion of an optical drive and a USB port. That said it is definitley on my consideration list.

The media though has been having a field day with it, I especially liked the economist cover stating a prophetic book of Jobs. Another is this viral video that is doing the rounds. What Hitler thinks of the iPad, hilarious yet addreses the grievances of most of the crowd.

For now I am keeping an eye on the other products from the stable of Apple :D