25 Dec 2011

How Emotional Are We Humans Really?

I was reflecting on the Sharad Pawar slapgate incident. Now, this is not the 1st time he’s been ill treated in public. Do we remember the ICC Champions Trophy some years ago when the Australian Cricket Team pushed Pawar off stage in public? He laughed off the ICC CT incident. A lot of us were outraged at that incident, but were delighted slapgate occured. Now while we despise Sharad Pawar, a lot of us secretly want to be like him to a small extent. We do not want act unethically, but we have to doff our hats to the guy who has his fingers in almost every business in the country (and a lot outside also).

Sharad Pawar slapgate
The differentiator, dear reader, is emotion. Ever noticed how we humans get carried away by something that delights or infuriates us? We’re either over the moon celebrating or up in arms dropping everything else. We have witnessed numerous instances of people taking to the streets, burning effigies and holding demonstrations for bad performances by cricket teams, players not being picked, poor umpiring, etc. Sharad Pawar’s minions and sycophants conducted such protests when slapgate occurred (surprised they didn’t go to Australia and protest the team’s behaviour towards Pawar saaheb), but did we see Pawar even bat an eyelid?  Richard Thaler, in his book NUDGE, states that very few humans respond to incentive while making a decision, while most of us react emotionally. James Brauer, in an excellent article here, says that the best way to have our idea shared is to appeal emotionally to the audience. Often, he says, people share content if they have emotionally connected with it. The best marketers manage to have their products sold by connecting emotionally with their target groups. So that means that we focus less on actual matter and more on emotional appeal. I wonder, is that how it should really be?

18 Dec 2011

The 'Namma Metro' Journey...

Last week I had been to Bangalore to attend a seminar, which lasted 2 days. I was scheduled to leave on the evening of the 3rd day. That day, I got a chance to experience the recently started Bangalore Metro railway service. This Metro, christened as ‘Namma Metro’, is a JV between the Government of India and Government of Karnataka. More info on the service can be found here.

My friend and I had to meet a friend at Baiyapanahalli, which is the last stop of 1 of the two Metro lines. We boarded the metro from M.G. Road and reached the destination. There were 8 stations in between. There, our friend conveniently gave us kalti (left us hanging in the lurch) & apologized saying he wouldn’t be able to meet us. So we took the next train from Baiyapanahalli and came back to M.G. Road.

The experience was awesome. The stations are really cool and clean. They’re well covered and have a 1st world country feel; well, so do the trains. All the stations arrive on the left side only, which saves passengers the trouble of wondering which side the station will arrive on. Passengers were not many, since it’s been just 2 months since the service has started. The doors open in unison, stay open for about 20 seconds and then the train leaves. The initial movement of the train does give a slight jerk and those unprepared might be thrown off balance, but that’s fine. Each door is manned (also womanned) on each station by a guard. The stations are relatively close to each other. It feels good to see yourself tower over the city and bypass daily city traffic. The toughened plastic glass windows allow you to have a good perspective of the city. There is not a lot visible; just buildings, and roads sometimes. But gardens etc. are barely visible as the walls on either side of the tracks are a little high too.

The journey felt great. It was the best train journey of my life; albeit the collective time taken for the journey to and fro was about half an hour. I felt like a kid again; excited and smiling all the time. What’s also commendable is how well the Metro system is planned. Tickets are circular plastic coupons which we have to deposit in the machine while exiting. Those tickets will be reprogrammed and used by other travellers, which ensures zero wastage. Plus, there is no way one can skip a ticket machine, as all the other exits are sealed. I felt proud to see this service in our country and I applaud all the partners who have got it working. I hope the service, whenever it starts in Mumbai, is just as good as in Bangalore, if not better. All you people should try it once, even if just for thrills. Below is a very simple video, I shot showing snippets of the station and the train. I don't know what happened to the voice; guess we'll have to make do without it.

4 Dec 2011

5 Ways To Get Better At Blogging & Twitter...

How many of us want to have good presence in the social media world? Well, I’m sure most of us. But how many are successful are achieving the targets set? Compared to the number of social media users out there, they’re very few. We don’t quite get the hang of Twitter, comment on others’ blogs and wait for some of them to return the favour... But there are more concrete ways to power up one’s followers online (be it blogs, Twitter, Facebook and even on Youtube).

Purvesh (His Blog & Twitter handle @PureWaste) is one personality who knows how to leverage the power of social media to work for him. His 500 followers on Twitter may not be similar to the 3 – 5000 others have. However, considering that he spends more time offline than on the internet, he’s built a good base for himself on social media. The quality of his followers on Twitter is excellent. Plus he gets more hits and comments on his blog in a day than I get in a week. Let’s take 5 tips each on how to build our blog and Twitter networks from Purvesh:
"BLOGGING: Blogging is a passion. I look at blogs as a mode to rest and recuperate. Being an occasional blogger, I prefer to maintain a personal blog, although I have a speciality blog as well. A few tips from my side purely based on my blogging experience:

1.) Categorise your blog: When you start to blog, be clear as to what you want the blog to communicate and who would be the target audience.  In other words, categorize your blog. It could be something like a personal blog, or a speciality blog.

2.) Maintain your style: Every writer has his own style of writing. Some use long sentences. Some use short. Some use complicated language. Whatever be the case, stick to your style. With this, the reader knows what to expect from you.  But if you are new and want to establish yourself first, then keep your language simple. Use short sentences and simple language. Maintain a flow too.

3.) Blog at regular intervals: Do leave your blog unattended for longer period of times. There is no right regular period, but as a general rule, blog at least once a month. If you are a professional blogger, the frequency may be higher then.

4.) Publicize your blog: Your blog doesn’t exist if people don’t read it. Use other forms of social media to publicize your blog. Use Facebook, Twitter and blogging networks to publicize your blogs and generate traffic. I generally also use blogadda and indie blogger too.

5.) You get what you give: To get something, you first have to give something! This here means that read what others are blogging about and comment on it. And in no time, will you see that the traffic on your blog too increases multi folds.

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