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Technology and the Future Generation

When we talk about social media, technology that drives it can’t be missed out in the mentions. And when we talk about technology, the impact and influence on the younger generation can’t be missed out on.

Call them Gen X or Gen Y, our children are the ones who will inherit what we invent today. The social channels, the technology, the infrastructure, everything will be at their disposal to use. What we have to make sure as the inventors that it is not misused.

Children today are smart, perhaps smarter than us when we were that age. We were used to playing outdoors, getting our clothes dirty and knees bruised. They may not be doing exactly the same today, but they sure are much more adept at using a smart phone, perhaps more than us who invented it. So how do we make sure that when they do interface with these devices, children learn something instead of being adversely affected by the devices that have become an inseparable part of our lives?

With this question at the heart of the discussion, Intel and Educomp organized the Tech For Toddlers event this past weekend. I’ll be honest, I had to look up on the internet to learn a bit more about Dr. Bindu Rana and her work in education research. So when she started speaking at the event, one tends to listen. “Technology is an enabler for the child. Parents should not restrict its use, just the misuse. The first sense that a child uses to learn is the sense of touch and devices are only helping. The action used to zoom into a picture on the screen is the same with which to hold a pencil in hand,” she said.

I had never thought on these lines before, but now that the idea has found its way to my thoughts, the more I think about it, the more I realize its validity. Not only is the modern technology an enabler for learning, it is the one point which can enhance learning by experiencing rather than learning by rote which we all did in school. But how does one control the flow of information so that the child has access to all the right information and is shielded from the imminent ill effects of the information age?

Give them access to the devices, but make sure the access is supervised. Make sure, instead of games and music, the devices have more educational material for the children as their usage of the device will have a greater impact on them compared to an adult. Make sure access to the devices is not allowed in the bedroom or at the dining table. These are some of the easiest to ignore pointers but leave a lasting impact on how the modern computing devices can make or break the future generation. And as parents and guardians, we are the ones who have a lot to learn before we call it a day.

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What a month in Gurgaon can teach you? Thanks to CocoBerry, Domino’s and Airtel

We have been moving around lately. After spending few years in London we moved back to India and found ourselves jobs in the communications industry in Delhi. Dwarka seemed like quite a spot to live in and we called it a home until recently when we decided to move to Gurgaon to be closer to our offices (and not spend long hours at the Gurgaon toll) and that’s when all the hell broke loose.

The Starters- Week 1

We moved on June 29 , 2013 in an unfurnished apartment and decided to order for an air conditioner. Cheque was delivered and so was the air conditioner to our apartment which is on the second floor with no lift to it. However, the dealer and his people refused to have it installed and for 48 hours kept debating about its mechanics. Their favourite reason- “The stairs are too narrow and badly made.”

Okie. We cancelled it and after lot’s of argument our cheque was returned. We ordered from Croma that very day and they had it delivered the next day. All this while I had started to believe that stairs had a mind of their own and have been narrowing down ever since we shifted our double beds and a refrigerator to the second floor.

Croma

1 minute and 30seconds, is all it took for the two Croma guys to lift it up to the second floor and have it unwrapped.

I love my stairs- it’s a good exercise excuse!!

Reason for this behavior from sources at the company- “dealer wasn’t happy with the commission he was getting from the company. So, it’s okie for him to throw tantrums”

Advise: Always keep an old fashioned cooler nearby. It might make it humid but you won’t die of dehydration by excessive sweating.

The Main Course: Week 2

We were hungry and decided to order Domino’s. That’s my favourite any time of the day, so we went ahead and ordered online and they delivered too- Well, almost!

The delivery guys called us to say, “Mere pass app ka order hain and main 0.5 km door hoon but hum aapke location pe deliver nahi karta hain. Main wapas jaa raha hoon.”

Domino's pizza

Now can you beat that!

Domino's Pizza Confirmation

Domino’s Pizza confirmation that was never delivered

That started the endless calls between their sector 29 store and DLF store. Each claiming that the other store  has the mandate to deliver.

They ordered us to “pay in cash and only then they can deliver and we will get a refund. Just wait for the SMS with details.”

No SMS came. Calls were being hanged up. Rude people shouting from the other end. During this I tweeted to Domino’s handle. Thought they would say a hi at least.

Finally sec 29 store guy said you will get the refund in 7 days. DLF store manager said “it will take 14 days”. Sec 29 said wait for the SMS cancellation confirmation and then I can pay cash once it gets delivered. I agreed, way to go.

DLF store said we don’t send such cancellation SMS’s.

Finally, we agreed to pay cash once DLF store manager confirmed that we will get the refund. YIPPIE!!!

We kept waiting. No pizza was delivered!!!!

I am no longer  sure about the refund either.

Advise: Frozen parathnas always save the day. Stock them to full while in Gurgaon or even traveling through it.

The Entertainment: Week 3

Well, every one needs an internet connection. We applied for one through Airtel. Their executive Sunil (9717127829) came and we finalized the plan. 14 day free trial and free WIFI router was a super add on.  Rs 500 was paid as advance and receipt taken.

This was July 13, 2013.

No one bothered to come back after that. On July 22, I called back on the mobile number but it was switched off. Finally, I called the landline (0124-4030040) through which I had got in touch with them initially. That’s the reply I got each time I called:

Complaint on Airtel India's Fb page

Complaint on Airtel India’s Fb page (click to enlarge)

Call 1: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5 mins”

Call 2: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5- 10 mins”

Call 3: “Let me check the details and YOU can call me in 5-6 mins”

After nearly 5 hours (not 5 mins) when nothing seemed to move, I asked for their manager – SHIV (9717197282). That’s the reply I got:

Call 1: “Let me check the details and YOU can call me in 5-6 mins

Call 2: “Let me check the details and we will call you in 5- 10 mins

FInally, I was told I can’t be given the 4 mbps plan that I had paid the advance for as that is not feasible in the area I live in.

“Didn’t you check it before you took the advance from me?” I asked.

Reply: “You gave the advance to Sunil. I am not responsible for him. It’s my closing time and I am very busy. We can have 2mpbs installed if you still want it”

I said Yes.

48 hours later and all of Airtel went into radio silence once again. I called again.

Reply:  “Actually, we can’t give 2mbps either.  We will give the refund by tomorrow please SMS me your address”

SMS sent. No refund yet (Aug 2, 2013 and counting).

Here is how the complaint on their Facebook page is dealt with. (snapshot above)

Advise: Don’t bring work at home and you won’t need an internet connection. Internet connection is for the losers :)

The Dessert: Week 4

Well, thanks to Coco Berry (Galleria Market, Gurgaon) we had a wonderful one on Saturday- July 27, 2013.  Also,  wife’s purse went missing from their outlet. It’s a gated outlet with very few customers.  How is that possible?

Is it Gurgaon or just us?

cocoberry

cocoberry

The manager Hem Raj (9971201219) helped us find the nearest PCR van. The policeman there Harish Chandra (impressive name, ehh?) gave us a lecture on deteriorating social structure and directed us to nearest Police station of sector 29. He though did not even bother to leave the comfort of his PCR van and do something (anything?). The final advise from him -

“Kissi pe shaq ho ya kuch pata chale toh batana main zarur kaarwayi karunga”

Hilarious or ridiculous!!!!

Hem Raj was in a jolly good mood as always and couldn’t stop smiling all this while.

SMILE Please. Cocoberry

“We don’t have a CCTV footage, it’s all recorded in the head office” *SMILE* “Monday ko milegi” *SMILE*

So we left for the police station, narrated our story and the policeman incharge Jitender along with one more promptly agreed to come on the scene of the crime. Impressive, we thought.

Though both of them had interesting observations to make while on the way and we started to wonder if their promptness is worth anything.

Few employees of Coco Berry were interrogated on the spot and then we were asked to come back to the Police station and showered  with the final suggestions from Jitender

“FIR darj karogei toh mushkil main pad jaaogei. Soch lo. Hamei pratical karne do.  App dono shaadi shuda ho kya, lagte toh nahi.  App inke sath kyun aaye ho. Friend ho kya?”

“App ke sath hi nahi , hamare sath bhi aisa kai baar ho chukka hain. Zamana bada kharab hain”

“FIR darj kar k kya karogei, hamein pratical investigation karne do”

“Galti aap dono ki hi hain waise toh”

P.R.A.C.T.I.C.A.L

(what does that mean as far as Indian Penal code is concerned? Any experts out there?)

Well, back at sector 29 police station it was time for practical. He disappeared handing a piece of paper to another policeman- {Hari Chand or Nek chand, can’t seem to remember. Let’s assume HC for now). Now this guys was baffled at what had happened and his set of questions started.

“Mujhey toh pata hi nahi hain ki kya hua hain. Poora samjhaao”

“Galti toh aap dono ki hi hain”

“FIR mat karo, missing documents ki darj kar do”

After a 3 hour long wait some paper work started and for that he took us from the main reception which had not seen any working bulbs to his residential quarter (within the compound).

Well, talk about working from home and this lad had all the comfort!

While another police man sprawled on the bed. He started asking questions to two of the CocoBerry employees who were summoned. The Manager Hem Raj was there too and so was his *SMILE*. He loved to drop names of policemen he knows and that seemed to have some magical affect on  HC.

They were let go for the time being and the CCTV CocoBerry footage was awaited.

He quickly wrote the report of all the missing items in the purse- RC for the car, PAN, Driving License, Jewellery….. STOP

“Jo likhna hain likh do,  agar pehle kabhi kuch chori hua hain toh woh bhi but hum paise aur gehno ki report nahi likhte hain.”  (write whatever missing documents you want to report but we don’t file FIR for jewellery or money theft).

Of course, you are Gurgaon Police. How can you?

Had he agreed I would have reported Kohinoor missing as well, I thought. What an opportunity missed?

So the lost document report was done sans the jewellery and money.  We didn’t see a point arguing with him. That would have meant spending even more hours there. He dictated in Hindi/Haryanvi and I wrote in English. He wanted me to write “losted FIR” mentioning  “Khaana Khaa rahe thei at the dukaan.”

Premature advice: Not easy to explain what a frozen yogurt is to a  Gurgaon policeman and the difference between a  dessert and the main course. Especially when you have to narrate the same story to 3-4 of them. Here is the recipe in case you end up in a similar situation - http://www.refinery29.com/frozen-yogurt-recipe

The Real Dessert Story- COCO Berry style

Starts here.

On Monday they never called with the CCTV footage details. When I enquired they said (not to mention with a *SMILE*),

“we don’t have it recorded for a week.. …wait, no it was a glitch on that day only between 5:10 to 5:35PM… I am  not authorized to share any more details.. contact Bhupinder Satija our area manager”

Well, may be I was expecting too much from  a reputed company like Coco Berry.  No one expects them to have armed guards outside their outlets (even though it’s Gurgaon), however, the least they could have done is to keep their CCTV’s in the working condition or at least share a believable excuse.

Will they compensate? I doubt. An apology, highly unlikely considering that they haven’t even bothered to follow through since the incident. And of course their manager “knows people” so why bother.

It’s ironic that other than the documents in the purse we also lost one of the wedding rings. The pair of identical ones we gifted each other for our engagement some time back. To top it all it’s no where even mentioned in the FIR and Coco Berry doesn’t even gives a damn (and yes, a bucket full of frozen yogurt in case they try to offer as apology isn’t acceptable anymore).

Advise: Don’t bother raising your red flag and shouting slogans for your rights. No one cares. I have given up!

Welcome to India :)

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Insights & Strategy

Why blogging or original content creation (OCC) is important?

Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting f...

Blogging/ OCC = Influence

Influence = Followers

Followers = Conversations
Conversations = Stories
Stories = Engagement
Engagement = Sharing
Sharing = Reach
Reach = Message Amplified
Message amplified = Influence

Therefore, Blogging/OCC = Influence. Blog now!! :)

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Insights & Strategy

Debunking Myths About Facebook. Really?!

Everything that catches attention always comes under the close scrutiny of the critics. Everyone has an opinion be it the tech geeks, social media experts, politicians or the general public. And when it comes to Facebook –  we love to have conversation about it both on and off it. facebook engancha

Cynics have suggested conspiracy theories of world domination in Facebook’s policies. Well, it could seem quite believable when you find the company imitating ever walk of ones social life and wrapping it for display online. It’s not that no one has tried it before- MySpace, Orkut and loads of other have traveled the same road and got lost in tech graveyard. Sometimes the burden of rising user expectations have pulled them down while at other times extreme focus on monetization of user base have got them bleeding.

Though the jury is still out on Facebook’s future – nearly a billion users network can’t be discounted that easily. The social in facebook is still strong and those who think getting the taste of e-com to the network could be the beginning of the end are in for a big surprise. Simply because ‘Money is Social’. That’s where most networks in the pre-Facebook era have lost the plot. They tried to monetize the social by selling it i.e. the numbers to advertisers anyone and everyone. Perhaps it was the only logical model that they saw delivering the moolah following the steps of big brother Google.

But Google didn’t have stakes on social until recently with G+. What these networks didn’t understand was that Google was all about numbers and algorithms – a mechanical code that barely touched upon the psyche of social existence. In fact, only thing it managed to capture was the hype and persona of the glittery banner ads with somewhat segmented traffic base which came in hordes and disappeared even quickly. But Google has evolved and learned it’s lesson about where the real money is.

So where is the real money? Well, its there where it has always been. Any guesses? Yes, its the people. People have the money. But people have a nasty habit – they don’t give you the money when you want it unless that’s what they want and they have to want it badly. And Google or Facebook  would want them to do just that.

So, what’s the great idea – Make Money Social. And Facebook is doing exactly that. It is enticing enough for people to mirror their real life or reel life relationships on the network. And now that everyone I know and you know is on Facebook what’s the next thing we can do.

Well, it’s the same thing you do every Friday after work? PARTY.

Only difference is this party doesn’t need a Friday to start. It lasts the whole week. Your fancy clothes retailer is even offering an ‘Offer’ with exclusive discount. You got shoes available too. Well, why not invite everyone else too! And you know what’s even better let’s show off to the losers who missed out. Blahhh.

Well, that’s facebook. So when next time someone tells you Social is money! They are almost right but it has always been the other way round. Remember this – whoever said money can’t buy everything didn’t know how to Facebook.

Help him log in. Peace!

——————————-

Well, this article was actually supposed to be about Myths about Facebook. The serious stuff. Will write that sometime today.

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Facebook brings big changes for community managers

In one of the most anticipated feature roll outs, Facebook has made life easy for page managers providing them a set of features they are going to love. Page admins can now schedule posts six months in advance, each post at an interval of atleast 15 minutes.

According to Facebook Help Centre page, ‘You can prepare a post and schedule it to appear later by adding a date and time in the future before you post it. You can schedule a post up to 6 months in advance in 15-minute interval.

You can also post in the back date by choosing a date in the past. The post will appear immediately at the appropriate place on your Page’s timeline. All times correspond to the current time zone you’re in.

For social media tools like Postcron, which have become synonymous with scheduling posts on Facebook are going to take a big hit. In order to use this feature it is important that your page has a start date i.e. founded, launched, started with the year and date. Unless that is provided the page won’t allow any scheduling.

Another big change that will make community managers happy is the option to assign roles to page admins. Page admins can have 5 different roles, each with different abilities. Only managers can change what kind of admin someone is. All admins are managers by default.

The Facebook Help Centre page provides a table (below) that outlines the 5 admin roles and what they’re able to do:

Assigning roles have been a feature provided in the team feature offered by tools like HootSuite. This one in particular would be only for Facebook and take care of privacy concerns. If you are working in a team managed remotely and see many people like analysts or advertisers come and go, then compromising the ownership of the page has always been an issue. Now, the page manager can comfortably assign roles without any such fears.

Have you started using these features for your page yet?

Part of the above post by me was first published on ODigMa’s blog

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Insights & Strategy, News

‘Organ Donor’ to be featured as ‘Life Event’ on Facebook

Facebook users will be able to add organ donor preferences to their profiles through ‘life event’, encouraging their friends to become organ donors as well.

Though this won’t be an official registration for donating organs, but a social pledge making everyone in your family and friends aware of your decision. One of the ways this could help the cause is that your family members can make more informed decisions about unregistered donors more confidently.  May be such public status updates will influence others too considering the impressive number of 901mn members in the network.

Cynics are out considering the timing of Facebook’s IPO which is scheduled for mid May 2012. Perhaps, this is a last attempt to infuse some more positive sentiment to the brand before it starts trading on the stock market. However, this is truly a commendable move by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg who made this announcement during an interview with Good Morning America said that this idea came from an conversation with this girlfriend Priscilla Chan about the ways organ donations can change people’s lives. Priscilla is a medical student. In a statement along with Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Zuckerberg wrote that,  “And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.”

According to a press release by Facebook, “Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis. And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.”

Some are raising questions about the effectiveness of this feature in driving awareness about organ donation. Though, according to one survey by Mashable nearly 60% of respondents think that ‘Organ Donor’ life event will help those in needs. It will be a while before you see this feature functional on your page.

Do you plan to donate your organs anytime soon?

Some part of this post by me was first published on ODigMa

 

 

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