A really basic/beginners guide(13 slides) to
Towards the end of last year I realized that I was reading less than what I was, the year before that and a lot less than what I should have been. I’ve always been very selective about the books I pick to read, mostly because of the time constraints. So for me, finding new books worth reading is quite a serious exercise and this time instead of asking friends personally I thought of asking my online friends across various social networks to “recommend me book(s) to read and tell me why should I read it(them)” and I got some interesting replies.
Which books I choose to buy and read is a separate issue but what’s important is the scope of using various networks to know/learn/ask something. This is the best part of community where you can seek people’s opinions and advice on just about anything. Be it the book you want to read or where do you want to go out for vacations. LinkedIn has come out as a real surprise not only in the terms of number of replies that I got but who replied to my question. Out of the 11 guys that replied on LinkedIn I don’t know even a single one of the them. Does it mean people in my LinkedIn network are not active ? or does it mean that there are more people who pro-actively look for questions and answer them ?
Size of one’s network, how closely/tightly knit is one’s network, how discoverable are such questions to people, how are social actions shared across networks, how well does the platform support conversations are some of the factors that determine how good a social platform can be for asking questions/seeking advice. While some people use Q&A features or similar features on various sites effectively there are some exceptions. For ex: people asking personal questions on LinkedIn or instead of asking a question, wishing people festivals. Needless to say doing such things will not only irritate other users but it will also be bad for your reputation in that community/site. So please use these features and don’t abuse them.
Which one is your favorite platform for asking questions online and why ?
Here are the replies I got
Ekta replied “Hmmm for word play and yummy words…read ‘Ground beneath her feet’ by Salman Rushdie. For the sheer thrill, pick up any ‘Star wars’ Yuzhuan Vong series. If you like Indian authors, ‘You are here’ is a must read by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan its the latest one I’ve read and I think for catharsis, its awesome.”
Saumya said “The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath. It’s brilliant, fascinating, and revealing in many ways”
Vipin recommended “Shantaram”
Manan said “Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is about a man’s spiritual journey. The Google Story is also interesting chronicles the inception and rise of Google.”
enigmatic recommended “CELESTINE PROPHECY”
theinfamousgdub said “East of Eden by John Steinbeck. This is the greatest book I’ve ever read. The nature of human agency is examined in an intensly thought-provoking way. It makes ya’ want t be a better person”
“Good Omens/Bad Omens – neil gaiman + terry prachett and a Paulo Coelho. I was pleasantly surprised.=)” – samantha
moosterz replied “The Pendragon series, if you like fantasy-time-traveling-battle action. xD and a book called More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman, the PC out of the switch ads. It’s an amazing book if you love to laugh” and
“Call of The Wild by Jack London” was recommended by markdavidson
nikitascene replied ” “The Things We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver. He’s a master of the short story and a quintessential read if you’re interested in American fiction authors. “Letters to a Young Poet” by Ranier Maria Rilke since you seem to have a poetic soul. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for his mastery of magical realism and his ability to capture centuries in a moment and moments in a century.”
Here’s the link to that conversation http://www.kwippy.com/mayank/kwips/2008/dec/20/172959
Nikhil Wad recommended “Shantaram”
Edward Carrick recommended “The Energy Non-Crisis, by Lindsey Williams”
Martin Thomas recommended “Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books”
Josh Chernin recommended “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, by Charles Mackay”
“Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat” said Sanjay Jha
Arvind P replied “I strongly recommend Personality not included by Rohit Bhargava.Just check out the tag line and you will know why you should read it. It has many real life examples with tools to help you out. You may also try “A comedy of errors” a book on project management by Prasanna Kumar. A must read because you are a heading a startup”
Angela Connor said “Small is the new big, by Seth Godin.I am reading it now. You should read it because it makes you think. You will walk away with a million new ideas and this is a great time for that heading into a new year. I find it empowering and quite insightful.”
“English version of the Tamil book “Thirukural” ” was recommended by Virupakshan K
“The five book trilogy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Sheer British lunacy at its best. Answers the questions about the End of The Universe and Life, The Universe And Everything. (The answer is 42, but the question is not what you might expect…) Also introduces you to Wonko the Sane and Slartybartfast. And Zaphod Beetlebrox. And Ford Prefect. (Mos Def is not the perfect Ford Prefect, by the way…) Fun to read, impossible to comprehend and you will never leave home without a towel” came from Bill Wright
Sumana Harihareswara replied “Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Left Hand of Darkness. I taught the latter in a sci-fi politics class. Classic feminist/political what-if sci-fi about understanding the Other and power structures. A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Ulrich explains the cryptic diary of a colonial New England farmhouse wife and midwife. Combines the most gripping bits of “Little House” with historical analysis. The Bug by Ellen Ullman is the greatest novel about QA that I’ve ever heard of. It’s excellent, suspenseful, evocative, emotionally accurate, and technically plausible. Salon has an excerpt you can read online: link below. And The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a mystery, a sympathetic portrayal of an autistic teen from his point of view, and an adventure story all in one“
Link of the conversation: http://tr.im/7g65
The first step in engaging customers online is to know where to find them. Unless you know where to find whom, your social media strategy cannot be effective. I’ve tried to collate a list of various site/services that can be used to engage customers or spread the buzz.
Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Hi5, Friendster are one of the biggest hangout places on the planet and if your customers access the web, the chances of finding them in one of these networks are pretty high. If you are looking for young mainstream audience these are the places you can find them.
Microblogging platforms offer a good mix of community size and ability to hold conversations. They are probably the most effective and quickest way to connect with an existing or potential customer. Twitter, Plurk, Kwippy, Identica, Rejaw et all are some of the microblogging networks worth having your presence on. From my observation majority of the users of these networks are older than 25, are working and are there to explore and learn more(other than having fun). The audience is far from mainstream by most standards.
Social aggregators are currently underdogs when it comes for brands to engage with customers. Despite the fact that aggregators can ease out the effort spent in tracking the buzz and conversing with customers their usage for these purposes is yet to pick steam. Friendfeed, Social Thing, Profilactic, Flock, Strands and Plaxo Pulse are some of the popular tools. An even more niche audience, the majority users of aggregators are again older than 25, working and more active on the web.
Since there are lots & lots of popular sharing sites I have split them according to the content/social object shared.
Video Sharing Sites: Youtube is by far the most popular video sharing site and offers a great platform to share promotional content & build relationships with your customers. The demographics here are quite widespread with a lot of young/teenage users. Lots of families & artists use youtube to store and share their videos with families and fans. Checkout this for more.
Photo Sharing Sites: Flickr, picasaweb, photobucket and smugmug are some of the more popular sites which can be used to engage customer or just spreading the word. Majority Flickr users are above age 35 and have finished high school.
Presentation Sharing Sites: Another underdog when it comes to online marketing and creating a buzz presentation sharing sites can prove to be a nice hunting ground to engage with a niche and a bit more savvy netizens. Slideshare appears to be the only site which offers presentation sharing capabilities and has a good user community. Given the fact that most people don’t have a rendezvous with presentations until a certain age the majority users here would also be beyond their teenage years and would have finished education upto a certain level.
LinkedIn is another potential tool to connect and form relationships with people. I strongly think it should be an important part of one’s social media strategy.
I am sure I must have missed some sites/services, if you know of any please drop a note and I’ll include them
“Social Media is people having conversations online” – Marta Z Kagan.
This in my opinion is the most simple yet apt definition of social media that can ever be. Once you start connecting the dots you’ll realize that’s indeed what social media is all about. Be it the latest craze aka microblogging sites, conversational tool/services, social-networking sites or any other media sharing site. While the social objects may differ from service to service the end goal for most is to get people talking/commenting around those objects. Since humans are by nature social and love talking/discussing/debating conversations are the ultimate hooks for a site and if done rightly can do wonders to a site’s engagement.
Wait for a second and think what was your last activity on your favorite site ? Mine was commenting on a comment someone made at a friend’s facebook status. Facebook does a great job in providing these hooks to let people have conversations. It started off with a simple wall, then it was user uploaded images/videos and now its status messages. Comment chains on people’s status messages is getting common by the day. According to me any site that needs to grow and be successful needs to handle conversations extremely well and give it all it takes.
Here’s a brief comparison of how some sites that I’ve used/still use handle conversations.
Each of these features/attributes play an important part in the conversation game. People might not realize it consciously but these features/attributes help in forming hooks that keep people engaged to conversations and in effect increase site’s stickiness.
Threaded Conversations make it extremely easy to keep track of comments/replies around an object.
Parallel Conversations is a purely online experience. Unlike real life with the context switching issue you can online have parallel(almost) conversations with someone or a group on different topics. What it means is that its really difficult offline to have conversations with someone on two-three different topics simultaneously/parallely for long but its far easier online(in some services).
No Character Limit lets people express their views/thoughts without any restriction thus enabling proper discussions/debates.
Follow up Notifications lets people stay in touch with conversations they like which in effect means that people are always connected to a conversation and any activity even weeks/months of inactivity can infuse life again. Conversations are now immortal.
Comment Feed lets you own not only the comments on your objects but also on other people’s objects. You can know take your comments and use them the way you want.
We at kwippy have added a new dimension to the equation by introducing the “Invite people to join/begin a conversation feature” to make the conversation mix more engaging. How have your experiences been with on-site conversations ? What do you think can make conversations more sticky ?