The weblog, which turns 10…has given birth to a tribe of blogging superstars.
But while some bloggers feel that the blog and these social networking upstarts work in sync, symbiotically feeding off content generated in each other, others such as Rajesh Lalwani of blogworks.in say that Twitter has already cannibalized blogs, turning potential bloggers and the blog-curious into serial 140-character texters.
“Twitter has hijacked blogs already. Why? Because if I have already shared something on Twitter, then typically I don’t end up going and articulating that same thing in much more detail on a blog,” Lalwani says. But this could act both ways. “Twitter can sometimes be a means by which I actually find a story for my blog, but on the other hand it does sometimes keep people away from blogging because it allows me to just articulate my content in fewer words, reach out to many more people faster and yet be seen as a thought leader—so then why bother writing a 1,000 word post?”
Indian blogger Rajesh Lalwani describes the case of Cleartrip.com and ‘the Kiruba Incident.’ Cleartrip, by making use of social media channels like its own blog and Twitter, was able to quickly identify and respond to a customer who’d been inconvenienced by a relatively simple error, recounted fully in Cleartrip’s blog. To Cleartrip’s credit, the firm quickly reacted and apologised. This basic act goes a long way toward restoring faith: After all, mistakes happen. It’s what happens next that separates the great brands from everyone else, and in the case of Cleartrip they used their listening ability to identify and correct the errors that contributed to this incident. Over time, they will be rewarded for this (though admittedly that is sometimes hard to see!)
Using social media effectively and achieving ROI was discussed at length at the India Social Media Summit 2009. The Summit, held in Mumbai on March 27, was organised by exchange4media.com in association with blogworks.in, and presented by BigAdda.com. The event saw industry experts discussing at length the growth, impact and emerging trends of social media in India.
Welcoming the delegates, Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media, said, “This event is our offering to a community that is in the making in our country now.”
The keynote address was delivered by Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage. Rajesh Lawani, Founder & Director, Scenario Consulting Pvt Ltd – Pitchh.com; Blogworks presented the Social Media Survey 2009 Report.
India Social Media Summit 2009, organised by exchange4media.com, in association with blogworks.in, was held in Mumbai on March 27. The event saw industry experts discussing at length the growth, impact and emerging trends of social media in India. The Summit was presented by BigAdda.com.
Delivering the keynote session, Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage, spoke about the evolution of social media in India. Comparing the rise of the social media revolution in India, Seth cited examples from India’s freedom struggle and went on to say, “I am amazed we are having a discussion at this stage of our lives. The first person in India who had taken up social networking heavily for a greater cause was Mahatma Gandhi. Talking of the present situation, we are stressing more on technology than methodology. We should not forget that our freedom struggle was also the result of a great social networking.”
Commenting on social media advertising, Seth said, “Marketers make the same mistake every time a new medium is given to them. The consumer has moved on. The time to inform consumers is over. It is time to involve the consumers. Advertising on social networking sites (SNS) is not going to be the only solution. The first paradigm shift, therefore, is to move from information to involvement.”
Social networking has caught on in a big way in India, and is now increasingly being tapped by marketers and advertisers, too, to connect with a growing ‘networking’ population. In order to understand social networking indepth, exchange4media.com and blogworks.in have jointly initiated the India Social Media Summit 2009, which attempts to capture insights into the impact of this medium. The Summit, presented by BigAdda.com, will be held in Mumbai at the Taj Lands End on March 27, 2009. The sponsors for the Summit include July Systems, Encompass and Pitchh.com.
The Summit will address issues such as social media opportunities in India, how marketers can use social media and achieve ROI, whether there is a critical mass or whether social media is an elitist phenomenon, and whether media planners have understood and invested enough in social media. Apart from this, the event will also unveil the ‘Social Media Report’, which attempts to capture insights into what kind of impact people perceive this medium to hold, what kind of tools are favoured, whether people are willing to spend money, and tried to gain an insight into what kind of trends are emerging in this arena. Rajesh Lalwani, Founder & Director, Scenario Consulting Pvt Ltd – Pitchh.com; Blogworks will be presenting the study.
What is the social media landscape in India like? India has millions of users on Orkut, Facebook and other social media sites, but is there a disconnect between the users and corporations, marketing and media planning people?
However, analysts believe that political parties will be able to make only a limited appeal through the Internet.
“First of all, this entire campaigning on Web is driven by the fascination from the success of Obama’s net campaign. However, the difference is that in the US, the Internet is the primary tool for the youth which is not the case here. Two, political parties are used to television and print media as a medium where they only speak and don’t listen and even on the Internet, they seem to be focussing on such a one-way medium. Thus, while Internet is the way forward, political parties have to learn to engage with people more and listen to what they want,” said Rajesh Lalwani, founder, Blogworks, which provides strategic social media solutions to organizations.
The offline buzz
How does the information created on Facebook cross over to the offline world? Rajesh Lalwani, founder of Blogworks, a social media agency, explains, “When Facebook.com started, only early adopters joined it. Later, the site attracted more users, younger and older people belonging to different types of professions, including a lot of influential people, which has now reached a critical mass.”
Among the latter group are traditional media journalists, who pick up relevant and newsworthy information they receive through their friends on Facebook and run it in their print publication or TV channel. So, a small movement of online conversation started becomes big and crosses over to the offline world.
It is believed that anything that impacts a large number of people will move to the offline world. For instance, issues related to the nation, politics and cricket could move beyond Facebook.com.
Is it for brands?
Lalwani says that people are interested in talking about their lives and lifestyles on social media sites such as Facebook.com, rather than discuss things related to brands. They don’t prefer to support brands that try to impose messages or sell products on Facebook.com.
He suggests “If brands effectively want to use this growing platform to their advantage, they should learn the art of integrating their brand messages in the lifestyle conversations of the members of Facebook.com.”
Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.