Five Reasons Why Marketers Ignore Social Media At Their Own Peril

This was written for the DNA and appeared on Nov 3, 2014

Social Media isn’t just another channel. It’s a marker of human evolution. The impact of technology on us as a species is best seen in how our relationships, our attitudes, and our mores are changing. A“viral video” isn’t just a super-popular video; it’s a shared experience, an opportunity to re-enforce notions of self and identity. A like on a Facebook page isn’t just armchair activism; it’s validation — the largest driver of self-esteem.

The biggest challenge for us as marketers, employers, corporations, and societies, is to understand this new human being. This person whom many older people see as fickle, entitled, with no long term goals andplans, and with little respect for experience or institutions.

If you as a marketer are using social/digitalmedia for short- term gains: reach, fans, likes, and shares — you’re missing the forest for the trees, focusing on outputs, instead of outcomes.

Use it to test ideas and assumptions, not just gather data about everybody who “likes” your brand page, or follows you on a channel. Use it to build a narrative for your brand, not only for short-term campaigns that try and sell your latest and greatest product. Use it to understand this brave new world that’s already upon us, and not just think there are too many places for people to complain now.

The brands that understand this are already ahead of their competition. Without breaking non-disclosure/handshake agreements, I can safely say that some of the world’s largest brands are running projects to rebuild audience segmentation, category insights, product testing, go to market strategies, and customer loyalty programs. And that’s just the CMO.

It is not in the interest of the agency that makes all its margins of TV commercials to come to you with a digital firststrategy. You — the brand manager, the CMO, the CEO reading this article — has to drive that change. Or you will become irrelevant.

Ten Social, Digital, Mobile Commandments

Number One:
The CEO needs to be on Twitter. The CMO needs to be on Twitter. And they have to tweet everyday.

Number Two:
Stop thinking everybody has to love you. Deal with the hate, learn from the rants, and ignore the trolls.

Number Three:
Choose Instant Messaging groups over email. Everytime.

Number Four:
Be personal, but don’t get personal. Ever.

Number Five:
A press release isn’t a blog post. It isn’t a Facebook post. And it shouldn’t be the only tweet on the subject.

Number Six:
You have a camera on your phone. Use it. Images speak more than 140 characters.

Number Seven:
If you’re social when the going’s good, it’ll be easier to deal with a crisis.

Number Eight:
Don’t count followers and fans, build relationships.

Number Nine:
Talk about things you care about, not about the things you want people to care about.

Number Ten:
Have fun. Nobody wants to be social with a bore.

Note to Self: Two Open Source data projects I have to play with

Data is wealth. And I don’t like the idea of having all my data making other people wealthy. In my continuing quest (FreedomBox, ThinkUP) to track alternates to popular, commercial, offerings, here’s my latest list of things in the order I hope to play with when I find the time 🙂

Dropbox -> OwnCloud

I can’t live without Dropbox frankly. It is an awesome piece of software. The folks over OwnCloud have, what looks like, a decent offering. And besides files, it also supports syncing for bookmarks, contacts and calendars across devices.

YouTube/Flickr/Soundcloud -> MediaGoblin

MediaGoblin lets you host and share videos, music, and images and is a replacement for media-publishing services. I just bought a domain — — that I thought I could use with this 🙂

WIP: The Perfect Web Dev Mac

— Will keep updating this article —

Two things happened recently — I upgraded to Mac OSX on my Macbook Pro and got a new Mac Air at work. The second is important because I don’t actually get to code much in my day job. And I can’t play around too much because I don’t have the time to break it — and fix it.

I wanted to set up the perfect web dev environment and started looking around. I intend to code in PHP (think CodeIgniter and Laravel) and learn Node.

As I went about this task, I quickly discovered that there are some hacks needed. I’ve tried to list everything out below.

Before you start, I highly recommend having iTerm installed — it replaces the default terminal in OS X and makes life a lot easier. Also, figure out which text editor you like. I’ve always been a Textmate fan, but am trying out Sublime Text.

Installing XCode command line tools


/usr/bin/ruby -e “$(/usr/bin/curl -fksSL”



brew install dnsmasq


curl -sS | php

Laravel 4

sudo chown -R www:www app/storage

A Hiatus

Much has happened since I last wrote a post — a child, a new home, an election … i could go on. I let the blog die. After the anger and the activism, I needed a break.

It’s good to be writing again. It’s good to be back.

Why I Am Angry, Why I Am Protesting

I am angry because a woman got raped in a bus in the national capital.

I am angry because I am not a member of the privileged classes.

I am angry because I don’t matter.

I have no security cover.
I have no access to mining or transportation contracts from the government.
I don’t make enough money to buy a farm-house.

And you know what, I can live with all of the above.

I can’t live with police who think they are above the law.
I can’t live with a class of badly-behaved goons who think they are above the law because of political patronage.
I can’t live in a city where a large group of people think they can get away with murder or rape because they are related to politicians, bureaucrats or industrialists.

I’m fed up with a political class who don’t care about me because I’m not an important voter.

I’m fed up with politicians who hide in large bungalows, hob-nob with industrialists and insist on policemen following them around with guns to protect them from the people who elected them.

I’m fed up with news media and columnists who ask me for a coherent alternative, for a list of demands, for constructive dialogue. They expect me to trust politicians, to trust the police to do what’s right, to trust them.

I can’t think of a single instance where politicians have lived up to my trust, or the police have done what’s right and treated me with dignity. And why would I trust the media — their business model doesn’t allow them to take on powerful corporate or political interests easily.

What recourse do I have?

Elections don’t work because across vast swathes of the country votes are bought. Fat, corrupt politicians return to power because they use jeeps, goons and money to take voters to polling booths. I know, I’ve seen it happen.

I am angry because I know I don’t matter in this country — that it’s run by the privileged few for the privileged few.

And that’s the crux of it, isn’t it.

I don’t matter.

I don’t matter because I’m not a vote bank — I live in a city. I don’t matter because I’m not rich. I can’t even pretend that I matter because I’m not a journalist any more — just another corporate drone.

I don’t matter because NOBODY represents me.

The cops aren’t there for my security, they are there to protect the powerful. The laws work when those in power have something to gain. When they lose, the law loses steam.

But, I want simple things:

To be allowed to live my life without restriction if I am not breaking the law.
To feel secure in the city I live in.
To see that my vote counts, that the taxes I pay count.
To know that the government I elect is there to serve me, and not themselves.

Is that too much to ask for?