Archive for the 'twitter' Category

Kerala Demystified

Shashi Tharoor recently tweeted the link to a telegraph article by Ashok Guha called Kerala Conundrum. He has, in fact, captured the essence of the problem in a way that is both true and worrisome at the same time.

In his article, he starts off with the puzzle that is Kerala. All the indicators of education, infant mortality and gender equality are tilted in its favor and yet it is one of the states in which I have seen men the most frustrated and women the most humiliated in India. Given, its status as the best on many of these humanitarian indices the humiliation is further exaggerated. He says…

“The human development index, inspired largely by Sen’s work, highlights three aspects of life: longevity, education and the standard of living. More subtle criteria of capability have also been designed…When the relative performance of the different Indian states is gauged by these yardsticks, one state, Kerala, emerges as the clear winner on all counts except that of per capita income. It has the highest life expectancy, the lowest infant and maternal mortality, the best public health facilities, the highest literacy, the best performance in almost all educational indices, the best gender ratio, the best record in female education, health and empowerment and the lowest total fertility. With such a record of performance in areas regarded by outstanding thinkers as crucial to the quality of life, Keralites must surely enjoy the most satisfying lives among all Indians. Right?”

Then, what is wrong? I believe, giving wrong emphasis on scoring high on these humanitarian goals without emphasis on the end goal that is the development of the society based on economic principles due to a tragic twist of politics and general public apathy has led to such a situation. He also makes an interesting point of how Malayalis are a generation of would-be emigrants and in a constant hurried state of flight from our homeland to places where many of the human capabilities indices are below par, in search of employment and income opportunities. While, those who remain behind and are unable to break out of the vicious cycle are frustrated and depressed, leading to suicides and other atrocities in the state. Here’s what Ashok has to say:

“Right from the days of the rajas of Travancore, successive governments of Kerala have followed a policy based on the development of human capability. Unfortunately, this has not been matched by, nor has it induced, a similar expansion of Kerala’s industrial structure. Therein lie the seeds of Kerala’s tragedy.”

I think the article is worth a read if you are a Malayali and if you are not, it is still worth a read for setting the context on those indices that Kerala likes to flaunt so much year after year and its reality for its people.

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New Media – Old Media

Some may balk at the expression “old media” but the implication of using the term “new” media is obvious, right? Anyhow, coming to the point of the post. I was listening to RJ Anjaan on 94.3 RadioOne in Bangalore FM and I noticed him do something very interesting, he called out to the listeners to look him up on Facebook, add him as a friend, write on his wall, tweet to him and that he will shout out their names on his show. This was interesting because he is using social networks as a “pull in”.

1. While RadioOne gets an alternate channel to pull in viewers, you would’ve noticed that the FM channels at least have stopped giving out their PO box numbers, they are still sticking to mobile and email IDs but I think soon that will be passe – Anjaan has started a trend with Facebook and twitter messages.

2. Previously, all “pull in” streams did not exist without the media itself. So if you take PO box numbers, email IDs, contact numbers – all of them are very “corporatish”, controlled, inbound and private channels. Facebook and Twitter go beyond that – they are open, mass viewable and public. Everything that the radio represents at some level!

3. The nature of Facebook and twitter (although there are corporates there for sure) encourages personal interactions with employees, there is a ‘realism” effect at play in there. So, what Anjaan is doing with his own personal profile in Facebook and Twitter is actually creating an open personal network for him in his professional role or in short, creating a brand of himself. Again, a trend?

What do you think? Is new media – old media partnership interesting?

Farmville goes to school

I was sitting at a bench near a principal’s office in a school. 4 young boys about 10 years of age were sitting next to me, preparing for their exams.

One turns to the other and asks, “what happened to your plants?”, the other retorts, “5 or 6 of them withered and the rest I harvested” and I’m left dumb struck that the children of this age could be so “into” plants and stuff! Another boy joins the group and continues the conversation, “I’d a golden box ask for some code to enter, what should I do?”, one of the previous guys go, “go to farmville.com, sign in and say connect to Facebook, simple” and I sigh!!!

For these kids, this is not “alternate reality” or “online stuff”, it is their mainstay, it is their reality, it’s what they talk about everyday and do everyday for hours.

I ventured into a discussion with them, I asked them what they do on Facebook, so they go, “chat”, “post messages”, “play games” etc. (the usual stuff), then I asked them if they use the Facebook groups a lot, “it exists, but we don’t use it much”. I asked them if their teachers are on Facebook, “some of them are, but we don’t friend them, that is dangerous!” and the discussion turned to me, “are you on Facebook?” so I said, “I’m into a lot of social networking, blogging and tweeting etc.”, they said, “really?” (all smiles!) and we were all friends instantly.

I think its time for teachers in India to start using these forums to engage the students instead of just keeping at the traditional books, copy, assignments, tests and projects mode. As I go through more of the teacher training sessions I’ll discuss about these concepts more and see how we can incorporate these into our education system.

Ariem Technologies – My Journey So Far and Job Openings

People have been asking me how my new job has been, so far? It is about time too. It’s been more than 2 months since I joined Ariem Technologies (thanks to Sateesh Andra, who introduced me to Ariem).

Before I go on and talk about what I do, let me take a moment to talk about what Ariem does.

We believe in simplifying access to information for the masses. Our first product is for the education segment and specifically, targeted at the teachers to help them reach the internet and create audio/visual content in a very simple way and deliver it in the classroom using our gadget. This truly helps bridge the digital divide between the teachers and the students. The simple appreciation, I’ve seen over the past few weeks in the eyes of the students for their teachers when they show them audio/visual content created by themselves, is testimony to the power it delivers to the teachers. And as far as the teachers are concerned, it is so simple to use and intuitive that they don’t feel that they are using something very complex.

Ok, now back to what I’ve been up to. We are trying to enter the school segment with a solution that on one end can be termed as affordable technology and on the other, is simple and extremely effective in delivering what a teacher would want to do in 90% cases – that is use audio/visual content to enhance the learning process in a classroom. We are developing several channels to convey our message and we’ve been approaching the schools directly, attending expos and conferences, maintaining a digital presence to spread the word. I’ve worked on creating the marketing collateral and the digital presence (the website is still work in progress, so if anyone wants to talk to us about it, I’m all ears!!!) and directly approaching the schools with our solution. Will keep posting more…as we go along.

In the meanwhile, we are looking to hire people – telemarketing, sales executives and trainers.

So, if you are a fresher or have some BPO/KPO/Admin role experience and want to work for an exciting startup, please do write to me for the telemarketing role.

For the sales role, we are looking for candidates who are passionate about making their career in the education industry and have had any kind of previous sales experience (FMCG, Insurance etc..). Again, if working for a startup excites you, do write to me.

For the training role, we are looking for current/ex-teachers who are passionate about training as a career. 

These roles will be based out of Bangalore, India. You can reach me here or send an email at jobs@ariemtech.com. Looking forward to hearing from interested folks.

Twitter n Me

I started using twitter a few days ago and one of the major things that has kept me on it (aside from the real-time effect) is the fact that there are certain thoughts you don’t want to expand into a complete blog article. They neatly fits into 140 characters and convey the point succinctly enough which, in turn then, lets me move on….instead of haunting me with expansion possibilities and an attempt to stuff them with words in order to grow them into full blow blog articles.

As many have felt before, I too feel a strong urge to just tweet interesting thoughts that pop up in my head (as and when they do), instead of thinking about whether it is a “blog worthy” thought and whether I should work on expanding it further or just leave it in the twitter jungle (along with all the other hashtags for my followers to figure out whether it is important enough or not). But, I’m resisting it better than I expected. I want to spend time expanding interesting ideas. Only that, now I have decided not to backlog non-expansible ideas/thoughts/comments/opinions etc. but to publish it on my twitter account. How do I decide which ones are in which category? Ah! that is a topic for another blog. So wait and watch…this space. Yeah, of course, before I forget you can follow me on twitter @sreejaiyer.


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