India is now #talkingdigital in 2016

Connecting One Billion Indians

Connecting One Billion Indians

In the last few months interest in India among technology companies seems to be at an all time high. With #GoogleforIndia Summit, Facebook’s Free Basics campaign, Microsoft’s Hyderabad Conclave and Global Business Heads talking Digital in India, one would believe that we have finally arrived. Connecting ‘One Billion Indians’ is the new mantra adopted not just by tech giants but also telecom service providers and Government institutions.

Here are top 6 trends that may shape storytelling in the digital age in India.

1) Go deeper, go local

Marketers who are looking to tell relevant stories will need to go deeper to understand consumer journeys across digital touch points, to be discovered at the right time. Also, with the increase in data and smart devices adoption the consumer will drive demand of ‘now’ fulfillment. This can be served only with a sound understanding of the local context. For example, a young executive walking to a coffee shop from work to a ‘nearby’ Starbucks in New York has a distinct experience from her counterpart in Mumbai. This local context in Indian urban and non-urban centers will guide access, outreach and conversions for brands in 2016.

2) Regional will become mainstream

The first 300 million internet users in India grew around urban markets, with access to connectivity and devices, disposable income, predominantly English speaking, mostly Millennials and Middle-aged working professionals and mostly male. There is a sharp increase in the demographic and socio-cultural shift in the next 200 million who joined the internet in the last 14 months. More users are accessing internet through mobile, comparative growth from non-urban markets is higher, comparative growth in female internet users is high. Also, there is a marked increase in creation and consumption of regional language content. This is not just driven by consumers but also supported by mainstream media news organizations and publishers to create more regional content. Google with its Indic Keyboard for Android may just result in a spurt of local language texting, messaging and social sharing. It’s time that marketers recognized that regional language content in India may become mainstream, in 2016.

3) The rise and rise of influencers

Those in the know of the Public Relations business have always defined their operational role as ‘influencing the influencer’. This rise in ‘influencer’ marketing and engagement especially on digital platforms seems to be an old wine in a new bottle. However, the game changer here is data analytics and being able to identify, engage meaningfully and develop relevant content for successfully driving an influencer program. Paid models will continue to evolve and the focus may shift from ‘Twitter influencers’ to ‘Instagrammers’, ‘YouTubers’, ‘Digital Content Creators’ and other digital ‘celebrities’. Also, Mainstream Media in India will adopt and leverage old school ‘news gathering and distribution’ infrastructure to new age digital formats. For intelligent marketers and agencies the ubiquitous question across digital channels will be getting a fix on ‘What does influence mean to me and my business?”

It would be interesting to see if there is an emerging school around reading, visualizing, interpreting, and creating Indian language content using technology in 2016.

4) The age of smart devices

There is enough said and written about the next generation devices and how we discover the world through them such as affordable high performance smart phones, wearables like smart watches, Virtual Reality (VR) applications or Internet of Things (IOT). However for the Indian market a higher penetration of smart devices would also mean that there may be reason to believe in an alternate engagement model which revolves around the way we use mobile internet. The average Indian user accesses mobile apps and websites in short spurts and may not enjoy high speed connectivity at all times. This will change the way the brands think and deliver their proposition to the Indian consumer. More videos, images, location based offerings, contextual to environment, shorter content formats, low bandwidth applications, digital products, lighter operating systems, etc. in 2016.

5) Technology at the helm

Data Science may finally get its due in India in 2016. As large businesses grapple with the rising complexity of interpreting their business environment some of these answers are rooted in a deeper understanding and application of smart technology solutions. Most data analytics components are developed on western models and trained to derive meaning for businesses. India’s linguistic complexity and a digital consumer’s usage in communications pose a phenomenal challenge in developing indigenous solutions that can address this issue. It is certain that a lot more organizations will gravitate towards ‘Data Driven’ models for the Indian market and apply their own unique solutions to bridge the gap between listening and conversion.

6) India means business

With an increase in investment in connectivity infrastructure, smart devices and local solutions the Indian market is poised for a leap forward in 2016. Those who take time to understand the Indian consumer, changing environment, socio-economic context and work towards viable indigenous business ideas stand a better chance to gain from this surge in momentum for India in 2016.

 

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of my employer or associates.

Anatomy of loss

Underwater Art

Image courtesy www.pxleyes.com

 

It’s that time of the year as we say goodbye to 2014, when most earmark their social calendar for the festive season, some think about what the future holds and a few retrospect. Within the good, the bad and the ugly that happened in the year gone by, what sticks out like a sore thumb is what’s lost. By loss, I simply don’t mean winning or losing as a function of parameters attributed to people or things. It’s the sense of loss that can become a sore wound if not healed in time.

It may be loss of an opportunity, physical or mental ability or a loved one which can leave a deep scar. Loss of will, adapt to change and experience new things is not always apparent. Sudden or unexpected loss may lead to despair and unwillingness to accept. Loss of identity and purpose can be paralytic. The process of loosing something or someone is one of the most complex human experiences. A sense of loss due to unmet expectations festers within as seeds to an eventuality which may not be a conscious choice. Losing sense of control over self, the environment in which we exist and resulting actions is somewhat similar to being on a boat in a midst of a maelstrom, with no compass or oars, to sail to safer shores.

The anatomy of loss can be described as follows, although its manifestation may vary depending on the individual, as is argued ahead. A lot has been written in Buddhist texts which helps understand the root of suffering to finally being at peace. The below are merely observations and not an attempt to understand or provide answers to address loss or sense of loss.

1. DABDA: The Kubler-Ross model helps us understand, pre-empt and counsel people in depression, suffering from an ailment or simply unable to accept their reality. The five stages of grief as they are known – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance are universally what everyone goes through while losing something or someone. It can act as a mirror in very confusing times to understand one’s actions to get to the root of the suffering to be able to identify and accept.

2. It’s personal, always: Most often than not, loss is a very personal experience. An individual’s ability to understand, deal with and move on from loss has a lot to do with their lived and known experiences along with outlook towards life. As a group, loss is experienced as a weighted average of all individuals and their relative correlation with the person or thing. Hence, most people advice sharing in grief or loss, as it has a higher probability of tending towards acceptance. In a group dynamic the tendency is always weighed towards normalcy. However, sense of loss and it’s manifestation as thoughts or actions are always personal.

3. Guilt and blame: At some point between the five stages, one experiences a high sense of guilt and self loathing, usually between denial and bargaining. As one evaluates his or her role, a strong sense of guilt, self pity and hopelessness sets in. This is enhanced especially in what is perceived as a personal loss or failure. The thought veers towards not meeting self imposed expectations and possibility of what could have been done to avoid the loss. The choices that we make lead us to how we eventually experience loss as an individual. Within those choices, the ones that we make that lead to eventual loss are the most hurtful in retrospect. Having said this, there is no right or wrong and loss is eminent.

4. On delusion: A crucial stage usually understood as denial. The delusion I refer to is the ignorance or unwillingness to accept while in the process of grieving, that you are grieving. A limbo of sorts which can continue for months, years or even decades if not dealt with. While denial is more specific towards something or someone, delusion is a state. The inability to understand that one is experiencing grief, simply defers the process of healing.

5. Time and time again: Time is not only a great healer but also can be a hindrance in addressing or pre-empting loss at the initial stages. It is with time, that one’s sense of discontent can become potent enough to lead to eventual loss. While in such a state one’s ability to think rationally or experience grief is greatly compromised. With timely intervention, it can be addressed by sharing with others or taking necessary actions to subdue the sense of loss.

6. No single rule: While the larger discourse on the process of healing is about acceptance, the means to be at peace with oneself may vary. No single path, rule or framework (including DADBA) necessarily applies while experiencing loss and grief. It may have multiple dimensions and is characterized by myriad nuances which are not just complex but unique to be understood in a generalized way of thinking.

7. Catharsis: While striving for acceptance and peace with oneself, the process itself can be cathartic and liberating. It is usually experienced while healing from anger and self loathing. This is quite critical to understand minutely, as the actions that lead to this stage cannot be looked at from the prism of propriety or indignation. However, it is important to acknowledge this while deeply sensing loss and grief as a moment of actual truth as it is usually characterized with one’s acceptance of reality, real and perceived.

8. Let there be light: A note on loss without the hope of healing seems incomplete. While healing itself has its own stages, the premise that one can heal is essential to dealing with loss. The acceptance of loss is closely linked with the ability to believe that there is more beyond. Although, this is understood mostly as a nebulous and intangible idea it is usually experienced in real thoughts, emotions and actions. The ability to heal is also about the ability to let one heal.

The process of writing this itself was cathartic to let the healing begin. While 2015 holds a lot of promise and hope, the ability to let go of 2014 will largely determine how much of that really matters.

 

Perpetual state of flux and social order

 

economic disparity and social disorder

it's the economy, stupid!

Most of the polity is in a state of constant flux in a socially conscious, robust evolving economy. The ensuing chaos may be the key to functional social order.

Even as the unbridled romp of free market philosophies ravage through this vast wasteland, a new breed emerges which brings with it hope, faith, compassion and social consciousness. The select few who chose to abhor consumer instincts in a vibrant economy and want to do right by the less fortunate. Social justice must prevail is their vehement demand and pledge to fight relentlessly towards large moral goals.

Economic liberalization has not broken the spirit of the urban few who truly believe that social parity is of prime importance. Amidst increasing disparity there seems to be a new voice of compassion which attempts to uphold the core values of humanity.

But there is a huge gulf between the presumed utopia and ground realities. The stark contrast could not be more apparent and yet they say we are on a ‘sustainable growth path’ which will bring us prosperity and ‘economic freedom’ to every individual who walks this ‘haloed land’.

If the new conscious is emerging then why are these voices not being heard? Or is there a need to consider a more plausible possibility of those presumed voices being non-existent? Are we delusional and beginning to hear imaginary things?

Do we perceive what they want us to perceive? Are we content in not questioning the system beyond a point, making it uncomfortable for us to face real answers?

The newly disoriented enter this environ with naïve hope. The noises made are right. These may be inclusive of all reasoning that must be considered before making broad assumptions.

With economic opportunities on one hand and the will to contribute to socially relevant issues on the other, the choice is fairly an easier one. The ensuing conflict is difficult to navigate.

It is in this state of constant flux that most exist. The odd humane gesture that one may come across in this largely callous, individualistic society emanates from this Kapraesque complexity.

Those firmed up to either rhetorical consonants of thinking are vying for the triumph of their agenda. The disoriented merely swing from one side to the other, feeding the frenzy that ensues in this perennial battle of ideological supremacy. The accepted norms are interchanged along with the ever changing mind space. Distorted reality becomes the basis for future corrections rendering them unviable, non sustainable.

The crucial role this polity plays in defining the destiny of a society cannot be ignored. At the same time, the human race may benefit at large from this critical mass of populace in constant flux, as this would ensure enough space of constant systemic evolution.

So, those confined in this compounded state of confusion may revel as the newly disoriented will remain so until the paradigm of direction changes. The voices may not be heard but their existence is proven by the dynamic nature of the system.

This may not be Utopian, but it tends to a state of balanced governance and systemic social parity. In chaos, clarity reigns supreme.

 

Tricked Out Tip #2: content writing

stages of writing web social media content

This one includes publishing and pre-writing (conceptualizing) as stages

A lot of people struggle while writing content for business or communication programs. Whether it is drafting a press release, a blog post, a Facebook update or a tweet, the principles of writing remain the same. Most people overlook basic fundamental rules while creating content for news, publishing or social media and wonder what went wrong! In my opinion, the education system in India does not help much either. There are hordes of professionals passing out from top colleges and B-schools with good grades and technical knowledge of their subject, but find it difficult to construct a single coherent sentence for business or communication to get their work done.

This handicap becomes glaring and painfully obvious, if to begin with you work in the communication industry and secondly you are expected to write on behalf of your clients or firm.

Well this is not really a long training manual on ‘how to write good content for web’. You can search for it and there are plenty of useful resources available online. It is essential for social media practitioners and strategists to be well versed with content creation and writing skills, to successfully execute client programs. Let’s face it, web can be an unforgiving medium, especially when a sore typo or a syntax error is staring in your face in the form of a tweet or an update on your brand property!

This is about the basics. The fundamental stages involved while creating content are –

  • Planning
  • Drafting
  • Redrafting or revising
  • Editing

I forget the last one very often, as you may have noticed by now after going through few of my blog posts! It is essential to follow these basic stages to create a good copy. Most people who claim that they don’t review what they write are just fooling themselves! Subconsciously you are reviewing what you write, even if you don’t want to!

Another small tip which works for me, if I am being extra careful about what I am writing is this – I save the draft copy of what I have written and close the document or folder for review later. This way I am able to see the copy with a fresh perspective and a little more objectively the second time around, which helps me identify a few things that could have helped the written content. Another simpler way is to share the draft copy with your friend or colleague for review, an alternate opinion always helps!

Hat tip: This post started as an idea as i see people constantly struggling and complaining about not being able to write effective content. My simple submission is if you try a bit harder and follow the process, you may find it a bit easier.

If you still don’t get it, then well you shouldn’t be in the communication business to begin with!! Well then you should find something else to do! 🙂

I came across a related post on aliventures along with more useful tips and advice. Do check it out.

 

The purpose of fragmented opinion

Voices in MSM (Main Stream Media) seem to rise in unison on issues which may be acceptable to a social dynamic.

Various opinions surfacing on blogs, which may be nebulous in their understanding, but within those limitations dare to transcend beyond convention. A bastion of rebellion, or so it may be perceived, still descends into opinions which may not be purposefully relayed in the mainstream space.

Hunter Thompson famously said, “There is not enough room for dissenting voices…”
May be this medium can offer that elusive outlet for a thought which may change the world.

P.S. Small post, think at will

Tricked Out Tip #1: email wars

email wars tip to get away with it

email bombs don't get you anywhere!

 

How to avoid email wars at work! 

There are days then you find yourself stuck in the middle of a situation where there’s this email staring at you menacingly from the screen. Most of us start furiously typing an apt response trying to get the last word in. Some of us choose to take the high road and leave it be. The wiser leave it for later and meet the person to resolve matters first hand.

But if you are the kind who NEEDS to respond, here’s a smarter way to deal with the issue.

Tricked out tip #1 –
Always make sure your response is half the size of the other person’s email. Remember brevity is the key here and keeping it short and sweet has its advantages!

So for example, if your boss writes this furious mail detailing each and everything that you have missed out on and wants an immediate response, ensure that you respond judiciously sticking to the key points rather than a point wise rebuttal.

Or if your colleague writes along email about how you are not being supportive at work with examples of how you have not done that in the past, you can just simply choose to say, “I will try and be more supportive”

Or if a person responds to your short mail with a shorter one sentence response, try simply saying, “Ok”.

Or an “Ok” with a “K”. (pure evil!)

It does two things. Allows you to gather yourself, collect your thoughts and think of ways to deal with the issue rather than get into a ego battle, which never ends in a good way for anyone.

And it lets you walk away with a bit of dignity rather than being smashed to smithereens.

Caveat: Do not try this with your boss on a critical issue! Or with people who may genuinely have a problem which is left festering and unresolved because of your callous approach. People should be given the due respect and dignity that they deserve. This is more of a way out for rants which can avoid potential flames over email or a full blown war at work! The message is simple, take the high road!

Hat tip: This tip was shared by a much wiser and experienced friend, as sound advice on a frustrating day. Works like a charm. 🙂

 

A manager’s gripe

anger management at work

angry manager's need help!

As they say, gripe always travels upwards.

So here’s an exhaustive list of issues that most managers have with their team, at their workplace.

If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement to most of what is said here, then you know what I am talking about!

Feel free to add more to the list.

Or better yet, suggest a few ideas or tips to lessen the burden of this tribe.

Happy reading. Or it is really: 🙂

  • Your team has serious knowledge and skill gaps overall
  • Once assigned a task, they are not able to take it to completion
  • Negligence on their part leads to the burden and onus of delivery being passed on to you
  • For minor things, you are still expected to provide answers
  • Once given a direction, there is not enough effort or time spent on the task
  • Unless you rework things or sit with them and work “with” them, most of them are not able to get things done
  • You have to personally sit with them and explain every small detail of what is expected and how to do it
  • Even after that, nothing gets done or delivered as explained in painful detail
  • You end up feeling I should have done it on my own, at least it would have been done right and gotten delivered
  • The documents delivered or tasks completed are not up to the standard expected
  • Even after repeated requests, you don’t get the documents/work assigned done on time
  • Beyond what is told, there is no effort to think or go out of the way to do things
  • Even where someone has less work, they do not offer their support to you or to their colleagues
  • A lot of time is spent in coordination and explaining things to clients, which your team should be able to manage
  • Clients are not very knowledgeable and so have to be handheld constantly by you
  • Clients are extremely sharp, you know what they want but your team just doesn’t get it
  • If left to an executive, they are not able to resolve client issues and eventually the call comes to you
  • Issues are not being reported to you at the right time, for you to take corrective action
  • They inform you about leaves or half days at the drop of the hat and expect you to manage work
  • If something critical comes up and they have a planned leave, they want you to deal with it without any support from them
  • The most common excuses for non-delivery – “I tried, but”, “I was busy with something else”, “I don’t understand”, “I was on leave”, “I did not get time”, “I forgot, sorry”
  • And somehow, only you seem to be answerable for everything that goes wrong or if there’s a problem
  • Even people with reasonable experience do not or are not capable of supporting you in your work to get things done
  • “I did not get the right direction” or “I have shared it, it’s stuck at his/her end” or “He/she does not listen or have the time, you please tell him/her to do it” – are most common cribs about you
  • All of the above is leading to lesser time for you to focus on client programs and deliver quality work
  • All of the above leads to increasing frustration, as you are constantly held responsible for your KRA without proper support
  • All of the above is leading to major stress and may be causing problems with your work-life balance
  • All of the above leaves you feeling that there is nothing good that I have delivered/done today
  • All of the above leaves you frustrated when you walk out of the office, because work just piles up on your desk
  • All of the above leaves no or very little time for you to pursue your own interests or enhance your own knowledge/skills
  • All of the above leads to high anxiety when you walk in at work or realize that not much great work has been done
  • All of the above leaves very little time for meeting friends/family or other people because there is always the burden of work hanging over your head
  • All of the above leads you to question what do you do in office from 8 am in the morning to 9 pm in the night
  • And more…

Nodding yet?

 

Zumbo: the super pup!


zumbo the pr pup

do i have super powers?!

 

While working really hard at his firm, Zumbo realizes that suddenly he’s become really good at this work. His colleagues love him, his clients depend on his advice and his boss absolutely adores him. It’s a great time to be Zumbo!

“Hey Zumbo, how do you manage to come up with these brilliant ideas? I just couldn’t seem to think of anything on this issue! You are something Zumbo! ”

Zumbo took immense pride in his work and that finally he’s beginning to love what he does and everybody loves him! He became more confident while advising clients and comfortable while suggesting out-of-the-box ideas which were loved by everyone. The best part, he delivered brilliantly on all that he had thought of and suggested. He made sure that he put in the extra effort and time to make things happen. It was a great time to be Zumbo! The guys wanted to be him and the girls wanted to be with him. But good old Zumbo, continued to keep his cool without a chip on his shoulder and focused on evolving beyond what was told.

After 6 months, Zumbo realized something was amiss.

“How did I get to this place? My work never gets done! It is so tiring. My colleagues dump their job on me saying I am the best person to deal with it. My boss always calls me for everything that she wants to discuss and get done. My clients call me for every little thing that they want or for things that haven’t been done yet by others! And I am expected to get them done! All by myself!”

He started to lose touch with his friends, one could rarely see him smile anymore and he seemed to be so engrossed with work that he didn’t eat for days. He had forgotten the last time that he chased a car, soaked in the afternoon sun or shared a drink from the office water dish with Ally, the cute Alsatian babe.

After a long drinking binge at the nearby watering hole, The Lap Dog, Zumbo decides to fight back! “Enough is enough! I’ll show them for snapping at my tail constantly!”

Zumbo started showing up late at work. For starters he thought that that might tick everybody off. Everyone just thought that he must be tired and so he’s coming late. But at least he’s getting the work done, so let’s leave him be.

It made Zumbo angry. He started to act out at work with angry outbursts at others for no reason. Everyone thought it’s the pressure getting to him and left him alone.

He stopped taking calls and sharing ideas anymore. He stopped doing any work beyond what he was supposed to. Everyone got a bit worried now. They started asking if something was wrong and if he needed some help. Zumbo refused and continued on his path of destruction.

“Help?! I don’t want your help! I want you to do your job!”

A senior executive was visiting the office one day. He walked up to Zumbo hanging around the cafeteria and soaking up the sun with a nice juicy piece of steak.

“Hey who do you think you are?!” the senior screamed at Zumbo. His veins were throbbing, hand pointing in rage and eyes popped out of their sockets.

Zumbo calmly replied, “I am the guy who does his job! You must be the other guy!”

The senior lost his cool and immediately asked Zumbo to report to his office tomorrow along with his boss, Madison. By now, after hearing all that had happened, she was incredibly angry at Zumbo!

“Zumbo, what is wrong with you! What happened? Why are you behaving this way? You are such a smart pup! With so much potential and talent! Why are you throwing it all away?” Madison yelled in frustration. She still had a soft corner for him, but couldn’t ignore all that was happening for the last few months.

This was the last straw for Zumbo! He just couldn’t believe that his own boss did not understand what he was going through. Even if he wasn’t being the best that he could be, he still never completely let go. He was still helping everyone and taking on more work from them and completing it for them. He kept listening to his boss talk about opportunities and how he is a vital part in the chain leading to PR glory. He was doing all that, just without a smile anymore and that irked everyone.

His carefully guarded inner sanctum now seemed violated at this callous attitude towards him. He wanted to let go but he tried to restrain his anger as much as he could. And then it happened…

“You think I am some kind of a super pup! That I can just get things magically done, deal with everyone’s work and bad attitudes, rework on their assignments and still be happy all the time. I am slogging like a dog here Maddy! Give me a break!”

Madison did not know what to say to him. She asked him to leave her alone.

The next day, Zumbo and Madison showed up at the senior executive’s office. She noticed that Zumbo had arrived early and was sitting there by himself. Madison sat in the chair next to him, but at a noticeable distance, as if to let him know that she was disappointed.

The senior entered and exchanged a few pleasantries. He looked at Madison and asked “What’s the problem with this guy? He seems to have stopped caring about anything that happens here. Are you aware of what’s happening around or are you just as clueless”

Madison looked at Zumbo, took a long breathe and replied “Sir, the real problem is that I think we stopped caring for him. We didn’t see the signs or understand him better. You can’t expect a Zumbo to care about everything when the rest just walk all over him. He needs help, my help. I will take care of it.”

With that Madison signaled to Zumbo to get up and walk out with her.
Zumbo was confused, rattled and grateful all at the same time. He didn’t know whether to thank Madison or blame her for everything.

She looked at him and noticed the bewilderment on his face.

“Zumbo, I am angry. But I understand. We’ll sort things out and get you more help at work. Now go home, take a bath, get some sleep and come to work after you are well rested!”

With that, Zumbo walked away with a feeling of warmth, contentment and satisfaction that at least there was someone who cared and understood what he was going through.

Two months later, after Zumbo had resumed with renewed resolve he was a changed pup. Ally saw more of him at the water dish, lapping cold water in glee.

She went closer to him, smiled at him and took a sip of water.

She asked him “Hey you are looking great! What changed?”

Zumbo replied with the wisdom of a transformed pup, “Nothing. I still am caught in a million things, Maddy ensures that I am kept on my paws and the rest … well the less I say the better”

“So what are you so happy about?”

“At least they get me now…” he replied looking listlessly at the sun rays streaming through the window.

His work had improved, everybody loved him again. His clients started recommending his work to others and loved interacting with him. He was now able to find more time for himself and his family. He started thinking of all the things that he had missed out in the last few months and prepared a schedule for him to start pursuing his interests. He found his life balance once again. The rest started stepping up to the plate and taking on more responsibilities, to avoid a Zumbo episode again. Madison would keep a watch on him and started having frequent, albeit informal interactions with him to cheer him up. More than anything else, everyone realized how much they missed had the happy, smiling, brilliant and witty Zumbo.

He started walking slowly to his desk with his back straight, chin up and a smile on his face.

“It’s good to find myself again”

 

Zumbo – The Social Media & PR Pup!

Zumbo, the adorable social media and digital communications and public relations pup!

Zumbo - The PR & Social Media Pup!

 

Hi there! I am Zumbo. I am 3 months old and already there so much to share. Such is life in the 21st Century, fast, quick, short and simple. Oh bow! That’s exactly how you can describe me too!

So let’s get the obvious out of the way. How did I end up in PR? How did I become fascinated with media? How did I get acquainted to social media and digital media communications? And what could a 3 month old PR pup possibly contribute to the working of public relations and communications? Well, am gonna try and answer some of that here, but most of it will be clear if you read my posts here regularly.

Wait a minute, I gotta scratch… (Scratches with hind leg vigorously…)

I was born out of an idea. Some old guy called Hunter Thompson (Yea the same guy who Johnny Depp plays in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary) created this whole art-form in journalism called Gonzo. It’s gonna be a bit intense, but I promise to keep it light and entertaining. Then again I am such a cute little pup, who wouldn’t want to listen to my stories!

Haan, toh where were we. I was telling you how I got into all this and what makes me the authority to blog about all this high-funda business of communications. Well to start with I am a product of digital media. That doesn’t mean that iPhone and Samsung tablet got together for a night and made me, but the world saw me first on Blackberry Messenger and Facebook. That’s how I got adopted, by the way. After that it has been a whirlwind romance with social media. I got a home and I am grateful!

I am born in this new world of democratized digital media and opinion sharing on the fly! Things like the Egypt revolution, WikiLeaks, iTunes and Flipkart don’t amaze me. These are things that my forefathers had predicted when the internet (ARPA Net) was thought of 40 odd years back. What’s the fuss, I don’t understand.

The first three months in public relations and social media were interesting. They keep complaining that I crap a lot, but whoddathunk it that being full of shit is a good thing!

So I go about my business everyday by surfing the net, watching Facebook pages reading internet usage reports and advising clients on their communication strategy. Well, at least I hope I did half of those things. I start my day with a big ole dump (trust me, it releases the tension) and then waiting for people to tell me what to do next. It sucks that I have to wait for instructions, but they say that I am just a kid with a lot to understand about the complexities of communications. Fair enough, but when you don’t know how to tweet, man that’s seriously messed up! Don’t you think?

I don’t know why people who work with me keep saying “It’s a dog’s life!” Well, firstly I take that as a compliment, it’s not such a bad thing and secondly if you can lick your own privates, what more do you need! But people in communications constantly seem to struggle and stress with what’s coming next. I don’t know what’s the big deal, but I guess am about to find out soon.

More time I spend in this industry, more I am convinced that I have just hit the tip of the iceberg. Water scares me by the way, and I hate my baths! 😉

So keep your eyeballs glued to this space, to know more about “The Adventures of Zumbo!” Your friendly, neighborhood social media and PR pup!

Woof! Back to scratching eggs, I say!

 

Catharsis: Zumbo’s first day!

The following is written in the early style of Gonzo which means at the very least, a half-assed attempt was made to channelize the ghost of HST. The below documented account is fictitious. Resemblance to any person living, dead or right wing is purely coincidental…well…maybe not…

And if you are wondering what Gonzo is or who HST is, don’t bother

Zumbo, the adorable social media and digital communications and public relations pup!

Zumbo - The PR & Social Media Pup!


I sat there clutching my mouse with all the force that I could muster in my current miserable state. It turns out that original thought can be a tricky proposition especially when the client is hell bent on twisting your arm. It can be quite a strain on the sleeves!


I was frantically typing a press release on how the guy’s daughter lost her bicycle and it was miraculously found in the same place that it was left in the first place, which in his mind was a significant contribution to the nation’s GDP. Besides the irony of the fact that the above mentioned daughter couldn’t ride a bike or didn’t own one, the release had to be done in the next 10 minutes.


My mind started sweating precociously. “Hell…what do I do now?” I yelled across the room. I looked around for some solutions as my mind was in a jimmy state. I saw my colleagues face buried in the ethereal white screen.


He reminded me of the early tribes which sat around the fire hoping the light would never go out, but unfortunately, it always does. Also, his sheep skin cloak and grizzly claws were quite quaint. In spite of myself, I refused to judge. His cologne a repugnant truth that failed to subside, I ventured towards the beast with a stick in hand.


I had to tread cautiously. This animal was not to be messed with. Besides, his mating habits were not well documented as yet. I poked him with the stick to gauge the nature of his alacrity and rate of evasive reflex action. Both were non existent.


This was a safe territory. I identified him as per the standard ‘Do it yourself PR 101’ manual as the blinkered degenerate who would know what to do next as per procedure. My guide to all questions which posed a moral, ethical and professional dilemma was right there…or so I thought.


”Umm…its simple draft the release…” said he of the finger which drips with fresh nose cheese.


“But the daughter doesn’t even own the bike…” I retorted much violently. My cape fluttering in the wind as I stood on
MoronMountain with the vast expanse of derelict facades of grim conformity spread in front of me.


In my infinite wisdom I pronounced “Fuck you man …. Screw the Guy… I don’t think this is worth it…!”


I felt a tug on my super moron resistant cape and I heard Dog Wonder barking away in the distance. My sixth sense was tingling! I turned around precociously, with one hand firmly on my machete. There stood the biggest man I have seen like a shadow of a mountain. My heart started pounding…my pulse racing…I caught a glimpse of the lurking menace.


Phew…it was just Olga, the cleaning lady. I exhaled a sigh of relief.


“Oh bloody hell…!” I heard a scream. It was my fuckin’ boss with the fuckin’ Guy! And that was my fuckin’ scream!


“Hey what were you yelling boy” asked Q, The Boss.


It so transpired that Olga ‘the hairy cleaning lady with a heart of gold’, had managed to block my view with her broad brooding board body. My super hearing failed me again, may be I was just out of batteries.


As I contemplated the merits of Sony over Eveready, my face was smattered with a spray of spit. It was my boss looking at me gingerly and demanding an answer.


“Nothing Sire” I said, he insisted that we call him ‘Sire’.


”Boy, meet the Guy whose daughter has lost and found the bicycle and it has a huge impact on the nation’s GDP…” Said he of the big head and bouncing arms.


“But Sire…” I whimpered in unyielding defiance.


“Hey… if the guy says so it must be true…” thundered Q.


“Ok Sire.” I caved.


And as I turned around to do his bidding, it happened.


The Guy stepped on Olga’s unforgiving mop and slipped on the drenched floor. The sound of his back bone crunching in utter angst spread a chill through my spine. In that brief moment the Guy had broken his back. He lay there insipid and innocuous to the passing frantic blinkered degenerates.


There was the ray of sunshine which I hoped for, in that cluttered, claustrophobic room chilled with the AC’s unrelenting icy blast which put a smile on my face.


“Guy in Coma, Situation may worsen nation’s GDP”


I typed smiling a satisfied smile as the news blared over my station “Reliable Industries Limited Chief to launch Nation’s first thought trading stock exchange…And this is just in…On the eve of this momentous event his daughter seems to have misplaced her bicycle…”