[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Blogs in Business…

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Thanks to BusinessWeek for blowing blog trumpet on headlines Blogs Will Change Your Business [via lazygeek] more attention to be grabbed.

Most may not have read this online extra about a new position created at Stonefield Farms exclusively to blog. We use Stonefield yogurts everyday and I never imagine this company (sells almost a million cups of yogurt a day!) would ever use blog to connect to its customers. Not only that, they created a new position in the name of ‘Chief Blogger’. This person, sits alongside the CEO of Stonefield talk to BusinessWeek about their faith in Blogs for better business.

Who else is left to write about blogs?

Paying Attention in Internet Era

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

In the Middle Ages,people were willing to walk from Stockholm to Munich to meet somebody who had something important to say. They listened and thought seriously about what they heard. Today, communication is instantaneous. I’m afraid after a while we may not pay much attention to it. The gates of attention allow very few things to come in. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity and Education Guru.

I know I was suffering from some chronic information overload disorder!, just didnt know it is ADT ( and not ADD! ). Don’t be alarmed yet! Read this interesting interview in CNET with Dr. Edward Hallowell.

Things from the interview that caught my attention:

But never before have we so routinely been able to overload brain labor.

You need to set limits and preserve time to think. …we are not giving ourselves that opportunity. What your brain is best equipped to do is to think, to analyze, to dissect and create. And if you’re simply responding to bits of stimulation, you won’t ever go deep

And the final touch from Dr.Edward : How you allocate your time and your attention is crucial. What you pay attention to and for how long really makes a difference. If you’re just paying attention to trivial e-mails for the majority of your time, you’re wasting time and mental energy. It’s the great seduction of the information age. You can create the illusion of doing work and of being productive and creative when you’re not. You’re just treading water

can you tell a story in 5 digital shots?

Monday, March 14th, 2005

YouTake5 throws a challenge. Though it is only open for residents of America, It is still a achievable and tempting challenge that few thousands if not more, would try out. Virtually everyone has a digital camera these days and taking 5 shots and uploading them is as easy as blinking your eye. So whats the big deal? Understandably, The deal is how smart you can tell a formidable story in 5 clicks. I am going to take a shot for sure. I think everyone should; lets put the $200 gadget to use for one real challenge where average joe really stands a chance. YouTake5 has a gallery that has a few sample stories in 5 shots.

Oh! If you are outside America and think you could do it? I will be happy to volunteer as your representative in the US 🙂 The winner and 5 friends get to go to Las Vegas. We will send you a nice memento. Deal?

Who is Peggy Noonan?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

[via ScriptingNews] I had no clue until her name and her recent essay on blogs “The Blogs Must Be Crazy“, in comparison to MSM (main-stream media), is being touted all over the blogosphere. ScriptingNews’ Dave Winer [a widely read blogger] reckons that we should “savor every word” of Noonan’s writeup. I did. And found some interesting observations.

“In the old days a lot of interesting information fell off the editing desk in this way. Now it doesn’t. This is a public service.” – Absolutely. You name anything. There is a blog out there. If you find there is none, it’s a blessing. Go start one!

I applaud her intellectual commerce perspective. She says That you get [Blogs] free doesn’t mean commerce isn’t involved, for it is. It is intellectual commerce. Bloggers give you information and point of view. In return you give them your attention and intellectual energy. They gain influence by drawing your eyes; you gain information by lending your eyes. They become well-known and influential; you become entertained or informed. They get something from it and so do you. Sounds simple isnt it? Well, thats prophecy for you!.

While on the topic I should mention about the Tom Reynolds and his blog, “Random Acts of Reality“. He blogs from somewhere in london about the nuances of being a emergency ambulance serviceman. His writings must have made sense for he is already invited by BBC Radio for interviews and to share thoughts on why/how blogs affect MSM. You might wonder if London Ambulance Service doesnt care about Tom writing about the wrong things in L.A.S between the lines; If only Tom was Tom at work. He writes anonymously!

Some “more” variety for Indian Americans

Friday, December 17th, 2004

If the media is right, the number of people of Indian continental origin in America(In short – Desi) apparently has reached a tipping point. That translates into more and more people with less and less services of Indian taste. Interestingly, answers are now coming from various media companies at the same time (confirming the tipping point).

Two days ago, a 24 hour New Jersey based news/entertainemt/sports/talk television channel “American Desi” has been launched via Dish Network. Adorned by start-studded management and programming profiles and promises to deliver fresh local Indianized programming, “American Desi” expects to capture the attention of deprived Indians. Right on the exact same day, from elsewhere in America, MTV announced “MTV Desi”, yet another channel catering to the music lovers of Indian sub-continental origin. Being a pioneer in Music promotion and marketing, MTV Desi is expected to provide the same success platform to desis in america to show/promote and eventually sell their musical talents. I wouldnt be suprised if we soon seen an “American Desi Idol” here!

I was on the verge of my personal tipping point getting tired of the SUN and Zee/Sony. Zee/Sony make it even worse on top of mediocre programs by delivering local adverstisements for Daler Mehndi shows, and salman khan 5c calling cards and atrocious sick psychic reader ads for “gurujis” in UK. We will wait to see how these new media channels fare against the fierce competitions from local american sports/comedy/talk shows.

Roy’s Podcasts

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

You might have read in one of my earlier posts about how blogs are rewriting the fate of modern media, I mentioned a word about Podcasting.

Roy has a working model for Podcasting. I dont want to spend any more word to explain what it is, besides saying if blog is for reading/writing, podcasts are for listening/talking.

pdocast…a new buzz in world of open media.

Check Independent Content Networks with Roy Walter. You may remember Roy from my earlier blogs here and here.

If we believe what everyone is saying, Podcasting concepts will change the way we will listen to radio and watch TV in future. The next evolution of On-Demand for everyone, by everyone.

However, this is NOT a earth-shattering concept by any means. Audioblogs mushroomed all over early this year. I remember Arun started using audioblogs to entertain readers with his mimicry. Podcasts is pretty much a similar concept of making your own MP3 versions of anything ( talk shows, music shows, music, radio shows, teaching lessons etc ) and combine it with a RSS feed. Explore the world of podcasts and see for yourself if its worth the hype.

My take on blogs

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

apple store
Arvind and Ranjini finally chose to stay back, thanks to the snow in Mid west. So we hang out this thanksgiving all by ourselves. Being next door to one of the biggest malls in new jersey, The Bridgewater Commons mall, we spent a day long shopping. 99% of that was window-shopping 🙂 and 1 was real. We stopped by the new hype-shop Apple mini store. Mesmerised by the store, products and its crazy shoppers (if one in 10 buy something, apple will make millions, that was like the crowd there), to buy a iPod. This classic gizmo has a fantastic user interface and pretty good stereo headphones. I am writing this blog as I enjoy this melody by Babul Supriyo from Hum Tum, beamed into my external speakers directly from the iPod.

With some time to spare today, I set out to clean up my yahoo email. I had close to 1000 emails ( never deleted!). I found this email that I sent to Subha, my friend and columnist at The Hindu. A small part of this email later made it to the this article she wrote on the The Hindu about blogs.

Since I gave my take about Blogs on that email, shouldnt it ideally be in its own blog? Here you go. This is the reply to an email I got from Subha asking for my take on Blogs. I have left it unedited and I still agree with most of what I wrote 3 months ago.

So I see you have been infatuated by the world of Blogs. I would think it was inevitable. I am not sure how much you are aware of this virtual world of blogs or weblogs as they are also called, but it has morphed into humungous proportions and millions of new weblogs are written everyday.

Blogs mean different things to different people. As you said, one form of it is to write about everyday happenings so everyone, including friends and family can get to knwo about it at their liesure. This is bit easier than sending an email and the major difference is it is all stored in a sequence of posts and can be read one by one by anyone anytime. Writing comments is nothing but replying to emails, except that comments stay attached to the note to be available for reading afterwards. So its again all-in-one-place idea.

To many, Blog is nothing but a place to write about “anything”. That in itself is very powerful. Remember “anything” within quotes mean NO RULES, NO BOUNDARIES. All of a sudden I can write a blog about how painful it is to wait for 10 mts outside a first floor of my four floor office elevator with 3 others and then realize as soon as we get into it, each one of us press each of the four floors and I have to go 4th floor! That sucks! See this doesnt mean anything. Not to me, not to you. But may be to someone somewhere someday, into distant future, out there. He or She must have had a same experience or a similar one and it triggers something in his/her mind. So that simple three liner stands to be of some purpose. How long does it take? 2 mins. What does it cost? nothing! Whats the purpose? I have written down something that it will remain forever for whoever wants to use it for whatever! You get an idea?

For some, Blogging is means of Private Journalism. They write religiously about news / events / entertainement / media etc. There is scores of such blogs. The attractiveness in it is it is personal, fresh unedited) and amateur and so is expected to be more closer to the truth than the so called main stream media which goes thru 10 different reviews and editorials. No wonder people like reality shows these days, same concept isnt it? unscripted? real? live? personal? There is also an argument that blogs could challenge main stream journalism. But it is just that. It will remain as a challenge but can never beat it. Becoz 90% of blogs inturn depend on mainstream media like newspapers, magazines and tv for their source. Only 10% of the bloggers are journalists themselves in its traditional sense. You could still find 10 local fanatic bloggers from 10 different states and use those 10 blogs to read fresh first hand news about the states. But it might be easier to go to Hindu after two hours to read all of them at once. So my take is becoz of blogs very virtue, which is decentralization, its going to be difficult take over main stream media all together. Which is why, these geeks have come up with somethign called Aggregators and RSS feeds. They are softwares that you can install or aggregating website themselves, where you can subscribe to different blogs and get a direct feed from them. So instead of visiting 10 different blogs everyday, these aggregators can collect them on behalf of you and read them from one place. Cool isnt it? So thats how the industry is bulging out. Time will say if its just a hype or will be a real threat someday.

As for my blog, I started it way back 2-3 years ago. Just for the fun of it. I still do it for the same. I write whatever I think of. I dont care who reads it who comments on it. I just do it. It helps in my writing and also makes me to think. The greatest drawback of blogs is that the content may be good, but the quality may not be always good. Since the writing is more like an extempore, you dont think about the words and sentences in depth to write a great piece. For that, I need to be skilled anyway isnt it? like you guys are!

Blogging is infectious and viral. Most blogs link to other blogs. So once you fall into it, you can go on reading so many things and never realize its end of the day. Perhaps, the freshness and naiveness in the writings make it addictive. Some bloggers use it to let their heart out. It makes them feel better as there is nobody to say right or wrong. Infact, there is no sense in arguing about correctness in one’s blog unless they directly refer to someone or something. You write it and let it go. Most of them dont even care to read it again.

The more unknown the person is the more you tend to like their writings. The more farther the person is writing from the more you feel closer to that person. I have made a bunch of friends thru just blogs. Just for it, I believe its worth it. Plus, everyone get to know who I am, what I do, and what I care for. If not for anyone else, these blogs are going to be there just for me, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, to read and relive it. Thats why I named and tagged mine so.

All of the above is MY OWN VIEWS and the beauty is someone else might give a different view. Take them as you feel its value as. I think I have become talented in one thing becoz of all this, I can keep on writing some crap until end of time 🙂 I should learn to stop!

Eventually, about 4 lines of what I had written to Subha made it to the Hindu article! Yet another reason to read blogs for real news, real views and real reports; I heard in NPR a couple of days ago that more russians and ukranians in US (and perhaps all over the globe) learn about the political drama unwinding there thru Blogs written by locals witnessing it live from their windows!

Ukraine elections thru the blogosphere : Ukraine Revolution, Ben in Ukraine, Fistful of Euro’s, Periscope, Kumbaya, Ukraine, Russia, Europe, the US, Oh My!, Teksty and From our man in Ukraine – all termed “well-informed” news!

Blogs are redefining modern media

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Its been a while since I have bragged about blogs. The last week has been pretty interesting both at work and off it. At work, I have started an internal blog, that i have been trying to introduce to our team as a knowledge sharing tool. Though it hasnt been completely welcomed and embraced yet, its being looked at with some excitement while I remain the only person to contribute to that blog. Its a pure technical blog and completely internal so unfortunately i couldnt share it here with you.

As part of my research on this initiative at work, I came across this insightful interview with Jeff Jarvis, to who some refer as ‘Blogging Media Guru’.(His profile looks impressive indeed). Infact, I should say Jeff is the one who really brags about blogs, I am no where close to it. He seems to be a true evangelist and visionary when it comes to comparing blogging and the rest of the media.

I am overjoiced by the following comments that Jeff makes in this interview. These are really future looking statements, but from watching the blogging community explode, i am fairly certain that he is right.

Whenever citizens can exercise control, they will. Today they are challenging and changing media — where bloggers now fact-check every big fellow’s ass — but tomorrow they will challenge and change politics, government, marketing, and education as well. This isn’t just a media revolution, though that’s where we are seeing the impact first. This is a chain-reaction of revolutions. It has just begun.. As more and more common people start blogging their opinions, and million others reading them to get real views (and eventually persuaded) , I think we are witnessing a making of a revolution in modern media.

The means of distribution are getting cheaper and faster: broadband will soon be part of the public infrastructure like roads. …We dont need slots on a cable network with big clearance to be seen/heard by millions; it gets there through the open media.. Thats like saying, you pay tax, you get broadband. Thats just the gateway into the open world. You dont need to beg bigname studios to make and run your own movies(iFilm, TriggerStreet, ProjectGreenLight, all free!!!), you dont need to be a big writer/columnist to be heard/read(4,686,481 blogs, 5 posts per second), you dont need to be a radio jockey to host your own music show or talk show (podcasting, Transom). Its all becoming open-for-anyone media, all at the click of few buttons from your desktop. If you are creative and have a nice way of saying it, there are dozen ways to say it clean and loud, and millions of citizens across the globe are waiting to read/see/hear/witness it.

Finally Jeff says “The big media is competing with people who are doing this for free just because they love it.”. Yep, he is referring to you and me. Dont we love it? Oh, if you arent yet blogging, please do.

Lazy Geek to Shylaja?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

Lazy Geek, he won the Best India Media Blogger of the year award for last year. Not that he blogs about only media, but his blogs are down to earth, simple and original. Living in chennai, he writes his perspectives on tamil movies/books, tamil bloggers in chennai and everythign else that strikes a chord in his mind. For those in chennai, another reason why you should start blogging and join that growing chennai bloggers, who recently had a ‘chennai bloggers meet‘. I wish we could have one for ‘Bloggers of Tamil Origin in New York / New Jersey Area !’ :-). I have once coincidence between this guy and myself, we both rank the “Pachai Kiligal Tholodu” from Indian as our all time best song. I would listen to it a zillion times and still would go for one more. My second in that list? “Pachai Nirame” from Alai Payudhey.

As I was skimming thru some of Lazy Geek’s (not sure what his original name is, but lets call him what he wants the rest of the world to refer him to!) archives, I see that he is a voracious fan of Sujatha(writer). I have read couple of Sujatha’s books, mostly from my renewed interests in his writings after I have dwelled into various other writings that referred him. No question, there is all the reason to be his arduous fan. From there, I learnt that another pious fan of Sujatha by name Desikan from chennai, is apparently also the biographer (offical?) of Sujatha. I had to believe it, atleast partially, when I read the Sujatha’s foreward in his own handwritten letter for Desikan’s personal website. Not so surprisingly, he is also an excellent writer himself and even writes his own tamil blog. Wonder where sujatha scribbles his blogs!. You could guess from his name ( Desikan is agmark-trademark name for such ) that he is from a vaishnav background (me too!) and has compiled a short list of literature on vaishnavism.

But the interesting encounter of all, he has compiled a list of poems from a writer by name Shylaja on Azhvars and Ramanujar. And Shylaja, not so incidentally, is my Aunt ! and Priya, who we recently visited in washinton dc is writer shylaja’s dharm puthri !

w.Bloggar Preview

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004

I knew millions of bloggers use w.Bloggarw.Bloggar to post their blogs directly from their desktop(instead of from browser), but occured to me only today that I should try it just for the heck of it. It is cool though not a big deal.

This is just another ‘Thick Client’ or so called desktop application, as opposed to the browser based interface MovableType provides. I can now leave this thing open and type whatever crap i want and post it, while working on 15 other windows that are open lining up the task bar below!.