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Are you really doing social media? February 17, 2012

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Marketing, Social Media.
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Blogging. Microblogging. Social Networking. Location-based services. Social Bookmarking. Social Media Optimization. Gamification. Social Media Analytics. Social Communities. Content Strategy. Content Curation. ROI. Social Business. Brand Monitoring. Influencer Outreach. Sentiment Analysis. Buzz Monitoring. Share of Voice. User-Generated Content. Crowdsourcing. Viral Marketing. Engagement. Storytelling. It goes on.

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back from all that and ask a simple question: why do people use social media?

Social media helps PEOPLE connect and build relationships with other PEOPLE*.

Are your social media efforts doing the same? If not, you are not doing social media.

*Or brands who can be human. 

Pic credit: Flickr

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Blog Action Day & Age of Conversation 3 – Two great online causes for the win! October 15, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Books, Branding, Conversations, Digital, Marketing, Social Media.
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Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event where thousands of bloggers around the world unite to talk about a common issue that impacts the lives of people around the world. This collective buzz sparks online discussion, awareness and action. This year, Blog Action Day is all about WATER.

Why Water?

“Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.

But, water moves beyond just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue, an animal welfare issue, a sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, deserving a global conversation.”

[VIMEO 15336764]

Here are some WATER facts that I picked up from the Blog Action Day website:

  • 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. More Info »
  • 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions. More Info »
  • Wars Over Water: Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa. More Info »
  • Cell Phones vs. Toilets: Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets, but many more have access to a cell phone. More Info »
  • Food Footprint: It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. More Info »
  • Technology Footprint: The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that’s 40 million liters to charge those alone. More Info »
  • Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. More Info »
  • Bottled Water Footprint: The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »
  • Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. More Info »
  • Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world. More Info »
  • Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »

Living in Oman for a better part of my life and now based in the UAE, I have been lucky to enjoy access to clean, safe water. However, I am also aware that water is a scarce commodity in many parts of the world. Hence, it is my personal commitment to reduce as much wastage of water as possible.

That personal commitment apart, one of the ways I’m contributing this year is by joining the Age of Conversation Bum Rush.

THE AGE OF CONVERSATION 3 for the WIN!


Considering the fact that social media has gone all mainstream now, Age of Conversation is a global initiative started by Drew McLellan in Iowa and Gavin Heaton in Australia, two marketing whizzes who were savvy enough to see the emerging possibilities of social media-driven online collaboration, crowdsourcing, creativity and online publishing to create the world’s first marketing ‘blook’ ‘The Age of Conversation’, 3 years ago!

Every year, AOC brings together the world’s sharpest marketing and creative minds who publish a chapter each, promote the book and the co-authors in their online community and use proceeds of book sales to benefit a charity. This is my 3rd year in the AOC adventure and being a part of this rockstar community has only benefited me, personally and professionally.

This year, Age of Conversation 3:  It’s Time To Get Busy! brings about 171 leading marketing bloggers from around the world who capture the distinct shift from social media as a hypothetical consumer loyalty tool, as it was considered only a little more than a year ago, to its current state as a staple in the modern marketing toolbox.

Although the book covers more than just social media, the topic is ubiquitous among the book’s 10 sections: At the Coalface; Identities, Friends and Trusted Strangers; Conversational Branding; Measurement; Corporate Conversations; In the Boardroom; Innovation and Execution; Influence; Getting to Work; and Pitching Social Media.

THE AGE OF CONVERSATION 3 – Official Charity – charity: water

The first Age of Conversation raised nearly $15,000 for Variety, the international children’s charity, and the Age of Conversation 2 raised a further $10,000 for Variety.

This year, all benefits from AOC 3 sales will go to charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Age of Conversation 3:  It’s Time To Get Busy! is available on Amazon in Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover versions. So don’t forget to get your copy today. The book is great mind fodder if you are passionate about communications, marketing, digital strategy, branding, PR and social media, plus they make great gifts for your agency, partners and clients, and you also do your bit for charity!

And do remember to read my chapter: Who is the real social media influencer – my take on identifying the real stars in the social media space.

Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life!

Happy reading AOC3 & happy Blog Action Day!

What can an 8-year old & social media teach Boeing about customer service? April 28, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Airlines, Branding, Conversations, Digital, Marketing, Social Media.
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Image source: Harry Winsor’s Boeing Drawing

It never ceases to amaze me how small things lead to big actions. Especially in the world of social media.

Last evening, about 17 hours ago, I spotted this tweet by Paul McEnany. He was tweeting about Porter Airlines and then he tweeted

Speaking of airplanes – here’s a Boeing fail: http://bit.ly/aWpekl

I’m passionate about airlines and so I clicked on the URL and what I read made my jaw drop.

And then I tweeted about it. And also marked it to the attention of @simpliflying @RunwayGirl @AvWeekBenet, leading global aviation experts with an active social media presence.

Meanwhile, let me give you a quick background on this ‘Unbelievable customer service story from Boeing’. http://bit.ly/bJrABe

This story is about John Winsor’s @jtwinsor 8-year old son Harry who is a passionate aviation enthusiast. Harry sends a drawing of his airplane design to Boeing and the plane maker gets back to him with a ‘staid corporate response’. I recommend that you take a few minutes to read this blog post – Is Your Customer Service Ready for the New World of Openness? http://bit.ly/bJrABe

Here’s Boeing’s official response to Harry Winsor’s drawing.


(It seems @jtwinsor shared this experience to @edwardboches over dinner and he recommended that John blog about it).

Jon Ostrower, who is Flight International Magazine’s Aerospace Blogger @flightblogger was quick to take this up with Boeing in a tweet.

@boeingairplanes it might be time to rethink your standard form letter. http://bit.ly/aWpekl (via @arun4)

After which, I tweeted twice to @boeingairplanes

@flightblogger Absolutely. @boeingairplanes You are writing to a kid with passion. Where is your YOURS? You can get this right, still!

Dear @boeingairplanes If I were you, I’d fly this kid to your Museum of Flight. @flightblogger @simpliflying @jtwinsor http://bit.ly/bJrABe

@flightblogger ‘s tweet was then RTed a couple of times.

Couple of hours later, Boeing @Boeingairplanes responded directly to John Winsor’s blog post. Todd Blecher, who is Director of Communications at Boeing said in a comment:

Mr. Winsor,
I’m a Boeing communications director. I think I can address your comments. As you state, we have to respond to the thousands of unsolicited ideas we receive in a way that protects us against possible infringement claims. Having said that, we can do better when the idea clearly comes from a child as enthusiastic as your son. We will work on this. I hope Harry remains fascinated by airplanes and grows up to be an airplane designer. To help him and others like him we maintain the following website. http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/wond…
I hope he enjoys it.

@BoeingCorporate also responded with a tweet on their Twitter account that said:

“The letter Mr. Winsor posted is, as he said, a required response. For kids, we can do better. We’ll work on it.”

It was a very smart move by Boeing to respond immediately and address the issue with a human touch. Boeing is now making very planned and prudent moves into the social media space. In this post, Ludo Van Vooren explores Boeing’s new communication strategy for new media engagement. (Very topical as it was published just last week!) And it seems that Todd Blecher is at the center of these efforts. Certainly Boeing is walking the talk.

The story doesn’t end there:

Alaska Airlines, whose drawing Harry Winsor created and sent to Boeing, wants to send him a special reward. @AirlineReporter had marked a copy of his tweet to @AlaskaAir asking them to have a look at Harry’s drawing. And they responded back via Twitter.

Sandy Ward at the Future of Flight Museum, Seattle @futureofflight wants to showcase Harry’s airplane drawing at a spot in their museum where they showcase innovative ideas and designs.

The story has been featured on Seattlepi, @piboeing a leading aerospace industry blog. And I’m sure it will be picked by others in the days to come.

And TV stations in Denver and Seattle would like to interview Harry Winsor on this story.

The big picture:

I believe that social media is more about being social, responsive and showing that you care, whatever the size or nature of your business. This goes beyond mere presence on social networks.

Ultimately, this should be the goal of all marketing communications – reaching out to the right target audience, listening to them and telling them what they would like to hear.

Kudos to Boeing for coming out in flying colors in their first test with social media. And kudos to Harry Winsor who will grow up knowing that he made a difference with his passion for airplanes.

Five in the Morning from Oman February 9, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.
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5 O’Clock, originally uploaded by surlygrrrl [ELBfoto].

When Steve Woodruff asked me to host the ‘Five in the Morning Series’ out of Oman, I had no hesitation to jump in the bandwagon.

Actually, running the series from here is a breeze. (Because 5am EST in the US is 2pm in Oman).

I’m going to use this opportunity to turn the spotlight on a couple of bloggers out of the Arabian Gulf region. They don’t educate us on social media per se, but they ‘live social media’ on their blogs by telling the world about the good, bad and ugly in their societies. No holds barred. Plus, isn’t it great to turn the mirror on a part of the world that is so less understood by the whole wide web of the world out there?

So without much ado, let’s get the show going.

Oman:
The Muscatis (Muscati and his spouse Um Faisal which means ‘mother of Faisal’) publish interesting ramblings, musings and outbursts from the land called ‘Oh-man!’ on their blog.

Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Jeans written by Ahmed Al-Omran aims to provide news, commentary, and personal views on political and social issues in Saudi Arabia, with a special focus on freedom of expression, human rights and women’s rights.

Bahrain:
Ammar aka Ammaro is a young blogger out of Bahrain who works in the financial services industry and keeps things kicking in the Pearl Island.

Kuwait:
Two forty eight am (The B-sides) is a blog by Mark and Nat, a married Lebanese couple who are living in Kuwait. Mark works in Advertising while Nat works in TV. Both keep Kuwait on the blogging radar.

United Arab Emirates:
The blog Dubai Media Observer offers a critical view of the media industry in the UAE. If you were looking for a blog that serves you a bit of intrigue, dollops of adventure and lots of controversy, I’d lead you to Secret Dubai Diary. To top it all, Life in Dubai is a great blog written by an Australian expat with thoughts and comments on how it is to live in a city of superlatives.

Big hat-tip to Amjad for leading me to some of these blogs. Thank you Steve for this great opportunity to have a go at ‘Five in the Morning’.

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A few thoughts on Brand Oman January 26, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Branding, Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.
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brand oman logo

Yesterday, national brand mark of the Sultanate of Oman was unveiled. This logo is an initiative from the Oman Brand Management Unit (OBMU).

Firstly, why is the need for Oman to go into national branding?

It’s important to project a favorable image of the country, especially after understanding how the country is presently viewed within its borders and overseas. There’s a heightened interest about Oman globally, considering its unique tourism appeal and its relative resilience in the current economic situation.

In the words of His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said, who heads OBMU:

“We’re a relatively small country and generally little known.”

“Now is the time to identify what unique qualities Oman has to offer and balance this with what consumers actually want from us.

“Understand our compelling truth and look at what we have — natural resources, beauty, minerals, culture, infrastructure, education, technology — and then match these deliverables to what is really wanted from a global audience.

Here’s an explanation of the logo mark on Times of Oman.

From what I have seen of the Oman Air corporate rebranding exercise last year, I know that whenever a new logo is unveiled, you have two sides of opinion. Some like it. Some don’t.

A lot of local people do not get that the logo mark is calligraphy that reads ‘OMAN’. (I just did a small dipstick survey). People get it when I tell them it is calligraphy and ask them to read for a word. The hues are very refreshing. However, it’s only when you read the rationale that you understand the mighty burdens resting on the humble logo. Some have said the colors are similar to those in the logos of Oman Oil Marketing Co., Nawras and Renaissance Services in Oman. Read some comments in Sangeetha Sridhar’s post in the Digital Oman blog.

My point is: there’s no going back to the drawing board. From now on, it’s about how effectively you get the message across different touch points about what Oman means as an international brand.

Oman Tourism Logo

This is the current OMAN logo that is used by the country’s Ministry of Tourism, mostly used for promoting destination Oman. It’s likely the new ‘Brand Oman’ logo will take its place. How do both the logos compare?

Also, the new Brand Oman logo will not only be used to promote the tourism aspect of Oman, but also the national, international, commercial, industrial, economic, cultural, sports facets of the nation. I expect this logo to be present on any banner to do with Oman with a national or international purview… from summits, events, activities, campaigns, tournaments, festivals… you get the big picture.

It’s very disheartening that the Brand Oman website is not up and running. Please note that it’s www.brandoman.om and NOT www.brandoman.com.

In this age of social media, there’s no better medium that digital to reach out your message in a more compelling and conversational manner. I will recommend a URL that does not have ‘brand’ in it. To an end user, the word brand does not mean anything i.e. convey a positive, impressionable attitude. It’s more about ‘OMAN’ than the ‘BRAND’.

Try this: http://www.brandoman.om vs. http://www.amazingoman.om or just http://www.oman.om

Assuming you haven’t visited the website, which URL gives you a better image of the country?

A new print campaign has appeared in the local newspapers unveiling the logo with a message ‘Our universities are our legacy’. It’s too early to comment before knowing how it will unfold.

The challenge in the coming days is how interestingly OBMU will tell the story of Oman to the world. How various communication activities pertaining to Oman that happen across diverse touch points will be synergized to convey a single message, both locally and internationally? How will you bring in the voices of the amazing mix of people that make up this country?

All the best, ‘Brand Oman’!


The Best of Mack Collier January 18, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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A couple of days ago, good friend Mack Collier celebrated his birthday. An acclaimed social media consultant, trainer and speaker, Mack is the man behind ‘The Viral Garden’, an influential marketing/social media blog.

His blog features a weekly ranking of the Top 25 Marketing & Social Media Blogs and also a useful Company Blog Checkup series. His motto is “Don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.”

‘The Viral Garden’ is a must-read if you are a social media newbie or a brand looking to carve a space in social media or an accomplished marketer looking for voices of reason in the age of conversation. It’s a great testimony of Mack’s short yet highly impressive journey in social media waters.

Personally, what I like most about Mack is his very endearing nature, his passion to focus on human connections and the way he puts across his message in very simple and direct terms.

As a dedication to Mack on his now very belated birthday, here’s a pick of some of my favorite posts from his blog. I must confess that I was not a regular reader of ‘The Viral Garden’ back in the days, but today I had a great opportunity to go through his great work.

1. Both social media evangelists & traditional marketers have to shed the ‘only I know my stuff better’ stereotypes and learn to work together.

2. Don’t focus on using social media to ‘create’ community, focus on using social media as a way to connect with your customers and join them in THEIR space.

3. Social media is NOT a marketing channel; it is a TWO-WAY communication channel. It helps enable trust between a brand and its consumers.

4. How can you bring more value to the world of social media?

5. New to Twitter? How to transform your Twitter experience.

6. A flyswatter case study on how to have fun with your marketing.

7. How to market like a rockstar. Another post on how marketing can be a fun process.

8. 10 ways to excite your blog readers. Another one here has more tips to grow your blog’s audience.

9. How to grow your social media audience. Do you target the ‘A-listers’ or you follow the ‘smart peeps’? Lots of great comments in this post.

10. This is one of my favorites where Mack tells us not to ‘overthink’ social media and to remove your ‘perfect filter’. I suffer from the same disease to get the right posts and am considering Mack’s advice to get over the bend this year.

11. Some very sane advice to companies who are thinking about engaging bloggers and social media influencers.

Hope you enjoyed ‘The Best of Mack Collier’.

Speaking at The New Media Event, Dubai December 9, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.
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From 14-18 December 2008, I will be a part of The New Media Event in Dubai, the first and the biggest ever event devoted to social media in this part of the world.

Held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai, The New Media Event features over 20 leading experts from Middle East and around the world who will help attendees understand the growing power of new media in corporate world and identify the key social media tools, challenges, issues and trends that brands and organizations in the region need to be familiar with.

On 15 December 2008, I will be doing a keynote on corporate blogging with Rajiv Ahuja from Muscat who writes the only corporate blog from Oman – Khimji Ramdas Bright Sparks.

Our presentation ‘Getting On The Corporate Blogging Bandwagon’ will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • Should you be on the corporate blogging bandwagon?
  • What are the lessons to learn and the pitfalls to avoid?
  • How to get more value from your corporate blogging endeavors?

A part of our presentation will focus on Rajiv Ahuja sharing his learnings and experience from Khimji Ramdas Bright Sparks, the first corporate blogging initiative from Oman.

If you are attending the event, I look forward to meeting you there and I hope that you derive excellent value from the splendid lineup of presentations and workshops that are focused on ‘you getting social media right’.

I will live-blog about the event so that those of you with an interest in social media in the region but cannot make it to the event can also stay updated.

I think it is an exciting time for social media to take off in the region, with fears of a recession widespread in Dubai and more marketers interested in using social media to create more interactive conversations and effective relationships with their customers.

Based in the Sultanate of Oman, I have seen that interest in social media has been spiking recently especially in the corporate sector. Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM), the Muscat-based national ICT park recently organized a Digital Nation Seminar on Blogging on 10 November 2008. This was followed by a couple of stories in local media especially on blogging. (The Week article Blogging Goes Corporate quotes me and Rajiv Ahuja.)

Beginning next year, my effort is to help organize a forum like BarCamp in Muscat so that we can help popularize and familiarize social media among followers. It’s also a long-standing promise I have made to social media guru Connie Reece who is based in Austin.

My perception is that a lot of people in the Middle East know the social media tools, but are yet to get the big picture, the big idea of social media by using the tools in an effective way that delivers value.

I think primary concerns are:

  1. Is social media just a fad I can live without?
  2. I have my corporate website, isn’t that enough?
  3. What do I say and how do I say it?
  4. What will social media do for me?
  5. What are the metrics that will measure success?
  6. Will I lose control of the conversation?
  7. Is there a business model behind blogging?
  8. How much money will I make from my corporate blog?
  9. How will get various stakeholders to buy into my social media engagement?
  10. The fear of the unknown

These are natural concerns and I would recommend that you address them head on. It is by participating in events such as these that you will get the answers to these questions and learn the ropes of social media.

This is my first ever speaking gig and I will go into the event with the message that you can make a mark in social media if you LISTEN, OBSERVE, LEARN, BE HUMAN and TRY TO GIVE VALUE. Like my good friend and marketing champ CK says, social media is an exercise in getting the basics right!

It’s my pleasure to join the following speakers at The New Media Event in Dubai.

  1. Debbie Weil, Author, The Corporate Blogging Book
  2. Robin Hamman, Head of Social Media, Headshift (Former Head of Blogging, BBC)
  3. Marta Kagan, Director of Marketing, Viximo.com
  4. Philippe Borremans, Marketing Director, Blackline / Former Media Lead, IBM
  5. Mohamed El Fatatry, Founder, Muxlim.com
  6. Angel Gambino, Former Global VP Music & Content, BEBO
  7. Dan Healy, CEO, Real-Opinions
  8. Magnus Nystedt, Founder, emiratesmac.com
  9. Omar F. Koudsi, President & Co-founder, jeeran.com
  10. David Skul, CEO, Relativity
  11. Steve Vaile, Founder & CEO, H2O Media
  12. Rama Chakaki, Chief Operations Officer, H2O Media
  13. Scott Monty, Head of Social Media, Ford
  14. Rajiv Ahuja, Head, Corporate Communications, Khimji Ramdas
  15. Bobby Kakar, Head of Marketing – Direct Channels, HSBC
  16. Mohamed Nanabhay, Head of New Media, Al Jazeera
  17. Jonathan Woodier, Director Corporate Communications EMEA Global Consumer Group, Citi Group
  18. Philippe Deltenre, Media Strategist, Microsoft
  19. Duane Nickull, Senior Technological Evangelist ADOBE & Host, Duane’s World TV
  20. Ammar Bakkar, Head of New Media, MBC Group
  21. Catherine Captain, VP Marketing, msnbc.com

More on the The New Media Event to follow. Stay tuned, folks!

It’s Obama time! November 5, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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Congratulations Obama. Congratulations America. This morning, I got to work and discovered that Barack Obama is the 44th president of the USA. I immediately logged on to Twitter and went through my feed soaking in the collective emotions of a people who so desired a change of leadership for America. I then wished I could see his acceptance speech live (which I did a few minutes ago finally!). I thought it would be great if I captured this defining moment in history through the tweets of some of my friends on Twitter. Finally, change is here and this is what America had to say today.

jeffpulver Good morning, America how are you? Looks like the world has changed a little overnight. For the better. With love from Tel Aviv.

scottkarp Never seen so many people at a political event with tears.

kevglobal just in case you missed it: YES WE CAN!

BrianReich Its kind of a bummer that my son, just shy of his first birthday, is sleeping through this historic night.

briansolis Welcome to a new America

ChrisSaad i have tears in my eyes

mikearauz YES WE CAN.

shelisrael The only dry eye in the entire country is his.

shelisrael “Democracy, liberty and unyielding hope. That’s America‘s true genius is that America can change.”

shelisrael To all those watching from beyond our shores: A new dawn of American leadership is here.

Scobleizer For the past 30 minutes I sat holding my son, Milan, listening to Obama. More than once I wiped a tear from my cheek.

shelisrael “We rise or fall as one nation, as one people.’

DustyReagan I think the Obama win broke the Internet tonight. Too much twittering, and digging, and et cetera happening.

tamar can obama just make his darn acceptance speech so my husband will come to bed???

tbrunelle Times Square is INSANE. This is an amazing experience.

KristinGorski President Obama!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 I am so deeply happy right now.

BrianReich I just got an email from Barack Obama saying thank you…

jimkukral Yes, it’s over. Time for healing. Time for a new face for America. I’m proud of my new America.

ScottMonty Whew. We can all rest well. America returns to the top of the ever-so-important global popularity contest.

charleneli Yes We Did!

katiechatfield WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

debbieweil WHOOOEEE!!!! HISTORY!!!!!!!!!

CBWhittemore This is so very exciting! Congratulations America.

thomasclifford Yes we can. 🙂

ModaMags president Obama! Wow!!!!!

ShamaHyder …And the world as we know it changed forever.

How cool is Age of Conversation 2? October 30, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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5 comments

How cool is it to be part of a marketing book that is written by some of the brightest, smartest and greatest minds in marketing, communications and social media from around the world?

How cool is it to be part of a collaborative book that is authored by not one, not two, but 237 bloggers from 15 nations across the globe?

How cool is that the book is based on the theme ‘Why don’t people get it?’ and goes on to share unique perspectives on topics such as Manifestos, Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation, Moving from Conversation to Action?, The Accidental Marketer, A New Brand of Creative, My Marketing Tragedy, Business Model Evolution, and Life in the Conversation Lane?

How cool is that my chapter ‘The Smart Beast in the Creative Jungle’ talks about creating a successful creative niche in this highly dynamic and interactive era of conversation?

How cool is that the book’s collective wisdom will help you create conversations, deliver results and generate impact?

How cool is that proceeds from book sales will benefit Variety, a children’s charity that does good work around the world?

How cool is that you can go online and get your own copy of the book in hardcover, paperback and downloadable e-book formats within minutes ?

Yes, it’s so totally cool that ‘The Age of Conversation 2’ is finally here!!! And if you agree with me, please click here to order your copy.

Please tell us how cool it is to live in the age of conversation. It’d be fun if you start off your comments with “How cool… 🙂

And last but not the least, how cool is it to be in such great company?

A Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi

B Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich

C C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson

D Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner

E Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller

F Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson

G G Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming

H Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber

J J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster

K Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski

L Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux

M Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel

N Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice

O Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz

P Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman

R Rachel Steiner, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen

S Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Sreeraj Menon, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood

T Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman

U Uwe Hook

V Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau

W Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff

Y Yves Van Landeghem

A day at BarCamp San Antonio September 26, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: , ,
3 comments
San Antonio BarCamp 2008

On September 6, I was one of the lucky few who made it to the first ever BarCamp at San Antonio.

It was my first ever BarCamp as well and I was determined to attend despite a badly injured toe. I walked into the imposing MediaRich Studio at South Alamo and felt that the event could not have had an even better venue.

barcampsa 123, originally uploaded by MediaRich.

The fabulous MediaRich den is located in a pretty San Antonio neighborhood with an impressive view of the Tower of The Americas. I believe that creative workplaces need to look creative as well and the colorful, well laid out MediaRich offices do inspire a lot of creativity in you.

So how did I hear about BarCamp in the first place? It started as a chance tweet-up between me and the ever-amazing social media diva Connie Reece. This is the second time I have linked up with Connie through Twitter and made it to a social media community event. Both Connie and Twitter rock!

Btw, for the uninitiated: BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.

The BarCamp mantra is: When you come, be prepared to share with barcampers. When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

One of the first BarCampers I ran into was George Riley of TED. Thought I wasn’t aware of TED till then, George was kind enough to share with me the exceptional work they do in spreading Technology, Entertainment and Design Ideas. Later during the day, we had an exciting session named TED & BIL – Big Ideas, hosted by George Riley and Cody Marx Bailey. Watch the feed on ustream.tv.

It was a fantastic day of learning experiences with several participants sharing their 2-cents on topics as diverse as Podcasting Basics, CSS, Co-working, Evolution of San Antonio as a creative hotspot, Blogging vs. Vlogging, Email Marketing, Ruby on Rails, Open Source Web 2.0, Post/Trans Humanism, Extreme Freestyle Hacking, PR & Social Media, What’s New in Accessibility, Media Access & Ownership and so much more. That’s so much for a day!

The crowning point of the event was when Connie Reece announced the birth of Social Media Club San Antonio. And she duly noted, Texas is now home to 5 Social Media Clubs. Go Texas, go!

Some of the most enlightening discussions we had during the day centered on making San Antonio a world-class creative space. Many participants shared their experiences and insights on how to transform San Antonio into a quality creative city comparable to the likes of Austin. I agree with them that one of the first steps in that direction is to build a creative community of like-minded individuals and that’s where initiatives such as Co-working, Social Media Club and BarCamps matter.

I missed out on Vidya Ananthanarayan’s presentation on Marketing Brand “You”, judging by the tremendous applause at the end of the session. I also missed Laura Marie’s fab performance after the BarCamp, but then enjoyed her music later on YouTube and MySpace.

Jennifer Navarrete deserves a huge high-five for her efforts in giving life to BarCamp SA. I’d the pleasure of running into her at PodCamp San Antonio in May and it’s so amazing to have someone with the passion and energy to bring San Antonio onto the social media scene.

Also, a big shout-out to Dean McCall, Mandi Harrell Leman, Michael Leman, Rich Harrell, Veronica Jorden and Donald Wilcox, Jr who made BarCamp SA a reality. And kudos to everyone who turned up, and especially the presenters who made the whole event worthwhile – BarCamp’s better with you.

The generous sponsors of BarCamp San Antonio deserve a mention: MediaRich, Microsoft, Ryma, FireCat Studio, CampaignStream, BlogCatalog, CampusWire along with Casa Chiapas, Mad Hatter’s Tea House, Tito’s and El Sol Studios. Events such as BarCamps cannot be successful without the support of organizations who strive to stimulate learning and networking opportunities in their local communities.

Enjoy the action from BarCamp San Antonio:

Blogspeak on BarCamp San Antonio: