My (love) affair with blogging – How it came to be?

Regular readers of my blog know that I’ve been blogging for years now (4+ to be precise). I have chronicled my blogging journey in many of my posts to share my lessons and insights.

It was indeed an honor and a pleasure when Bhakthi Bapat Mathew requested me to give an interview on the chronicles of my blogging journey. For those who don’t know, Bhakti is a freelance journalist based in Bangalore, India. Bhakti has been writing for Indian and international publications since 2006.Her byline has appeared in CNN Travel, South China Morning PostWomen’s e-News (USA), The National (UAE), Friday Magazine (Gulf News), The Women’s International Perspective (The WIP, USA), Business Standard, Good Housekeeping, Mint, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Spice Route, New Indian Express, and more.

She wanted to feature me in a special series she is doing on her blog. Titled. “How they did it?” she aims to bring to the fore-front stories of successful authors, journalists or bloggers. Each interview will delve into how that writer overcame the usual challenges to make a mark in the space. Past interviews feature Yashodhara Lal, Rasana Atreya and Advaita Kala . How could I say No?

THE interview below. Text is bold is the questions Bhakthi asked and my responses are below. Happy reading

By when did the blog pick up big readership? Any memories you remember from those early days of your blogging success.

Firstly, thank you for featuring me on your blog. I think “How they did it” is a great initiative that you’ve started, and am sure that it will help a lot of aspiring / newbie and even veteran  writers / bloggers. After all, we all learn from each other’s stories, right?

Coming to my blog, I think it was after 1-2 years of blogging on my own blogs, and a lot of guest posts in many global forums. Interestingly for me, the initial thrust came from global readership because my guest posts were published in forums like Problogger, ChangeBlog, etc. It was only much later that I became active in the Indian blog-o-sphere.

There are so many memorable moments mostly because they were completely unexpected and took me by surprise, and of course, made me happy. Top among them are:

  • Alyssa Milano (Yes! The American actress, producer and singer) shared my post on 12 Most Wonderful moments in the first year of Motherhood. This was in 2011, and about a year after I started blogging. The post went viral in a few minutes after she tweeted it. It was like with every blink of my eye the numbers just shot up :) I almost felt like a mini-celebrity!

  • My guest posts being accepted by Problogger. For those who don’t know, Problogger was started by Darren Rowse who was among the first bloggers globally to make money through his blog. It is a dream for bloggers around the world to get published here, and it can take months to fit in to their blogging schedule. It is one of those indications that “You have arrived as a blogger” :)

  • There have been many comments and shares on my posts from many globally respected leaders, CXO’s and influential / popular individuals / communities from corporate / business, politics, education, social media, marketing, movies, etc. For example, my posts were shared by the likes of Guy Kawasaki (former chief evangelist of Apple; co-founder of Alltop.com and currently Chief Evangelist at Canva), Angela Maiers (a globally respected educator and TED Speaker), etc. Also, my posts have been quoted in a number of forums.

When did you first start the blog…what was your main motivation in starting it?

In 2010, I thought to myself Maybe I should create a blog of my own too. But I had so many questions “What will I write about? Who will read them? Will anyone comment?” And most importantly, I did not know how / how much I will be able to blog. Anyway, I started a blog and published my first blog post as a private post. I felt I was not ready to share it with the world. It’s like when you start anything new, you have more questions than answers and are simply not sure about how things will work out. But over time, I began posting regularly. A few months later, I shared my posts with a few trusted friends and family and received positive and encouraging feedback. So one fine day in 2010, I decided to let my blogs go public and since then, there has been no looking back. In terms of motivation, there are a number of reasons:

  • One, I wanted an “online space” as a canvas for my words. Words which stem from dreams, thoughts, observations, analysis, learning’s, conversations, view-points, outlook, views, emotions, perspectives, achievements, mistakes, failures, lessons learnt, comprehensions, experiences and conclusions.
  • Two, the initial phases of motherhood are taxing physically, emotionally enriching / draining at the same time and lonely (socially) since you hardly have any time for social interactions. In that phase, I needed something intellectual stimulating and some social connections to keep me going through the long dark nights from the confines of my home and I found that in the world of blogs.
  • Three, When I became a mother, I used to ponder and introspect a lot on “deeper existential questions” on life and legacy. I’ve always believed words and writing can be a significant part of anyone’s personal legacy, and I hope mine will :) In fact two of my most popular posts are “What is your personal legacy?” and “What is your social media legacy?”. Be sure to read it :)
  • Lastly, To give back. I believe that many times it is “words” that make all the difference in life. So if my writings can make a positive difference in someone’s life – either by enabling them to learn, making them think, help them through a rough phase of life or just bringing some sunshine in their life, I’m good.

Incidentally, my tryst with blogging started at about the same time as my journey as a mother and so both are special to me.

My blogs include:

  • VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life – my personal blog and covers a broad range of topics around Life, Creativity, Parenting, Relationships, Human Experiences, Emotions, Lessons and Wisdom of life.
  • Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions – my professional blog in which I write about topics of professional interest like Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Innovation and Strategy.
  • Worth a Read – – a compilation of interesting, touching, humorous write-ups that I come across — via mail, on the net or a random read… And believe it’s worth saving and worth reading again.

In the beginning, how often did you post, and later too, when it got popular?

Initially, I used to publish when I’d finish writing a post. So there would be phases when there would be five posts published on my blog in one day and many days when there would be no activity on my blogs.

It took a while to understand the my own process / method of blogging. Some days, I have 30 blog post ideas and some days I can write 10K words and on some days I’ve even written up to 20 blog posts!  I’d also done a post on this — The Biorythmic cycles of a blogger.

I think it takes a while to find the rhythm in the madness. Today, I am more structured and have a well-planned editorial calendar. I run 3 active blogs and target 1 post per week on each of the blogs. I also do at least 3 guest posts per month. So in one month, I have around 10-15 posts which go live :). I write almost every single day and have done it regularly for the past 4 years. I don’t publish everyday though!

According to you, what helped make the blog a success?

  • Choice of blog topics that have a large appeal: So I have a 10 year old girl who reads my blogs, and a 70 year old grandpa who says he enjoys my blogs.
  • Simple words, language and articulation: which make my writings unique and easy to read / comprehend, I’m told.
  • Posting regularly: This really comes from the love of writing, focus, planning and self-discipline.
  • Guest posts.
  • Focused blog marketing and promotion in online / social channels and communities.
  • Social networks and advocates who share my content generously.

One of the most challenging things for a new blogger is getting readers and comments. What can newbie bloggers do to get more readers?

I think that is the wrong question to ask or start with. The more important question is “Why will anyone read  your blog on Day 1? Or Day 2 or .. Day N” and that should drive your blogging efforts! And more specifically how many blogs have you read and how many comments have you left on other blogs?”.

In specific, here are the DO’s that have worked for me:

  • Have a specific niche for 70 – 80% of your posts
  • Have an authentic voice. Be real
  • Get to know your reader – Who is he / she? What do they want to read about?
  • Continuously provide compelling content
  • Religiously promote the blogs across social media

Here are the DONT’s

  • Pass off someone else’s content as your own. It has happened to me so many times, and trust me as a blogger, I DO NOT appreciate it.
  • Talk only about yourself and your personal life. No one wants to read beyond a point unless it is relevant or you are a celebrity already
  • Share negative / abusive / sensitive / incorrect information / opinions

Building blog traffic takes time (if you are not already a real-life celebrity). There is no overnight glory and success in blogging. One step at a time. Also the “Law of Karma” works well in blogs. I call it the “Blogging karma” – You get what you give – in thoughts, words, comments and shares :)

If you are a newbie “individual” blogger, I personally think that you’re starting late, so now you have to differentiate yourself to even find a place in the blogging world.

Did your blog help you professionally? If so, how?

  • More visibility at the workplace – I have a second identity now as a blogger :)
  • More visibility in the industry (IT) / across specific functional areas like Marketing, Social Media, Leadership, HR, etc.
  • CXO level connects – I have many CXO’s who read / comment / share my blogs. They know me on a first name basis
  • Professional networking – I’ve build so many wonderful online connections with people who inspire, assist and enable. Since they know me already, it is easy to connect and converse on (m)any issues
  • Re-connect with academia – As you know, I’m an IIMB alumni and a lot of my IIMB professors also read my blogs and share in their networks.

I know so many people and so many people know me because of my blogs :)

What, according to you, is the importance/role of offline networking (attending blog meets, lit events etc.) in growing a blog? Are there any examples of your own blog where offline networking helped?

I don’t know since I’ve never attended any blogging event till date. From what I’ve read / seen, it can boost your readership and strengthen the power of networks and relationships. So people share / like / comment / recommend you – It is like a peer-to-peer ecosystem.

Your thoughts on monetizing a blog through google adwords etc.?

No comments since I’ve not done it

What role, according to you, does SEO play in making a blog successful?

It plays a significant role. But to be honest, I don’t do any SEO for my personal blogs. I know bloggers for whom SEO made all the difference. To each his / her own.

Would be great if you could share details or examples with links showing just how successful the blog is…or stats, like at its peak, how many comments per post, views per day etc.

This number game is bad you know – in the corporate context, in Bollywood, in cricket, in politics or whatever! But I know that the bottom-line is data is accounted and hence valued more.

To give you an insight, one of my most popular posts  “33 Life Lessons No School really taught me” was shared 10K+ times in social media in about 3 days that it went live.

Personally, I’ve stopped tracking all this. However, I like to observe overall trends periodically because they give you insights into what your readers want to read. Like another most popular post on my blog has been around extra-marital affairs. I was surprised, but looks like it is an issue which people are keen to read about!

What’s your current professional status…

@ Status 1: Head of Marketing and Thought Leadership for a specialized theme in one of India’s largest IT service provider

@ Status 2: Mother, Wife, Daughter (in-law), Sister (in-law), Aunt…. and everything that it entails :)

@ Status 3: In between the two, I blog / write :)

For more tips  on blogging, visit this post by Nischala!

What is your view? Leave a comment to let me know….

Originally published here

2014 : What I’ll be blogging here?

So its a new year! The time when everyone embarks on all new things
New Year Resolutions
New Year Wishes
New Year Changes

Well, as I mulled over what I’ll be doing here on my blog, the one thing that I was clear that I would continue to write..

So, how frequently will I post?
Once a week

And when will I publish a post?
Every Thursday at 3 PM IST

So what will I be blogging about?
Well.. The focus will continue to be on areas of professional interest which range from Marketing, Social Media, Leadership, Innovation, Strategy and Business.

So is there a specific plan for the postings?
Well yes!
Week 1 of the month – A post on Social Media
Week 2 of the month – A post on Marketing
Week 3 of the month – A post on Leadership
Week 4 of the month – A post on Innovation / Strategy / Business

Will I do anything different this year on my blog?
Well, there will be a few surprises along the way. So wait and watch.. And do follow my blog to know what these surprises are!

Till then, continue reading..
And LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE
Its one life to LIVE

Happy New Year 2014…

What is your Social Media Legacy?

A while back I had written a post titled “What is your personal legacy?”. The post was well received and shared in good numbers on all Social Media networks, and also generated some interesting discussions and conversations – Both online and offline.

But after the post was published, I felt something was incomplete in my post. I couldn’t really put a finger on what, but I knew that I had missed something. During one such pensive and quiet moment, I got it!

Looking around me, I realized that a vast majority of us spend significant amount of our daily time online – especially on Social Media platforms [Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Pinterest, etc]. So would it not be relevant to plan to leave a legacy of your Social Media presence? Or in other words – Your very own Social Media Legacy?

After all, bottom line “Social Media” is really about 3 things:

1)      Knowledge / Collective Knowledge / Wisdom / Collective Wisdom – of an individual / community / world at large

2)      Thoughts / Ideas which stem from confusion, consciousness, creativity, co-relation, collaboration, comprehension – of an individual / community / world at large

3)      Interactions / Communities / Relationships and Networks – between individuals / communities / world at large

10 or possibly 50 years from now, one’s “Social Media Legacy” will be an integral (even legally perhaps) and important part of one’s personal legacy.

So if you’re wondering what exactly you’re Social Media Legacy could comprise of. Here are a few examples:

  • A Blog – Which is really a canvas for words. Words which stem from dreams, thoughts, observations, analysis, learning’s, conversations, view-points, outlook, views, emotions, perspectives, achievements, mistakes, failures, lessons learnt, comprehensions, experiences and conclusions. And that sums up the lives of most of us, doesn’t it?

Would it not be worthwhile to share such a memoir as a part of your personal legacy?

  • A Twitter profile – Which is really be a collection of thoughts, observations, viewpoints, perspectives, interesting data / facts / figures / news / quotes / articles / compilations / readings..

Would it not be worthwhile to share such a collection as a part of your personal legacy?

  • A Pinterest Board – Which is really a compilation of world-class / interesting / favorite pictures or photos on a specific topic(s) of personal interest.

Would it not be worthwhile to share such a compilation as a part of your personal legacy?

Whom you leave your Social Media Legacy for is a personal choice. And how much they will value it, only time will tell

But here’s what’s important – If you are serious about leaving behind a Social Media Legacy, plan for it today; and work objectively on it in the years to come. After all, you are spending so much time on a daily basis on Social Media channels, so is it not worthwhile to channelize your efforts in a structured way?

Hopefully, sometime in the future (say 10, 20 or 50 years from now), you would have built a rich Social Media Estate. One which will be of value to the next generation!

On that note, Good Luck in creating your Social Media Legacy!

Do you think your Social Media Legacy will be an integral part of your personal legacy sometime in the future? Leave a comment to let me know…

Who teaches Gen Y / Gen Z the Social Media basics?

Over the recent past, I’ve had the opportunity to interact up close and personal with the Gen Y and Gen Z – in schools, colleges, social gathering’s, etc etc etc. – The “Digital Natives” as they are popularly called – For e.g.: The 2 year old’s who can play on the iPad, the 5 year old who goes to a school where there is a “Touch Lab”, the 10 year old who is ever so active on FaceBook, the 15 year old who has 10K+ Twitter followers and the last one I should mention – The yet to be born baby who already had a Google account, Twitter account and FaceBook account!

They are everywhere! And I am glad to see them :)

But during interactions, interestingly a lot of them confessed to Social Media Blunders or Social Media Disasters (Of course dos not include the yet-to-be-born baby and the 2 year old, They can’t speak properly yet, or they speak in a language I can’t understand ;)

Example 1 : A 12 year old shared his address on FaceBook, and got into trouble
Example 2 : A 8 year old shared her contact number as part of her Twitter profile, and got into trouble
Example 3 : A 15 years old shared photographs on FaceBook, and got into trouble
Example 4 : A 21 year old tweeted something controversial, and got into trouble
Example 5 : An 18 year old posted a confession on FaceBook, and got into trouble

And I can go on with many more such examples.. But the point is this – It’s great that this generation is on SOCIAL. And Good for them! Good that the Social Bug is in them, and they learned a lot by themselves…

But what about the things that their peers don’t know about Social Media?
But what about the things that even their teachers don’t know about Social Media?
But what about the things that their parents don’t know about Social Media?

And I am not talking about features, or capabilities, or How-To’s, or How to do better, faster..
I am talking about THE SOCIAL MEDIA BASICS with an emphasis on WHAT NOT TO DO on SOCIAL MEDIA?
What NOT to say about yourself?
What NOT to share?
What NOT to do?
Whom NOT To connect with?
When to disconnect from Social Media?

Who teaches the Gen Y / Gen Z the Social Media Basics?
from what I know, no one really! Most learn by experience – By burning their fingers, By seeing others learn the hard way :(

In my honest opinion, it makes complete sense for schools / educational institutes to include Social Media Basics as a part of the School Curriculum (May be some already do, but I’m not aware). Get Social Media Gurus / Experts to talk , to share their learning’s, to give insights into possible consequences and impact on life.

Teach the Gen Y / Gen Z the Social Media Basics, and these are really the basics of LIFE. But someone has to teach it, and they have to learn sometime.. Sooner, the BETTER!

Great Social Media Quotes

I’m a big fan of quotes. And have been all along in my life.. So I wanted to publish a post on great Social Media Quotes that I’ve come across. Here goes!

“Social Media, it turns out, isn’t about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell. Social Media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led.” BY Seth Godin

“Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing” BY Chris Brogan

“ATA – be AUTHENCTIC, be TRANSPARENT, be ALTRUISTIC, and you will find enough success in Social Media to have a satisfying career and experience.” BY Nils Monta

“Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies.  Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.” BY Seth Godin

“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” BY Matt Goulart
“LinkedIn is for people you know. Facebook is for people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know.” BY Author Unknown

“By creating compelling content, you can become a celebrity.” BY Paul Gillin

“The problem with trying to determine ROI for Social Media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable” BY Jason Falls

“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” BY Jay Baer

“Content is King, Social Media is Queen; and Together they rule the online world. So be the king and befriend the Queen, or be prepared to be ruled over” BY Nischala

How Social Media can help in Chronic Ailments?

Over the past few years, I have experienced close and personal what it means to have people you know / love / care about deal with chronic ailments – For e.g.: Diabetes, Chronic Renal Failure, Cancer, etc.

And if there’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty it’s this – Its NOT EASY!
It’s NOT EASY for the patient
It’s NOT EASY for the immediate family and friends

Dealing with chronic ailments which will most likely be a part of your life till the very end tests you on many dimension of life. Mainly

  • Physical – Your body goes through a lot lot lot! Hard for anyone to “truly understand”; Suffice to say that it has to endure! There is no escape!
  • Mental – Stress and Tension of every-day living; & dealing with emergencies
  • Social – Pressures of society : Questions, Pity, Free unwarranted Advice, Suggestions (many times useless and destructive), Criticism, Feedback, Opinions, etc
  • Financial – There is a financial strain, whether or not you have insurance
  • Emotional – Why me? Why us? Tears, fear, uncertainty. Lack of interest in life, When will this agony end?
  • Lack of timely knowledge – No clue of what to do? Where to go? Whom to ask?

And here’s where I believe Social Media can really help and make a difference – Both to the patient itself or to those caring for the patient.

So, How can Social Media really make a DIFFERENCE?
(1) By providing information – One of the key challenges in dealing with chronic ailments is getting access to the right information at the right time. Especially in terms of treatment options and the institutes providing it at affordable costs. Providing this information as a “one-stop” repository will prove to be invaluable ; and help in decision making at a vulnerable and critical point in the choice of treatment
(2) By providing emotional relief – The emotional highs and lows that engulf the patient, family and care-giver are unimaginable. Social media can be a welcome break by making you laugh, changing your perspective or just feeling inspired to live another day!
(3) By being a mental de-stresser – The mental stress that the patient, family and care-giver go through can sometime be enormous, and hard to deal with. Social media can be a great de-stresser in more than one way – Providing information, connecting you to experts / experienced  / advisers who can possibly provide timely guidance and intervention to enable you to tide through the situation.
(4) By creating a “new social world” - Many people ailing from chronic ailments have told that when people from the real world get to know about their ailments, “something changes” in the relationship. They can’t pin-point what it is, but things are no longer the same – And this is from both ends. Many patients don’t want to / wish to interact with their “real-world” connections , and tend to distance themselves. At such instances, “creating a new social world” through the power of Social media can be a real blessing!

What Social Media Channels would be EFFECTIVE?
Honestly, I think choosing the right channel  is important, and there are abundant options available.
(1) Twitter - A twitter handle which shares regular updates on a specific ailment. Specific Twitter hashtags will aid in searching for specific information
(2) Blogs / Web-sites – Information sources which focus on a specific topic, and share useful information from patients, care-givers , insurers and people from the medical fraternity would be an invaluable repository. One of the best examples I can think of is BabyCenter.com – which has become the ultimate online resource for most expecting mother (I’m giving this only as an example here). Something like this for chronic ailments like cancer, chronic renal failure, etc. would be AWESOME!
(3) Pinterest - Boards around a specific topic / sub-topic containing information which can consolidate information, enable decision making or simply bring a smile to a “tired and stressed mind and heart” will make an ocean of difference
(4) Communities / Groups – Like a LinkedIn Community, Google+ Hang-out or a community blog where people can interact in a honest and transparent fashion can make a lot of difference. From what I’ve seen, just knowing that there are so many people out there enduring the same “pain and trials” on a daily basis – some better / some worse, makes it easier to accept and deal with one’s personal situation!

And I hope this post inspires someone somewhere to leverage the power of Social Media to help many people dealing with Chronic ailments!

How Social Media can really help Writers / Bloggers?

As a writer / blogger, I have found Social Media to be a blessing! Be it Blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. – They all prove to be invaluable for any writer..

So How can Social Media really help a writer / blogger?

1) Research

One of the best ways Social media can help any writer / blogger is for research. Research is an integral part of the writing / blogging process; and most writers / bloggers spend time in active research on the internet. Searching in Blogs, or on Twitter using specific Hashtags, or even simply following an expert on a specific topic on Twitter can significantly simply your research process and reduce effort!

2) Inspiration

Most writers / bloggers need a periodic dose of inspiration to bring out the best pieces of creative output. We all have different triggers / things which inspire us, and Social Media provides it in abundance. The only pre-requisite is you should know what kind of things inspire you (quotes, pictures, emotions, others experience’s, etc.) and you should know the fastest way to get your dose of inspiration on Social Media. trust me! Its there everywhere – Blogs, Tweets, Pinterest, etc. etc

3) Ideas

Many times, a write / blogger needs ideas – On the topics to write about, how to articulate, how to take the story further – And you just can’t seem to move ahead. Again, Social Media can come to your rescue. Sometimes reading totally unrelated articles fuels your imagination (I don’t know how the brain wiring works, but it does!) and propels your forward, Sometimes reading a tweet gives you food for thought, Sometimes a picture / infographic does the trick, and sometimes it is a blog post which gives you that killer idea! Sometimes it is your own past Social Media activities which trigger new ideas  and thoughts :)

4) Easy access to samples of other writers / bloggers

Many writers / bloggers like to read samples of what other writers / bloggers have to say. It can be for very many reasons – To get exposure to alternate styles of work, to gauge audience sentiments, to figure out tips, tricks and best practices of the trade, or simply because they enjoy others work. Again, Social media provides easy and instant access to sample the work of other writers / bloggers

5) Promotion & Marketing

Sharing your blogs / writings has never been more easy, efficient, quick and global as it is today. Any blogger / writer can share their work at the click of a button. So Social Media can aid significantly in Promotion & Marketing

6) A Social Network

Writing / Blogging are lonely activities. It is just you , your thoughts , your words and your tools (Whatever hardware and software and systems you use!). So many writers / bloggers do like to have social interactions with others – After all, it is a basic human need! And the best part of Social Media is you can converse at any time you wish to, and with anyone who is willing to converse with you on any Social Media channel (Be it Twitter, FaceBook chat, etc etc). This virtual social network sometimes is a blessing for most writers / bloggers.

7) Writing / Blogging Groups and Communities

The other good thing about Social Media is the presence of online Groups and Communities. They exist on almost all channels (FaceBook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Google+, etc.) and are formed by individuals who have common interests on specific subjects. Such groups usually share knowledge, information, request for reviews, provide feedback, support, encouragement and many times, also help in Promotion & Marketing of your work. You can join one / many such Groups and Communities, based on your personal interest, the time you are willing to invest and the personal value you see from them. But if you join the right Groups and Communities, you can benefit enormously by learning and interacting from fellow writers and bloggers.

What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know…

Feeling Low – 4 Ways Social Media Can Lift your spirits!

We all go through phases when we feel low. Sometimes we know why, sometimes we can’t put a finger on it…

And yet the one thing we all know is that the sooner we beat the blues, the better for us.

And from personal experience, I can say that Social Media can help lift your spirits.. Here are a list of ways that Social Media has helped me

1) Read a blog that makes you laugh or inspires or makes you forget the blues. For e.g.: I check this blog Worth a Read, and always find something which is an instant mood lifter

2) Login to FaceBook and look at the photos of friends and family. Most people tend to upload only the good pictures, fun moments or interesting events. So you get to see the “good slice of others life”; and it usually changes your mood

3) Pinterest – You will always find something to laugh about or something which will amuse or interest you on Pinterest. Click here for one example

4) Twitter – Go through the tweets of random people or someone your know or someone really funny, and your mood will instantly change. For e.g.: Check this list of 25 Twitter Accounts to Make you Laugh. And at least one of them will cheer your spirits

Has Social Media helped you beat the blues? If yes, leave a comment to let me know HOW?

Social Media Etiquette 101 : The Basics

Over the past few weeks, Social Media (Blogs, FaceBook, Twitter) has been in the prime-time news. Some of it is good news, but several times its been not-so-good news. And primarily because someone tweeted something which upset / hurt / offended someone else, someone blogged an article without giving credit to whom it was due, a FaceBook update which did not go well with the general public opinion. And what followed was arguments, anger, negativity, criticism

As I reflect on some of these events, I honestly believe several of them could easily be avoided if basic Social Media Etiquette is followed. Probably basic life lessons you learned in KinderGarden, but somehow forgot along the journey to adulthood…

In this post, I am listing the Most Important Lessons of Social Media Etiquette – be it blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.

Lesson 1: Be HONEST, Don’t LIE

Ever heard of “Honesty is the BEST POLICY“. Well it applies to Social Media as well. So be TRUE, Be HONEST and Don’t LIE. If you are not comfortable expressing your true opinion on a specific topic on Social Media, then Don’t Say anything. Be QUIET – which is OK. If you don’t know something, then its again OK to not say anything. But don’t LIE! The thing about lies is you get caught sometime somehow – Trust me on this!

Lesson 2: Give Credit where its DUE, Don’t STEAL

Again ever heard of “Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, and if you have to borrow then at least let the owner know!“. Well it applies to Social Media as well. So don’t STEAL others content on Social Media (blogs, Tweets, views, etc.) . If you do want to use / quote an article published by someone else, give a reference to the original content and acknowledge the author. (I’ve personally experienced cases of people publishing my blogs on their own blogs without any link or reference – And trust me! It feels awful. After all anyone who publishes content has put significant time, thought and effort into it. Just ask yourself how you would feel if someone walked into your house and walked out with your belongings – clothes, accessories, money, etc. Well its the same when you “STEAL” others content on Social Media). So make it a point to give credit where its DUE. Not only does it build your own credibility as someone who reads others content, but also acknowledges their efforts. And you also build your own social media networks by connecting to other authors – Trust me these relationships are worth more than stealing content and trying to pass it off as your own!

Lesson 3: Think before you WRITE

Anyone who wished you well always said “Think before you say or do anything.” Well it applies to Social Media as well. Before you write anything, think about the best way you can articulate your thoughts / views / opinions.  Most of the Social Media errors happen because people don’t think before they write. If you are stressed, emotionally low / high, drunk, angry, upset, depressed… suggest you don’t write on Social Media till you feel more in control of your thoughts / emotions OR just write for yourself and don’t publish. Impulsive writing can sometimes bring out the best creativity in people, but it has to be when your thoughts / emotions are stable and balanced.

Lesson 4: Review before you PUBLISH

When you were in school, your parents and teachers always said “Check you answer sheet once before you turn it in“. Well it applies for Social Media as well. Before you publish anything (on Blog, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.) review it once with a calm mind. The reason being that many times we write things which we don’t really mean, we write things which can be (mis)interpreted in many different ways; and more importantly we are human and hence can possibly make errors. So do a self-review before you publish any content on Social Media.

Lesson 5: Be “GOOD” 

The last point is “Be GOOD” on Social Media – To those you know, to those you don’t know.. To those with whom you agree, to those with whom you don’t agree. The fact is that the real world has its share of “Good and Bad” – Both as a part of our everyday lives, and as a part of the world in general. And there is also more negativity than positivity all around – Death, Terror, Loss, Lies, Infidelity, Anxiety, Fear, Uncertainty, Stress – They are all integral to our lives.

And so for many of us, Social Media is a welcome escape, a mini-dream-land. To connect with people who think like us, To connect with people we know, To connect with people we want to know, To connect with people who inspire us.

And the fact is that we all like to feel “GOOD”, especially on Social Media. And how do you feel GOOD? By reading GOOD stuff – Content which makes you smile, laugh, gives you hope, inspires you, motivates you, helps you learn, makes you happy, helps you grow.. And Do you think that you can achieve any of the above if you read / come across all “negative content” – which is demotivating, depressing, melancholy, continuous criticism, unwarranted judgment, etc. – Absolutely NOT! Again you can share a point of view which is radical / contrary to the popular belief, but you should know how to articulate it so that people appreciate your point-of-view; and it leaves them with food for thought, as opposed to anger or resentment or disbelief which sparks negativity.

And the best way you can share positivity is to be GOOD – in what you write… Be positive in what you write and share, Express Gratitude for the support you receive, and ignore what is better ignoring (It’s easier to ignore on social media)

And Goodness breeds Goodness… And before you know

Goodness is all around.. Thanks to you!

A Blog is really like a Movie…

What is a blog really like?” was the question asked.
And the answer which satisfied the audience was “A blog is really like a Movie…”

I was addressing a group of non-bloggers and I found it hard to explain what blogging really is. Suprisingly, the answer which satisfied them was one in which I explained how a blog is really like a movie… The reality is that there are several people in the world who don’t know what a blog is and why anyone in the world would spend their time and money in blogging :)

And to such an audience, the most effective and satisfactory response was this “Every blog that you publish is really like a Movie…”.. ..And in this blog post, I’ve tried to make my point on the co-relation between the Movie World and the Blogging World….

I am neither a Movie buff nor do I understand the nitty gritties of movie-making.. But I do have a high level understanding of movie making and of course, an in-depth understanding of creating a successful blog…

There are really 3 broad phases in making a movie / blog
Phase 1 – The Ideation Phase : In which you have an idea for your movie / blog
Phase 2 – The Creation Phase : In which you give form to your idea to create the end product (movie / blog)
Phase 3 – The Promotion Phase : In which you market your creation (movie / blog) to an audience
And then of course, is the Feedback phase in which the audience verdict is OUT – Good, Bad or Ugly!

Phase 1 – The Ideation Phase
This is probably the most critical phase in the journey of making a movie or a blog. Simply because you need to have an idea for your blog – In terms of the topics of focus for your blog and specifically in terms of the topic for every single blog post of yours! And if you get this RIGHT, your chances of success increase manifold!

Phase 2 – The Creation Phase
For easy of communication and comprehension, refer the comparison below:

In the Movie World In the Blogging World
Director Blogger – In terms of making the idea come to life and ensuring that everything needed from the creative or technical side is taken care of
Producer Blogger – In terms of the investments he / she does to create and maintain the blog (both the design elements and the content)
Story This really translates to how the blogger is able to articulate his / her idea into words and the power of the message in the blog!
Actors (Hero / Heroine) The words. Yes! The words you write on your blog are your final actors. You can make them perform the way you want based on your choice of words, your literary elegance and your presentation style
Editor Again, the blogger itself if he /she does the editorial work or someone else you hire for your editorial efforts
Special Effects This can be through pictures, music, podcasts, video blogs, infographics, etc. – You can choose your special effects based on your individual creativity, preference and context.The point to note is that there are several options available and you can decide based on the kind of investments you are willing to make (time and money), your target audience, your objective for the blog and the impact you want to create!
Guest Performances Don’t we all like the appearance of a guest actor / star in a movie? Be it for a special song or just to make a point! Sure we do because it’s just so refreshing. So it is with guest blogs.As a blogger, you allow other guest bloggers to write for your blog to bring in diverse points-of-view to your audience. Also, not to mention the actual effort of creating the content (which becomes a challenge after a while) is the responsibility of the guest bloggerAlso, as a blogger you probably also write guest posts for other blogs because your able to enhance your brand and reach a wider audience with minimum time and efforts (as someone else is finally responsible and accountable) for the end product

Phase 3 – The Promotion Phase
This is probably the most important phase as it determines the results that your efforts yield. Firstly, you need to be clear about who your target audience is. And then you need to define and execute a well-integrated marketing plan to promote your blogs. So for e.g: You need to send an e-mail about your blog or share it on FaceBook or ask some celebrity (online / offline) to share your blogs on Twitter, etc etc. While there are many channels, what’s impoartant is to decide on the key (say 3) channels you will leverage for your promotional activities…

And once you’re blog is released, all you can do is to hope that your readers will enjoy your blog.. you work of art.. or your BLOG-ART!

What do you think? Is there a similarity between the blogging and movie world? Leave a comment to let me know

Originally published @ http://arkarthick.com/2012/05/22/blogging-101-blog-is-like-movie/