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Twitter as a tool to instigate violence January 12, 2016

Posted by simarp in : News, Twitter , add a comment

I am not sure whether ISIS is behind it or there are some disillusioned and half-baked, probably paid, social-media-agents  but # tags like #BurningBengal are made for purpose tags to destabilize India and to trigger violence. By no yardstick West Bengal is burning, yes there is a localized violence in one district and that also in a town which is famously called India’s fake currency capital – Kaliachawk. It is not the first time that there has been violence in Kaliachawk, instances of violence against Government are common, definitely there is some degree of communal color which has been added to it and that is on expected line in an election bound state. But to go all over the world and to hire instigators to push the # tag BurningBengal is unfair to West Bengal and to India. Rather it is criminal.

How do #tags work?  # tags on Twitter are considered as linking tools and those which are trending are highlighted on the left side. Now the challenge is those who trust Twitter immediately look towards trending tags to identify what is important happening world over or their zone of interest.  A tag like #BurningBengal at number one and number two position immediately raises eyebrows and questions – Is Bengal really burning? A discovery on twitter opens up negative accounts after negative accounts (those accounts where following number is far higher than followers number) and anonymous accounts after anonymous accounts. This when supported by lack of news in main stream media is a very worrisome hacking and cyber crime.  This means the accounts which are indulging in fake #tags have a purpose of instigating violence and are creating a sentiment which gets rumors being believed and circumstances created to disrupt peace.

Fooling around with # tags is fine but using them as a criminal tool is completely unacceptable. This needs to be investigated as a cyber crime, unless some people are arrested and put behind bars, Twitter and other tools are bound to be used to instigate violence and create unrest.

All social media evangelists must act against these crimes and take a zero tolerance stand to counter them.


Defeating Twitter, The Trend of Forced Trending January 4, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Social Media , add a comment

It looks like some businesses thrive on selling “trending” on Twitter. They will make any topic trend, political, social, unsocial, sports and even your marriage for that matter.

These are Trending factories. Typically a trending factory has anywhere between 5 to 10 people and each has a minimum of 10 fake accounts or trending accounts. There services begin from as low as Rs 10,000/- for 3-4 hours of trending in a city like Delhi and goes up to Rs. 100,000 for a full day. The trick in trending is to make it attractive enough for “real twitter accounts” to start tweeting with the trending #tag. Currently in India lot of marketing, specially of movies rely on trending, Dilwale to cover up for the setback of tolerance-intolerance debate ensured that it trended all over India for almost 20 days before the release of the movie.

There are some of course which are natural and/ or spontaneous trends. #earthquake this morning was a spontaneous and a purely natural trend in response to earthquake in North East of India. Pathankot without #tag started trending on its own, later on #PathankotAttack and others were created by media channels to control the unfortunate happening on social-media.

Usually trends which show up without #tag are genuine and those which have a specific custom #tag are forced trending. Does trending pay to the business account or the interested party? Yes, it pays, it changes and dilutes mood swings of people but then as we have seen trending can be quite misleading too. We saw in Delhi Elections that all through election campaign various terms favorable to BJP were trending but the results were dramatically opposite. Lot of people have reasons to see trending on Twitter as muscle flexing, at this stage it becomes negative to the cause. And it looks like this is what happened during Delhi Elections.

Identifying fake accounts and made for trending accounts is fairly simple. Just hover your mouse over their account details. If their “following” number is more than “followers” number it is a negative account hence very high possibility that it is a “made for trending account”. If you look at the tweets you would find that these tweets sing the same song almost all day long, if that is happening don’t waste your time move on. It is good to block fake accounts too.  The best way to ensure that you don’t become a victim of fake trending is that follow only trusted accounts, if unknown fake accounts start re-tweeting you or replying back to your tweets and try to be abusive or push their agenda, just block them.  These accounts thrive in their anonymity and hence carry a license to abuse, cutting them short is the only way of enjoying your twitter experience.

Let them game Twitter, that is for Twitter to look out for, for you it is important that you don’t allow them to game your thoughts in garb of public opinion.

Follow Winners and Become One – The Twitter Way December 6, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Twitter , 11comments

Two years and one month of Twitter life has made a difference to me, and what I am working to be.

I have always seen myself as a winner, optimism and go-for-it have been consistently on the overdrive. I have been restless & naive and savvy & cautious at the same time. Post Twitter, I am wiser, following winners across various domains have redefined few critical meanings for me and this post is all about sharing my experiences of following winners. Twitter offered me a platform to understand winners better and this post is a tribute to Twitter for opening hundreds of windows of endless learning for me.

  1. Winners are sensitive, but never beyond a point
  2. Winners are candid, but only where they choose to be
  3. Winners do help, but would wait for it to be asked categorically, rarely would they change their course to offer unasked for services
  4. Winners begin with an agenda and remember that commas, semicolons, colons can come at every stage and take them in their stride. They are always watching out for periods/full-stops, forced with an unplanned full-stop, they would ensure that they walk away from the situation and would bear the cost of it
  5. Winners believe that there are times “when you can have your cake and eat it  too” they enjoy these moments and never miss them when they come their way, but they always eat quietly
  6. Winners always know that there are more from where they themselves came, and are early to recognize one
  7. Winners do have their biases, but their biases are never carried on their sleeves and seldom acknowledged in these  many words
  8. Winners do their fair share of mistakes, but they seldom drag them too far
  9. Winners know that they are obsessed with themselves, they also know that many around them know about it and are comfortable with it
  10. Winners have few dreams and they are always far between. Their dreams come back night after night and push them to convert them into reality, maybe they just dream what they want their future to be and work for it
  11. Winners never lose the sight of winners of yesterday who ultimately lost, prejudge turbulence and ensure that it remains local
  12. Winners think positive and negative, of course they think more positive than negative. Looks like only positive thinkers may crash land more often than the positive & negative thinkers
  13. Winners do take breaks, and they often take breaks when conventional wisdom says they should be sticking out
  14. Winners reward loyalists, leaders and never ignore sycophants, they use them intelligently
  15. Winners don’t mind hiding truth, they are never into tell all mission
  16. Winners are aware about “stiff upper lip” and “never explain, never complain” privileges  which come their way, they do use them, sometimes even often
  17. Winners watch other winners in their domain but avoid getting into direct conflicts
  18. Winners go out-of-the-way to court bigger winners in their non-related domains
  19. Winners trust others, but never more than they trust themselves
  20. Winners are accessible, but they would never tell the route to access them, if you find out they welcome you and treat you as a winner

Each of the above takeaway can be mapped with at-least few of the winners I am following in my Twitter account. To say that all attributes fit all winners would be an incorrect statement.

How Well You Tweet? November 22, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Twitter , 2comments

With the growing reach of Twitter, there is also an increasing desire to know how good I am when it comes to tweeting, at least with me it is. This desire has led me to explore many new websites being launched to cater to this segment of twitterverse. I can’t cover all, but here I briefly review three of them which I visit at least once in a month.

TW – Analyst – Looks like this is amongst the early movers. The site analyzes your tweets on the basis of writing and on the basis of frequency of your tweets. Simple, no-nonsense one page analysis approach is followed. The site is focused on sharing its judgement about your tweeting. For me it says – Your tweeting is already tip-top! No improvements needed – but check back here every so often to make sure your reputation is being maintained! But it was not always like this, there were suggestions and tips which lead me to incorporate them in my style of tweeting and bingo my report card starting improving.

Twitter Friends -  Based on the basic logic behind TW Analyst – Twitter Friends adds lots of bells and whistles to make you spend more time and gives you more reasons to come back. It allows you ego boosters like comparing you with followers or the ones you are following or just about with anyone else. It has interesting graphs which tell you how selfish, greedy or sharing you are when it comes to tweeting, of course they use more diplomatic words to make statements like that. Twitter Friends has also influenced my style of tweeting I realized that when it came to replying to others or doing RTs I was selfish, not anymore!

Klout – Klout is by professional in its outlook and development. It looks most focused towards founders making money by an early exit. Interesting UI, beautiful graphs and charts and a revisit value, Klout has it all. Klout doesn’t focus on tips and tricks of Tweeting it simply works on how good you are what is your overall clout when it comes to comparing it within your circle and the twitterverse in general. Klout is not yet a self-improvement tool on tweeting, it is what it says and encourages you to move towards the right extreme corner of the graph.

1984 Anti Sikh Pogrom (Riots) and Twitter November 1, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Sikhism, Twitter , add a comment

Twitter is a medium which shows everyone naked, instinctive statements taught a lesson to a host of thought leaders on eating crow. Shashi Tharoor, Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chandra, Pritish Nandy, Rajdeep Sardesai were all stopped in their tracks and requested/asked/ pushed to clarify their statements and use of words. Some like Pritish Nandy were extremely quick in clarifying their views and stating their position where as others like Barkha Dutt,  Rajdeep Sardesai and Shashi Tharoor took a circuitous route to reach the same place. Shashi Tharoor was quickly reminded of his “Cattle Class” misadventure on Twitter and decided to go absolutely silent on this question after making one simple clarifying statement.

The clarification seekers came from all geographies and belonged to all communities, however Sikhs from India, US, UK, Australia and Canada outnumbered everyone else due to obvious reasons. Sikh, Sikhs, Riots, 84 and 1984 remained critical words in all tweets. Rough estimate of number of tweets pertaining to 1984 Anti Sikh Pogrom puts the number close to 100,000. One could see instinctive collaborations happening simultaneously in putting across point and countering thought leaders, in some cases to a great  pounding effect.

A random check of  profile and age group of those who were actively countering or correcting the “thought leaders” talks a lot about the even spread of community across diverse verticals and 1984 atrocities hurting all age groups. An 80-year-old tweeted about re-living the partition mayhem and a 21-year-old talked about his being brought up listening to first hand stories from elders who faced it all and survived to talk about it.

On Twitter the Sikh community emerged as a Virtual Nation and grieved as one.

Stay Young, Drink Twitter Every Day October 27, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Internet, Twitter , 2comments

When I woke up today morning I had a strange thought, do I eat Twitter or do I drink Twitter. I asked myself where this came from. The answer is plain and simple, Twitter has become something which I must consume everyday, my day has to begin with it and my day must end with it. It has become an addiction, which I am proud of.  So, the question remains, do I drink Twitter or do I eat Twitter.  I think in my case, I drink twitter everyday,  reason is plain and simple drinking is done more often than eating.  You can’t begin your day with eating something but you can always start it with drinking something.  You can’t go to bed after eating something it will make u feel heavy, but a drink just before sleep is perfect.

Having given an answer to myself to this strange thought, I asked myself who else is drinking Twitter around? There are many, the 1st and foremost name that came to my mind was of Gul Panag.  It looks like Twitter has become her favorite drink, specially the way she is going about the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion week tells you that she can drink as much of Twitter as is offered to her or she can lay her hands on.  On an average she is doing about 60-70 tweets a day either from the desktop or handheld and her every Tweet whether it is generic to specific to  the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week or it is one-to-one tweet, you can see the adrenalin rush which she has in abundance reflecting in it.  Now, why am I observing it so closely, it is because a part of the action which she is doing involves one of the projects passionately incubated by me, Twitsanps.com.  Gul Panag has been using Twitsnaps since many months but the way she is driving the mileage out of the site is making me wonder on why we didn’t identify this dimension of TwitSnaps

Let me just allow random thoughts to flow and these thoughts are just throwing up zillion words, Social Media, Lifestyle, Fashion, Glamour, Connectivity, Networking, Integration, Bollywood, Miss India, Charisma, Fan Following and I can go on and on and on.  What Twitter has done is that it has brought forward a platform where you can create a potent mix of absolutely unrelated disconnected, disjointed entities floating around in the world.  No wonder the new name Twitterverse makes lot of sense to me.  There is a separate thought with which ITC would have gone and created Wills cigarettes, there would have been a surrogate advertising thought with which they would have created Wills Lifestyle as an apparel brand.  There would have been an altogether different thought with which Ministry of Textiles would have conceived India Fashion Week, now bring in a former Miss India who is now a Bollywood actress who has always had a dream of doing news coverage using Twitter to cover an event aided with a photosharing site which was conceived with a very different objective.

I am sure what Twitter is doing with me it is doing with Gul Panag and with many others.  It is just making us younger with every tweet we do.  The minute we Tweet, we allow unrestricted flow of thoughts to float around in the universe. We know if all these thoughts are connected together, it would truly reflect our persona which for people like me is the root cause of addiction. I have always felt that I have never been understood and I think many of us do that, but if you tweet and you tweet passionately and you tweet straight from your heart and your tweet carries the finest your gray cells have to offer, you know that you are home, you know that you can simply go and tell someone that if you want to understand me go and read my tweets.

Today when I was updating my Google profile in a section on write your brief biodata, I just wanted to write one word @simarp.  So do I go ahead and change my name, maybe I should. I love eating but I must drink and my drink is called Twitter.  Stay young, drink Twitter everyday.

On Twitter – Why Not Follow? October 25, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Internet, Twitter , 2comments

I tweet and I have become choosy. Like most of us, I also started with following celebrities and thought leaders, good start to morning and good start to anytime of the day is what I believed in for several months. Now I have noticed that I can’t stand some Thought Leaders and Celebrities and I have decided to (un)follow them, here is a list of reasons which prompt me to (un)follow them:

  1. If anyone has following count  = Zero (OMG – I don’t want to follow Gods on Twitter)
  2. 24×7 auto tweets (You may be good, but I don’t want to just see you and read you)
  3. Predictable tweets and too many cliche and absurdities (Hi Tarling :) I am reading Tewspaper – one even went up to write Twabindranath Twagore)
  4. One way communicators (They don’t respond to you, they don’t respond to anyone except their pre-twitter era friends)
  5. Seldom tweeters (If they tweet once in several months, I fail to connect and create bonding)
  6. Sell, sell but never share (A good number of journalists just sell their program on Twitter, I am sorry – i refuse to watch your program, I refuse to read your tweets)
  7. Over exposure to - Social Causes (I am wearing a shirt which has been made from recycled cloth)
  8. Seeing London, Talking Tokyo (When tweets just don’t connect with the persona)
  9. Nothing beyond 140 (When they never link, never share, never propagate, never write- to me Twitter is life – it is a complete food experience and over a period I want to ensure that my each taste-bud is active)
  10. Latin and Greek (Celebrity yes, but I am sorry I can’t relate with anything you write – one  celebrity tweeted I just returned my assignment advance of X Million Dollars as I was busy tweeting and the agent was bugging me)

I would work further on this post and even name them at some point of time.

Do post your comments

Ghost Tweeting Has Arrived September 8, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , add a comment

There have been ghost writers in the past and we all know their contribution in distorting history and in creating English language wizards out of foul mouthed, limited vocab perpetually drunk famous men and women. Let us all join our hands together to welcome the Ghost Tweeters and accept Ghost Tweeting as something which is going to stay with us. Yes, “Ghost Tweeter” has been defined, soon he will find a page on Wikipedia too and so would “Ghost Tweeting” they have arrived. I must come clear, I am disturbed by this. Social media ghost tweeting is absolutely unethical it is like using the advantage of darkness to pretend to be spouse and start lovemaking. It is so sad that I have noticed celebrities of all kinds resorting to this – Films, rock, sports and now even journalists of repute have jumped into the fray. Ghost of one such journo is so sick  that I have lost all respect for the publication and the person, I was a big fan of both.

So how do we identify ghosts, the way I am doing is:

  1. By charting out their tweeting pattern in terms of time and language and relating it to general environment. If a celebrity is tweeting and there is heavy downpour happening in the area where he or she is tweeting from you know the kind of reaction to expect, if that reaction doesn’t come – just drop. Ghost.
  2. If the celebrity tweets in English but you know that the celebrity is good in Spanish too, just drop a light  comment in Spanish immediately after the tweet – If you get a response after few hours you know you met a ghost.
  3. If the celeb has just arrived, and the arrival coincides with an upcoming grand show or  a movie release and the celeb tweets as a seasoned pro, it is easy to spell  G h o s t
  4. Celebs are likely to share anecdotes from their career and react to them, I have been teasing few of the ghosts with these, I know they just rush for their phones and revert with clinical replies like Hmm… I remember, Yes, yes how true, Oh! You remember that and so on. Once I told a ghost, you are ghost and the ghost decided to challenge me, when I accepted the challenge – the ghost was quickly told to block me.

PR agencies in their own interest should decide to leave social media outside their frame of reference, it will help them and help us. Social media offers a great window other than direct exploitation and celebs and PR business need to work on them rather than taking this disastrous path.

I would love to read your comments and know more about your Ghost Tweeting experiences

Facebook is Not My Cup of Tea. It is… September 4, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Twitter, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

Every time I motivate myself and go to my Facebook home  – Simar, you belong here – be here!  Two minutes and two scrolls down the enthusiasm is lost. Is Facebook that bad or is it that in Twitter I have discovered something better. It looks like for me:

Twitter rocks and Facebook is a mountain faraway.

Facebook to is something which you can do at leisure. Twitter is as you move

Facebook is a task, Twitter is a break

Facebook is your $500 proper shoe where you spend time making London and Tokyo absolute equals before you bend down to tie your shoe laces, Twitter is sexy bathroom slippers you won’t mind wearing to a party

Facebook requires commitment, Twitter demands passion

Facebook is face, it doesn’t change , Twitter is a bird it is at anew place everyday

I love Twitter, but i don’t hate Facebook. I feel it would have been very good if Hewlett and Packard would have started it and been the first users. They were great visionaries and that was the age for Facebook

Facebook is a delicious triple banana shake, with extra ice-cream and whipped cream,  Twitter is a hot cup of soothing tea

Random Thoughts On Why I Tweet September 1, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , add a comment
  1. Why I started blogging less?  Because I started tweeting a lot.
  2. Why do I tweet a lot? Because I find it simple and casual, it is like being at home and shorts and earning your bread at the same time.
  3. It is said Twitter can change the way world works, do I agree?  Yes, I agree – it has changed mine in more ways than one. I have become focused, I need to watch less television and it doesn’t hurt me if I miss my morning newspaper.
  4. Does tweeting give me satisfaction? Yes it does, and as a bonus it also gives me instant gratification. I feel good when within minutes of my loading a photograph I know 30, 40, 50 people have seen it. Works for me.
  5. Do I miss blogging? Yes, I do and would seriously like to go back to it, but after tweeting it looks tedious