twitter

Global Mood Swings!

Recently, at a meet-up of Twitter folks, a couple of people asked me whether I had retired from Twitter. They had a point. Sure, I still shared links, but not only were they few in number, I also mostly stayed away from conversation. My reasons were that I had seen people and their agenda on Twitter change  (from the first time I had encountered them on the platform) – the vanity numbers affecting the ego, the loss of humility, the perceived slights and the overall nature of conversations that are more to convince and score points, than to understand and gain perspectives. From discuss to diss and cuss, as bad wordplay would go. :)

Yes, there are some great folks around with whom I have conversations, funnily enough more over DM, phone, other networks and offline meetings! One could also prune the feed to maximise this, but one could also read a book!

I had alluded to this in a previous post – Binary Code – the increasing disappearance of nuance in our consumption. Obviously, this is also happening in creation. In less than a couple of decades, we have moved from being in bubbles formed from having only a few information sources to ones made from having too many. We aren’t used to having a microphone in the hand, and it’s showing. Making things binary in consumption and reasoning is a way of coping with unbridled creation. It’s also not being helped by search engine and social algorithms accentuating and reinforcing pre existing notions and showing us the kind of things we’d like. Sanitised for our unique taste buds. More

Wallet Wars

Recently, thanks to Uber having to comply with RBI regulations, I was forced to introduce myself to Paytm. The entire signing up episode reminded me of a post I had written in early 2014 – “The overhaul of currency“, though that dwelt more on the broad changes and implications rather than the functional aspects. Mobile payment systems have been on a fast evolutionary path for a while now. (a bit dated, but I found this infographic to be a good primer)

I also remembered a Seth Godin post from 2009 that called Twitter a protocol. On the web, the subsequent discussion then was that just as we were transferring links and messages on the platform, we would soon be transferring money too. That took a while coming though – it was only in late 2014 that Twitter released a payment service.  A week before that, a hacked screenshot had begun rumours of Facebook’s Messenger having the wherewithal for money transfer. But they were both late entrants in a market that was already crowded with the likes of Paypal, Google, banks, credit card companies and so on. Apple Pay would join later. More

Social Nextworks

The impending death of Orkut (2004-2014) made me think of the evolution of social networking and its transience. Orkut lived ‘only’ for 10.5 years, and this is despite being part of Google, though some would call that a disadvantage. Facebook  has been around for the same time, and the fact that it is a force to reckon with is a testament of its understanding of this transience. It also explains the acquisition of Instagram, Whatsapp and the attempt on Snapchat.

However, I recently realised that I am probably more active on Whatsapp, Instagram and Pinterest than Facebook and Twitter. I am also reasonably active on Secret. That made me dig a bit deeper.

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What is changing? From my observations, there are at least two factors that are driving the change.

Perspectives on connectivity: The early era was fueled by the need to connect. Facebook is soaring well beyond a billion users, and its longevity is (also) because the need still exists. It continues to look for better ways to do this, manifested through front end and back end changes. But despite this, and my own curation of my newsfeed by sending signals to Facebook, I am regularly overwhelmed by the volume. This goes for Twitter too. Personally, I have treated these platforms as a means of self expression. I would also like to choose the people whose perspectives I want, and who are entitled to a judgment, if any. But that’s not so easily done on popular platforms.

That’s when I start to look at the many ways to handle this – from social networks to messaging apps. I could go to where the crowds are relatively less and/or are more ‘focused’ – by domain or use cases, (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram) I could interact with smaller groups, (WhatsApp) use ephemerality (Snapchat) or be anonymous (Secret) As I mentioned, at least three of these work for me. A wonderful nuance I caught in Mitch Joel ‘s prophetic ‘The Next Big Thing Online Could Well Be Anonymity‘, is that it may not just be ‘something to hide’ that makes some prefer anonymity, but it could also be so that ‘who they are will not become a focal point within that discussion’. Anonymity on the web is not new, but many of its enablers are.

Devices: The networks of an earlier era (eg.Facebook) were made for desktop and had to adapt for mobile. On the other hand, Instagram, Whatsapp, Secret, Snapchat etc are mobile natives. Given the increasing ubiquity of smartphones, their growth is not surprising.

What are the possible business models and what’s a brand to do? As more and more users flock to these new platforms, they would need to mature, with business models which could mean associations with brands – the journey from social network to social media.

Instagram and Pinterest are already social media, making advertising at least one of their revenue sources. WhatsApp does not like advertising and already makes money on downloads. Its competitors like Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat etc, however, have found various other means – virtual items, (stickers, in app purchases in free video games) promotional messages, baby steps in electronic payment handling fees, and interesting tie-ups. Snapchat already has many marketers on it and is likely to offer promotion options too, probably tied to a time bound event.

Secret has a lot of negativity surrounding it – s3x talk and startup malice and being just a fad – and there are comparisons to Formspring and its demise despite funding. But beyond advertising and in app puchases, maybe, there’s also potential for insights on a brand and its use cases? Things that cannot be found on indexed platforms. Also, Whisper already has a content deal with Buzzfeed.

Analytics for such platforms haven’t even really begun yet, but it can’t be far away. But more importantly, all of these platforms are potential enablers for a brand to take forward its narrative and become relevant to its users. It continues to be about storytelling, and digital.

Social @ Myntra – Part 1

[The intent in writing this is manifold – primarily my obsession for chronicling, and it being my way of expressing gratitude. But since this might be useful to other social practitioners, I have uncharacteristically added text highlighting and such, and also sought to bring some semblance of order as opposed to the regular free flowing text :)]

Almost exactly a couple of years back – Autumn Winter 2011 – the blog had an update on a new assignment. I can only vaguely remember writing the post, but what I have not forgotten is the excitement at the opportunity – to experiment with concepts, ideas and hypotheses. I have been blessed with great bosses, they have wanted to hire me again. So the first hat tip is to S, not just for believing I could chart a social agenda for Myntra, but for using his auctoritas in the organisation to ensure I got a runway good enough to attempt a flight. The second hat tip is to Mukesh, Myntra’s founder-CEO, who nearly stumped me with his first question as I was about to begin my huge social roadmap presentation (towards the end of Oct 2011) – why does Myntra need ‘social’? It was a very fundamental question – it not only underlined what I had in mind, but also served as a subconscious beacon during my stint.

We began with stating objectives. The idea was not to create a silo out of social, but to tie its objectives and strategy to various existing domains, and therefore business outcomes. This would ensure that social could create a strategic business advantage in the long run, and also meant that we could use domain specific metrics to track the progress of social investments.

The best advice I got, again from Mukesh after the first presentation, was to prioritise, because there was so much we could do. Thus began the planning – focus areas, time frames, strategy, resources, measurable outcomes. Our focus areas were primarily four – Customer Connect, Brand, Product, and Sales, and everything we did had a link with business metrics in these.

1. Customer Connect: Before anything else, this domain had to be addressed. The rationale was simple – until we resolved the issues that customers were sharing, there could be no conversation on any other topic. We began with a shared Google doc, taking complaints from Facebook and Twitter, getting them resolved internally, and then communicating back on the relevant channel. The objective of solving customer issues quickly could easily be measured by standard Customer Satisfaction indices around the number of issues resolved and average turn-around-time. By April 2012, the excel sheet process became crazy enough for us to opt for a more robust approach. After evaluating social CRM options at varying levels of complexity, we began using Get Satisfaction in April 2011, one of the first e-commerce companies in India to do so. It allowed us to seamlessly integrate with Facebook, and later Twitter, via Hootsuite. The metrics began looking much better since then!

2. Brand: In the absence of consistent brand campaigns, social automatically becomes one of the few media platforms available to create a perception about the brand. There are many aspects to this, and among all focus areas, this is the domain which is evolving most rapidly, and in which there’s always something to do.

Listening: Unlike broadcast media, social platforms have conversations – about the brand, to the brand. The best example in the Myntra context is the reaction to our first Lisa Haydon ad. (details) Before ORM became a buzzword and a zillion tools were spawned, the choice was simple for frugal social folks – Hootsuite vs Tweetdeck. We chose the former, and continue to use it even now. Though we did try out many tools, we couldn’t really reconcile the amount we would have to pay with the value we could derive from them. Finally, Unmetric has been brought on board because they manage to give a view of the brand vis-a-vis competition, and also actionable insights.

Branded Content: I had been a blogger for 8 years when I joined Myntra, and have always considered it the original social platform. Style Mynt was my first major project at Myntra. (details) Born on December 1st 2011, with no further investments in manpower, (because there were people in various departments who were interested in, and could write well about fashion)  and costs that only included theme and hosting charges. It not only gave Myntra a platform to express fashion thought leadership and style advice with utilitarian value, but also provided content for social networks and served as a good medium to build relationships with partner brands. (eg. with behind-the-scenes brand focus posts) . End-to-end project management was fun, especially content planning and tweaking themes, and I was even de facto editor until April, when we saw that this kind of content creation had tremendous potential, and hired a full time editor. Later, the activities on Style Mynt also resulted in video content. On Twitter, we created lists and constantly curated them – one of the applications is the Myntra #LookGood Daily. The objective in all these efforts is to create a strong association between Myntra and fashion/style. There are many ways to measure this – blog subscriptions and visits generated to Myntra from the blog, questions in the brand track for evolved brands, and for others, the share of voice in relevant keywords which can be tracked using monitoring tools. Though not the primary objective, Style Mynt has been a contributor to revenue as well, and Thinglink needs to be mentioned in this context. (details)

Social Media: Or rather, social as media. In 2011, Facebook and Twitter were the only platforms that were considered serious enough to be active on. We tracked platform metrics (Likes, PTAT, Followers) because they were surrogates that gave us an idea of the reach of our content and even brand salience to an extent, all the while conscious that they were a means, not an end. The content strategy on both were in a constant state of evolution, until it found its current version which aims to balance infotainment, (with creatives made specially for social) content marketing and selling pitches. Facebook Insights, though by no means perfect, gave us indicators of the efficacy of the content we were sharing. ‘Social as media’ is also where the much vilified hashtags on Twitter can play a part. All our hashtags have had a clear objective – to create some buzz around a tactical or strategic initiative. (examples) Their reach can be measured using free/paid tools. Also to be mentioned in this context – we are connected to over 60 of our partner brands on Twitter.

We tried out an interesting Foursquare experiment as well, to emphasise the fashion destination positioning – leaving tips at retail outlets of partner brands on seasonal trends. Being a fashion brand, we got active on Pinterest and Instagram early too. We’re probably the first Indian e-com/fashion brand to have season collection videos on Instagram. We were present on Google+ because it had a rub off on SEO as well, but in addition, there is much potential for creating excellent branded content using Hangouts. (and its On Air version) On YouTube, we began with content curation until we got our own videos. But even given that, at this stage, I’d have to say that it is an under exploited channel.

The value for the original two can now be measured in terms of reach metrics (brand) as well as revenue. The others are in a nascent stage, and will evolve rapidly, I’m sure. Earlier this year, Franchisee India gave us an award for the Best Use of Social Media & Communication Strategy. In terms of ‘vanity metrics’, when I started out, we had 5.8L Likes and 984 followers, and were non existent on the other platforms! Now, we have over 1.5m Likes, 13000+ followers on Twitter, more than a 1000 followers on Pinterest, 500+ on Instagram, 400+ on Foursquare, 600+ subscribers on YouTube and 3000+ on Google+.

Corporate Brand: Style Mynt had taken off very well, and blogs were in tremendous favour within Myntra. :) I pitched that a corporate blog would allow us to showcase values, culture, and build trust, within the organisation and among consumers. Myntra’s corporate blog is now a year old and continues to do exactly what I wrote it aimed to do in its About page.  The benchmark continues to be the Cleartrip blog, but this one is a labour of love at this point. I’m confident though, that having a place to air the brand’s side of the story can only do good in the long run. I’d also recommend the use of Quora – you cannot be present as the brand, but if you can get 2-3 management team members to be active, it could do a lot for you.

Blogger Outreach: Fashion is a domain of specialisation for many bloggers, and we began associating with them pretty early. From guest posts to sponsored contest giveaways in the initial days to a more organised and rigorous blogger outreach program for reviews more recently, we have tried a lot of stuff. They’re invited to our events, their posts get promoted via twitter, we have a board exclusively with their posts on Pinterest, and they even get #fridayfollow tweets from us. We have built relationships and there are plans in the pipeline that for more concrete ways to take this further – providing value to both parties. These efforts help in associating Myntra with fashion, catering to the bloggers’ niche audiences, and generating positive buzz about Myntra.

This has proven to be longer than I expected! Therefore, to be continued..

Revisiting Social Commerce

It’s been more than 2 years since I wrote about social commerce on afaqs, and since then, there have been massive changes right from the definitions to the operations of social commerce. Karthik’s recent post on the subject led me to think about it again.

I’ve always felt that most of the popular definitions of social commerce have constrained its actual scope. Back in 2011, facebook stores accounted for most of the social commerce discussions. These days, it is mostly referral traffic and sales from social, and that too, in terms of last-touch attribution, as the Ecommerce quarterly (that Karthik cites) would suggest. While I’d not contest EQ’s methodology or assessment, I think it’s only fair to point out that there have been a great number of exceptions. (read; Disclosure: that list includes Myntra where I work) I’m not a fan of how Facebook has throttled what we used to call organic reach, but if you want to read about how Facebook helps target users at different levels of the funnel, Zappos serves as a good example. Facebook’s Custom Audiences and FB Exchange products allow different ways of targeting consumers. Twitter is a bit late to the party, but their products also have excellent potential from what I’ve seen, and they’re moving quickly! (already into retargeting)  YouTube is already a big bet for advertisers, and Pinterest is already being used by scores of Etsy users! (read) From small experiments, I also suspect that Google+ is a potential top rung player. Even if you’d like to leave the $ out and consider (for example) only organic (eg. Open Graph actions) there are case studies evolving. (example)

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So, can commerce be driven through social channels – advertising as well as organic? An emphatic yes would be my answer. Yes, it might score low if one considers only last-touch attribution, but hey, many of Facebook’s strategic PMDs are getting a handle on multi-touch attribution. (Kenshoo is an example) One should also consider that other traffic channels like search, affiliates etc have been around for longer and have tried and tested models. The point is rather simple – if we judge social’s contribution on the basis of models created for an earlier version of the web, it would not measure up. We’re at a stage where both technology and tools are still evolving to help measure social on terms that balance its uniqueness with the needs of the business. The good news is that the little that I have seen of Facebook’s strategic PMDs has been inspiring!

(Image via)

But I think using social channels as sources of traffic/revenue for commerce is still not capturing ‘social commerce’ in its entirety. Though arguable and reducing in favour, I’d still label many group buying options as social commerce. (example) But to me, the elephant in the room is  p2p commerce. Though the collaborative economy is more vast in scope, I’d put it in the same bucket in this context. (do read Jeremiah Owyang on the subject) From Airbnb to RelayRides to Loosecubes to TaskRabbit to even KickStarter, commerce is now happening between individuals with everyone playing creator, buyer and seller as per context. While the $ is inevitable, trust and one’s network itself are becoming currencies. Yes, these also use social platforms for extended reach, but this is inherently more social than the pure commerce play of brands.

It is interesting to see social platforms working on these lines as well. Facebook’s Marketplace was probably a bit ahead of its time, but nothing stops them from bringing it back. I read recently that Google is planning to release Mine – a service integrated with G+ that allows users to keep track of “belongings” and then share those with friends in different circles. (via) Yes, there will obviously an Android App. It’s not just these platforms, I’d think that Amazon is slowly approaching it from a different direction as well. (read)

To sum it up, commerce has always been social, it’s only the dynamics that keep changing.

until next time, commercial breaks

Can media become social enough?

A few days back, it was reported that Facebook now had a million active advertisers, and that LinkedIn has 3 million company pages. I’ll let that sink in, in case you hadn’t heard. Despite all the social-ness, I realised it’s impossible not to call it media. The wiki definition for media is “tools used to store and deliver information or data” That, for me, is a smartphone now! I also wondered how many media behemoths could boast of a million active advertisers. And that’s when it really struck me how much the traditional media we were used to have been sidelined – yes, they still get advertising revenue, but from a sheer reach perspective. Google, Facebook, YouTube and many more platforms get anywhere between a few million to a few hundred million visitors every day.  To put it all in perspective, TOI – the world’s largest English daily has a readership of over 7 million.

Media and advertising have had a very intertwined life, unless of course the publication/channel has been on solely a subscription based model. I think the magic of Facebook (and Google, before it) and those that followed is that they have democratised advertising by not just making it something any small business could spend on according to their means, but also giving them the ability to advertise according to contexts – intent, interest, social etc.  Though Google, Facebook etc are still intermediaries, they never flashed their powers, though the latter has begun to, recently. As brands move away from a one-size-fits-all mode of advertising, these platforms give them more options of form and function, and changing the face of advertising. (Google’s exploits are known, here’s a pertinent read on Facebook)

In such a scenario, what really does a traditional media channel have to offer to its consumers and clients? I’m not saying that they’re all going bankrupt next Sunday, but it’s clear which way the wind is blowing. One way, of course, is to use their brand value, and replicate (and grow) their audience on devices and platforms which better serve advertising interests. They can hone their value offerings by offering various contexts and their combinations – local, social, interests, and so on, and build business models for each. The early movers are already making big deals. But that is the red ocean that everyone is fighting for. How really can a player differentiate?

Biz_Is_The_ArtI had a vague thought. Media’s original strength was its relationship with users and the trust involved. In the social media era, how can that be leveraged? Flipboard has already allowed users to become curators and create their own magazines. Is that the future, along with shared revenue on advertising? What if users can also curate the advertising their ‘subscribers’ can see? After all advertising is also news/information and has a certain value depending on the source. Traditionally, media  has been the middle man between advertisers and users, but what happens when everyone is media? Can media start aggregating influencers in every domain, including niches, provide them the material for curation, negotiate on their behalf to relevant advertisers, and share the revenue? Perhaps the next  disruption will be the platform that can handle the complexities involved. What do you think?

until next time, mediator

The more things change….

Just a couple of weeks back, I’d written about influence and context, and last week the twitterverse had some excitement delivered courtesy Disney. I couldn’t experience it first hand, but got quite a lot of perspective thanks to Karthik’s post and the comments that followed.

Personally, instances such as Disney serve as a great filter for keeping track of the trust quotient. I don’t expect agencies/brands/celebrities to be unbiased or disclose, but once upon a time, it was natural for regular twitterati to do that. But times have changed, and all of this is personal philosophy, so I’ll move on.

On hindsight, and when comparing the patterns of evolution of traditional and social media, the current scenario seems inevitable! Platform – Community – Audience -Brand – Ads (hashtags) – and when ads became noise, brands differentiate by bringing in a fresh voice. (celebrities/micro celebrities) Where we are now is with an army of mini TOIs, relatively more genuine-sounding, and significantly less costly. There are quirks, of course. For instance, brands don’t have to pay the platform to be present, and can incentivise the community to provide publicity. On the flip side, brands are also ‘being held to ransom’ (previous post) by ‘influencers’ and we’ll probably see guns for hire being used by rival brands pretty soon. [Just last week, we saw a tweet from a person working at a competitor stating that she liked shopping at Myntra. One of the various scenarios we considered was a #conspiracytheory – that the moment we used the tweet in some way, the person would prove to be a non-employee and we’d be accused of playing dirty]

At one point, I really thought (or hoped) social would be new wine, but it has more or less ended up a new bottle. If we continue the evolution pattern, the future is easy to imagine. Context will disappear, and noise will magnify, until the next disruption. But I still have some hope, because the nature of the platforms (and the tools that are getting built) are such that a user can, at least to an extent, mould it according to the way in which he wants to consume it.

That does take me back to what I said in the last post – people will actively build their own trusted sources. And the real opportunity for brands is still to become a trusted source. Yes, I do think it’s possible, and we have a relaunched buzzword on cue – social business. In fact, there are probably brands doing it already, spending resources to build the foundations so that the hashtag (or its equivalent in the future) is not manufactured for its own sake, but is organically and genuinely built by contextually relevant influencers who can be publicly rewarded for helping the brand meet its business objectives.

But wait, that was where social platforms started too. Which leads me to wonder if the future of brands and media will always work in cycles, and end up near square one!

until next time, the more they remain the same…

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Confessions of a ‘social worker’

It’s raining discounts and practically everything is on ‘Sale’, except probably Trivortex bangles! At Myntra, we’ve been having an ‘I Love Sale’ campaign running since January. While we have been tweeting about it since then, last week we decided to take the relationship to the next level. The #ReplaceMovieTitlesWithSale turned out to be a huge success for us, and I’ve chronicled the details on our corporate blog.

Since there were many interesting answers, I even tweeted about it from my personal account, a rare occurrence. I was asked by a couple of people why we chose the cliched hashtag, and I thought this would be a good time to convey my version beyond a few multiples of 140 characters.

I’ve always been a staunch believer of figuring out intent before anything else and it driving everything else. In that sense, I still stick to my earlier stance on hashtags, but it’s more nuanced now, because I begin to understand the kind of roles it can play in a brand’s framework. As the perfect example, in this case, our objective was simple – create a buzz around the sale at Myntra. We could have tried a more ‘critically acclaimed’ hashtag, like #bachpanstyle, but our intent was reach, and the more ‘banal’ it was, the higher its chances of usage. And boy, it worked – generated more than 7000 tweets in 3 hours, and not only was it a #1 trending topic in India, it also touched a worldwide #2. Mission pretty much accomplished.

Zooming outward a bit. I like to think that I’m a social purist, to the extent that I request people not to use social and media as though they are doomed to be married to each other. There are so many things that are social and not media, at least yet! However, social media is a reality, or rather, social is also media. In fact, this is what marketers can instinctively relate to, because it can be viewed in the same paradigms of reference that they have been used to in traditional media. It can also, unfortunately be ‘bought’ – from Promoted Tweets/Followers to Promoted Stories and Page Like Ads. The purist in me lives by not doing this.

However, if I approached all of my assignment as a purist and argued that this is only a long term game and numbers don’t really matter, I’d probably be raised to sainthood in future, but my job would have died long before that! In essence, I need to be pragmatic, and run the sprint and the marathon. My intent decides what I should be running and when. It’s a balance, and one that needs to be worked at every day. If I asked you about the 100m sprint record holder, you’d probably do the pose in a second, but if I asked you the same about marathons…. In general, that holds true for social activities as well. After all, it’s real time, and is a nascent domain in which we have seen very few marathons. :)

In summation, the whole world is on sale, and another sale is not really a news maker. But the sprint can help, by adding a layer that helps this sale stand out. Thanks afaqs and Lighthouse Insights:)

until next time, now running

Of fame and purpose

I completely missed Bigg Boss 6. Except for knowing that the arrested-for-sedition cartoonist and Sapna Bhavnani were participants, my exposure to it was limited to lunch conversations at office, where two of my friends seemed to be avid followers. :) I thought my ignorance was only fair, since they are usually clueless when I mention the names of micro-celebrities on Twitter.

Increasingly, I am realising that popular culture is going through massive fragmentation. The above was an example. I think this generation is connected with more people than any before it. It has always been so, with better means of communication, but this time, it has been an explosion. We’re still coping with the overload, or filter-failure, as Clay Shirky calls it. Despite social networks, or probably because of them and their algorithms, we miss out on many things.

I was thinking of all this in the context of fame. Fame, to me, has some connection with my favourite subject these days – purpose. Fame can serve as a means, or end, or a by product of purpose. The thing is, with the fragmentation I mentioned earlier, fame probably has to be redefined, also because its shelf life has been drastically reduced. Once upon a time, a name/photo appearing in a newspaper was an achievement. (let’s ignore the notoriety piece :) ) Later, before channels mushroomed, it was television. But now….

One of the things that might happen because of all this is the gradual de-linking of fame and purpose, if it does exist. I’m still trying to figure out how that will shift our perspectives on purpose.

until next time, being famous ain’t what it used to be…

Of trending on twitter and media fragmentation…

A couple of weeks back, I’d written about the increasing broadcast tendencies on social platforms. Some events last week reminded me of something I’d tweeted a while back –

It is, for better or worse, an item in the social marketer’s checklist. So unless it’s a day on which we’re outraging on multiple issues, you can easily see ‘branded’ trending topics. At Myntra.com, we’ve been playing with hashtags for quite a while now – #bachpanstyle was one such experiment. As we practiced more, the patterns started becoming more evident. Late last month, we started the #hotindecember hashtag in response to a business objective – creating more awareness about the similarly titled promotion at Myntra.com – and had constructed it around the promo TVC. It resulted in the hashtag trending on twitter. Just to check the lessons learned, we ran a #hotin2012 hashtag on 31st Dec, and ended the year as the #1 trending topic in India.

Considering that there was a much more serious issue taking up everyone’s attention, this should be surprising, but it’s not, and that’s what we have learned of Twitter’s trending algorithm.

That was about a brand using social as media. Like I mentioned earlier, the first hashtag was based on the TVC, something that had gotten us positive feedback on Twitter. After the Delhi incident however, the ad was considered by a few as ‘projecting women in poor light’. (worthwhile mentioning that Lisa Haydon, who starred in the TVC, had tweeted about the TVC being a lot of fun) Users, who also utilise social as media, are bound to have their opinions and will air them. The interesting part was that all this (hashtags and criticism) was happening in the same timeframe – 27-31st December.

Why do I find it interesting? Let’s take a step back. It was only when TV stations started competing with the rabbit population that we started contemplating the fragmentation of media as we then knew it. Add to that the increasing web (+mobile) penetration and things became more complicated as time progressed. Brands (in general) still haven’t figured how to handle this, so fragmentation within a social media channel and its impact is small fry, except this is probably an indication of the future.

This time, we chose not to react to the criticism – given the circumstances, it would have probably led to a nasty debate. Thankfully it died down. But what if a few twitter heavyweights had gotten into the act and made it trend for all the wrong reasons? We’d not have had the luxury. We’d have to refer to Crisis Management 101. In a worst-case scenario, we’d probably have to consider taking the TVC off air.

In essence, when an interactive medium is added to the mix, fragmentation takes on a completely different meaning. It no longer means isolated compartments which don’t talk to each other, the events on one affect another. As a media buyer, a brand can choose not to be present on some media, but when a channel talks back, the brand’s choices suddenly dwindle. I think this will manifest itself much more in 2013, the learning curve is going to be very steep!

until next time, user generated brand virals!

Disclaimer: The perspectives above are personal, and does not reflect the thoughts or actions of the organisation mentioned.