Monthly Archives: November 2013

10 reasons why Twitter isn’t as famous as Facebook in India

Believe it or not, though Twitter has managed to gain attention amongst the Internet users in the India, it is still struggling to increase its adoption. The Internet users in the 2nd largest populated country in the World are obsessed with Facebook for some reason and consider Twitter to be an alien property. Thanks to the recent gimmicks that few Bollywood actors, politicians, handful of journalists, the conversations that happen on Twitter have been flashed on traditional media (both TV and newspaper, sometimes also referred by Radio Jockeys).

This blogpost is an attempt to understand / sensitize ourselves of some reasons, because of which Twitter isn’t as famous as the social networking behemoth Facebook is in India. Now, few of you might claim that the scenario is/could be same in other countries as well. I buy that point, but I can speak only for users in India and not about other country’s users.

So, here are the ten points that I think is hindering the penetration of Twitter in this country:

1. 140 is too less: Somehow many of us have an ‘impeccable’ capability to write, speak and listen, lengthy conversations. Haven’t we exceeded the 140 characters in SMS & felt the shock of the life when our service operator deducts twice the SMS charges? Agree or not many of us are still finding it difficult to drag ourselves from the inland letters & postcard days to this instant & short communication World.

2. Very less information about the person: The Twitter bio allows hardly 200 characters of space for a person to express about himself/herself. Now, that’s too less of an information for us to judge if we should ‘connect’ with that person and interact or not. Facebook on the contrary provides much more information, provided the user hasn’t leveraged the privacy settings to the fullest (which I assume most of us don’t do it). So, Twitter is full of strangers and the risk of ‘connecting’ with someone is very high.

3. No sense of achievement of approving a connection request: Isn’t it a fun that someone sends you a Facebook request, and you make that person wait endlessly for ‘obvious reasons’? Indeed it is a ‘sense of achievement’ for many that ‘I have approved the Facebook request form him/her & it was he/she who sent me the request (and not I)’. It’s so sad that Twitter doesn’t have any such feature. Twitter is like a dance floor, anyone and everyone is welcome to express one’s views, connect with other person and leave the dance floor as and when one wishes.

4. Scanning, searching for a person comprises lots of hassles on Twitter viz-a-viz Facebook: How often have we jumped on Facebook to know more about ‘that person’ whose name we have heard for the first time? Thanks, to the multiple filters that Facebook provides, we don’t lose hope ‘that early’ till we exhaust all filters (city, school, workplace etc.) to its core. But, yes its really sad that poor Twitter doesn’t have any such feature. Altogether, Twitter users suffer from a disease of naming themselves in a ‘so-called stylish’ way like – Baba Ranchhod, CuteGirl, ChantBaba and so on. I completely empathize how can we find a person in this complex world of Twitter.

5. Can’t upload an album with more than 100 photos: What keeps us busy on a Monday evening? As soon as we reach office, there’s the much awaited moment for the last Sunday night to upload all pics of the weekend spent and voila don’t miss to ‘tag’ every face on those pics. An album to cherish, the kick to name the album ‘differently’ and yes, how could I miss latest feature of Facebook where you could create a ‘shared album’ (where couple of your friends can contribute the pics each one has captured to the same album). Twitter has been really miser on this front, and yes you can upload at the most one image. Definitely, I can understand why Twitter isn’t a hangout place especially for this activity!

Courtesy: Krista Taylor

Courtesy: Krista Taylor

6. Can’t add all those valuable emoticons!: OMG, how can we write a sentence these days without an emoticon (commonly known as smileys)! As if it’s a punctuation error, hardly these days we find messages ignore these emoticons. Believe me, I have seen people use them even in official emails and professional networking sites like LinkedIn. The reasoning (read excuse) that people have is, these ‘smileys’ help us presenting a harsh point in a mild manner! Facebook has understood this logic in the best manner & provides hell lot of emoticons, but yes you will definitely miss them on Twitter (unless you remember the keystrokes for each emoticon). You see, I made you J!!!

7. No apps to have fun, compete & get jealous of others: Remember those days when many of us kept alarms to wake up at odd hours in night to ‘harvest’ the crops and ‘sow seeds’ in our cherished farms provided by Facebook for free of cost? So what if we have tired after toiling hard on those farms? We have now developed a crush for candies and are busy imagining ourselves in the shoes of Daya, Pradyuman or may be Sherlock Holmes, solving Criminal Cases . We eagerly wait for those notifications, stages cleared, points accumulated, badges won. Damn, Twitter doesn’t know our interests and has prepared a single line basic platform ‘just for texts’. Definitely, Twitter doesn’t know how to attract our eyeballs and make money!

8. All tweets are either public or protected. There is nothing like sharing a tweet with limited audience, as one can do with Facebook lists or custom target the friends: Facebook has provided us a ‘golden option’ of hiding ‘certain status messages’ from those ‘very special friends’ we have on our friendlist. You could hide a message (or some ‘special photographs’) from certain people. Sadly, on Twitter you have just one option to ‘Protect Tweets’, where all your tweets get either hidden / shown to a certain set of people. So, yes you can’t hide your special message and photographs on Twitter for sure!

9. Can’t checkin and flaunt about one’s whereabouts: How can we miss to ‘flaunt’ our visits to that nukkad temple, vegetable market, pub, mall or that clothing store! Facebook check-ins are the best way to increase the blood pressure of your friends by letting them know about your whereabouts and how are you enjoying your evenings of weekends! Sadly, Twitter doesn’t have a check-in feature of its own, but depends on other networks (Foursquare) to share your updates. And yes, I understand it would take another decade for us to get accustomed with the other strange animal called Foursquare.

10. Twitter is for Bollywood stars, politicians journalists, bloggers etc and NOT FOR ME: Thanks to all ‘controversial’ coverages on TVs and newspapers many of us have believed to the core of our heart that Twitter is that ‘exclusive’ platform for Bollywood stars, elite politicians, journalists and few bloggers who just rant about their lengthy & boring blogposts here.

Many of us definitely need a ‘convincing reason’ to be on Twitter after considering all the above shortcomings that Twitter has! If, I have missed any please do add them in the comments section below. I hope Twitter is listening!

 Wondering what Twitter is all about? This video says it all in simple words:



My experience of The Rodinhoods Open House session at IIT Delhi

There would hardly be an entrepreneur (especially in gaming / technology industry) in this country who hasn’t heard about Alok Kejriwal. His glowing face, impeccable business understanding, true to the heart words on his tongue and confidence in his voice completes the package of a charismatic personality. I have heard in the past about him and his open house sessions, but on 9th Nov, I had the opportunity to attend one such for the first time, which was conducted at IIT Delhi campus.

Rodinhood Open House

I reached before the scheduled time and took my seat at the back of the seminar hall which seemed to have a seating capacity of around 200 people. Only a few people were around in the hall, and once this gentleman entered the hall, the dull seminar hall all of a sudden transformed into a vibrant place. People shook hands with him, a few of them had an opportunity to greet him with a hug and few tap on his back, while he greeted everyone around. Just when I thought he would be doing only this to few people sitting at the front of the hall, I was proved wrong, when this person walked right up to the last few rows where I and few others were seated. While he shook hands with me, I was embarrassed with myself to have misjudged his personality.

Soon the seminar hall started becoming a crowded place with people. These were some of the bright entrepreneurs of the country who chose an unconventional path and were happy to toil with the hope of achieving their dreams.

The best surprise for me was when the house was asked to stand up for the national anthem! How many times have you seen that happen at a business meet / conference / open house session? It was first of its kind experience for me and loved the gesture.

The major attraction of the 3.5 hour session was the ‘There but not There’ presentations. Few entrepreneurs who had ventured in to a business but were still struggling to make it big presented their ideas and they asked their doubts to Alok & others presented in the hall. I loved this format where entrepreneurs had an opportunity to share their idea among the like-minded people to receive both brickbats and appreciation. Alok replied to their queries with a straight forward answer, asked few questions back to the presenter, offered them help in couple of cases and also involved the audience to pitch in and help the presenter to deal with the problem.

Then there were three surprise announcements of which, I am sure everyone walked off the seminar hall with these two memorable instances.

First, Autowallah entrepreneur counted the number of customers who took his auto. He knew the distribution of male-female in the total number count. He had the count of repeat customers. Guess what! All these fingers were on his fingertips, who also enabled employment to about 23 people under him, of which we recently fired four people for having misbehaved with female commuters. This shy, lanky, hindi-spoken guy impressed almost everyone in the hall and not only he earned lot of appreciation but also, made everyone realize the importance one should give to the end customer. Nevertheless, why its said ‘Customer is King’.

Second, the blogpost by Abhinav Sahai, Founder and Director of Niswey titled, Flat, marriage and family – 3 reasons why young Indians don’t turn entrepreneurs! that received more than 1,00,000 views on The Rodinhoods website. Inspired by this blogpost, few youngsters prepared a short film.

The main attraction to me of the event were these valuable principles / suggestions by Alok Kejriwal for entrepreneurs based on his 14 years of experience:

  1. Be the Coolie – one should not feel shy to do even the smallest task of his / her company
  2. Find a mentor – it is very critical to identify an appropriate mentor
  3. Don’t have a destination – don’t be too rigid and one should be flexible to adapt the changing business environment, customer behaviour, competitive scenario etc.
  4. Hire people better than you & also convey them that they are better than you
  5. Suffer – the entrepreneurship journey is definitely not a cakewalk
  6. Never stop looking – always look for opportunities and leverage them
  7. Dont be obsessed by milestones – Celebrate but move ahead and aim to achieve the larger picture
  8. Watch out for bad advisors – Its better to not have an advisor than to have a bad one
  9. Find your skill – Identify your strength and leverage it to the maximum
  10. Please remain humble – Very important to remain grounded with every success
  11. Only live for your family – Nothing is more precious than your family, value them
  12. Meet your heroes – Aim, plan and meet the best people in your industry, the role models and discuss your project with them
  13. Meditate – Very much needed in this hypercompetitive environment
  14. Share your idea, doubt, thoughts with others around and see what they think about them
  15. Be yourself….only yourself!

Retrospectively, these pointers look very simple, but I feel that’s what differentiates between the more successful and not so successful people. Though these look very simple tips, as an entrepreneur think how often you implement these in your life.

I am presently not an entrepreneur but what motivated me to attend this open house session was to grab a few learning from the erstwhile crowd who are soaked in this madness. I did try my hands on entrepreneurship but couldn’t sustain it long and here is why.

At the end of the day, few pointers that stuck my mind were:

a) Doing is what matters. If something is itching you for long, and you believe that you have a solution for it, just go for it before you reach a stage where you repent of not having done it

b) As an entrepreneur be prepared to fail. Learn from your failures and move on, rather than cry over it

c) Meet as many people as you can in the real world and evangelize your business. Alok had the figures that he has collected over 5,000 visiting cards which exhibits the pain he takes in meeting people and introducing his business.

d) Sometimes you fail because you are just early for the market. Hence, timing your entry and exit is very crucial.

e) Quality of service is what differentiates even a product based business from the other. Focus on providing best service to the customers.

In short, I enjoyed the open house to the core and would recommend all entrepreneurs to attend The Rodinhoods Open House sessions whenever you get a chance to do so.

Update: How can I forget this awesome gift by Alok to every Rodinhooder who attended the Open House session. He tirelessly handed over this book to each one of them and clicked an image with them.