Someone cast a spell!

Do you remember doing dictation when you were little? Yes, the one where the teacher read out a word and you wrote it down and points were awarded for spelling it correctly. Where ‘Practice’ and ‘Practise’ and ‘diary’ and ‘diary’ could be your undoing!

Not so long ago, when I came across a difficult word, I read it a couple of times, trying to memorise it in the hope that I could use it again and spell it correctly. I do not do that anymore.

Why not? Well, for one, just like the Microsoft Word document I am typing this in, everything comes with a built-in dictionary. I can even type gibberish and Word will helpfully offer a meaningful word or a sentence. I no longer have to remember how connoisseur is spelt. I no longer try to remember anything, as a matter of fact. For I think that I will always have Google by my side!

It sounds surprisingly like a good thing, that it is indeed making our lives easier, but that is just a façade. The fact that we are depending lesser on our brains and more on the devices around us can only spell doom. I wonder what everyone would do if there was a humungous power outage that lasted days and all we could do was read regular books and use a pen and paper. That unlikely possibility aside, I just do not like the idea of needing a word processer/ T9 dictionary to express myself in writing.

Think Twitter – expressing yourself in 140 characters or less. We, as people, want to convey as much as we can and 140 characters are, well, rather less! This makes us use all kind of abbreviations, often making people ask in the comments, “Did you mean ‘ate’ when you wrote 8?” It sounds hilarious, but it is just a little scary.

Remember orkut and now Facebook? Commenting on photos and liking status messages leaves us short of time, making us want to keep our sentences as short as possible. With the advent of smart phones and them being used for social networking, “wat is dis?” is not an uncommon sentence to be seen. The smooth touch keyboards make us less likely to type too!

Sms-ese  (The language of SMSes. Inspired from the word Chinese/Japanese) has attracted enough hate mail. But it continues to be ironically funny. HRU? TTYL. BRB. GR8. Though I belong to the SMS generation, it still irks me no end to decipher these cryptic sentences.  Webster must definitely be turning in his grave.

Also, depending on auto-correct could lead to quite a few mix-ups.

That one did go well, but Google some autocorrect mix-ups. (They are too politically incorrect to be here, but they are hilarious!)

Maybe the next time you read a difficult word, you will pause and murmur the word to yourself a couple of times?

By – Jayashree Bhat

Image Courtesy: http://www.9gag.com

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Impulsive shopping – redefined by ‘The Fancy’

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Here’s a site that could give the third most popular social networking site (Pinterest) a real run for it’s money. Pinterest is very often referred to as an ‘inspirational’ site that lets you look at all the wonderful things in the world and ‘pin’ it on your online virtual board but you can’t actually have it or own it no matter how much you want it. Ofcourse you can look at the picture, save it or carry it and look at a similar replacement of the product when you actually want t buy it. But ‘The Fancy’ – an e-commerce version of Pinterest actually lets you buy the stuff you see and believes in the ‘accidental’ shopping model. Fancy, according to its about page is, “part store, blog, magazine and wishlist. It’s a place to discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things you love, to get updates on your favorite brands and stores and to share your discoveries.”  Some even say Fancy = Pinterest+Tumblr+Amazon

How it works:

Step 1: You spot a picture of guy wearing an Omega watch. You save the image, add a title and upload it to your Fancy feed. You link it to the Omega site, write a comment and file it under the “men’s” category. As the photo goes live, the notes you add join Fancy’s database along with the tags, title and key words in the comments section.

Step 2: A Sales person from Omega checks the site and sees your post and if he has an account he gets an e-mail notice. The sales person then quickly creates a listing for the new product in his vendor profile and tags it with key attributes and submits it to Fancy. Fancy then does its backend check to ensure the link between the photo and seller is legit and the product for sale is of a high quality for the safety of it’s users.

Step 3: Soon after, your friend who follow you checks his Fancy feed and sees your posting of the watch and receives notice that they’re on sale. He clicks to buy, then checks out as you would on any site. The seller then accepts the order and the purchase is made!

The people behind the Fancy

–          31 year old Joe Einhorn is the man behind The Fancy

–          François-Henri Pinault, the billionaire head of PPR Group, kicked in $10 million for a 10% stake last October.

–          $8 million came from backers like Ashton Kutcher, MTV founder Bob Pittman and Andreessen Horowitz (for an undisclosed amount of equity)

–          Fancy’s governing board includes Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Chris Hughes and billionaire hedge fund operator Jim Pallotta, who owns the Boston Celtics.

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Joe Einhorn

What has caught the eyeballs

Hollywood biggies like Kanye West and P.Diddy like the Fancy. Mark Zuckerburg too is said to have joined this site with the name ‘zuckd’ and so far he has more than 102,000 followers and fancied an Extendo Library Shelving System. However Joe Einhorn says he has no information as to why Zuckerberg joined the site but said it’s a “thrilling” development. Trade pundits are even taking about a possible acquisition here.

Photo Credit: allthingsd.com

By: Suruchi & Naimeesha

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Social Networking on the Windows Phone

We have all heard enough about social networking on Android and the large number of applications available for the same. Windows Phones (We are talking about the Windows Phone 7 Mango update here) are largely designed to aid social networking with just a few clicks.

Things we love about the Windows Phone

The People Hub

This is where all your social networking needs begin and end.

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The People Hub gives you updates from all your social networks, be it Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. And no, you will not be overwhelmed with updates (we all have that friend who posts about the Fortune Cookie he just opened on Facebook) because you can filter what you would like to see. You can choose to share a single status update with multiple social networking sites as well.

Have a contact you talk to all the time? Simply click on his/her contact and pin it to the start and you can see all their updates with one click. It is really that simple.

And yes, if you are one of those who like to keep their social networks separate and integration of everything in one is not what you want, you can always download separate apps for Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare or any other social network of your choice from the marketplace!

The Pictures Hub

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The ‘What’s New’ section of the Pictures Hub gives updates on pictures posted by your friends in any social network. Your personal albums are all visible under the albums section. This was a definite advantage for us since we stopped having back-ups or personal copies of photographs ever since Facebook came around. Having all our photographs on  our phone is a definite plus. Organising photographs is easy – you can filter by date, people or add pictures to a favourites’ list.

Calendar

Ever had the problem of having multiple calendars – one for your office meetings, one for personal appointments, one for birthdays from Facebook and so on? The built-in Calendar app integrates all your calendars so that you will never again miss an appointment or a birthday.

The icing on the cake – Microsoft Office

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Create a Word document, a presentation for tomorrow’s meeting, tabulate your bills in an excel sheet and share it over email or simply store it on SkyDrive to be accessed at leisure on your other devices. Need we say more?

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Windows Phone offers a lot more in terms of easy usability and social networking. Very different from the iPhone or Android phones, the Windows Phone is a pleasant change in the age of clutter and too many apps. Coupled with the refreshing live tiles UI, the Windows Phone is here to stay.

By: Jayashree Bhat

Image courtesy: http://www.microsoft.com

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Path – the next big social networking app?


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Have you heard your friends raving about Path lately? A lot of us probably have. The idea of this social networking app is to help people maintain a journal or what you call a “Path” to your life. Launched in November 2010, The Company is headquartered in downtown San Francisco. Path has grown to include over two million people sharing life with close friends and family all over the world.

Path at present is available only for iPhone and Android users and they have the option of integrating it with Facebook. There is something about this lightweight social networking app that some handlers quote as a reason to use over Facebook and that’s – privacy.

Path is a very private space where your numbers of connections are restricted to 150 as against having close to 500+ on a networking site like Facebook. The idea is to keep ‘real connections’ and people who actually care about your photos, events and posts. That’s why some claim that Path is a much more elegant way of keeping track of those closest friends when compared to Facebook.

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There’s no denial that Path has an absolutely dazzling interface and many users say it’s extremely easy to use. When you pull down on the screen, it will show you what time each ‘moment’ (Path’s version of post) went live with a little clock on the top right.

It definitely has one of the slickest app experiences on the iPhone. Everything feels seamless. Each image has stunning resolution for the tiny screen on your iPhone and shines. You don’t have to jump to a full screen to enjoy each photo — it’s good enough to just view them in the timeline and also has a built-in variation of Instagram.

With all these great features and more, is Path on it’s way to becoming the next big social media app to watch out for?

-Suruchi & Naimeesha

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Think before you update!

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Do you feel social media sites make it easier for you to express your thoughts and give you freedom of speech? A lot of people find it easier to say things on these sites – things they might not say easily in person or even over the phone. But sometimes these ‘things’ could rather be rude or inappropriate in the name of ‘freedom of speech’. A lot of people use social media sites  to send one of “those” messages out into the universe to let off some steam or to just stir a controversy.

Do you REALLY need to say it?

Most of the times the messages are directed to a person who you know CAN and WILL see you status update or your tweet. Messages like “Why do I meet so many idiots” or “Why are some people mean around me” are some examples. While typing the message, seconds after an argument or a disagreeable conversation you know exactly who you have in mind. But you prefer sending out this ‘vague’ message thinking you’re venting out and not hitting direct either. But guess what, most of the times the person in question knows exactly what you are talking about. Your other friends’ ‘likes’ and words of sympathy don’t make the situation any better, infact it worsens it. Coming back to reality, would you have the guts to say the same things to this person in real? Absolutely not! That’s the reason you’re taking this alternative route to vent out.

Then why say it all?

Studies show that while people use social media to express their frustration over a situation or a person, most of the times instead of them feeling better about having said it, it leads to a feeling of guilt and embarrassment moments later, after the ‘steam’ goes down. And then they quickly try to undo the damage in every possible way but most times it’s too late because Google has saved your message forever.  Sometimes this can even lead to more mis-communication than communication and a lot of confusion around you!

No one likes a ‘whiner’

While people around you might give your negative ‘message’ some attention, do you think they are really being appreciative of it? Most of the times – no! You might have well become the laughing stock of the day or tagged as the ‘whiner’. Very few people on your social network actually care about your miserable situation so why give them a chance to talk about it at all?

So the next time you update your status or tweet about an argument or want to pass a personal comment about someone- count 10, breathe and think if you really need to do this or would you rather talk about something happier? 

– Suruchi & Naimeesha

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Facebook launches matrimony app!

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Well, not just yet but we are waiting for the day when we read about it in the headlines. We think that day is not far away! Why can’t Facebook launch a matrimony section or an app? Facebook has kept a track of your daily life since years – your changing relationship status, your beautiful and not-so-beautiful pictures, your moody status messages, your likes and what not! Facebook knows more about you and the events in your life than that nosey neighbor who likes to keep an eye on you or your favourite aunt who has seen you grow up. So why can’t Facebook serve as the perfect matrimonial platform?

The matrimonial site industry has been growing since the internet boom and this is one industry which has never lost it’s charm and importance. Infact, the number of registrations have been growing year on year and many traditional families who believed that word of mouth was the only way to find a suitor, have also taken to this medium. But then again, how much information does a matrimonial site give you besides searching of potential profiles?

Today a person who is moderately active on Facebook does not have to maintain a personal diary. All prominent events, pictures and feelings are recorded and well maintained on Facebook. All our basic information, details about our job or business, family – it is all available on Facebook.  We know which friend likes hiking and which friend is a Coldplay fan because we notice their ‘likes’ and ‘interests’ on Facebook.  With so much information and data available on Facebook, isn’t there a huge potential of finding your right match on this site?

And then, you always have ‘mutual friends’. It’s a small world after all! There is no way two people can’t find a common contact on Facebook.This makes the offline part of the process easier and serves as a source of getting to know this person better.

Why would someone join Facebook matrimony app? Some might argue that Facebook gives out way too much information which can lead to misunderstandings and perception building . There is also the question of privacy and how a person’s personal details can be protected. But we feel people will still join this app because of the sheer number of people connected through this site because Facebook alone has a larger database than all matrimony sites put together.

Today, one out of 6 marriages happen because of meeting on a social media site. Just imagine the number when there is an exclusive app for this!

– Suruchi & Naimeesha

Call us on +919739388168 (India) or +15853010801 (USA) or drop in a mail – socobuzzer@gmail.com

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Pinterest – an illusion or is it really that awww-esome?

ImagePinterest is catching up on the social media popularity charts. Recently ranked as the third most widely used social media website after Facebook and Twitter, it is a  pin board style social photo sharing website that allows users to manage and upload pictures of different facets of life – fashion, home, food and many other interesting topics. Pinterest’s mission  is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting”.

I usually turn to Pinterest when I want to see something beautiful. Something I might not own in real life because I don’t have access to it – sometimes it’s not affordable, sometimes it’s not practical and sometimes it’s just too much of an effort to own it. So what do I do? Log into Pinterest and just click away! Everything that I desire becomes a part of my board and I’m made it to believe that I ALMOST own it.

So, is a social networking website like Pinterest creating an illusion and taking us far far away from reality?

Is it really okay to make a wishlist and keep pinning stuff? Some say it is a good information sharing platform and introduces you to things and places you might have not seen before. But does it make you happy that you can see it if not necessarily own all the things on your board or does it leave you with a feeling of dissatisfaction because you see these things in your wishlist over and over again but you cannot actually own it just yet? Does it tease and confuse the human brain? On one hand it can lead to unrealistic wishful thinking, while on the other it can help the human mind organize things better.

“Most of the social networking sites are not black or white. They have shades of grey to them which means there are both pros and cons. Human being always struggles to do a lot of things in a short span of time. In that process he keeps watching the surroundings and many of the wishes are kept in a formatted or an unformatted structure in the mind. Pinterest  helps in a way to compile them in one area. It can sometimes make the mind clearer and organized by pinning them on the boards. Then again, one needs to know where to draw the line and not get addictive and spend hours together on such a site. It’s important to differentiate between reality and wishful thinking” says, Mr. Murthy, a renowned psychiatrist in Bangalore, India

So, is pinterest a sustainable platform for social media marketing for ‘every’ business model?

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. But is a beautiful picture really enough to communicate your product or brand in the competitive market today? For lifestyle products it might not be enough but it is definitely a good way to make your products more ‘visible’ and ‘desirable’ in the eyes of the many pinterest users. It helps catch those eyeballs and gives the potential customer a reason to think about that online purchase or a walk towards the store. But how practical is it for a service or a product which might not have so much of a ‘visual appeal’? Take the example of mobile service provider. Apart from the posters of the product offerings is there anything else that can be communicated which is relevant in a picture? This might leave many marketers feel “left out” if their product or service is not very visually appealing.

So will Pinterest continue to be the rage that it is and beat Facebook and Twitter to become the number ONE social networking site? Personally, I don’t think so. It lacks a human and ‘real’ touch which other social media websites have managed to keep alive. But for now, I’m not complaining about this website.  YOU HAVE TO ADMIT, IT IS VERY ADDICTIVE AND PRETTY AWW-ESOME – I’M PINNING AWAY AS WELL! 

Written by – Suruchi Jajoo

Edited by – Naimeesha Murthy

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