Youtube – a shortcut to success

Photo credit: blog.involutiondigital.com

Photo credit: blog.involutiondigital.com

Gone are the days when upcoming and struggling artists had to rely on expensive means to showcase their talent to the world… because Google has gifted Youtube to the universe! If you excel at something and want to be seen and heard across the globe, for no penny spent in promotion or advertising, social media is just the right platform for you! Just to give you a brief glimpse into what this post is going to be about, spare a few minutes to watch this artist balance wooden sticks in the air with perfect ease!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150770562385405

MySpace used to encourage musicians and also housed bands and upcoming artists, but it couldn’t gather the momentum that Youtube has managed within years. Perhaps because the latter is not eclectic and welcomes each and everyone whole heartedly…whether you are students who have just graduated and have a knack for singing, dancing or acting like the Wong Fu Productions or just want to try your hand at acoustic cover songs like Shankar Tucker with other budding artists.

Youtube videos are well compatible with other websites, and easy to embed in posts, tweets, etc too. They are easy to deal with and do not involve too many complicated procedures. A visible growth of followers, conversations with fans and shares of one’s videos motivates the upcoming artist to keep striving hard till he reaches his peak of popularity. It is no secret that David Choi began in this virtual world of social media to rise to fame and finally perform internationally!

The multilingual aspect of social media enables us to access wonderful artists from remote parts of the world. For example, had it not been for Facebook, I would have never learnt that such talented dancers also exist! Watch the video below and experience the hair-raising performance, which would have probably never crossed your path, were these artists involved in local and physical performances!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200826305370112

For many, this platform is a blessing in disguise as it is a gateway into the world of various Arts. You could be a sand artist, a painter, a musician,  an upcoming band, an amateur production group, a singer, a dancer, or anything that deserves an eye or an ear…and social media has the answer for it all.  With its vast outreach and huge potential circumference to engulf each and every person on the planet,  it is not difficult to be noticed.

Netvibing it!…All the way through!

images (1)Following a long lasting procrastination, my blog page was finally conceived and nurtured as a result of my social media class…. And after almost 4 weeks into the process, I love this addiction! In theory, I knew that new information and news cannot be created out of the blue; but what I learnt was that any contribution to the existing facts and figures is still original in its own form because its characterized by one’s own thoughts and ideas. Blogging about my experience as a blogger was a little mind boggling initially, but when I sat down to think about the various tacit steps that it took to produce a worthy blog…it felt to be a worthwhile topic to blog about. This blog is more of an integrated response to an introspective back and forth of the what, why and how of blogging.

What is a blog?

I found myself stuck on this basic and fundamental question for quite sometime. From what I understood, a blog was a piece of writing that reflected one’s impression about something. It was a public platform through which people of similar interests shared and educated themselves with each others work ultimately forming a virtual community. A few other views from BlogBasics that describe the meaning of blogs effectively are:

“…the first journalistic model that actually harnesses rather than merely exploits the true democratic nature of the web. It’s a new medium finally finding a unique voice.”– Andrew Sullivan

“[a] collection of posts…short, informal, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deeply personal…with the freshest information at the top.”– Meg Hourihan 

Once I stepped into the blogging world, I realized it can be nearly anything and everything that you want it to be… news, personal updates, celebrity gossip, marketing techniques, recipe compilations, investment guides, ad campaigns, political propagandas, health tips, gardening suggestions, recommendations on investments, and the like.

Why Blog?

Well! Being humans, we are fortunate enough to have our brains developed fully well in order to function as the most developed of all living beings…and so each one of us has a voice. Blogging provides us with that medium where one can communicate without vocal chords! Each one of us likes to hear and be heard…blogging is exactly that! There are a multitude of topics that people all across the globe talk about. I was overwhelmed, at first, to realize how much people talk about everything under the sun! Sure enough one of the first responsibilities of a blogger is to determine the purpose of blogging. Though a lot of people use this platform to convey personal thoughts, it has also become an integral part of professionalism in today’s world.

Commoncraft effectively illustrates the significance of blogging through this video.

 How blogging works?

The answer to this question involved no guesswork, creativity or imagination. It was an experience suggested by my professor, which has now replaced Google search for me. This blessing in disguise came in the form of Netvibes! It allowed me to organize everything on one dashboard – view videos, clips, images and information all together; see the updates coming in from Twitter, Washington Post, The Guardian, Google, New York Times and the like on a particular topic. I could customize the tabs with the image that interested me the most, search for different topics simultaneously, read and view topics with the backdrop of my choice…it just felt so awesome!! It was too much information thrown at me at first, I agree, but I am proud of how I managed to pick the keywords to narrow down my search and get content-specific details.

Netvibes Dashboard

Netvibes Dashboard

It was more like being a part of the social world where millions of people were talking about the same thing through different media and tools. It was about listening to them, not each of the voices, but thumbing through the ideas to see where my thoughts fit in best. My dashboard taught me what the most current topic of discussion in the electronic media was and also helped me find a spot according to where I belonged. I realized the meaning of what my professor would keep telling us in class,

…it’s not always about talking. You must listen first in order to be heard later…”

Thank you, Dr. Peggy. Your lessons are invaluable! You made me fall in love with blogging more than I would have actually imagined!

Are you BRAVE enough to go public?

While this video might beautifully advertise a new software that makes the web world more efficient, it also has an underlying tone of how public and accessible each one’s records are on the internet. In today’s world, it very easy to trace the activities of an individual via the Internet. As scary as this sounds, it is that much difficult to refrain from indulging into such information sharing activities. You do not have to be a social media fan in order to be noticed, just swiping your credit cards into a machine, medical prescriptions from an electronic device, browsing the internet for general information, shopping online and the like, can gather good enough data about you and release it into the electronic world! You may not even realize that you have left traceable records behind, as you walk out of the shopping mall!

Technology is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of mankind. To think of it again, I would have my own apprehensions in readily accepting that statement. It is true that my grandparents faced hardships in their time, but they knew how to overcome them with diligent efforts. They found it hilarious when I tried to explain the concept of identity theft to them, in today’s world! We are all engulfed in this as Internet has become a part of our lives—there are no two ways about it. But what is in our hands is to accept this fact whole-heartedly or not. Chris Brogan describes how sharing and talking about it on social media can deal with depression. He does not seek others’ advices or consolation on it but he feels solace in just knowing that his troubles are out there in that infinite space!

Beth Kanter shares a different point of view on being brave and facing the world boldly. In order to survive in today’s electronic world, one has to keep abreast with the Internet, knowing that the definition of privacy and personal space has been traded with the phenomenon of information sharing. With the knowledge and acceptance of that compromise, the one who takes the right measures to protect his/her identity and actions on the Internet, can be recognized as a brave soldier in facing the fast-paced wired world.

WAKE UP, INDIA!

ImageLike a zillion other posts and news blogs, this is yet another piece of literature that questions the actions of the grotesque incident on the night of December 16, 2012 in Delhi, the capital of India. Being an Indian woman myself, I feel it is my moral duty to question and critically analyze some of these basic fundamental issues that go against the title of being the “largest democracy” in the world! 

What is the point of being so proud of India’s political standing when the women (who make up more than 50% of the country’s population) have to think twice about their safety on the streets? India is still entangled in the tight and evil clutches of patriarchy, of which the illiterate take further advantage to demean the feminine sex.  As a reaction to the detailed investigations of this particular Delhi rape case, the politicians were in their own parallel universe trying to explain how women must clad themselves appropriately in order to not “invite” such mishaps! Really? … Is this what you have in yourself in the form of leaders who share the dream of India’s progress? What is that burning fire inside these desperate illiterate men who cannot respect a woman and her equal position in society? Why do they forget their own mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, who await their return at home, when they indulge into these heinous crimes?

I am not trying to portray a negative image of my country through this post. All that I am trying to achieve, or draw attention to, is the fact that India is a beautiful country and has millions of things that She must be proud of. In order to understand the value of such assets, it is imperative that each and every Indian citizen realizes his/her own role and responsibilities in the society. For a country that is the second most populated one on this planet, it puts even more pressure on the government to function meticulously in order to produce positive results and take the country forward. It has taken the sacrifice of a brave girl who fought the battle of pain and suffering for almost two entire weeks, for the country to realize that it was regressing…this is just not justified!

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This case spread like wildfire across the globe because of social media. There were protests in different parts of the world in support of the suffering victim and against the assaulters. It encouraged the other states to open previously filed cases, which had not even been looked at! There are hundreds of innocent lives that are subjected to such kinds of brutalities and forgotten about. A few male chauvinistic pigs cannot take advantage of their sexual strength to scar a woman for life! There has to be a solution to this because this is not a universal conundrum with the masculine gender…it is to do with a particular group of men folk that has earned Delhi, the title of the” Rape Capital” of the World!

The first thing that came into a non-Indian’s mind earlier was perhaps the wide variety of food, traditions, culture, the colorful clothes, elaborate celebrations, festivals, intricacies in the architecture and monuments, arts and crafts, etc…but when they think of India now, it is just this rape case and its atrocities! Repulsive. Disgusting. Sickening! WAKE UP INDIA! It’s high time that you choose the right representative to kill these social ills. There is no more room for carelessness. A bunch of feminists cannot bring a radicle shift in such a big country. Do your bit, so that the government does not have an excuse to let this vicious cycle of illiteracy-poverty-unemployment thrive!

Remember this girl in your thoughts and prayers.

Let her bravery be in front of your eyes forever.

Respect her sacrifice.

Stand up for the right!

The Art of Good Storytelling

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When one is asked to recall a story, we generally think of the peripheral factors that characterized the story, which made it stand out and noteworthy amidst the thousands of other things that we experience in everyday life. Why do we still remember our childhood storybooks? Perhaps because they had colors, pictures, big letters, simple words and plot, was read to us in a sing-a-song manner, or even because we have re-read them to our little ones. Similarly, when we think of Obama’s Presidential speech, it stirs up emotions in us because of the content of his speech, his eloquence, his determination that one could hear in his voice, his effective emphasis on certain words, the various issues he addressed and the like.

 When I think of great storytellers, the first few people who come to my mind are Socrates, the great Storyteller of Greece, Shakespeare, the great English poet and playwright, and my grandmother, the 87-year-old reservoir of knowledge in the family. All these three people, whom I have mentioned, used the traditional form of storytelling, that is, through word and expressions. Times have changed and so has the medium of communication. From the word of mouth we have moved to digital words all over the wired world; but the gist of good storytelling still remains the same – entertainment and/or sharing of knowledge!

This is one of the videos that really caught my eye and held my attention till the last word was spoken. Besides the educational message that reached me, this video also urged me to think about the elements that a good story must comprise of in order to be effective. I reached the following conclusions:

  1. It must have a meaningful and thoughtful message.
  2. The readers should be able to connect with the story.
  3. The content must be coherent and concise.
  4. It must build upon the viewer/listener’s understanding.
  5. The use of effective imagery (through words and pictures) or narration (through voice modulation, choice of words and expressions) can help the receiver remember the story better.

There are so many tools at our disposal to tell a story in today’s world such as blogs, biographies, picture charts, animations, flip books, banners, advertisements, hoardings and the like, besides the conventional storytelling tools like books, novels, films, documentaries, etc. All these media work towards conveying a message effectively to their audience. Not only does it have to drive home an educational or moral lesson, but also a good story keeps its receivers engaged till the end. With the basic idea communicated well, there are no loose threads hanging out as there are clear-cut and straightforward answers/solutions provided. A story appeals to its readers/listeners when they are convinced of the matter provided in the story. Some stories might keep them at the edge of their seat; some might just make bring a smile on the faces. Everyone has their own set of issues to deal with; a bad or ill-constructed story is a recipe for disaster when an individual is seeking refuge from pedestrian troubles.

Drew Keller from TheStoryGuide lists seven tips to good storytelling namely:

  1. Craft the foundation,
  2. Grab attention,
  3. Establish setting,
  4. Humanize,
  5. Build tension,
  6. Deliver a turning point and
  7. Communicate the outcome.

While Sean Buvala, a national storyteller and Coach offers five simple steps to successful storytelling – with the objective of keeping the end as impactful as it should be!