Social media

Posted on

By Invitation. Author Abdul Kalam.

Social media is a phrase that we throw around a lot these days, often to describe what we post on sites and apps like FacebookTwitterInstagramSnapchat and others.
But if we use the term to describe a site like Facebook, and also a site like Digg, plus a site like Wikipedia, and even a site like I Can Has Cheezburger, then it starts to get more confusing. Just what is social media anyway?
The term is used so vague that it can basically be used to describe almost any website on the internet today.
Or maybe not. Some people have more of a restricted view of social media, often equating it to mean the same as social networking (a.k.a. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Other people don’t consider blogs to fall under the social media category.
  1. So, What Is Social Media?

Rather than define the term using a bunch of boring jargon that would probably only complicate things further, perhaps the best way to get a clearer understanding of it is to break it down into simpler terms. To start, let’s look at each word individually.
  • The “social” part:

     refers to interacting with other people by sharing information with them and receiving information from them.
  • The “media” part:

     refers to an instrument of communication, like the internet (while TV, radio, and newspapers are examples of more traditional forms of media).
  • Okay, so from these two separate terms, we can pull a basic definition together:

    Social media are web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.
Yes, it’s a broad definition – but keep in mind that social media is a very broad term. This is likely as specific as we can get without zeroing in too much on a more specific subcategory of social media.

2. Common Social Media Features

The following list of common features are dead giveaways of a social media site.
If you’re questioning whether a particular site could be classified as social or not, try looking for at least one of these features.
  • User accounts:

     If a site allows visitors to create their own accounts that they can log into, then that’s a good sign there’s going to be social interaction. You can’t really share information or interact with others online without doing it through a user account.
  • Profile pages:

     Since social media is all about communication, a profile page is often necessary to represent an individual. It often includes information about the individual user, like a profile photo, bio, website, feed of recent posts, recommendations, recent activity and more.
  • Friends, followers, groups, hashtags and so on:

     Individuals use their accounts to connect with other users. They can also use them to subscribe to certain forms of information.
  • News feeds:

     When users connect with other users on social media, they’re basically saying, “I want to get information from these people.” That information is updated for them in real-time via their news feed.
  • Personalization:

     Social media sites usually give users the flexibility to configure their user settings, customize their profiles to look a specific way, organize their friends or followers, manage the information they see in their news feeds and even give feedback on what they do or don’t want to see.
  • Notifications:

     Any site or app that notifies users about specific information is definitely playing the social media game. Users have total control over these notifications and can choose to receive the types of notifications that they want.
  • Information updating, saving or posting:

     If a site or an app allows you to post absolutely anything, with or without a user account, then it’s social! It could be a simple text-based message, a photo upload, a YouTube video, a link to an article or anything else.
  • Like buttons and comment sections:

     Two of the most common ways we interact on social media are via buttons that represent a “like” plus comment sections where we can share our thoughts.
  • Review, rating or voting systems:

     Besides liking and commenting, lots of social media sites and apps rely on the collective effort of the community to review, rate and vote on information that they know about or have used. Think of your favorite shopping sites or movie review sites that use this social media feature.

3.   What’s the Difference Between Social Media and Social Networking?

As mentioned earlier, a lot of people user the terms social media and social networking interchangeably as if they mean the exact same thing. Although the difference is subtle, they’re not the same. Social networking is really a subcategory of social media.
The easiest way to understand the difference between social media and social networking is by thinking about the terms “media” and “networking” separately. Media refers to the information you’re actually sharing–whether it’s a link to an article, a video, an animated GIF, a PDF document, a simple status update or anything else.
Networking, on the other hand, has to do with who your audience is and the relationships you have with them. Your network can include people like friends, relatives, colleagues, anyone from your past, current customers, mentors and even complete strangers.
They certainly overlap, which is why it gets confusing. For example, you can share media with your social network to gather likes and comments–a form of social networking. But you can also just upvote a link on Reddit, which is a social media platform, to help out the community and give your say in the matter without any intention of building relationships with other users.
Still confused? Try to think of social media like fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, berries, melons and pineapples are all part of the broader fruit category the same way that social networking, social news, social bookmarking, wikis, blogs and private web messaging are part of the broader social media category.

4.   Are Traditional Media Also Social Media?

Traditional media was mentioned earlier on in this article just to demonstrate broader examples of media, but don’t be fooled into thinking that TV, radio, and newspapers are a part of social media. At least not quite yet entirely. The line drawn between the two is slowly thinning as each continues to evolve.
Social media doesn’t just give you information but interacts with you while giving you that information. This interaction can be as simple as asking for your comments or letting you vote on an article, or it can be as complex as Flixster recommending movies to you based on the ratings of other people with similar interests.
Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter. Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too.

5.   What Are Some of the Known Issues With Social Media?

Social media isn’t all just fun and games with your friends, celebrities you admire, and brands you follow. There are lots of common problems that most major social media platforms haven’t totally solved, despite their effort to do so.
  • Spam: 

    Social media makes it easy for spammers – both real people and bots – to bombard other people with content. If you have a Twitter account, you’ve probably experienced a few spambot follows or interactions. Likewise, if you run a WordPress blog, you may have gotten a spam comment or two caught by your spam filter.
  • Cyberbullying/Cyberstalking:

    Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to cyberbullying because they take more risks when it comes to posting on social media. And now that we all interact on social media via our mobile devices, most major platforms make it possible to share our locations, opening up the doors for cyberstalkers to target us.

  • Self-image manipulation:

     What a user posts about themselves on social media only represents a small portion of their life. While followers may see someone who’s happy and living it up via their posts on social media in such a way that makes them feel boring or inadequate by comparison, the truth is that users have the power to completely control what parts they do and don’t want to broadcast on social media to manipulate their own self-image.
  • Information overload:

     It’s not unusual to have over 200 Facebook friends or follow over 1,000 Twitter accounts. With so many accounts to follow and so many people posting new content, it’s almost impossible to keep up.
  • Fake news:

     Fakes new websites promote links to their own totally false news stories on social media in order to drive traffic to them. Many users have no idea that they’re fake in the first place.
  • Privacy/Security:

     Many social media platforms still get hacked from time to time despite having good security measures in place. Some also don’t offer all the privacy options that users need to keep their information as private as they want them to be.

6.   What Does the Future Hold for Social Media?

It’s difficult to predict anything exactly, but if one thing can be said about the future of social media, it will probably be more personalized and less noisy. Over-sharing will be less of a problem and filtering out irrelevant information will become a stronger trend.
Snapchat is a social media platform that’s really at the forefront of social media evolution. Rather than blasting out updates for all our friends and followers to see, we use Snapchat more like we communicate in real life – with specific people only at specific times.
If anything, social media is probably about to move more toward ephemeral sharing for quicker, more intimate sharing without the stress of having to blast something out to hundreds or thousands of followers that stays up there unless it’s manually deleted. Instagram has already made the move toward ephemeral content sharing with its Snapchat-like stories feature, so maybe more platforms will be soon to follow.

Thank for reading,



Impact of H-1B visa reforms on Indian IT companies

Posted on

India’s software services sector is bracing for the consequences of US President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration, which include the restrictions on so-called H-1B visas. Having won the presidency on the promise of protecting US jobs and against moving work offshore, Trump through his reforms restricted the flow of immigrants and temporary labourers into the US workforce.

H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupation.  Indian IT firms and H-1B visa aspirants will be badly affected due to changes proposed by the Trump administration.  However, this reform doesn’t affect the Indians, settled in America who therefore being an American citizen enjoy all the benefits.

The American authorities have raised the minimum salary from 60,000 USD to 130,000 USD per annum with additional restrictions on the employer.  And therefore, doubling of the minimum wage applies to “visa dependent employers” who send the workers for a short period say 1 or 2 years from India.  Thus, Indian companies have to send those people who are really worth the minimum wages.

An opportunity to “work onsite” and “earn in dollars” has been a big lure for Indian Techies. But the Americans want only those specialized US workers to occupy those high-skilled technology works and the remaining jobs to be filled by local Americans.  However, there is nothing to worry about because the local American cannot become excellent techies overnight.

The US government have received about 250,000 applications for H-1B visas – with a majority of them being from Indian companies. Of nearly 85000 H-1B visas granted in 2015, 55900 visas were issued to engineers, designers, coders and others from India. This shows that the majority of tech worker in America are indeed no doubt Indians.

The new bill introduced by trump in the US House of Representative, made it difficult for the firms to grant H-1B visa as it is quite expensive. Furthermore, nearly half of the techies are actually working in India on the American projects. And therefore the problem is not the visa or the immigration laws. The exact problem lies on the shortage of appropriate manipulative skills which can take the country, workforce and economy from traditional one to a digital world.

Key Points on how the new bill on H1-B visas can impact Indians: 

  1. India’s IT industry will face short-term challenges

The reform will affect the profits of Indian IT companies in US. Because the new H-1B Reform Bill has doubled the minimum wage requirement of H1-B visa holders from $60,000 to $130,000. This change could turn into a major catastrophe for Indian companies and workers, as it would make it financially unviable for Indian workers to be hired in the US. This automatically negates one of the biggest reason for hiring Indian workers – the availability of cheap labour.

  1. Indian tech workers may face uncertain future

Due to the new reforms, Indian IT companies will not be able to send local engineers to work in US, for a very high salary. With the new mandated levels, Indian workers must be paid more than the American workers, making them a costly proposition. Moreover, it will be difficult to get them back   home and make them work for the same salary. Even when they tend to work– they will feel more dissatisfied.

  1. Results in higher operational costs for the Indian outsourcing industry

Changes in the H1-B visa arrangement will add immense cost pressures on IT firms. IT companies in India that enjoy significant cost advantages by sending Indian engineers to the US for a lower salary, are likely to be affected. H-1B programme was initiated on premise to complement America’s high-skilled workforce, but not replace it. Unfortunately, many companies are trying to exploit the programmes by cutting American workers for cheaper labour.

  1. Will affect Small Companies to a large extend

The restrictions on H1-B visas, is most likely to affect small firms more than large outsourcing firm. Since the process is expensive, small companies do not even dare to apply for these kinds of Visa.  Though the start-ups and emerging companies dare to innovate and progress, because of the high expense of acquiring the H1-B visa, the smaller companies tend to step back.

Unlike other countries like America, France, etc., there is no provision for start-up visa and thus, the companies daring to do something new can enjoy these benefits.  India’s one of the biggest outsourcing industry, Information Technology contributes around 9.5% to the country’s GDP and employs nearly 3.7 million professionals. And due to unfavourable developments in key markets, the industry faces difficulties on home-ground because of higher Operational Costs.

The US government allows upto 85,000 new H-1B visas each year but the demand is usually higher than the supply.  NASSCOM, the industry body for software and services companies is planning to send a delegation to the United States to negotiate and discuss on these issues. Meanwhile, India discussed several issues, including the proposed restrictions on H1-B visa with the US lawmakers.  The negotiators have to find an effective solution that does not hurt our economy, technical department and Indian IT companies.

Many social media companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, etc. have emerged to be successful in a very short span of time. Companies are automating jobs and seeking innovative technology to remain competitive. This kind of innovation has to be inculcated even in Indian Companies. Consequently, India has to inject the culture of innovation.

Thanks for reading.

Sail Seven Streams to Enjoy the LinkedIn Jaunt!

Posted on Updated on


  1. Be Very Selective

LinkedIn is a professional platform. So, be sure to carve out your Professional Objectives. Evidently, you need to be very selective in building your connections. Your efforts should be focused on quality and not quantity. It is necessary to find commonality while inviting people to connect. The proposed connections should be beneficial to both. For example if you are selling a service or a product all those who are decision makers to buy your products would be the most appropriate connections.

  1. Personalize Connection Requests

Send a polite email for the invite after going through the profile of the person. Describe briefly how the connection will be beneficial to both of you. If you have met the invitee at a social event, you may refer it. However, brevity is extremely important. Nobody likes to receive a verbose mail or any kind of message. The words chosen and the sentences constructed should delight the receiver of the message. It can happen only if you speak from heart. It means you need to be your natural self while communicating. Write to express but not to impress.

  1. Group participation

There are many groups formed on the LinkedIn. Some of these are active, others not so. Identify the group which is most suitable to your professional needs. In the beginning it will be easier to participate in a group where most members are from the place around. Unless you are a high profile professional, joining a group with participants from different countries may not be very effective. We must understand that the cultural background plays an important role in people coming together.

  1. Publish Posts

Create content of your niche expertise and publish in LinkedIn. Your post will be seen not only by your connections but by everyone on the LinkedIn. You have to be very careful about the ease of reading and comprehending by the people who view your post. It must add value. While content is the king, simple language which is easy to understand, will be appreciated. A long sentence with many clauses may not be appropriate for your story on the LinkedIn. Further, sentences of different lengths when put together in a paragraph make reading very interesting.

  1. LOINs

Loin means LinkedIn open networkers. They are the people who want to network with as many people as possible. One can search by using the group search feature. There are open networkers who will welcome you. Some groups cater to specific locations. There are other groups serving various industries and services. You have to select the group which is most suitable to your professional interest. In the search features if you specify the criteria you will be able to find out the group of your choice.

  1. Post status update daily

You need to establish that you are active on LinkedIn. It is therefore expected that you post something of interest to your connections and people at large every day. You may spend only 15 minutes daily. But use these 15 minutes with great discretion. As said above every post that you publish should be found interesting at least to some of your connections. It is understandable that you can’t please all. Therefore don’t even try to do that. Your focused approach on subjects of general needs or special interest to your connections will be highly appreciated.

  1. Your Profile

What you write on your profile is particularly important. It should give a clear message about your background and your profession. Instead of writing in a traditional chronological fashion you can be more innovative. Consider you are speaking to a large group of people. While you are addressing all to inform about yourself, it should clearly indicate your intention and interest. Take special care to choose a nice photograph. Give information and links to your website/websites, blog sites etc so that people can easily view. Recent events that you may have created or participated in would also be newsy and of interest to your friends.

I am sure that you will find that your sailings in the above seven streams will bring you a lot of joy with success on your ‘LinkedIn Jaunt’.

Thanks for reading.