Sunday, March 29, 2009

The National Cyber Media Conclave, SIMC

Living the Change

In a world where the rules of the game have changed and change itself has become tangible, the smart thing is to do be the change. SIMC students gave this reality a face in the first ever National Cyber Media Conclave 09 held at Symbiosis Knowledge Village, Pune.

Wonderfully engaging and insightful, the day began with a panel of speakers talking about content in new media. Kiruba Shankar, CEO of Business Blogging, spoke of maximizing the social media connect. Shared his experience about twitter, to prove that social media tools are very powerful. Concluded by saying everyone should have a wish list and must never give it up. Shivam Vij, a Tehelka journalist, spoke of blogging and the changing media attitude towards blogs. “The bloggers fair has replaced the janta ki aawaz as vox pop”.

Cyber news media as the ultimate fourth estate was the message Shiv Bhaskar Dravid, founder of the Views Paper, drove home in his presentation. Being at a very youth stage believes that youth have talent but no platform, here Cyber media fills in the gap and gives unlimited opportunity to them. Cyber media is stronger than conventional media to express public opinion as it is governed by political influences. Predicts future to be Web + Mobile applications. A diploma thesis project ‘Blank noise’ turned into a movement on new media. Reaching out to victims, perpetrators and observers of street sexual harassment, Jasmine Patheja shared “it’s most important to figure out what you want to say, then figure out how you want to say it”.

While the session took a break for lunch, and the audience revitalized themselves with the free red bulls being distributed outside, the panel changed from content providers to branders and marketers.

Rajesh Lalwani, CEO Blogworks TM, mapped out the layers of influence on purchase decisions and elucidated the impact of social media where “for a change even the marketer has jumped into a conversation” with the consumer. Internet as a tool for publicity and mobilization was best described by Rashmi Dhanwani, managing director of Break Through TV, with the Bell Bajao Campaign which deals with domestic violence. “Ours is a very indirect form of activism because we make use of a lot of new media”. Feeding social issues like the evils of deportation through games like ICED (I Can End Deportation) as food for thought to the American public “enable change agents...ICED has been downloaded by people in 150 countries” said Rashmi. The CEO of Switch Media Services India Pvt. Ltd.

Namit Bimbhat brought to life ‘the evolving face of online video’. “There is a huge opportunity to consume video and manage content” which gives rise to an opportunity to create a brand in the long term. “I actually call myself the CEO!” says J. Mahadevan, V.P. Products Bharat Matrimony, for whom CEO spells Chief Engagement Officer! “92% of all digital consumers only buy a product if their peers or social influence have referred it” he said and shared the Social Technographics TM Ladder, a framework conceptualized to establish various segments of users of social media. Based on population distribution of these groups it should be possible to determine which sort of strategy will make sense to reach consumers.

Atul Chitnis, Chief Products Officer Godesic Ltd, made the audience come alive by pulling out gadgets running on Open Source Software from his magic bag of tricks! “The internet is built on OS...in fact the biggest utility value of Internet Explorer is to download Firefox!” Without OS cyber world is empty. OS does not mean its free, a day will soon come when we will be paying to use facebook and twitter… be ready as the “World is Changing”.

I had a word with speakers - Kiruba, Rajesh, Rashmi and Jasmine.

The day ended with an interactive workshop by Kiruba and Rajesh talking about social media, its benefits and responsibilities leaving the young communicators of SIMC with much to think about and action!

[Contribution by Natasha Gulati SIMC Media Trainee]

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