We Are Slaves To Our Gadgets

The devil in disguise

Am working on an important presentation and Outlook shows me a small pop-up to notify me of an email that has just come in. I glance at it and decide not to answer it at the moment, the presentation is far more important. Three minutes later, the phone chimes to tell me someone has replied to my tweet – once again breaking my chain of thought.

Disturbingly enough, if this sounds like your life, don’t worry. Possibly all of us digital natives are facing this problem. Our lives are rushing past us and our gadgets are increasingly increasingly getting more and more of our attention! Its not just our Push-enabled phones and applications that are to blame, even websites are becoming major time-sinks! Even going to Google these days shows you a big red notification in the top-right corner!

While there is no running away from this (the tech pundits say that in 2yrs time, we will all be watching Friends* and messaging friends from the TV), here are some things I did to improve the situation:

Switched-off Push notifications – Whatever the apps are notifying me about, it was not important. Facebook updates, Tweets, Path updates, LinkedIn updates, and Gmail. I didn’t stop using these apps. I just use them when I want to. So far, no one’s died because I replied to them 6 hours later.

Put all messages on silent – Now my phone only rings when someone calls. Yes, I do feel the urge to keep checking my phone for messages I may have missed, but that is waning.

Switched off notification emails – I didn’t need those “ABC has written on your wall” type of messages! Seriously!! Switched those emails off for practically every social service I am a member of.

Delayed email/ social media websites checking – I now check Gmail, Facebook and Twitter only after the most important task of the day is completed. This way, there is incentive to complete tasks sooner too!

Is there anything else that can be added to this list? What are your Ninja skills to take back your life?

*I hate Friends on multiple levels. I hate it from the core of my being and yet, I believe that for generations to come, Friends will remain popular. I will never understand why.

j j j

Make Way For Google+ For Businesses

I will be honest, I am pleasantly surprised by how quickly Google+ has gotten so many users inspite of being in Beta and giving out limited invites. I now hear that Google has opened the flood-gates – you can now can get Google+ by just signing into your Google account.

The biggest reason for this really fast adoption seems to be that Google owns more touch-points to the internet than Facebook and Twitter combined! The Google+ notifications currently work on YouTube, Gmail , Picasa, Blogger, Maps, Android, Chrome and Analytics. All of these properties are HUGE heavyweights in themselves. Facebook and Twitter just have their individual websites.


Historically, Google has always favoured its own properties when deciding search engine ranking – remember Blogger and Knol?

Here in India, I am already starting to see a few businesses join Google+. While these are early days, I am interested in seeing if they take a different approach from the 4-posts a day engagement activities on Facebook Pages. I am willing to bet that Google has already started to measure how we are interacting with each other on Google+.

Google can start Business Pages in the future. When that happens, Google can start tracking mentions of the business, see what pages from the website are more popularly Shared and do basic Sentiment Analysis to measure if the content is positive or negative. Then decide SERP rankings based on this analysis! In this scenario, businesses will jump over each other to get onto Google+.

Incase you didn’t know, Google already does this with your tweets. Facebook however, still remains the largest Black Hole of the internet – a place which still cannot be crawled by search engine crawlers. Any engagement/ interaction here still does not have any impact on SERP.

I am not predicting that Facebook and Twitter are going to be dead. Companies in the future will spend more time and resources in BEING SOCIAL across platforms than DOING SOCIAL on many platforms.

j j j