Tag Archives: Social media

God is a Gamer – Review


I’ve mostly confined my so-called book reviews to Goodreads till now. But henceforth, some or a lot of that wisdom shall be spouted on my otherwise mixed topic blog as well! So, I start off with God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian. I’ve come across a number of previous titles by the author but managed to read one finally this time! Given his background in finance and management, it is only apt Subramanian’s books deal with the same. Having said that, it also helps that my day job also involves things to do with finance. Hence, I could surely relate a lot to the book. And the premise of bitcoin-based fiction is definitely exciting. But, the book somehow loses grip while building up the suspense, or maybe does not try to build it. Either way, that was maybe the only disappointing part about the story I think. Otherwise, this is truly unputdownable fiction. The characters are slick and true reflections of things that are 21st century. Like a thoroughly action-packed read, Subramanian manages to squeeze in the best of locations and settings for the novel. And maybe that tends to undo it at times, as mentioned earlier, as one progresses towards the so-called climax or suspense. Because, I do not want to know all the time what the most eligible bachelor in town is wearing, or maybe Tony sounds more like a Goan cook than a Federal agent. Still, a very interesting plot development and outlining of the key characters.

Definitely recommended if you’re looking for current affairs based fiction with the twists and turns. Rating? Maybe a 3.5 on 5.

Get the book here


What’s Not In A Name?

What’s in a name? Thus spake the Shakesperean heroine Juliet. Well, if you ask me, what’s not in a name? If you simply take a look at the user names of the millions of Twitter users, a plethora of creativity rests right there. Hence, I decided to explore the world of wordplay through mashups of the handles of a few Twitter users who I interact with regularly or irregularly?

1. This Entity was Unnamed so he went to a Field where he did not find any

Name again. So he said:’Lovely! Its Unfair!’ (@UnnamedEntity, @NameFieldEmpty & @unfairandlovely)

2. The Rag had no Tag, so she followed the Trail of Saffron, until it turned Scarlet & Hara Bhara (@raggedtag, @saffrontrail & @ScarletOhHara)

3. Until Desdemona found her Othello, she thought of going on a trip. So she called out to her friend: ‘Oye Maria! Want to come along? (@Desdemona14 & @OyeMaria)

4. The Khargosh was Gora, until he met the Sherni (@gora_khargosh & @Sherni)

5. What Confuseus Say is profound, K Rahul? (@ConfuseusSay & @RahulK18)

6. She was Wandering like a Nomad on the Hiway (@NomadWanderer & @hiway)

7. She wanted to act like a Dedh Shaani, so she collaborated with Dram-e-Baaz (@DedhShaani & @dram_e_baaz)

8. You Doofus! Don’t do Nautanki. The Big Dowg is watching you (@doofus_, @nautanki & @TheBigDowg, though the first person has deactivated his Twitter account)

9. The Kid wanted a Softy. Hence he went Singing to Kyra for a treat (@softykid & @kyrasinging2)

10. The Nazi wanted his Coffee. And he also had a Dua for Jaspreet (@thecoffeenazi & @JaspreetDua)

11. The Witch of Words was looking for an Esc(ape) out of the 12-hour drudgery (@Word_Witch & @EscF12)

12. Neha! Dive Kar!, said the Maniac with the Mitter (@NehaDivekar & @Mittermaniac)

13. Anee! I want another Item on my menu, the one with the Bunee, yes (@Item_  & @AneeBunee)

14. There can’t be any Lapses that are Literary. Plus, it’s only a Merc we are talking about (@LiteraryLapses & @mercplus)

15. The Nayak is Girinining. And even Gopal can’t ask him to Chuck it (@nayakgirin & @chuck_gopal)

16. The Polka Dots have the Punk, with the Phulka (@punkpolkadots & @phulkadots)

17. Dharmesh Jee (G), B good to Shaheen (@dharmeshg & @Shaheenb)

18. Aye Kaveri! Get me some Lime with Ice (@ikaveri & @LimeIce)

19. Fu! Let’s go to the Bar and order a Vat 69, said Punkster for the 101th time (69fubar & @punkster101)

20. Probably he’s Trippy, but Panic ko usne kab ka Tyag diya (@probablytrippy & @panictyagi – a very sweet couple, ok I added this to clarify that this mashup is just in good humour!)

21. Maan, are you Psycho? No? Then go Nab the Eel with the N (@PsychoMaan & @NabeelN)

22. Ash is Winning, K Gopal? But Saiff is Haute (@ashwinkgopal & @hautesaiff)

23. She’s the MD of our company. And her car number plate has 610. But Bee I Noo Y? (@md610 & @beeyaoonoohwhy)

24. Neo! Have you seen Aaragorn? No sir, I only saw this Supra-fast Mario (@NeoAaragorn & @SupraMario)

25. Mujhe Venkat ko dekh kar Ananth ki yaad gayi, said Ramesh to Srivats (@venkatananth & @rameshsrivats)

26. Arrey Takloo! Man I Want a Bitch (@taklooman & @bitchwanti)

27. Tu toh Baavri hogi, but Eshaan Rocks 🙂 (@baavri & @eshaanrocks)

28. The Princess is Defiant. But the Insomniac is Mad (@defiantprincess & @madinsomniac)

29. The Maniac aint Hollow, said Dhruv to Ster up things (@Hollowmaniac & @dhruvster)

30. The Indian is Rofling so much that after acidity O! he wants some Diogene now! (@Roflindian & @diogeneb)

31. Ashok, Krish is Squaring it up with R already, I know (@krishashok & @i_r_squared)

32. Adda ho toh Aantel Nair jaisa, said PB (@aanteladda & @PBNair)

33. I’m Sabbah. So what? I’m Kapur, said Shweta (@imsabbah & @ShwetaKapur)

34. She Suddenly saw Twilight, with the Fairy dancing away (@suddentwilight & @twilightfairy)

35. Oh G, I am the Rojo with the Mojo. So don’t call me a Khamba (@gkhamba & @mojorojo)

36. I don’t have Efin Time to Live, and that aint a Pun, Vati (@livetimefe & @punvati)

37. To B or not to B, 50 times? (@b50)

38. Mere Karan aur Arora aayenge, inspite of the autocratic Regime of the Kapo (@KaranArora & @Kapo_Regime)

39. She’s Crazy about the Shutter, said Nik with the Ster-eo (@ShutterCrazy & @nikster)

40. Kuch Bhi Candi? Nam badalti rehti hai (@Kuch_Bhi and her earlier handle @candinam)

41. San-s Daddy, there can’t be a sun Tan-tan on the beach, Noo? (@daddy_san & @tantanoo)

42. So Nel, no Nniums for you? (@nelsonnium)

43. She’s the Chick who knows Raap music, said Tany as she told he Tales (@RaapChick & @tanytales)

44. Thea! Long live the Ale! Don’t forget to Splurge on the Star though, she said for the 7th time (@Aletheaf & @splurgestar7)

45. Aa! I saw a Kanga-Roo four times! (@aaroo4)

46. This is a Mad uni-Versity! No Gabbar, this is Singh-sesational (@madversity & @GabbbarSingh)

47. Mom! See what an Imp she is! And so are you, Nimue (@ImpsMom & @nimue_)

48. Rafael Nad-al went Mad (@mad_nad)

49. C Priyanka, you have seen the iPhone 19 times. But its still Fresh (@priyankac19 & @iphonefresh)

50. Tharo naam Sunaina hai K? Haan ji, I can take Kriti-cis-M (@sunainak & @Kritism)

51. Roy, you have committed no Cin, said the L-shaped Priya (@RoycinD & @priyal)

52. Arrey Mihir, please play the Bijuriya song, Sulbha told him (@MihirBijur & @SulbhaArora – a couple who met on Twitter and are set to tie the knot soon)

53. Satan! Have you seen Bhagat? No saar, he’s giving some Illegal Briefs (@SatanBhagat & @IllegalBriefs – what he was known as a for a while)

54. So it’s a Comic Project, but for that you have to Fly! You Fools! (@thecomicproject & @Flyyoufools)

55. What’s for Sup-per, MM? (@SupMM)

56. A Traveller was looking for a map, so she went to the Kartographer (@a_traveller & @krtgrphr)

All this was done in good humour only and not to make fun of people in a sarcastic fashion. Also, I may not be following a couple of the users mentioned but their mentions have appeared a lot on my timeline, hence the liberty 🙂

Five Ways To Have More Fun On Twitter

Tweet, tweet – you tweet, I tweet, SRT tweet & SRK tweet. Never thought 140 characters could change the world around you? Or you still don’t think so? Well, here is an attempt to make Twitter change the world (well, yeah, almost)

1. Don’t name each and every update a ‘tweet’ – well, tweets can unsetlle so many crowns as we have seen. So, when an update does not sound so pleasant, why call it a ‘tweet’. So, Messrs Stone, Williams & Dorsey – why not start naming those potentially explosive updates as ‘breaking tweet’ or ‘kaboom tweet’ maybe??

2. Have music with the emoticons & #nowplaying hashtags – the use of emoticons has really exploded with the advent of  Twitter (barring IM clients of course) – you need to say so much in so l:/ttl:e). So, why not add some ringtone/caller tune style notes to make you feel Twitter can also gel with the real world. Also, since #nowplaying remains one of the top trending topics at any moment of the day/night, why not have a music search engine sensor (or a blip.fm add-on) to play a preview of that clip for your followers to enjoy the music and not dance to it in their imaginations only?

3. Have the celebs linked to Promoted Tweets – celebs sell themselves in virtual world, so why not have their real-life endorsements on Twitter via Promoted Tweets as well. So, maybe a grinning MSD egging you to be ‘dillogical’ with Lays chips or SRK giving you the summer chiller tips with Navratna cool talc. Would make more sense and give us some real entertainment than their bed & breakfast tweets, no?

4. Have a Twitter Esperanto – with every social network comes its own language code. For Twitter, it has not been any different – only that the 140 game has given it a twist, what with the #GGs. So, with this melting pot in place, why not try and have an Esperanto for Twitter too? Whr u cn sy nthng u wnt 2 IMH

5. Have a Twitter sanctuary – whales are endangered creatures (though I can’t give an exact count of how many are left, unlike tigers). So, please act reponsibly Twitter – don’t let them loose to fill in the show when your servers go down. Believe in CSR – have Twitter sanctuary for the fail whales. The downtime message should then look like this: ‘We are working on the issue, in the meantime, why don’t you take a tour around our sanctuary and visit the whales we are breeding?’

If you have endured all the five points, then congratualtions – you (like your truly) – do believe that Twitter can change the world, truly!

Ali Baba & The 140 Thieves

Ali Baba found a treasure trove,

In the depths of the microblogging web,

But he had a problem,

He had to escape 140 thieves, to keep the treasure safe with him,

As he sat and thought,

He could hear the RT horses trotting up,

The 140 thieves were ghosts – their DPs were too blurred,

They came from all possible directions – from far & wide,

They had set their eyes on riches of sanity, and had plundered the timelines of many a star,

Hashtags and memes they could use lethally,

To unsettle an emperor of a sporting harem even,

To unnerve the minion in an empire even,

They had their bands of followers,

Who were their footsoldiers of anarchy,

‘But, I will start with the followers,’ thought Ali Baba,

And he set out on a journey,

At the end of which lay – @Baba140

When Social Becomes Anti-Social

Speech is silver, silence is gold.

If you are reading this (including the cliche above), chances are that you are one of those who have lost faith in healthy social networking or are on the verge of doing so. But, all is not lost yet on the social media horizon. It’s just that things are going a bit haywire in Web 2.0 (or 2.5 shall I say?). To evaluate social media in its true sense, one needs to trace its origin properly. I won’t trace a detailed timeline here but what started with blogs and instant messenger clients is now down to 140 characters aka microblogging. In an era when having a mobile phone is passe, you are apparently ‘nothing’ if you don’t ‘tweet’, as many social media analysts will have us believe. If you have a presence on Facebook or Orkut, maybe you are ‘something’. But, is it ‘everything.’

To look at some recent examples, what the Stephen Fry furore meant to the West was the Shashi Tharoor drama in India (albeit on different levels). If Mr Fry was ‘boring’, Mr Tharoor made it up in ways more than one by tweeting away to glory with his ‘cattle class’ and ‘interlocutor’ punchlines. On the face of it, the topics may have died a natural death in most discussion forums, but on a macro level, the debate has just started. What the Twitterati and Facebook superstars have shown us (maybe unwittingly) is that it’s no longer politically incorrect to rant your heart out  in public against even those whom you consider your closest. Alright, this may have been more of a Google Talk phenomenon but take a look at any average Indian’s (and I don’t want to sound demeaning here) Twitter timeline and you will easily figure out what I mean. From what you eat for breakfast to what you should wear for your cousin’s wedding – you have to share it in your 140-characters of fame space, otherwise, you are just a ‘nobody.’ Interestingly, when Google tried to replicate this with Buzz, it had to take on the ire of users for exposing privacy and so on. True, just because the company is a pioneer in its own right does not mean it has the liberty to play around with people’s personal lives.

But if that was the death knell for Buzz, wonder what is keeping Twitter alive. Apparently, the company has been monitoring some users who have been using it extensively as a public chatroom (the official version being that this is related to the phishing attack). But, monitoring or no monitoring, a silent evolution has already occurred. At the same time, this evolution is not without its share of bloodbath – something that the Twiteroor controversy kicked off. It is another matter for a minister to go on record in a social media platform, but it is not the when you see a personal conversation being read by hundreds of other people who will merrily concoct their own interpretations of it. This is where the ‘retweet’ feature comes in – to put it simply, you simply prefix an ‘RT’ before some post you like and then pass it on to your set of followers. But, is RTing a quote by Mahatma Gandhi the same as revealing someone’s nickname? (Interestingly, the RTI Act has a near namesake in RT, with the first 2 letters). Well, big deal – you may say? But, think about it just once – considering you met someone on Twitter or someone you already know retweets what you would not what the whole world to know, what would you think about it? Well then, you may ask again – why do people flash custom status messages on Google Talk for their contacts to know? Right – they do, but there is an in-built privacy there where trust is also a big factor, which is the reason why Buzz got so much flak. But, when it comes to Twitter, such a concern goes for a toss…does it? It may not be ok for Stephen Fry to be boring, but it is ok for mere mortals like us to tell the whole world how much weight we are putting on everyday.

Besides, a big chunk of Twitter users are fond of putting inspirational quotes on their timeline. No harm with that – in fact – a nice quote has the power to always turn a dull moment into a bright one (the author of this piece himself, follows many users who put interesting quotes on their timelines). But, some users deliberately leave out the part of attributing the quote. If the words did not originally come from your mouth, is it wrong to say that somebody else said it? Some have raised a hue and cry over ‘copyrighting tweets’ and the general consensus seems to be that tweets cannot be copyrighted. But, a quote is a quote after all, even if it is shrink-wrapped into 140 characters.

If you have reached this paragraph, maybe you have changed your mind and are wondering if this issue is worth wasting so many words at all. Maybe it is not, but surely, if you are an observer of social media (and I have no qualms in admitting that I’m still learning this), then maybe you could think about it at least once…