What’s your social media type?

Just about everyone is hooked to social media. Every morning, we check notifications, read suggestions from friends, chat with some and comment on people’s travels. If you can’t help but log into your Facebook timeline while in the loo, or can’t wait to click group selfies and post them when out with friends, here’s a profile test for you—identify your personality type.


The GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, pedometer, barometer and various other sensors in smartphones were created just for you. You have a Fitbit or a smartwatch and a gazillion apps which auto-post on your timeline. They tell others what speed you’re running at, which restaurant you’re exiting, what you are listening to now, even how many times your toilet was flushed today. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but someone must surely be thinking on those lines.

Food for thought: In a paper published in the Optics Expressjournal in June, German researchers displayed a sensor system for smartphones with potential for use in biomolecular tests—monitoring diabetes, for example. What’s more, your smartphone might soon be able to analyse your sweat and blood to provide more statistics. Can’t wait to get your hands on that one, can you?


You love to rant, on the weather, on how someone has got it completely wrong, on how you would love to see people think before they speak, on the politics of someone else, or even on things that the government is doing. You love writing in CAPITAL letters, sometimes getting the spelling wrong (who cares about editing when one’s so angry), and usually follow all the celebrities on Facebook and Twitter, spending a copious amount of time correcting them.

Food for thought: If you’re mirthfully grinning at this type, here’s something to worry about: According to a study published in the Personality And Individual Differencesjournal in September, you have the classic symptoms of a Dark Tetrad (no, not Darth Vader). You are an explosive cocktail of Machiavellianism, psychopathy and a classic Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.


You travel everywhere with your smartphone, clicking the lunch you’re having, clicking friends at a pub even before you say hello. In fact, even if you were at a beautiful beach, you’d be mentally thinking of ways to capture and post it perfectly first. You also like to take pictures of your cat, sofa, the street, the car…and take time to add filters, crop, add mood before posting the photograph. You’re mostly found on Instagram and sometimes on Facebook.

Food for thought: Enhance your gadget with nifty accessories. Try Olloclip (Olloclip.com, $70-80; Rs.4,400-5,200) for zoom, or a Joby Gorillapod (Rs.1,450 onwards; Joby.com) to add stability to those pictures. If you’d like to outsource to a bot, get Moment Case (Momentlens.co/case), a smartphone cover ($69.99 onwards) with a lens, which automatically takes pictures through the Moment app. Happy clicking.


You don’t post. You don’t “like”, comment or retweet. You’re the quiet one, scrolling through the timelines, people’s pictures and posts, your social presence barely visible. On Twitter, you’re listening to the people you follow, observing rather than posting anything.

According to a survey published in April 2013 by First Direct, a telephone- and Internet-based bank in the UK, there’s a whopping 45% of you on Facebook, watching what others are saying and rarely participating. Oh, and you call yourself “observers”.

Food for thought: It’s hard, but try to participate and interact online. You might find a sudden inexplicable increase in the number of offline friends.


You thrive on anonymity. You like to have various personalities on social networks, constantly use fake names and give out little or no information about yourself. It might be paranoia about your privacy that makes you do this or simply the fact that you like hiding behind a mask and peering into others’ lives. Your online personality might be completely different from who you are in real life. You’re found mostly in forums and on Twitter.

Food for thought: Shift to Whispero (Whispero.com), an app that lets you stay in touch without exchanging any personal information.


You are the ultimate knowledge-seeker, going through the timelines and Webs looking for good, edible, sensible information to share with your fellow social hogs. You have various RSS feeds that come to your phone, news and social apps and give you the latest in your field, and on people that you follow online. You see, like, share, retweet anything that comes your way. You are also a slacktivist, sharing posts of missing children, funds needed for the sick, petitions, etc. Many a time, you download something from Reddit and share it across your Facebook and Twitter timelines.

Food for thought: Tried Glean (Get-glean.com) yet? Built especially for Android devices, Glean offers interest-based news from over 15,000 sites. Use it and it’ll learn what you like to read and give you your favourites and trends in a single feed.


Most of your posts feature your child doing something. You can’t help but post pictures of your child making a putty face, smiling, frowning, doing the Dubsmash, with cake all over the face, giggling, looking all so cute. You love to post constantly on Facebook and in your family WhatsApp groups, with a singular comment on what the child did today and what your response was. You’re not alone.


For the complete article, head to Livemint.com

The politics of Facebook

With the social media becoming an important political battleground, is Facebook affecting friendships and trying to influence our political leanings?



When social activist Uthara Narayanan, 32, posted an innocuous article link on the Gujarat riots on Facebook in January, she was in for a surprise. An old friend from college fiercely defended Gujarat chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, getting abrasive and personal in the post. “I had known her for more than 14 years and yet hadn’t seen this side to her,” says Narayanan. “I didn’t realize when she had gone off and gotten such strong views on the debate.”

From then on Narayanan decided to stay away from her friend though they live in the same city. “It left a bad taste in my mouth and marred our friendship for me, though I am still Facebook friends with her.” Almost as if agreeing with her, Facebook’s wall automatically started keeping her friend’s posts away from her wall—thanks to the EdgeRank algorithm.

Like-like stick together

EdgeRank, the Facebook algorithm that decides which posts to show in your newsfeed, bases its decision on three factors: an affinity score between the user and the one who’s created the post, the type of post (comment, like, create or tag), and time lapsed since it was created. The first basically means that you will see posts from friends you have interacted with and like to interact with on the social network.

In January, Catherine Grevet, a PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, studied this algorithm in the light of politics and concluded that people tend to get attracted to circles of friends who affirm to their own political leanings, all because of Facebook’s algorithms. “People are mainly friends with those who share similar values and interests,” Grevet wrote in the study. “As a result, they aren’t exposed to opposing viewpoints.” Grevet presented the study at the 17th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in the US in February.

Alok Sharma, a Mumbai-based creative writer who used to be a political cartoonist, says social media has led to Indians opening up. “We are taught to be a little politically correct, especially in face-to-face conversations. But when it comes to social networking sites, Indians express their views like fanatics,” he says. He blocked a couple of Facebook friends after a spate of personal comments on one of his posts. “My friends know me and get the crux of what I might be trying to say in a thread but there are others who are on my Friends list but don’t understand the context and take it all wrong.”

The misunderstanding arises because many of us post on the network as we would speak among friends and not as we would say things in public. “Facebook is not a community, a clique or a group of friends,” says Nishant Shah, director of research at Bangalore-based non-profit The Centre for Internet and Society. “It is just a network,” he says. That means that not all people on your Facebook list are friends—you are just connected to them on the network. You might have a professional relationship with them, be teammates or acquaintances or colleagues, but you don’t know them personally. Given that the average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends—according to the numbers from US think tank Pew Research Center’s Internet Project which tracks statistics about the social network—that’s just too many people to even know personally.

“The audience on the social network is much larger than the friend list, including Facebook itself, which, if it finds your comment problematic, will censor even before a complaint is produced,” says Shah. A post on Facebook or a comment or a like, can get you in trouble not just with other individuals or communities who take offence but even the law, as happened to a girl in 2012 who put up a post criticizing the shutdown of Mumbai after the death of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray.

“Though used like it, Facebook is not a conversation,” says Shah, “Because everything you write is archived and recorded. And can be used against you if need be.”

A medium to shout in

But would you shout at a stranger on the street as you do on Facebook? Basav Biradar, a programme manager based in Bangalore, actively posts on politics and comments on Facebook. He feels most people on Facebook give strong opinions that are not well-informed. “A lot of these opinions are dependent on propaganda and campaigns rather than facts. Why don’t people do some homework before forming an opinion?” With over 100 million Indians active on the social network, however, an uninformed opinion is hardly reason to stop anyone from posting, commenting, liking, offending and getting offended through posts on Facebook.

Shah calls this phenomenon cyber-bullying in politics. “Specific vocal and passionate groups and communities have emerged who silence any voice of dissent or critique by trolling the dissident,” says Shah. “They do not need anonymity. They don’t try to hide who they are. They feel so empowered by the backing of the politicos who are either hiring or supporting them, that they have risen in hordes and are stifling the space for dissent and questioning even more effectively than they have been able to do in real life.”

It’s almost like standing in a rally and hearing a swarm of slogans. Sashi Kumar, chairman of the trust Media Development Foundation that runs the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, gives a similar analogy. He believes that the language of communication on Facebook is not written but oral. “Writing implies a well thought through opinion, whereas speech is responsive and involved. Within the Internet, there’s a strange morphing of written form which is expressed in a way of oral communication. You speak to someone on Facebook, you respond, you hear, you react, you communicate, you talk.” He says that this morphing is leading society back to more oral forms of communication where written forms like newspapers will be a thing of the past.

Replacing traditional media


With surprising events like the support for Jan Lokpal law, Pink Chaddi campaign and even the backlash against the December 2012 gang rape case in Delhi, social media seems to have somewhere, somehow made all of us more participative, more aware and more active in political and social spaces.

Most politicians have active Twitter and Facebook accounts. Most newspapers and even news channels quote their feed as statements when summing up news. Social networks have become almost mainstream. So much so that when earlier in March Modi attacked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at a political rally in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Kumar’s response was detailed, and through a Facebook post.


Read the complete story on Livemint.com

Digital star wars

Celebrities are fast realizing the power of social networks and are working hard to engage their fans. Here are some lessons you can learn from them…

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has over 8,117,186 fans on Facebook and 7,550,474 on Twitter; at any given point when he logs in to a social networking site, at least 7,550,474 individuals will listen to his opinions and thoughts. And they respond to him, all the time.


Social networks make it easier than ever for everyone to be heard, but real-world celebrities still tend to get the lion’s share of attention. This fan following can make a new release a hit or drive attention to their favourite causes, if they can hold your attention more than other celebrities, of course.

“The superstars can share their personal experiences and get creative in terms of how they want to present themselves to their fans off-screen, which was never possible before,” says Puneet Johar, co-founder and managing director of To The New, a digital services company which has just released a report that compares the activities of Bollywood stars on Twitter. Bachchan has the most followers, and the number has grown most quickly too, at 87% over 2012. Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor are among the other fastest growing Twitter users. What can the rest of us learn from this?

Ashish Joshi, vice-president, digital, and business head, Fluence, a digital media company that handles the online lives of Bachchan, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapoor, believes that celebrities really want to increase their digital reach. “One aspect of it is to give something precious to the fans but another important thing that’s there in the back of their head is brands. Advertisers today evaluate a celebrity’s penetration on social media platforms while figuring out a fee for them,” he says.

Keeping it real


Having a social media team doesn’t mean someone else is tweeting for you. “We do not actively control a celebrity’s Twitter page,” says Joshi. “They have to do their own communication. But what our creative team does is build a story around his or her personality, an online story which our sales team can sell to brands as a concept.”

Once they have figured out a story, they guide the celebrity and package the content well. Joshi gives the example of Tuesday Memoirs, a series of Facebook posts where his team uploads pictures of Bachchan from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s on the sets, or during tours, and writes stories around them. “These stories are precious to his fans, it increases his reach on Facebook, and the artiste loves the engagement it provides,” says Joshi. All posting, blogging, writing is done in consultation with the celebrity, though there’s a team from Fluence which acts on his behalf.

“Web presence has to be personal,” agrees Bunty Sajdeh, chief executive officer, Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment, which handles the accounts and online lives of sportspersons like Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Sania Mirza, and actor Sonakshi Sinha. “That is what the fans want.”

Updating Twitter, Facebook and other accounts every day, multiple times a day, is a full-time job though, and not something most celebrities can actually manage. “Virat Kohli tries to keep it personal but we have to help him out a little since he can’t give the fans enough due to his busy schedule,” says Sajdeh. His team keeps more than two million Twitter, and nearly 4.2 million Facebook, fans happy by ensuring all his activities are posted online, but Sajdeh says the actual interaction with fans remains strictly with the cricketer.

Ashwin Sanghi, author of The Krishna Key, who has over 100,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 600,000 on Facebook, says he uses automated tools to keep on top of social networks. He uses an app called Buffer to send updates he has saved in one block every half an hour. “I check Twitter only once in three days to check replies,” Sanghi says.

He adds that it’s important to distinguish between the networks. Facebook is for books and events, YouTube is for uploading lectures, Flickr has photos and Google+ has the articles he writes.

Faking it

The desperate desire for a fan following could lead a celebrity to buy followers and likes. A big following can make a difference, allowing a celebrity to get the next big project, movie, or sign a new deal. It can even make you a celebrity, as it did in the case of starlet Poonam Pandey(@ipoonampandey), who has over 450,000 followers on Twitter. “Paying for likes is foolish,” says Sanghi. “An inflated following might satisfy your ego but will give you no sales. It’s only valid for those who want to show to the world that they are being followed by a large number of people.” Fake likes and followers are so prevalent though that Facebook, Google and Twitter are trying to filter them out.

“For a celebrity, the number of likes and followers is extremely important as most brands check out their online engagement,” says Joshi, “but fake likes just doesn’t make sense. The engagement and reach is pretty low and platforms like Facebook now show how many likes you have and what’s the number of people who are talking about you.” He believes that it’s parameters like reach and engagement, rather than just numbers, that most advertisers are now looking at before signing a celebrity. After all, for a fan, the whole idea is to get closer to the star.

Show me the money

In October, Fluence, along with Twitter and ZipDial, a mobile marketing service, ran a campaign around Bachchan’s birthday. A fan who wasn’t on the Internet could give a missed call to follow the handle @SrBachchan and receive tweets on SMS. “It was a win-win situation, for us, the platform and the fans,” says Joshi….

Read the complete story on Livemint.com

Setting up online retail 101

Looking for ways to succeed in the online retail space? Here are four ways you can reach out to customers

According to a recent report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the e-commerce market in the country grew to $9.5 billion (around Rs.57,950 crore) in 2012 and is expected to reach $12.6 billion by this year’s end—a 34% growth since 2009. The eBay India Census 2012 states it is selling one mobile accessory per minute and a mobile handset every 2 minutes.


If you are among those who feel that now maybe a good time to explore selling on the Internet, you should do your homework right first. You need to understand how to put up an e-store, what to expect and what kind of consumer base to go after. We looked at the various options available to help you take the first step:

Facebook Pages

For: Designers, people with quirky and unique products.

If you’re in the experimental stage and not looking for big numbers, this is the cheapest way to build an audience.

Set-up involved: You need a computer connected to the Internet and some time to enter the information on the page. Facebook Pages only display content, so you will need to ask people to send money using online account transfers. You will also need to tie up with a payment gateway; CCAvenue offers the most ways to pay, such as credit, debit, and bank transfer, and charges a Rs.1,200 annual charge, and a 5.5% fee on each credit card transaction. You can also check PayZippy, which is cheaper but has fewer options.

Pros: Low initial costs let you experiment, and you can build a dedicated customer base connected to you through personal interaction.

Cons: You have to set up everything yourself and then build up the Facebook Page and garner likes. It is your personality that will push the page’s popularity, which is not something everyone can manage. It is also a time-consuming process, which isn’t very efficient if you’re getting more than 10 orders a day.

Niche online marketplaces

For: Boutique sellers who want to reach a wider audience.

If you have a unique brand that will not fit well with an Amazon or Flipkart, then look for sites like LimeRoad, which sell niche products like handicrafts, art, handmade clothes, and set up a store.

Set-up involved: Besides Internet access, you need photographs of your products. Specialized websites like Qartoos.com, Craftsvilla.com and Indiebazaar.com handle all sales, including payment, and charge you a commission (15-20% for each order), but you need to ship the item to the customer….

….Head onto the livemint.com website to read the complete story

What’s your Facebook face?

Mine is a cheerful character who travels a lot, is a net activist, discovers and does new things in the city she lives in and makes happy, smiley faces for the camera. Oh and is also a newbie writer fast crawling up the ladders of success.


On Facebook as in public, most of the people who meet me don’t see any other side. This is my social side. This is the side I will show to a stranger, to a colleague, and even increasingly to most of my ‘friends’.

The Facebook face (let’s call it the FF now) is the side other people see when they view my online and offline life. This is the face they judge me by, measure my success, compare themselves to me, get jealous, get gleeful, compare again and wish they had a different life.

I know for sure not because I am a megalomaniac, but rather because I do this when I see other people’s Facebook faces. I see their cushy jobs, the hobbies they love doing, the fun they have in the exotic destination they are at, their fat paychecks and beautiful living spaces. I see books from authors who seem to write even while they sleep or have a full time job (and do such a great job of it). I see authors who have become a success story without any efforts (seemingly to me) and everytime, my heart sinks. A notch and then a few more notches. I feel I am leading the worse life ever, my luck is down and everybody else but me gets the best pieces of the chocolate cake (I seem to get the baddest one as well as the pimples!).

And then I stop. I take a deep breath. Then I smile. At myself and my petty little insecurities. I know Facebook faces are just faces. Like happiness is just a phase. Everyone gets down, everyone’s life is hard and full of all kinds of smelly bullshit. Everyone treads through it, aimless and desperate. And then everyone comes up, victorious with spurts of success and happiness in between.

If only my Facebook Face could become my real one. Wouldn’t life be just a breeze then?

This blog is not just a whim. There are studies being done on how people behave on Facebook. If you are interested in these studies, check out the links below:





I just feel that the Facebook face is nothing new. Humans have a tendency to show their best side when in public. Period. What do you feel? What’s your Facebook face? How different is it from you, deep inside or even the superficial you?

This post started after conversations with different friends. One told me how people never put the wrong things, the tragic things that happen to them on Facebook—like deaths of loved ones, or disability or accidents. Another girlfriend I was travelling with, wanted me to take a stunning photograph of hers which she could put online to make her social circles jealous. Oh well, deep down we are all the same I think.

Awesome Image credit

Take time out to customize Timeline

Have you been switched to Facebook’s Timeline? Here’s what you can do to protect your privacy


Timeline allows just about anybody to search through your posts by year, unless you tweak your privacy settings<br /><br />

In its early days, Facebook was an intimate space where people were off guard and goofed around with close friends. Then it became bigger, and before you knew it, you had your family, colleagues and even your boss there. Timeline has now changed things further by making your profile much more accessible, and by default, highly public. You need to make some changes to your settings, and quickly, if you haven’t already. Here are some things you must not do:
Don’t disclose your location
It’s tempting to tell everyone, but no place online is private, so keep your address and location to yourself—remember, anyone, just about anyone at all, can see this information if it’s published on your Timeline. As a rule, never include where, when and for how many days you might be on vacation.
Settings: Facebook’s default setting is to disclose your location. In the left-bottom of the status message box is a rounded arrow pointing downwards. If it shows your city, you can click on it to disable geo-location. For Facebook Mobile, check the app settings on your smartphone and switch off Messenger Location Services.
Don’t let the apps decide
Applications on Facebook ask for access to your personal information and post to your wall when you use them. Even apps you’ve given permission to months ago and never use are still collecting data.
Settings: In your Privacy Settings on Facebook, click on Ads, Apps and Websites. Apps You Use shows a list of apps, and you can give app-level permissions for each individual app. You can tweak these one by one, keeping in mind the needs of each app, and you can remove apps you don’t use any more.
Don’t forget the old updates
Remember the kind of stuff you were posting on Facebook four years ago? Facebook has by default made it all public and has also made it easier for anyone to see what you were up to by putting down your activities by year.
Settings: Click on the Account menu, go to Privacy Settings and find Limit the Audience for Past Posts. Choose Manage Past Post Visibility to quickly clean up your early years on Facebook. After that, it’s still a good idea to scroll down the Timeline and see if there are private posts to hide.
Don’t post to public
Public means just that—everyone in the online world can see updates marked public. By default, your name, gender, user name, user ID, profile picture and cover photo on Facebook are public information. Posts you make on Pages and in Groups are automatically public, so never get into an argument with anyone there. All your posts are also public, but you can change the setting for those.
Settings: Go to Privacy Settings. In Control Privacy When You Post, choose who all can see the status updates, photos and information you post. Change who can see posts made from your Facebook mobile app too. This will handle new posts, but for old posts, you need to go to your Timeline and manually change the visibility of each post. It’s tedious, but important.
Don’t forget Timeline privacy settings
Your Timeline can be seen by anyone on Facebook with a simple name search. Default settings are mostly public, so anyone can see your information—from relatively innocuous details such as the city you live in, to more sensitive details such as your contact information.
Settings: Go to your Timeline and click on the Update Info button. Each section of the profile has an edit button to change visibility levels.

Read the complete story on the HT Mint website.

Freelancing with friends


Find freedom from a 9-to-5 job with a little help from social networks

In April, when sisters Sunitha, Mariamma and Soumya Thomas started their online business of selling handcrafted dresses for girls, they found they could not afford the cost of designing and hosting a website. So they decided to go in a different direction—they created a Facebook page for their shop called Little Women, hosted pictures of the products and sold their products through their networks as well as those of their friends.

“On a website, we would have had to invest a lot and figure out how to build traffic, which a small start-up like us couldn’t afford,” says Soumya, who is based in Bangalore, “but on Facebook we already have a network which we can use. All we need to do is share our products with them.” Four months down the line, they have had more than 120 orders.

Illustration by Raajan/Mint

Illustration by Raajan/Mint

Whether you’re selling a physical product, like the Thomases, or your skills as a freelancer, knowing how to use social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, is now an essential skill.

Considering that 63.50% of Internet users in India are on Facebook, making it the largest social network in the country, according to real-time statistics researcher Socialbakers, this could be a good time to be a freelancer or an entrepreneur on social networks. Here are some useful tips to build your presence across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook:

Become the expert

Working as a freelancer requires you to be good at what you do, right? Then why not tell that to people on your social networks? If you are a photographer, write blog posts explaining how your followers can improve their photography, and post your own photos. If you’re a Web designer, share tips that anyone can follow to improve their websites. Retweet and share good content, and answer questions on LinkedIn.

“This way, you position yourself as an expert in the domain and generate leads or business,” says Aditya Gupta, co-founder of Hyderabad-based Socialsamosa.com, a social media consultancy. “Once you are known as an expert in a field, people start sending leads your way,” he says.

Talk about your projects

If you put all your projects on a page or a resume, you’re the only person who knows about them. Social networks aren’t like blogs—you don’t just talk about a project once. Post regularly about the work you do, several times every day. Vishwaraj Mohan, who in December 2010 opened a restaurant-bar featuring live music in Bangalore called CounterCulture, uses the pub’s Facebook page to connect to musicians who will come and perform there. “I do a minimum of five posts a day which include details of shows, our food, media coverage, pictures, videos and such,” says Mohan. More than five times a day starts to feel like spam, but updating up to four times a day is a good idea.

Clean up your mugshot

Is your mugshot the same bearded or sloppy photo which you took early Sunday morning with your laptop? Change it. The mugshot is small but says a lot about you to someone who checks out your profile or timeline on any social network. Your personality, and even the kind of work you might be doing, is formed from that mugshot, so keep it clean and professional. Facebook and Twitter both offer backgrounds in which you can put images to show your personality to the world.

Most of the social networks give options on more than one picture to tell the world about you. Use this well. Use the small mugshot with a clear photo of you as personalisation always helps and use the background space to create a careful collage of your brand’s personality.

Find the right groups

Like LinkedIn, Facebook has groups which has the people you may want to network with. Want to sell your art? Join some city-specific art groups. You will find artists and buyers in such a group. Little Women got a lot many orders because Soumya stumbled upon a Facebook group called Chennai Shopping. “It’s a very active group run by a bunch of women who give honest feedback to a seller. It has both buyers and sellers, making it a market,” she says.

Bangalore-based Ruche M. Mittal, a graphic designer, started a group for women entrepreneurs on Facebook. Called Entrepreneurial, the group has seen active postings of jobs, business suggestions and connections and even media exposure for a lot of members. Media Movements is a well- known media industry group on Facebook.

Connect with prospective clients

As a freelancer, you already know the companies and people you want to work with. Follow them on Twitter and add them on Facebook, not just LinkedIn. Mumbai-based Anuya Jakatdar, a freelance writer and social media consultant, got a chance to work on a Vidhu Vinod Chopra film commercial when she tweeted that she was looking for work a few months ago. “I got a reply from one of the associate directors and ended up doing the project,” she says. She feels that freelancers should get into conversations with people who are in the industry they want to break into. “Tweet and ask for work and keep an eye out for tweets which are looking for work, of which there are many,” she suggests.

Express your personality

You need to reach out to people and make contacts that can lead to projects, but if you’re a holier-than-thou know-it-all, people will avoid you on social media. If you’re connected to people on a social networking site, they’re going to hear from you, a lot, and this requires you to have a personality that reaches out.


To read the complete article on the HT Mint website, click here.

While online, thou shalt not…

Be it Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, follow these 10 commandments of social networking etiquette


Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have their share of boorish people who jump into other people’s conversation, generally create a ruckus or bombard your Wall with their gaming updates—and don’t know when to stop. Here’s a list of things to avoid.

Playing games on other people’s Walls

Yes, we know that you love to play Farmville, take mid-afternoon quizzes about “Which Mahabharata character are you?” and “What kind of Ramdev follower are you?”, and dozens of other apps that come your way on Facebook. That doesn’t mean your friends should suffer from a perennial feed of your app activity. It’s not only irksome to see who you just added as a “friend” on Facebook, but also increases the silly updates on people’s Walls. Before they turn off the extra noise you are creating by un-friending you, turn off the bot updates that these apps generate.

Go to your Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites. Click on “Edit your settings”. On the Web page that follows, click on the “Edit Settings” button along with the “Apps you use” header. This will list all the apps you use and what your profile is being used for. Uncheck the feature “Post on your Wall” for every app. Believe us, your friends will thank you for it.

Saying no to your mother

No sneak peeks: Online etiquette demands that you keep your eyes off other people’s screens. Illustration by Raajan/Mint

You might dread the day your mother, or the gossipy aunt who wants you to get married to her cousin’s son, sends a friend request on Facebook or Orkut but you cannot really stop them from coming into your online social spaces. Not unless you change your cellphone number and house and shift to another planet. There are some people you just cannot avoid, but don’t despair—Facebook lets you divide your friends into different lists through which you can control who sees what on your Wall, your status updates, your photographs and even tags. Keep a list of people you couldn’t say “no” to and limit the way they see your profile. You can control the status updates they read, the photos they see and the discussions they can keep a tab on. Make Lists by clicking on Friends on the left-hand side of your Facebook profile. Now go to Edit Friends > Create a List. Once you have completed segregating your friends, simply go to Privacy Settings. Click on Customize Settings in the section “Sharing on Facebook”. You can click on each of the elements on your Facebook profile, such as your information, posts, photographs and details, and for each set which lists of people can view them.

Using all caps

Except when it’s a bank that has just used your credit card for an unauthorized payment, or when you want to make a point strongly, never ever use all caps for any communication online. In the online world, talking in all caps is not talking, but YELLING…

…Read the complete story on the Mint website here.

Take charge of Facebook

Want to take control of your data and the way you use your Facebook account? Then try these tricks. By Shweta Taneja


When Tejas Pande, a 23-year-old Bangalore-based information technology professional, heard about a workshop called Facebook Resistances at the Centre for Internet and Society (www.cis-india.org) in the city, he signed up without thinking twice. “I spend almost 10 hours every day logged in to my Facebook account. Its fixed rituals were getting to me. So I wanted to find out how I can take more control of my account and make it more personal.”

The workshop, which was conducted by Marc Stumpel, a new media researcher and privacy advocate from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, had the same concerns. Stumpel’s workshop, which has travelled across the world from Barcelona and Berlin to Bangalore, is a research initiative that looks at changing the rules and functionality of Facebook. “We want to change your experience of the site and make it more personal,” he says, adding, “We also want you to safeguard your privacy in the Facebook world.” All this, he says, is possible through add-ons to your Internet browser. “People just need to know what these cracks are.”

Privacy rules: There are simple ways to safeguard your privacy on Facebook.

Privacy rules: There are simple ways to safeguard your privacy on Facebook.

With more than 600 million active users, Facebook has become prone to attacks from hackers. Problems such as identity theft and malicious bot messages or status update worms are becoming common. Other than that, privacy concerns which have wracked Facebook since its inception continue to be controversial despite the “controls” it now offers.

The main reason for this is that the social networking mammoth keeps on pushing new features or changes constantly and rapidly, even before we can understand the ones that already exist. “Most often we don’t get a chance to opt in to new features, and can only opt out if they get our attention,”explains Stumpel. This leads to a loss of control over personal data and what Facebook can do with it.

To prevent this, it’s necessary to keep going back to those account settings and make full use of whatever control Facebook offers at any point. Here are some of the latest ways you can protect your online identity.

Log out of multiple sessions

How many times have you logged into Facebook from an Internet café or a friend’s mobile phone and forgotten to log out? Every time you do that, even though you close the browsing window or application at the end, Facebook keeps your session open, making you vulnerable to mischief. Now you can log into your account and see a list of active sessions with their details, which include the login time, device name, the approximate location of the login based on IP address, and browser and operating system. If some of them are unauthorized or you are unaware of these activities, shut them immediately and reset your password.

Take control now: In your Facebook account, go to Account > Account Settings > Account Security > Account Activity > Also Active. Facebook lists all your active, open browsers in the Also Active list. Click on End Activity on the unwanted ones. You can also take control of which gadgets you log on from with the Login Approvals feature that comes under Account Security. This feature lets you put a code alert, which can then be SMSed to your mobile phone as soon as you log in from an unrecognized computer. This will alert you in case there’s been a login from a source you don’t know about.

Avoid the unwanted photo tag

Did a friend just put your drunk as hell photograph, wearing a “I hate my boss” T-shirt and making an obscene gesture, online? And did your boss and wife see it and blast you for irresponsibility? Other than the embarrassment, you may get into trouble at home or at work because of friends tagging inane photographs they clicked somewhere you don’t remember.If it’s not photographs, it’s minor irritants such as social or festive messages that you unexpectedly get tagged in. Avoid such irritants with a simple click.

Take control now: Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Sharing on Facebook. Click on ‘Customize settings’. In the page that pops up, choose in each option who can see and comment on things you share, things on your Wall and things you’re tagged in.

Secure your account

Hacking is increasingly a problem on Facebook. The reason is that on most of the networks, Facebook (unlike email clients) works on an unsecured connection (http) and not a secure one (https). Now the social networking site gives you an option to choose a secure site for logging and browsing. You can also choose one-time passwords when logging into Facebook from a public connection.

Take control now: Go to Account > Account Settings> Account Security > Secure Browsing. Tick on Browse Facebook on a Secure Connection (https) whenever possible. In case you are using a public computer, take the option of Facebook One-time Passwords. Text “OTP” to 32665 on your mobile phone and you will get a new one-time password which expires within 20 minutes.

Stop Facebook from haunting you online

Baffled when your Facebook profile image pops up every time you are reading a news site or a travel website online asking you to “Like” a news or review since another friend from Facebook does? Or surprised when you are browsing a travel website and your friends’ photographs pop up suddenly, saying they have been there and “Recommend” a hotel or site? Facebook has partnered with some websites to, as it delicately puts it, “provide you with great, personalized experiences the moment you arrive, such as immediately playing the music you like or displaying friends’ reviews”. Basically if you are logged in to Facebook, these sites can take information from your account and display it and also tell you which of your friends have visited that particular city earlier. If you wish to stop Facebook from haunting you everywhere you go online on your browser, act now.

Take control now: To block a third party, go to Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites> Instant Personalization. Deselect Enable Instant Personalization to stop getting these subtle suggestions from Facebook.

Cut off the ads

A Facebook friend, Mr-I-Like-Everything, “Likes” yet another page and it pops up as a suggestion on the right side of your profile. If you have been on Facebook long enough, chances are one of the “Sponsored” pages has been shoved under your nose at least once. These little ad blurbs which keep popping up on the right-hand side corner, or underneath your apps on the left side of your page, are a mix of advertisements as well as Facebook’s way of further profiling you. Facebook calls them “Suggestions” that add to your social personality, but they are just ads.

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