All 3 entries tagged Crowd

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October 14, 2017

Customers are your true Micro influencers for branding in social media and elsewhere

Writing about web page https://socialnomics.net/2017/08/01/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-micro-influencers/

branding-2456457_640.jpg
Here is a small story of a dog, which became a micro-influencer to millions. It was in those years when there was hardly any social network on the Web and Television ad campaigns were popular.

It was in 2005 that the advertising campaign in TV for the Vodafone brand came out in India. Vodafone was called Hutchinson Essar then and it was a company buyout. In the ad, a small dog (a Pug) follows a small boy wherever he goes, to all the unlikely places, the barbershop, playground, bath and to the school. It was hilarious and at the same time touching. It caught the interest of the TV audience across the country. Vodafone used the analogy, “Wherever you go, our network follows” and conveyed it through the advertisement. Ogilvy and Mather the famous advertisement company was behind that TV ad campaign.

The ad was a huge hit. The pug raised the popularity of the Vodafone brand in India. The pug was so much of an influence on the Vodafone brand that when people saw it on the posters they immediately recollected that it was the “Hutch dog” brand. The sale of pug dogs also increased during those years. In fact, customers had even downloaded wallpapers of the pug on to their phone screens further creating an indirect endorsement. The pug dog was a good example of a micro-influencer.

Now fast forward 10 years and what we have is the latest band of micro-influencers, who are actually users of popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. The micro-influencers have thousands of followers, who send in their likes and comments for their posts.

Micro-influencers are different from celebrities. Micro-influencers in social networks are individuals with smaller fan base groups and they specialize in a specific vertical or subject area. There is usually high level of engagement on their activities from their fan base.

Infact, many of the digital marketing professionals agree that you cannot apply a blanket ad campaign across the entire population of the audience. Managing the millennial crowd is different. What professionals say is that it would be more effective if the ad campaigns were used on smaller groups with ranging consumer interests and lifestyles. This is exactly where the micro influencers play a very effective and important role in spreading the word and their role is cut out in the world of digital marketing.

In the above page from socialnomics, Philip Piletic talks about how product brands can leverage micro-influencers to their advantage. Offering free goods and services to your customers in return for good will is one excellent gesture. A restaurant on a brand awareness campaign can offer free dinners to couples on certain days. The couples most likely would spread the good word to their friends and relatives. This simple gesture not only increases the brand awareness of the restaurant but also will have a strong positive impression in the minds of people in that locality. Your customers are your true micro-influencers, says Philip. It helps build a loyal customer base.

We have been seeing the increasing usage of micro-influencers for brand awareness campaigns. They are genuine and sincere and they connect with their audience unlike celebrities who may sometimes be passé with changing times.

Please do comment on your perspectives. Cheers.


April 01, 2017

Being an individual in a crowd – We learn and evolve as better individuals

Writing about web page https://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/08/individualism-is-dead/

People crowd


Who is a Misanthrope?

A new word which made me look up the dictionary. I thank the author and the magazine. I learned something new today.

The Wikipedia states that,

' Misanthropy is a general hatred, distrust and the contempt for human species or human beings'.

A person who holds such feelings is a misanthrope or misanthropist.

Is there a misanthrope in all of us?

Maybe a tiny bit or maybe not all.

It was comforting to read that individualism is still intact. I am talking about the article from 'The Spectator' titled 'the rise of the crowd culture- a generation scared to do anything alone. You can find the link above.

The author presented a very good argument against the "crowd culture" that is ubiquitous in today's myriad social media systems. Where are the individual and individuality gone? is the question that the author asks throughout the article. A satirical approach and write up on the modern day British youth and their crowd behavior with a good dose humor added throughout.

The style of writing was engaging and cheerful. This post is not a critique of the article. In fact, I agree with the author in many ways. But then, I would like to add some points which would make it more wholesome and nourishing for all of us.

True. In a day and age, when we see crowds thronging everywhere and it would be natural for us to assume that individuality has come to an end and the importance of the individual is dead.

This is not the case. There is a big difference between showing your individuality and being part of a crowd. They compliment each other and synergistic. By being individuals in a crowd, we learn and we begin to evolve as better human beings.

Our offices and work environments are very collaborative these days. The millennial (The young crowd who have born between 1982 -2004) have adopted the collaborative mindset as their own. By being collaborative, it is not about "having to put up with your colleagues" in the office space. It is about shared understanding among people to accomplish mutual goals.

We can still retain our own individuality, have our own personal characteristics and preferences. I think this is desired.

What is required is to just do our part. Contribute to the entire process, in whatever small way we can. An interesting adage " The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" excellently summarizes this. Please read an article on the same topic about Office crowd collaboration and how we can motivate the nerds, here.

Office collaboration and corporate social media have huge office crowds as members. They interact daily with it. It would be ironical to say, that there is no space to express individuality in it.

Nerds, geeks, and managers are all different in their thoughts, interests and working patterns. And yet, they all work together collaboratively. They are the office crowd.


There is the bit of social capital in this crowd behavior as much as personal and private benefits that can be gained as individuals.

Advantages of being crowd is that simple. We may not have all the expertise and knowledge in the whole world. But then, when we work together, as in a productive office crowd we stand to gain from each other.

Another important aspect is that it is only through successive iteration of ideas, there is a new insight. New insight leads to newer ideas and thereby innovation.

Though it might appear that a single genius thought and idea has come from an individual, it is the successive collaboration among like minds and iteration that a path-breaking thought or idea emerges.

That way, the world is a huge crowd. I like to bring out an analogy, which I read recently in an article. Ironically, I found it in a much-crowded place called the 'Facebook'. There is an interesting article from Dr. Lipton and Dr. Deborah on the biology of love. The authors say that 50 trillion human cells work together to makes us who we are today. The trillions of cells work together to make the individual successful. The trillion of cells intelligently communicate with each other and send brain signals to regulate the thinking and thereby the actions we take in our lives.

50 trillion human cells is a crowd, isn't it?

The human cells are far smarter than the human crowd. In that, they (cells) communicate with other, keep all the cells important so that no individual cell is left out in the evolution process, reward each other based on the good work they do, store excess energy for later use and also help in the suicide or destruction of rogue cells. Interesting isn't it.

As individuals and as a crowd, we are far behind. Through the cells are innate to us. Our minds have much to learn from this crowd behavior. There is no escape from this crowd. It is up to us as collective humanity with collectivist values, we need to evolve to expand ourselves.

There is no lone genius. Human beings are social animals. Our human brain is social. We have evolved in groups. It is only because of our social nature and through our interactions, we have evolved to be the species who we are today.

There are sub-cultures among various crowds and the evolving crowd behavior where individuality is expressed and appreciated. It brings a sense of identity for ourselves, uplifts the morale and creates a sense of purpose that we are part of something bigger, productive and better.

Hope you liked this article. Please do send me your suggestion and comments.



March 19, 2017

Crowd effects: How crowd behavior influences your social network

Writing about web page http://www.workmonkeylabs.com/social-collective-behavior-how-following-the-crowd-benefits-us/

Crowd at a religious gathering in India
The online dictionary defines a “Crowd” as a large number of people gathered together, in an unruly or disorganized way. People behave wonderfully well, when they are more organized and sane as an individual. But the same individual, when he or she becomes part of the crowd, displays a new behavior and is swayed by the opinion of the crowd. These are crowd effects.
Such crowd effects are seen in massive social mobilizations and social movements across the world.
There are many theorists and researchers who have given us enough in depth background on the sociological perspective of massive social mobilizations. Our point of discussion here in this article, relates to crowd behavior and crowd effects in social networks. After all, there are crowds in a social network as well.

A global statistics survey, from Statista and Global web index, points out that there are about 2.3 Billion active social media users in the world as of Jan, 2016. And that’s a massive crowd.

The question is: are they truly disorganized and unruly? Our popular culture and perception about ‘crowds’ may sometimes refer to them as people who belong to the masses. From a sociological perspective, there is huge section of research and exploration devoted to the science and the collective behavior of the crowds.

What constitutes a crowd, for crowd effects to take shape?

In this perspective, we will explore the article titled “Social collective behavior: How following the crowd benefits us”. As people, we are sometimes emotional and are swayed by popular opinion of the crowd. As the article points out, there are direct benefits and private information which we stand to gain, if we follow the crowd. Such private information and benefits follow a path of information cascades and spreads quickly as a contagion. We will explore this in a little while from now.
As mentioned earlier, it is essential to understand the dynamics of collective behavior of the crowds. There is an ongoing contention among researchers, that any group behavior is a collective behavior of the crowds and as such, there need not be a separate study for such crowd behavior. This leads us to ask what a crowd is then. Crowd is just any group of people. I would like to defer from the above definition from the online dictionary.

There are crowds gathered for religious movements, celebrations and office people gathering outside their buildings. The people who form these crowds bring in their own personal characteristics to the group. They follow a certain pattern. They all behave according to certain established cultural guidelines and structure. For example, crowds for celebrations, social movements and contests have established procedures and shades of cultural underpinnings and as such, understanding the crowd effects and collective behavior of such gatherings and group may not add value.

For us to understand collective Crowd behavior, within the context of crowd effects, the crowds should not have well defined cultural guidelines or organized with established procedures. Crowds should form at random, as in an event or an incident. For example, crowds that form at random on the roads, to watch a building construction or even a crowd that forms, when there has been a road accident.

Crowds have a mind of their own

Many theorists have pointed that crowds, have a mind of their own. A popular theory among others is the “Group mind theory”. Individuals exist apart but act as one in the group. Their thinking processes are stimulated by each other’s feelings and intentions. In other words, individuals are motivated by each other.

The explanation is that the minds of people, are acting towards a common cause and the individuals are cooperating towards the common cause. We have seen such behavior within the animal world. Animals which move together in a swarm exhibit such behavior. Nevertheless, understanding crowd effects and collective behavior is a complex phenomenon.

Crowd effects are unpredictable and happen in the NOW.

At this juncture, I would like to say that crowd effects are unpredictable. History is replete with incidents and events where the collective behavior of the crowds have been always unpredictable. For example, the crowd behavior during the FA cup, semifinal match in England in 1988, is still intriguing. What prompted the frenzied fans to behave in a manner, which resulted in a human crush is still not known. There are numerous reports from the police. Still another vivid example, is the stampede that had occurred during the annual Hajj at Mecca.

Experts and research practitioners are baffled and prediction can only happen after studying crowds in similar scenarios.

But then, how the crowd will behave at random during any event or gathering is still a mystery and unpredictable. Perhaps, the group-mind theory above can offer some help to understand it.

Collective crowd behavior in social media: The concept of information cascades

People in a crowd are sometimes emotional and are swayed to act and speak in a manner which is conducive to the common objectives of the crowd. There is no rationale towards such acts.

People gravitate towards a crowd, when there is beneficial private information or direct benefits involved.

When there is a direct benefit by being in a crowd and as result you stand to gain, a not so easily available private information, there is no rationale adopted. People just spread the network and join the crowd. This phenomenon is known by the term “Information cascades”.

People would want to align to a crowd and follow the crowd with no rationale or limited rationale. Sometimes, even where there is no direct benefit involved. This is information cascades at its peak.

We have seen many popular social media tools, which have raised to fame within a short period of time. For example, You Tube, had many good features which appealed to the masses for video sharing. There was information cascade and people just thronged to the site making it extremely popular. So is the case with Facebook and Twitter as well.
Another term used within this context is the ‘Network effect’, where people follow other actions and spread it, when there is something good and worthwhile happening.

For this reason, it would seem that the popular social media tools are powerful and cannot be displaced. But then, the same crowd behavior can be replicated by new comers as well, if we follow the popular opinion and make adjustments accordingly.

Finally, what I would like to say

It was interesting to note in this scenario, on how the incentive structures in social media tools can be put to good use to sway the crowds and inculcate the desired collective behavior among them. In essence, a desired crowd effect. Yes, it is unpredictable, but there is a chance of steering it in the right direction within the context of a social network, at least. The right incentive structures can motivate crowds in the right direction to bring in long term sustainable change. Incentive structures as pointed above can include both private information and direct benefits.

It goes without saying that the wealth is in the networks. Collective crowd behavior can stimulate and facilitate people to move in the right direction. Lastly, what I would like to say is that, it is no more a theory. We are seeing it practically, the crowd effects happening through the popular social media tools. It is in our best interest to follow the crowd.

Hope you liked this article. I do need your suggestions.


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Welcome ! about the blog

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Coffee mug conversations and listening – about social media, networks, collaboration and crowds.

Human beings are social animals. We have evolved to this date and time, because of our social nature. We love groups and we love to share.

I write about re-inventing ourselves and our work through Social media, Social networks, Work Collaboration, Innovation and lastly Work life balance.

I completed my Masters in IT for manufacture, WMG, University of Warwick. I graduated in the year 2004.

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