Thursday, May 8, 2014

Advertising

It's that time of year again when many agencies suddenly begin to care about forgotten social issues, ads with the smallest of logo units are released in unheard media publications, brands develop avatars far removed from what they have during the rest of the year, copy turns smarter and more often than not layered, some careers are made, trips are planned, drinks poured, scandals, etc; till the cycle repeats itself next year. #Advertising #MadMen #MadIndustry 

Friday, April 25, 2014

How do I look?

Nothing compares ‘meeting someone in person’. It isn’t always possible, especially in today’s times.
However, what is truly different in the modern times is ‘meeting someone but not-in-person’. We now meet a lot more people – but only through our eyes or ears.

Examples:

  1. Phone calls  of any kind where we can hear people (these days we can see them as well)
  2. Pictures – when we meet people through the eyes only (especially on social media these days)
  3. We also meet people while watching televisions shows, movies, online videos, etc. – through these two senses

This would definitely have had far-reaching implications on humankind – a small part of which I would like to discuss here.

‘The increasing role of these two senses on how we look at others and want to be seen’

These not-in-person meetings are incomplete and hence insufficient to truly meet and understand a person. Yet, we have started to completely believe in these incomplete encounters; thereby increasing the importance of being seen or heard in a certain way.

At some point in history, it probably did not matter as much.

Nowadays, only a rare few would consider questions like, “How do I look?” and “How does he/ she look?” as unimportant. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

To pee in my own personal pot

I did this last night when I finally had a pot I could call my own. It seemed like a significant progression in life as it had taken me 13 months of living in Singapore before I could rent a space I wouldn't need to share. Its amazing how life-stages can sometimes be measured using scales that are nowhere related to it.

It is also interesting how I ended up comparing an act with absolute meaninglessness as 'peeing' within a broader context of how the space you're able to rent out reflects on your life stage. While the former remains independant of all expernal factors, us associating it with the latter makes it a reason for meditation/ celebration (in my case). 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Visuals

Eyes were shut. The word 'mentally' passed by. I saw how the fourth finger pressed uncomfortably against the keyboard twice for 'll'. The point of view made my fingers look huge and the effort equally taxing. Almost feared a fracture of the bone.

Then the index finger followed to type the 'I'. The jump was uncomfortable. Like certain notes on the keyboard. Felt some familiarity.

'Intelligence' passed by next. The same feelings swept the mind. Found this word dirty. Always felt it was show off word. Type it, but never play it.

'Entally' passed by next. Was I looking for words rhyming? I wasn't. But they just kept occurring. The visual was of the yellow and red buses in Calcutta. Withy the name 'Entally' painted in red on all sides. Used to think of it as some downmarket place. And so I always wanted to visit it. I did perhaps. Don't think there is any place in Cal I didn't.

And rushes of walking along in search of meanings. Seemed so meaningful. Is so meaningless. Not really. Still breathes in some corner. Never to be lived again. Never want to. But they never die either.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Funerals. And Farewells.


The title describes it.

A closure ritual is necessary. The beating of chests, tears overflowing, acceptance of powers beyond, ceremony, etc. The body disappears. Memory remains. Longing and the love for the person stays back. Yet, something changes with the closure ritual. Acceptance maybe? Nothing changes, except the addition of an acceptance lens of looking at the same person.

Farewells with their overdose of emotions and revelations do the same. The closure unless done in the form of a closure doesn’t seem like an end. And hence, not like a start the next morning.

A closure ritual changes nothing yet changes everything deep within.

Monday, December 31, 2012

So many LIKES




Here are a few observations about behaviour as seen on social media and possible implications that it has had on people's lives.

So many likes

Appreciation has now become convenient - just the click of an icon. Appreciation has become common - for random status updates, pictures, videos and articles shared, etc. Acknowledgement and appreciation used to be more cumbersome in the past. It required some amount of effort to actually show it or say it. It was also something that was reserved for bigger occasions and events in one's life. Today, we tend to appreciate through likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. multiple times each day.

As a consequence, the need to be appreciated has also increased. So has the need to be seen by others while being appreciated.

It could be said that as people get more busy with their lives and have fewer actual interactions with their social circles, they feel a gap being created in their lives. While this is never completely filled in by appreciation and interaction on social media, it has started assuming a bigger role in people's life with the acceptance of this form of living. Hence, the dependence on being appreciated publicly on social media is becoming more real and increasingly crucial to people.

De-sensitizing

At any point in time in our lives earlier, we would be exposed to a smaller set of events that used to occur in our environment. We were exposed to stories in the lives of friends whenever we would meet them or speak to them in person - and this was usually be a small group of people. We were exposed to news through word of mouth, television and newspapers whenever we would expose ourselves to it.

A hypothesis here is that with lesser events happening in and around our lives and us being exposed to them in intervals of time which were longer, we would be able to dedicate a greater share of our emotions to them.
Today, with social media where we have are connected with much larger circle of people and get updated on events from their lives and from the world constantly, it has led to us allocating a much lower share of our emotional self with these happenings. This has reduced our sensitivity towards everything that is happening around us because there is just too much happening. For us to devote a part of our emotions to an event or occurrence, it needs to be really important. If it is not that important, we just feel that we have conveniently done our bit by sharing, liking or commenting on it. We are now much less sensitive to occurrences in our environment than what we used to be.

I support the cause

The obvious argument the moment I mention that we are de-sensitized to events around us is the whole social media leading to revolutions and awakening in thousands of people. This phenomenon is true and cannot be argued. We do align ourselves with causes which seem of extreme importance in our environment. In some cases, we do go beyond virtual support and take up the challenge on ground.

However, with hundreds of causes that occur in our environment each day, our alignment with them overall has decreased. I repeat that unless we find something extremely critical, we do not emotionally align ourselves with the cause. In most cases, it is just a convenient casual alignment by showing support online and forgetting about the cause completely or moving on till the next one.

We need much in terms of criticality from an event for it to move our hearts.

See - I have a life

Some people are doing a lot of things in their everyday lives while some, a few. Examples include travelling to places, spending time with people close to them, shopping, eating out, dressing up, celebrating important moments, reading, writing, taking up a hobby, etc. This varies from person to person and has always been so. However, when it comes to social media, we are constantly exposed to a feed from a very large group which keeps exposing us to all the different things that people are upto. The belief about the inputs that go in to constitute a 'good life' have increased significantly. No matter how much we wish to ignore, it can lead to developing two conditions:

1. That we are not doing enough in our own lives - as we tend to compare our life with the sum total of all the people in our social circle

2. That we would not remain an acceptable part of this social group if we do not show that we also have a life which is happening

In some extreme cases, it can even lead to a situation where showing that we have an eventful and interesting life/ opinion assumes greater importance than living and enjoying the moment. However on a more common level, we do tend to feel some pressure to show that we have an interesting life.

Taking a break

The pattern in which social media is commonly accessed is like taking a break from regular work. At regular intervals, they would switch to the various windows open on their browsers or pick up their phones and go through get their minds occupied with the updates. Again, there are two implications of this that I can think of:

1. It provides them with a feed that is different from what they are doing - hence it helps diverting their minds from their regular work

2. With people being more busy and the definition of means of entertainment changing, they expect social media to fill in for this need

This entertainment-diversion of the mind, could have resulted in the pattern of content which is entertaining, visual, aesthetic, appealing, etc. grabbing attention and becoming popular. Social media is an avenue which provides us with a regular dose of entertaining diversion of the mind.

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Obviously this is not an exhaustive encapsulation even for me. But any further observations and implications are most welcome. Can keep updating this post as more thoughts are discussed.

Also, these observations would not be true in all cases. Just saying J

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Shop to A Shop



Shopping malls make a lot of sense when seen from a practical perspective. Almost everything that one requires for day-to-day living is bundled up under one roof. Malls these days would usually have a food court, stand-alone eating joints, fashion stores, movie theatre, super-market, entertainment stores and other shops for practically everything a person needs.

It wasn't like this before. I have grown up watching independent shops. Most of the times, these shops were based on the ground level of residences facing the street. Some used to be standalone as well. I have seen streets known for a particular kind of need: streets known for food joints, for latest in fashion, for jewelry, etc. There were certain areas shopping and food just as there were residential areas.

Even after having lived with malls for over a decade, I don’t feel comfortable with the concept. They provide convenience to shoppers and businessmen, but something is amiss for me with this concept.

Is it that malls are a new way of living; something that I have not grown up with; and hence I can never completely adapt to it? Or is there more to it?

My discomfort is probably from the lack of emotions that I feel inside the malls. I do not mean that people don’t treat me well enough in the mall. I am usually impressed by good services with some occasional exceptions. However, when I look back at the individual shops of the olden days, even if they didn’t provide proper service at times, there were real emotions that could be seen. There were times when some neighborhood shopkeeper would not pay attention to me even if he didn’t have any customers, some who would ask me to come and sit inside the counter and chat, some who would always be in a hurry to finish off the transaction, etc. Some of the people working in these shops were those I had seen for years. With some shops, I could not distinguish its staff whenever I would think of them. People in these shops were more of themselves than trying to be someone that they are supposed to be in a store which is supposed to deliver a certain kind of experience. 

The difference that I feel is that I used to see people own their shops. It was a part of their life the way they had chosen it to be. It was not just a job for them even though it provided for their living. It was them. From the way things would be arranged, to the way people would be served to the entire experience inside the shop; it reflected the personalities and the emotions of the people who owned and ran the place.

Inside any store at a mall, I don’t feel like I am within people who are different in their own unique way. They are usually being nice and being nice is a requirement. When they are rude it is usually because there is something bothering them but not always their nature to be rude. The stores have a certain kind of a look and an experience and that has been created to evoke certain kinds of emotions towards the brand. While the effort on the part of brands to deliver on a certain kind of an experience does come across, it also leaves me craving for emotions which erupt from people and not from marketing plans.  

For me, this change has converted shops from being My Shop to A Shop.