When Facebook became Twitter and Twitter became Facebook…

Twitter: Let me introduce the Twitter News stream.
Facebook: Good idea. Let me also do something like that.

Facebook: The Like button is a smashing success.
Twitter: OK you can Favourite something too.

Twitter: You just can’t beat my ReTweet concept.
Facebook: OK let me introduce Share.

Facebook: You can post photos, now that’s exclusive to me.
Twitter: OK, you can post photos too.

Facebook: Well I have groups.
Twitter: OK, I have lists.

Twitter: My Followers concept is unique.
Facebook: Or so you think!

Twitter: My hashtags are unique.
Facebook: Or so you think!

So is it TweetBook or FBWitter?

And will the two merge one of these days?

These versions by Sunil Rajguru


One beautiful old book surpasses a trillion online bytes.

One real world trumps a billion virtual worlds.

One genuine disciple beats a million Followers.

One Rupee spent wisely offline beats 100,000 virtual bucks.

One real, small and humble farm beats 10,000 on Farmville.

One true friend beats a 1000 on Facebook.

One warm offline appreciation beats a 100 likes.

One game played in Mother Earth’s lap beats 10 virtual games played simultaneously.

One real life lived genuinely beats a false virtual life full of lies and make-believe.

© Sunil Rajguru

The Circle of Social Networking…

Step 1. A competitor comes out with a change.
Step 2. Facebook changes overnight.
Step 3. We resist, scramble, grumble, complain…
Step 4. We totally get used to it. Many new users join in.
Step 5. Immediately go back to Step 1.

∙ Facebook  has mastered the art of penniless acquisitions.
Instead of taking over Twitter, it cannibalized the Twitter Status Update.
Instead of fighting Google+, it simply became Facebook+.

∙ The Facebook Evolution…
From: What’s on your mind?
To: I know what’s on your mind!

∙ Another Facebook related change…
From now on, WTF! will stand for What The Facebook!

∙ Wanted, a self-help book…
Help! Who moved my Facebook?
Potential customers: 750 million and counting.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

7 reasons why Social Networking is the “Thing of the Year”

1. Facebook crosses 350 million.
That’s more accounts than email market leader Yahoo. If Facebook was a separate country, then we’d all live in virtual utopia full of lovey dovey friends and groups, no enemies, virtual gifts, quizzes that predict the future, virtual farms, water worlds, nice Tarot sessions and fortune cookies… And yeah, in numbers, that’s next only to the population of China and India.

2. US actor Ashton Kutcher gets 4 million “Followers” on Twitter.
How many did Jesus Christ have in his lifetime? What was the population of the kingdom at that time anyway? Will Kutcher state in a Lennonisque fashion: “I am more popular than…”?

3. The Most Powerful Man in the World is on LinkedIn.
And Twitter (Trailing Kutcher with close to 3 million Followers). And Facebook. (A cool 7 million supporters).
Is that why he beat Senator McCain? Great power in the online world as a launching pad? (Even if Obama doesn’t actually post the updates himself, it’s still a Huge Leap Forward for Cybermankind)

4. The high and mighty are all getting Socially Networked.
Raymond T. Odierno, the Commanding General, Multi-National Force—Iraq is on Facebook! And he’s joined by Pakistan’s former General Pervez Musharraf! Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is on Twitter? Need I say more? I could go on and on… but you get the general picture!

5. Controversies! Controversies! Controversies!
When anything enters into multiple controversies, then you know it’s time has come.
Republican Joe Wilson raised his finger to Obama and said, “You lie!” and before he knew it, a storm was unleashed on Twitter. The Internet assures an immediate and widespread backlash nowadays. (Incidentally, Wilson is also on Twitter!)
Religious leaders slammed Facebook and there was a surfeit of crimes related to these networking sites
In humble India too, where the Internet penetration is so low, there was the Shashi Tharoor Twittergate controversy, where the minister almost lost his job and the hilarious trending topic #chetanblocks related to writer Chetan Bhagat blocking a Follower.

6. Reel life and fiction.
A Twitter mention in the climax of the latest Robert Langdon adventure? Facebook in a Bollywood movie? Social Networking gained a lot of traction in 2009 and it is inspiring a lot of fiction for 2010 and beyond. Look out for Kevin Spacey produced The Social Network about the founding of Facebook. (Directed by none other than David Fincher)

7. The Uber Cyber Ego.
The new age Ego Search was the Google Search. But now here’s something even better…
How are you feeling? What are you eating? Do you have a headache? Are you stuck in a traffic jam?
Is anyone interested? Well even if they are not, then you can make sure a few thousand people at least know about it. If you’re a celebrity, make that millions—all without a newspaper, TV channel or a personal website. A handful of social networking accounts will do the trick.

© Sunil Rajguru

Let’s meet… in cyberspace

Are you lonely? Do you want to build a social network just sitting in front of your computer? Do you want to use the Net to build up a business network in a short time? Or do you just want to get together in the virtual world and have fun? Whatever it is, online groups are mushrooming and connecting people all across the world like never before.

Consider the figures. A Pew Internet Survey showed that 20 million people take part in an online group in America alone. An AC Nielsen survey found that nearly 40 per cent of Americans participate in online communities for hobbies, shared personal interests and health-related issues. Today there are hundreds of social networking sites with Friendster claiming that 13 million people have joined them alone.

Virtual camaraderie

But what exactly is a virtual community? One definition could be a social group connected in any way by the Net. The origin of such groups were the Bulletin Board System, where a software allowed users to download and upload data, read news and exchange messages with other users. This was followed by the popularity of the e-mail and as bandwidth increased, it became more and more easy to connect online. Today many sites serve as online meeting ground where millions can discuss matters of importance or even triviality.

So what do they want?

Take the case of Renith Valsaraj, who’s a software professional based in Bangalore. An amateur photographer looking to make it big, he sought out amateur photographers around the world to form an online group. “You don’t want to do things alone. You need company and this is the best way to do that. It’s a serious group and it’s more knowledge transfer than anything else,” he says. He formed the Bangalore Photographers Group and has notched up a membership of more than 300 photographers. Many of them meet regularly and hold exhibitions.

How Bangalore Quiz Group happened

For Prakash Subbarao, who’s taken online quizzing to new heights, it was loneliness that led him to form an online group. He’s formed the Bangalore Quiz Group, which crossed the 500-membership mark within four months of being formed. The group has daily online quizzes and even meets offline from time to time to conduct quizzes “just for fun”.

“I have made tremendous business contacts in a very short period of time. I probably would not have been able to achieve this in such a short time span offline”, admits Prakash.

In his own words: “It happened on one cold wintry night in Bangalore. It was fairly late and I was sitting in front of my PC wondering, “What next?” On an impulse, I decided to start an online quiz group. I went over to Yahoo! and created a group called “The Bangalore Quiz Group”. It took about five minutes to set up. What next? I needed members. So I went over to Ryze.com and posted messages to the two groups where I am a member-the Bangalore Balaga and the Bangalore Business Network. The results were gratifying. Within minutes members started straggling in and in another 48 hours, the membership crossed 100. It was the 1st of September, 2004. We crossed the 500-member mark in January 2005.”

So, what’s your online group?

(This article appeared in Living Digital magazine in March 2005)