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Welcome to the ninth issue of Udantya! ________________________________

This month on Udantya, we examine the dynamics of Social Media! __________________________ Backstage Pass The Essence of Udantya Megaphone A Word from the Editors Spotlight Changing with Social Media - Aparna Vidyasagar Socio-verse - Namita Azad Darkroom ‘Social Networking’- How do you use it? – Aparna Vidyasagar Armchair Critic Book Review: ‘MWF Seeking BFF’ – Aparna Vidyasagar Jam Session Cameo Next-Generation Enterprises and the Role of Social Technologies - Nikhil Nulkar FAQ

BACKSTAGE PASS The very essence of artistic expression is that, it is captured in many different ways.

A picture, a word or a tune. Your rebellion, your journey and your destination. Here, we aim to capture it all. Join us or explore with us. Welcome to Udantya. Welcome to our creative space!

Udantya aims to be a collaborative effort. If you have any articles, photos or music you would like to share, please email us at Future themed issues will be announced a month in advance.

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From the Editors Social networking is revolutionizing the way we think and communicate. And so, this month on Udantya, we explore the social networking phenomenon and ask what social networking means to you. Over the past year or so we have selected themes that resonate with us and intuitively inspire creative thinking. The evolution of the social networking is a phenomenon that certainly resonates with us. Our magazine is hosted on WordPress, where we are a part of a large online blogging community; we communicate with our readers via Facebook and gauge participation and opinions in real time. However, social networking is not necessarily a theme that intuitively inspires creativity. But we at Udantya love a creative challenge! We hope you enjoy this month’s issue- we had a lot of fun putting it together! This month’s Spotlight features articles by Namita and Aparna. Namita explores the dynamic nature of different

social networking cites she uses. Aparna evaluates her history as a member of different social networks and examines the evolution of the format and her role in the online community. As more and more businesses use various forms of social networking, Aparna decided to step out in to the Portland, OR community and speak to various local business-people. How do they use social networking for business and personal use? Find out in this month’s Darkroom! In the Armchair critic, Aparna introduces ‘MWF Seeks BFF’a book which explores social networking in all its forms-online and otherwise. Jam Session features some surprising facts on the diverse effects of social media. Read on and see! This month marks the debut of Cameo contributor Nikhil Nulkar, who is passionate about technology and innovation. He writes of social media in enterprises and the changing face of business.

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Changing with Social Media By Aparna Vidysagar I must begin with full disclosure. I am rather leery of social media, though not in all its avatars. I am only a part of Facebook and Flickr and am a former member of the ‘Twitterverse’, leaving well before various variations of the word ‘Twitter’ had become embedded in the popular lexicon. I don’t suppose this makes me ‘social media savvy’ in terms of scale, but I like to believe that I use these sites to best serve my requirements (mostly keeping in touch with friends in various corners of the world). However, over time, I have noticed that the roles of social networking, especially Facebook, have evolved, making my requirements seems rather simplistic and making me wonder whether I need to step up my game, so to speak. Does keeping away from social media somehow make me an anachronistic entity? Do I need to keep up with the trends and use social media differently/better? Part of the reason why I am so wary of social media, primarily networking sites, is my need for privacy. It wasn’t a concern in the early days of format but lately, things have been getting spooky. I had once uploaded an album of old pictures from my childhood. Suddenly, one day, Facebook suggests I add the name of a particular city as the location for this album! Now, I have never given Facebook any of that information, neither is that information readily available anywhere else that

I can think of. What this means is, there is some computer program out there, cross-referencing a large cohort of data or analyzing my pictures in order to come up with the minuscule details of where I must’ve spent my childhood. Creepy. It’s like I have a stalker, silently reading my diary while I sleep. Meanwhile, Facebook thinks it’s being helpful. Like, “Don’t you want to reveal a little bit more of yourself today?”. The question is, to whom? And it scares me that in reality, quite clearly, I don’t have very much control. I try to keep my information disclosure to a minimum. I police my privacy settings often, un-checking automatically checked boxes of new privacy policies. It’s like a game- “Aha Mr. Zuckerberg, I beat you again!”. If I am so wary, one might ask, then why be on a social network in the first place? Therein lies the conundrum and the inherent allure of most social networking. I truly enjoy being able to be in touch with my friends. I love the quirky conversation threads we have. Even if we are in different time zones, we are all part of the same conversation. I would never be able to get them all on a phone on the same conference call. And, I love seeing my notification numbers in the morning (yes, Facebooking-the verb, has become a morning ritual along with the news and coffee!). Is this need to be in touch artificial? Or, would we have found other ways to be in touch? Even if I choose to take a stance and say, “I’m outta here”, I have the nagging insecurity that I am somehow missing out on certain camaraderie. Such is the seduction of social networking; Facebook in my case.

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I have also noticed an evolution in the ways that Facebook is being used. At first it was just a bunch of status messages detailing the minutiae of somebody’s day. It was rather tiring to see and I kept away from it all, making myself a silent member of the Facebook community. This was also the main reason why I left Twitter. In the microblogging format there was an implied pressure to constantly update and post things. I found myself having nothing to communicate at that rate; and if all that was left were the details of my personal life, I didn’t feel the need to share those either. Nowadays, I see folks using their status messages differently, like an online billboard, for bigger things. They share interesting news stories and videos; champion causes dear to them or share details of work that they do or have done. It’s fascinating to see all these diverse perspectives come together. And, for me, many of my strictly ‘Facebook friends’ suddenly have a role to play in my life. There’s the one who always shares interesting tech-stories, the one with the funny blog or the one with a great online business. People are no longer looking to just fill the airwaves with their social media use; they are using it to share what is important to them or to those around them. Finally, you can grow a little while being in the world of Facebook and other social media. This brings me back to one of my original questions for this piece- ‘do I need to use social media differently too?’. Is there some sort of shared responsibility that falls upon me, as a member of this, now thriving, online community? Are we following the path to existing as a society in cyber-space? My personal opinion is that there is a tiny onus- to spread awareness; broaden perspectives. The online platform is a

great forum. Whatever your message, if you reach even a handful of those in your group of online friends, you may be on the path to instigating change. When it comes to my other social media platform- Flickr, the participation is more of a given and comes easily. You comment on pictures, give encouragement and constructive criticism and others do the same for you. You ‘favoritize’ pictures that you like, thereby highlighting another’s work and giving them their due. It’s very natural to grow as a photographer on Flickr and the feeling of community is immediately apparent. And, so, I’ve evolved as social media user, re-inventing the format’s uses for myself while keeping my own concerns (privacy mainly) in perspective. It is exciting for me to discover new contacts via Flickr, some of whom have even been pen pals. I enjoy reaching out to Udantya’s readers on Facebook in addition to seeing their feedback here on WordPress. I have started trying to participate more actively in Facebook, sharing news articles that I see there, instead of just in an email thread to my close friends. I still remain a little wary of experimenting with some of the newer social media formats such as Google+ and Pinterest; besides worrying about how much of my information is out there, I also don’t know how much of a time commitment these will require. However, I have to admit, Pinterest is the type of online forum that is immediate and leads directly to the discovery of new and varied perspectives. As I move forward in my own life, I look to learn and make new connections. Social media is proving to be a valuable tool for just such a purpose!

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Socio – Verse By Namita Azad

My mornings begin with a cup of coffee, last night’s play-list running through the headphones, and a line-up of tabs on Google Chrome. The order is usually Gmail, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter, CNN and the New York Times- all in order of priority in my cyberspace life. I never stop to think too much about this but when we at Udantya decided to explore this social media trend, I took a step back. Evidently, my first interest is in how my immediate network of friends is doing- this I find out when I check the emails received through the night and my Facebook updates. Next comes the scenery of the creative world with the latest photo uploads on Flickr and the picks on Pinterest. And finally the lay of the land with news updates on Twitter, CNN and New York Times. What is it, that these websites are offering individuals like myself, every morning? Are they an excuse to procrastinate or a virtual companion that has all the answers? Social media has blown our connectivity to a proportion that some may argue is more than necessary. In my experience, social networking sites and the Internet as a whole have expanded the scope of experience. Whether it is getting acquainted with an idea of which I may have never heard, or rekindling an old friendship, social networks have bridged the gap effortlessly. However, one thing that strikes me most is the silent revolution that is occurring within these social

networking sites. The news of Osama Bin Laden’s demise was not brought to my knowledge via the morning paper, a news channel or even a person but through an endless series of Facebook status updates. Users were actively making a choice to exhibit this piece of information over others. And on May 2, 2011, everyone in my Facebook and Twitter networks was aware of one of the biggest events of the past decade and were choosing to acknowledge and announce it. Facebook users are often accused of being consumed by it but I see it being used more often as a way to share important global issues, gather support for personal endeavours and announce political movements. It has given young minds the opportunity to have have their voice heard and experiment with ideas. Social media sites are also creating launch pads for young entrepreneurs through websites like Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram. Designers and food bloggers entice users by displaying a single photo on Pinterest which hyperlinks to their main website where users can learn more. One may argue that this is a shortcut marketing strategy. However, I think that if you can catch the interest of your target audience with a single display, then you can do wonderful things when putting forth everything you have to offer. Similarly Flickr has given a great platform for budding photographers to display their work to an audience that shares a similar caliber in the art. You can display your skill and receive constructive feedback as well as be inspired by fellow photographers. I have personally used Flickr as the starting point of my photography escapades and now when I look through my photostream, I can see an evident growth. This gives me the confidence to display my works on websites such as which showcases the works of

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more evolved artists. Instagram, the popular mobile media application has created the concept of ‘fast photography’ by allowing instantaneous editing options and quick sharing. Popularly known as ‘Instagramers’, this new niche in the growing population of photographers is capturing the world in a new way.

needs as well as linked to universe of information that’s out there. This is a power that every person in the 21st century has; access to information. Social media websites are tools that provide structured accessibility to this information and give us the liberty pick and choose what best resonates with us.

Evidently, social media is growing at an exponential rate! Every day there are new websites launched with yet another innovative way of capturing interests. And every day, critics judge how more of our time is spent in cyberspace. Social media comes with its baggage of pros and cons but I stand by the argument that if you realize its ‘good side’, you can use it to push the envelope in every aspect of your life. My favorite networking sites keep me connected to my immediate

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Social Networking – How do you use it? by Aparna Vidyasagar

Udantya went out to local businesses in Portland, OR to ask how they use social networking in business and personal life! Support your local businesses!

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‘MWF Seeks BFF’ A Book Review by Aparna Vidyasagar I recently had the pleasure of attending first time author, Rachel Bertsche’s reading for her book ‘MWF Seeking BFF’ (MWF-Married White Female, BFF-Best Friend Forever). Now, I am not one for the ‘how to’ type books and I abhor SMS-type acronyms, but the premise of the book was rather intriguing. Newlywed Rachel Bertsche is new to Chicago and doesn’t have any close female friends. Nobody to call at the last minute for lunch or make fun, TV watching dates. So, she decides to take charge of matters and sets out to find her BFF. Every week she goes on one ‘friend date’ with potential BFFs, and scoring friend dates is no easy task. Besides pursuing old college acquaintances and meeting friends of friends, Rachel puts herself out there- getting to know the friendly waitress at her favorite restaurant a little better, joining an improv class, a restaurant club, hiring a friend finding service and even hiring a friend! Being a recent transplant to Portland, I could relate to the feeling of being new in a city and wanting friends- close

friends, who are local. Except, I wasn’t planning to do much about it- probably because I didn’t think there was much I could do. I was meeting people through friends, and I figured once I was situated in work or volunteering activities, I would meet people anyway. And most importantly, my ‘old’ friends have always been there for me, only a phone call or email away. If there was a void, it could be filled somehow; just not locally. What intrigued me about Rachael’s book, was Rachael herself. She was exactly my age, personable, warm and clearly funny. She seemed like someone with whom I would want to be friends. Suddenly, the premise of the book seemed more than just relateable- it was rather close to identical! And, if she felt the need to embark on a friend making journey, then…? The book celebrates social networking in all its forms. There are the traditional, age-old methods- being set up by a mutual friend or getting to know your co-workers and old acquaintances better. Then there are the methods where you push your boundaries- gathering the courage to suggest a potential friendship to those who seem friendly and interesting and taking classes that broaden experiences. Lastly, there are the methods that make use of all the innovations that have come with the turn of this century- hiring a service that sets up friend dates, matching people using algorithms, or a service that facilitates that meeting of like minded people, so you don’t have to do the work to find the people- an extension of the already existing social networking. And of course, she also meets her Facebook friends! Rachel’s adventures in social networking are a unique socio-anthropological study for present times. She peppers her narrative with scientific studies and articles which shape her motivation and expand our understanding of friendship in modern times. I won’t give anything away and discuss the

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success or failure of any of these meetings! The book is an interesting read, written in a laid back and humorous style. Rachel Bertsche comes across as an honest, sometimes vulnerable voice, and a reader can easily connect with her story. Most importantly, her year of adventures are encouraging. Even if we have many friends or none at all, we can definitely give ourselves a little push, out of our comfort zones. Doing so may just reveal new and profound connections; or even a new BFF! *** is Rachel Bertsche’s blog and the original home of all the essays that make up the book and a lot more!

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Next-Generation Enterprises and the Role of Social Technologies By Nikhil Nulkar The twenty first century has commenced with a technological revolution in its first decade- one that will have a profound impact on the socio-economic and political landscapes of this world. In the past we have seen similar instances; however they have been specific to an industry. The pace of technology evolution and in particular the advent of the Internet has brought about a high-impact transformation in the way business is carried out in today’s world. This new wave of transformation powered by social media is impacting the world as much as it is impacting the enterprises themselves. In the recent past we have seen how social media has gained massive credibility with the role it played in the revolutions of the Middle-East- be it the Iranian elections or the protests in Egypt and Syria. In the West, Barack Obama and his team utilized social media to its full potential during the last presidential election. We are seeing the advent of social media in all areas of our lives, with governments, brands, enterprises and individuals all using it for their benefit. In this article I would like to focus on some of my views on how these emerging social technologies are impacting enterprises; why

the next generation of enterprises have a lot to step-up to in the face of new-generation challenges and why they must rapidly grab on to the emerging opportunities coming their way. Organizations will have to be one step ahead of the present to cope and emerge successfully. In order to face this maturing market trend around social business, there are a set of characteristics that enterprises will need to imbibe; technologies to be recognized and mannerisms to be considered. Enterprises of tomorrow will need to be extremely dynamic; be agile to innovate and adapt to the fluctuations in the market. This brings forth the need for enterprises to become open and transparent- making the boundaries porous to allow for free flow engagement with the internal and external stakeholders. It has become increasingly evident that a wellconnected enterprise can be more efficient. The importance for each core business function to speak to one another appears to be a no-brainer, however this is where most organizations have struggled. With globalization and trends like outsourcing, the challenge to be connected and well learned of the events from cross-functional teams across the globe becomes vital. Internal staff collaboration, customer relationship management and partner liaisons are becoming more significant. Today’s business is much more than just a connected group of autonomous functions. The emerging social technology has had a major role enabling this transformation in enterprises. There is a hoard of

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new breed technologies and apps that have come to surface in the last decade. The trends in general are maturing and though a few of them are still in their infancy, they all show tremendous potential to influence the enterprises. Some of the commonly seen traits in apps are cloud based, mobile friendly, geo-location tagged, and hyper-mashups with social and intuitive user interfaces (UIs) are becoming a default.

It is good to have the social media phenomenon create so much of buzz, but the fact still remains that we should look at this as the next generation of enterprises. We must not only focus on the tools and technologies but also newer approaches to be successful! A combination of the right technologies and thinking is sure to help transform today’s enterprises. Rest assured, the future has some exciting times in store for us.

The aspect upon which the enterprises of the next generation will really have to focus is that of human element. Understanding people’s is at its most important now and this need will only grow in the coming years. In today’s technology-heavy world, we really need to be reminded that in the end we all still deal with humans in whichever context of a business. The next generation enterprises will be successful if they can really comprehend this human element and the social constructs that play a crucial role in businesses. Technological evangelism will take on a new dimension in the coming decades and become the most vital trait that separates the leaders from challengers. There is an increasing emphasis on user experience and user interaction. People are getting used to extreme personalization, real-time activity, and peer-reputation over the traditional options such as static read-only websites/portals. We don’t need anymore to- ‘know-how’ and ‘know-what’ but just need to ‘know-who’ and ‘know-where’. With globalization and the Internet – users, clients, consumers and people in general are more aware and hence it becomes important that enterprises are ready to engage with them. Enterprises of future will need to have a two-way relationship with all these stakeholders. -

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FAQ We’ve had a few questions over the past few months, so we thought it would be a good idea to chart out our very own FAQ page. Do you have specific requirements to submit to Udantya? Absolutely not! We love it all; the quirky, the unexpected and the conventional. Share your ideas with us. We want to highlight creativity and artistic expression in all forms. Since we are a web-magazine, we have not yet felt the need to set any page limits or length restrictions. If that changes, we will let you know! How much time do I get to submit a piece? We usually announce the following month’s theme when we release an issue. Our rough editing scheme is as follows. (When you email us to contribute to a particular issue, you will get a set dates for that month). -We usually ask for a short summary of your idea for the intended piece by the end of the first week of the month. -The first draft follows roughly a week to ten days later. You can submit a first draft even if you didn’t tell us your overall summary. Partial drafts are also accepted, so that we get an idea of the direction of your piece. -We like to work closely with you and reserve a week thereafter to finalize a draft. Our goal is to facilitate your vision for your piece and we view this portion of the process as a team effort. Can I send you stuff even if it doesn’t fit a theme? Yes, of course! We will try to find a place for it. You may even give us ideas for more themes! Might I make a suggestion? Yes! Questions, comments, suggestions and ideas are all welcome. Just email us at

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Udantya Issue #11  

The March issue of Udantya is on Social Media.

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