She’s 72, mom is, and she has a new toy. Hashtags. Unleasing her fury on the village fishmonger the other day. Pomfret not fresh #epicfail.
Auto drivers, vegetable vendors, the weatherman and now the fishmonger, all at the receiving end of her recent and often generous use of hashtags.
She direct messages (DMs) me often. “r u in del?” Checking on my recently busy travel schedule.“Feeling g8”, giving me feedback after her 5K morning walk. “Were’s da cheq??” Enquiring when the cheque I promised will reach her. I respond promptly, avoiding #epicfail(s) and #nasty(s) as she gets her grip around another tool she’s just discovered.
Mum’s been a learner all her life. Over a decade ago, she enrolled for Literacy Mission’s evening classes - to learn Kannada – when she moved to Bangalore. She attended every class, the certificate she received now adorns her mantel shelf.
I wonder if she’s heard of Google+. There’s been so much talk about it recently that the local news channel must have reported something. Mum hasn’t DMed me yet, “Where’s my Google+”. Knowing her it could come in anytime.
I wish the world had a bit of mum’s spirit. Plunging headlong and trying outnew and unknown things. In the digital world, registering and using emerging tools and technology platforms.
Despite our many early cribs and complaints about not wanting to alert the world when we burped or scratched our face, Facebook has somehow become our fireplace on the web. Helping us share stories and connect up with old pals. Elsewhere, we are almost unconsciously clicking on and reading the odd Twitter link or enjoying juvenile cat videos.
Yet we often deride new platforms when they arrive. Twitter is for retards, a friend often says. Not getting on to Google+, no way, proclaimed another. Mayor of Saki Naka, are you out of your mind? Not knowing how powerful these platforms could get when more people come onboard.
This is not a manifesto of a new platform junkie. Trawling Mashable and GigaOm to see when a new digital toy is signing up alpha users. No way. It is about us humans and how we are willy-nilly using technology to extend our circles of influence.
As people interested in human behavior, it’s about having our ears on the ground; discovering, using and trying to understand the next wave that could affect the way we live. It’s about being where people are, and knowing why we do what we do.
A revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools - it happens when society adopts new behaviours declared Clay Shirky. Wonder when mum will RT that.
Nishad Ramachandran, vice president and head iContract, probably has the best job in the world surfing the net and talking stuff about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.