2020: The year of micro resolutions and micro influencers

As the New Year dawned, two important words etched in my mind – Micro Resolutions and Micro Influencers. Unconsciously I have been thinking about it, making sense of the personal impact of these terms in 2020.

Micro Resolutions: With New Year comes New Year Resolutions – breaking some habits, embracing few, making personal and professional goals. I was never into making New Year Resolutions nor a person to plan things. While I always knew my area of interest, I did not really plan every career move. Instead I worked towards somethings, few happened along the way.

A believer of experience is the best teacher, deep somewhere they taught me to become conscious of my goals or to know what I really want. Importantly, a philosophical inclination made me aware of the need to take action to achieve my goals or my prayers.

A step further was to breakdown these big goals or ideas into small achievable goals. The universe was leading me to become more focused; some in-office trainings, my philosophical practice and even the circumstances. Hence when I read Ravi Kiran’s LinkedIn post about the need to make Micro Resolutions – it was a cue to win small victories for big experiences. Thus, began my journey towards making micro-resolutions, leading the way to big experiences through 2020.

Micro Influencers: Speak to any marketer or a media professional, a common denominator in the conversations will be micro influencers. Increasingly brands want to engage with these niche influencers, experts who will influence the opinion of their customers. Their social media profiles and presence is sought after to gain new customers and build equity.

Are these micro influencers only in the online world? The response to my post My Foodie Santa turns 93 validated that micro influencers are everywhere; they need to be tapped at the right time and in a correct manner. My memories about our uncle and his love for food resonated well with our friend circle. It became my most read post as uncle’s well wishers connected with the post. This experience took me back to my thesis while studying marketing communications. Then I had dwelled on the impact of word of mouth communications in choosing travel destinations and hotels.

Micro Influencers are nothing but a contemporary version of the word of mouth communication. Your product, service, offering or even a creative concept needs to connect with their passion and interests. These influencers, whether online or offline, will engage with you or influence your choice with open arms.

What comes to your mind when you think of micro resolutions or micro influencers?

#SonamKiShaadi:An online streaming feast

Last couple of days I was checking Instagram too often – while travelling, in between meetings, before going to bed. The live updates and videos allowed me to follow #SonamKiShaadi on the go. Insta feed of a well-known Bollywood and fashion photographer was my window to this online streaming feast.

Conversations at work were around the same topic. Who’s Insta Feed to follow for updates, which fashion designer was pushing content? My Twitter timeline was buzzing with comments of following Sonam Kapoor’s wedding on social media. The day after her wedding I got a WhatsApp joke about attending Sonam Kapoor’s wedding on WhatsApp. While media was not allowed to directly cover the functions, Insta stories, videos and social media updates from the star studded guests was the feed for media and photographers.

#SonamKiShaadi on social media
Sonam Kapoor’s wedding was an followed on Instagram, WhatsApp and social media

My thoughts went back to 2001. As a college student, I was glued to the television watching live telecast of the famous Agra Summit between Pervez Musharraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. My interest in political science and media didn’t allow me to move away from the TV screen for those two days. My tired eyes slept and I missed the final outcome of the historic summit, also known as India’s first televised summit.

General discussions with friends and colleagues didn’t mention about following Sonam Kapoor’s wedding on TV or seeing pictures in newspapers. For an on-the-go consumer, it meant checking social media updates, Insta feeds of celebrities, stylists, media houses, photographers, fashion designers. While media was not allowed inside the wedding venue, they had access to videos from the functions and guests. The social media and smartphones made it a digital wedding for everyone to follow at their own convenience and personal choice. These conversations and comments made me think – Is #SonamKiShaadi India’s first online streaming celebrity event?

Hey someone called to wish Happy Birthday! What happened next?

Three friends were chatting and laughing at a suburban mall on a Saturday evening. Next to them was a girl smiling and enjoying her husband and his friend’s talks, memories and banter. A quick meeting turned into 3 hrs of fun as night fell by and it was time to head home. This memorable evening was thanks to one phone call…

It was usual birthday morning with wishes from some family and friends. Amidst receiving birthday messages and managing work I noticed one name flashing on my phone. It was a call from one of my university friend I had not met since eons… if, I was right at least a decade. As I received the call he said, “Faceboook reminded that it’s your birthday. Thought instead of saying HBD on your wall, I will call and wish you.” What followed was a conversation like old times, with promise to meet on the weekend along with another friend.

Retro Birthday Card
Sheer joy of Personal Birthday Wishes is like eating an ice-cream !

A little later, another friend called to wish me. More than a decade back, we came to know each other as industry colleagues. The friendship grew over years from calls, to Orkut, Facebook and occasional messages on WhatsApp but we haven’t met for many years. She said, “I have decided to call and wish people on their birthdays. We generally message or wish on social media and then no one talks to each other.” We promised to meet with a set deadline… which we did not meet.

Both these calls made me think. When was the last time I called a colleague / friend / acquaintance to wish Happy Birthday? Have we all become so caged to social media? There have been times I have decided not to wish someone on Faceboook, instead call. Day turns into evening, it’s time to head back from work and the exhausted mind remembers the forgotten wish.

These thoughts were lingering on my mind when I got another phone call. This time it was a colleague I haven’t spoken to for long. Somewhere back of mind I have been thinking of her but did not connect. Here she was talking to me on the phone, taking the opportunity to wish Happy Birthday!

These phone calls truly made my birthday. Felt blessed to have such relationships in a world which is far more connected, yet disconnected. I was cherishing this Birthday gift for next couple of days, sharing the joy with some friends. My phone buzzed again on an early Saturday morning. “Are you still sleeping?   We are meeting today evening, all three of us,” it was the same friend calling to confirm our plan.

In a typical Mumbai style, after some changes, we finally landed at a mall in the evening. Window shopping, chatter, old memories, food & coupled with drive in friend’s new car. An evening spent together with friends I had not met for 10 years…thanks to one phone call.

When parents go digital!

Day 1

I am back from office and see Mom busy on her mobile. Did I hear it right? I could hear just concluded PM’s speech at Davos World Economic Forum playing on YouTube

Me: How did you find this speech?

Mom: Everything is there on YouTube. It comes. I search for anything I want. By the way the new phone is nice. I can watch videos clearly on the big screen

Day 2

Am in a hurry to leave for work

Mom: What G is my phone? Newspaper says mobile rates have reduced because of 4G

Me: Mom, 3G /4G depends on your mobile service plan, not necessarily on the type of cellphone. You have a good plan

Mom: Ok… I just spoke to your cousin on WhatsApp video call

Day 3

I call Papa at work to inform about neighbourhood doctor’s death.

Papa: Yes I know. I saw the message on couple of WhatsApp groups. When you come in the evening please help me how to share a Facebook message on WhatsApp

Day 4

I order some food for Mom before she reaches home.

Mom: Can I also order like you? You put that app in my mobile, so that I don’t have to disturb you in office.

Does this sound familiar? It may, for many of you. Personally, so many times conversations with my parents now revolve around social media and technology. From shopping, cab bookings, travelling, reading, accessing information, they have started thinking and talking digital.

While all the attention in on millennials, senior citizens are silently but steadily adopting mobile internet as India becomes digital. Much of this internet consumption is out of curiosity and eagerness to learn.

Like the youth, they are becoming mobile first consumers. Equally restless if mobile data doesn’t work or cannot stream videos. It’s a childlike curiosity to learn how to use digitech. Smallest things make them happy and discover new things in the virtual world.

What’s your #DigitalParents story?