Social Media: From what I hear to what I don’t

Social Media! Emotional Media, Crucial Media, Brutal Media or natural media. The emotive math or mathy emotions. It all falls right here!
Our abhorrence for calculation enables us to mutually agree on statistically dubious metrics with nary a shrug or domed eyebrow.

The summing up of raves and rants will give you at the end of the day a spreadsheet filled with joyous figures.
I have done it all the time! You try to look at it from different angles, so that it makes sense. At least to you buddy! So it goes like this! Hey I see a lot of spike, what the hell happened this day? Ok, let groove the data a bit more. So there was this “New product launch” news for XYZ. Who is writing about it? Hmm.. Timmy from CA, Minny from MA and the list goes on! This is gonna be really positive sentiment generator. Uh-oh! Really? How come? Just coz you have a spike in conversation for you and you got enormous amount of news floatups?
Did you drilled really more harder to check how the numbers are summing up with deeper analytics into each post and was the engine really a mastermind to give you all what we wanted? I sometimes fancy the tech art of drawing auto sentiment? Ok, so here it goes, I define few keywords now, bad, customer service, sucks, hate……………(I think a list of 60-70 would be handy, ain’t it?) and they should be linked to an XYZ brand you are tracking. Huff! I think again, no there can be another possibilities too which I can miss? I make the list more bigger, so I add few more words (not on time, yuk, shit, … and blah blah blah). So at the end of the day, I really worked hard defined the tags which are the best as per my skill-set and I don’t think something will fall out of that. Ding ding ding! That’s the point you drew out, what you want to hear and what you don’t
I think most businesses feel the same about mixing math and social media. Eventually, Social media is definitely measurable, but the people that tend to use social media, aren’t analytical people. Though this is very broad and not as accurate as we like to think. Social media is very analytical if you think about it, since there’s a lot of maneuvering between sites and engaging that takes a bit of analytics to fully realize.
Social media is special, in that the one-to-one relationship you mention gives you the opportunity to really see the overall picture of how your brand is measured in the marketplace. As you say, that’s the good news. The bad news is there are so many tools out there, tools that measure differently and have different opinions on top-dog measurements, I can see why any business, new or old, would be scared to touch it.
“Social media almost always offers the advantage of complete—rather than extrapolated—data.”
What that means to me is, no matter what your business or reach, the data’s there to be found and, more importantly, utilized and applied to your business model, for increased potential of long-term success.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start by measuring things you can more easily track — like the impact of social media on your business objectives and goals. We have never been able to track the ROI of offline WOM, yet most CMOs would have told you and still tell you its important.
I think companies have a tough decision to make sooner or later when it comes to ROI — how much money and resources do you want to throw at tracking ROI down to the penny versus trusting employees who understand the ways of new PR and marketing and are really doing things your brand has always encouraged offline anyway. I don’t think the answer is no ROI tracking, but I do think we need to re-evaluate consistently and prioritize.

So what do we loose?


1) The ones who “get it” in the prospect team say “at this point, we can barely convince upper mgmt that there is ROI in social media, much less in monitoring it.”

2) Even if we had the data we wouldnt know what to do with it.The biggest problem I see (though most clients don’t even realize it) is that the largest share of social influence occurs on Facebook, but much of that remains invisible to monitoring tools (due to most users’ privacy settings).
Hmmmm… with all said and realizing the tug-war between and what’s quantifiable and what’s qualifiable, we can sum up something here:

What Should You Measure?

Well, differs from company to company. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company that has a long sales cycle with many conversations with prospects before they become customers, you can determine with relative ease whether that customer was influenced in some way by your social media efforts.Your type of company and how your business is structured has tremendous influence on what you can credibly and reliably measure within the social media realm. Measurement of all things—not just social media—is a discipline, not a task, and it needs to be a cultural imperative. If you’re going to ask about the value or impact of social media and how to measure it, you need to know how you determine those things for other areas of your business and translate or adapt some of those practices

And when you say “Social media isn’t measurable”, I think your organization is showing the following symptoms.

1. Tool misfit:  Don’t have the right tools in place to collect the data we need.

2. Data mismatch: When we have all the data, we don’t know where to start.

3. Correlation mismatch: We don’t know which data might relate to other data to analyze it well.

4. Sufficiency Mismatch: We don’t have or won’t deploy enough data collection and analysis resources to figure this out.

5. IDK Mismatch: We’re afraid of what measuring will actually tell us about our effectiveness.

You need to understand whether you’re equipped with the right tools and data, whether you’re willing to spend the time evaluating that data, and whether you’re functionally and culturally prepared for what it might show you.Once you’re past that hurdle, you can get to the numbers – and if you’re going to do social media right, you need to get past your loathing for math. Nobody promised social media would be easy, only that it would be awesome.

The Autor is a Social media analyst with Checkbuzz. Please visit http://www.checkbuzz.com

Land of Smiles/Sufficiency

Its almost 6 days now haven’t spent time much time on computer. Seems life is on a roll and trying to catch time off between train of events.
Being in a different country with strangers all around gives me a thrill and happy hours encountered multiplies the joy for me, for now.

Thailand is a beautiful country. Lovely people, managed locations and 24/7 to-do items never makes you feel you are missing anything. You name it, you get it! I sooo feel like spending my latter half of life in this country. The clear way of living here is “Good and the bad. You decide the definition. But you get everything what you wish for. Choose wisely, if you know what I mean.”

Freaking disc till 6 am in the morning, 500 rockers all following the religion of music, peeps looking to hook up with a gal on the street, amazing spicy sea food, beaches to just set yourself go, pamper yourself with thai massage or just wander around. Nothing will get you bored here and the sense of what will around the next corner making you to live more.

Need to catch up with sleep, but will surely will write more on this country. I am in new love I think!

Keep rocking all till then and merry christmas!

Roh

No Need to say goodbye..

It started out as a feeling, which then grew into a hope.
which then turned to a quiet thought
which then turned into a quiet word.
And then that word grew louder and louder, till it was a Battle Cry

I’ll come back, when you call me. No need to say goodbye.

Just because everything’s changing
doesn’t mean its never been this way before.
All you can do is try to know who your friends are
as you head off to the war.
Pick a star on the dark horizon and follow the line

You’ll come back, when its over
No need to say goodbye
you’ll come back, when its over
no need to say goodbye…
Now we’re back to the beginning
Its just a feeling and no one knows yet
but just because they cant feel it too, doesn’t mean that you have to forget
Let your memories grow stronger and stronger,
till they’re before your eyes.
You’ll come back when they call you
no need to say goodbye
You’ll come back when they call you
no need to say goodbye.

Tradition v/s innovation

I am coming to a very basic thinking. We all are made to learn the traditions, and somehow it always persists at our backend. But then comes our free thinking mind, which looks forward to break free and say, hey, this is not what i always used to think and we call it an innovation. But somehow i realise they go back to back. Lets take the example of neathedrals and cathedrals. Two parts of the world just stood aloof from each other, as they werent able to collaborate and just look what google wave is trying to do juz ‘collaboarte’. Can you imagine?? Where every human being in this world has millions of way to communicate, we still need to collaborate?? Wtf. I think i am thinking of web 11.0 or more but i alone am not thinking?? There are brain bursters who all are looking to contribute. There needs to be a tool which thinks before we think, which acts before we act, which talks before we talk and which does before we call it an action. Its should not be how it should be, but how it was.

Rohit
Sent from my E71

Another Aftermath of Global Recession – Stringent Tax Authorities???

First thing which made me laugh with my first exposure to IT Act 1961 6 years back, was “World income is taxable for a resident”. As I read it deeper, I gained confidence in my first thought. But that’s not my intent on this post here. So let me confine myself to the subjective issue “Transfer Pricing”.  And as we all know, the burden to prove, that why an income is not an income, or let me put it other away, why an income should not be taxed, is ultimate responsibility of assesse, I think for a flexi issue like transfer pricing, I think the tax tooth are on the right neck here.

So can we call it another unsolicited end product of the global slump: famished tax authorities???  The officials are looking to fill their funds by extracting more from multinationals. Among their favorite areas to investigate: transfer pricing.

I think for tax department, transfer pricing is “the lowest-hanging fruit, because it’s very prejudiced and most companies don’t have adequate documentation to back up their assertions

But let’s have a look at the Chinese scenario on TP too. China, where foreign businesses enjoyed favorable treatment (even surpassing that of local companies) until last year, in January, China’s tax authorities issued new rules requiring foreign multinationals to submit extensive transfer-pricing documentation by year-end. More recently, they circulated a notice to local tax authorities urging rigorous enforcement on a variety of business-tax issues, including transfer pricing. I don’t know how deeper will be the impact but a lot of U.S. companies will be exposed.

Meanwhile, the IRS is maintaining its aggressive approach to transfer pricing. Can we call it action or a reaction??

How to cope?

Trust me; I don’t think I am qualified to advice on methodological issues like this but just a small advice, how about majority companies seek advance pricing agreements in which a company gets preapproval for its transfer-pricing tactic from tax authorities. Failing that, updated documentation and clear explanations of methodologies are critical.

Despite such efforts, in some cases it may be impossible to avoid a penalty. Coz though what is futuristic can be avoided, but the previous years still needs to be paid off.  Even if you have the documentation and it is perfect, it could be challenged. Or how about saying this way??

 “A lot of governments go in there planning to get something.”

SEZ – A Rethinking

I don’t think i am really in a position to criticize the legislative policies and invaluable imaginings but last night when I was a having a look at the recital graphs of different SEZ’s, a notion speckled my mind.

Called Special Economic Zones, India has created several “pockets of posterity” that attract investment with lower taxes, tariff restrictions, high-quality infrastructure and other bonuses for businesses who locate there. Other developing countries including China are following suit. The U.S. has used them for decades, although they are usually created by local or regional governments.

But in India, SEZs are creating a backlash. Although they have increased foreign domestic investment in the country, farmers and other landowners are fighting back against government efforts to secure property for business interests.

“Considering how thorny the issue has become, the question must be asked: Does India really need them?”

“India’s growth process has been largely bottom-up: Entrepreneurs have succeeded despite government bureaucracy — not because of it. The best policy for the government may be to provide the benefits of SEZs — low tariffs, reasonable taxes, good infrastructure, little red tape — to all firms in all parts of the country.”

Do you agree? Is India’s experience part of the greater topic on the role government should play in supporting individual businesses or industries?

DTC – Is it a Real Change??

Sipping coffe in morning & reading newspaper, it lead me to a hot topic in Indian tax structure: DTC and that morning moment made me google more and more to find out how it differed from 1961, and will it really fulfill what it is supposed to??

Is it really customized to be served or is it still a packed foreign stuff, just thrown to buy, to the indian democracy?? We have a history for this :)

WHAT does the new direct tax code (DTC) seek to achieve?

Will it add an impetus to the India growth story or will it turn to a burnt baked cake that will spoil the party? How about households, investors and businesses? Will their lives change once the new tax code gets implemented in financial year 2011? 

Consider the first aspect. The new tax code is indeed simple to understand and will go a long way in reducing the ambivalence and discretion which plagues the existing Income Tax Act, 1961. The new tax code seeks to leave little scope for multiple interpretations and will thus curb disputes and litigation, something very common with the existing Act. 
The new code is in fact a completely new tax law aiming to simplify the direct tax regime in India and
has tried to capture the best international practices. 
  

This new code also attempts to make direct taxes equitable by introducing moderate levels of taxation and expanding the overall tax base. The DTC attempts to simplify the legalities to enable better understanding so as to ensure a higher degree of compliance. 
  

For instance, the new directive has done away with different heads of income. The two broad heads of income would now be income from ordinary source and income from special source. The first head would include income from employment; house property and business while the second head would include capital gains on equity and equity oriented funds and income of any other nature. 
  

On the face of it new DTC endeavours to make the direct tax more equitable and progressive, however in actual practice it fails this test. Through the new regime has greatly expanded the current income slabs; the lower slab has been left unchanged. The first slab continues to start at Rs 1.6 lakh and extends all the way to Rs 10 lakh and the highest tax slab now kicks in at Rs 25 lakh. Combine it with the abolition of various exemptions and deductions and most of the taxpayers, especially the salaried people will end with a higher tax bill than they pay right now. In contrast, those with income of Rs 10 lakh and above will see a decline in their tax liability. The new regime also provides high-income earners with greater avenues of tax-exempt savings and investment options by tripling annual investment limit to Rs 3 lakh.

People in the low-income category will also be hit by the proposal as it abolishes the exemption on HRA benefits and home loan interest for self occupied property. However, if the same house or second house is given on rent, the person will get tax benefits on interest payout and that too, unlimited interest payment. Obviously the government seeks to favour landlords over tenants.

The new regime also seeks to discourage savings in general and is thus pro-consumption. India has a saving rate of almost 35% while most of the developed countries have the saving rate (ratio of gross national savings to GDP) around 14-20%. It proposes to introduce exempt-exempt-taxation (EET) method and taxing capital gains may discourage saving. Removal of distinction between the long term and short term capital gains and taxing them at respective slab rates of individuals is another shocker. Those already in highest tax bracket may be negatively impacted while those in lower tax rate slabs may be positively impacted. But will the new regime promote economic growth or make the Indian economy more efficient? Faster economic growth needs higher savings and investments while efficiency requires squeezing more out of the existing assets or capital. By reducing the effective tax burden for those with the higher propensity to save and invest (individuals with income of Rs 10 lakh and more), the new tax code may improve the chances of economic growth. By reducing corporate tax rate, the new regime also seeks to incentivise India Inc to grow their revenues and profitability.

By linking minimum alternate tax (MAT) to gross assets rather than profits, the new regime seeks to encourage companies to make most of their existing assets rather than go on an asset creation binge which is quite common right now. This is a step in the right direction and investor friendly.  At present, India has a low tax-to-GDP ratio of around 10% and there is enough scope for improvement. For developed countries this ratio varies in the range of 30-40%. Will the new regime provide the government with ammunition to plug the rising gap between government expenses and the tax revenues? There are two ways to achieve this. Induce existing payers to pay more tax or bring more people under the tax net i.e. expand the tax base.
   The new regime will make taxpayers pay more which may raise revenues. But those in higher income bracket may now play less tax so the net effect is difficult to gauze. The greatest source of buoyancy may however come from the capital gains tax, which will now become universal. Government may get tax windfall from the migration to EET method from EEE method in case of longterm savings such as insurance products, new pension scheme and provident funds among others.
   While the proposal is put forth for public debate, its implementation would not happen until 2011. Amidst all the pros and cons of these proposals, the noteworthy fact is that an initiative has been taken to bring in simpler direct tax regime that can facilitate higher consumerism. It would be interesting to see what shape the final tax code takes and whether it retains its current structure as it is. Time will tell…

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