A trick Facebook uses to make you pay for getting more page likes

The web is full of tricks, and facebook is no different. While more often than not, it is the users who make use of smart tricks to outsmart the net, sometimes it’s the websites with a trick or two up their sleeve. So here’s a trick facebook uses to make you pay for getting more page likes!

If you have set up a facebook page anytime recently, you would have seen a welcome change from the social network’s side. Your likes increase almost without any effort. Just create, maybe invite some friends, and even if you don’t do much with the page, the likes on the page will keep increasing. Some of these likes will come from unknown obscure sources, no connection with you whatsoever, something that doesn’t usually happen when you are trying to make your facebook page grow.

Unnatural Rise Plateau Thereafter Facebook Page Tricks Like Digital Defynd
The unnatural rise in page likes followed by a Plateau

And to quash all doubts of advertising being behind this growth, here is the next graph that shows the source of these likes

Organic Likes Unnatural Rise Plateau Thereafter Facebook Page Tricks Like Digital Defynd
Organic likes led to this growth, no ads were run to increase the likes during this period

The posts published on the days around this growth also saw a lot of reach, but the same went down later on with the passage of time.

Most of these likes come via page suggestions like these, on your timeline or right hand side column.

startup saturday Noida page suggestion
A page suggestion I saw on the RHC Right Hand Column

Now here’s what facebook seems to be trying to do. First it tries to get you acquainted with reach, get you lot of likes, literally drive engagement at one point, and as you start becoming comfortable with such reach and engagement, take it all away. You can argue and perhaps also say that it is good on the part of facebook to be supporting new pages  by getting them much-required publicity, but what it does in the process is make them unnaturally grow, which is otherwise only possible through advertising.

I have been observing multiple pages and have seen this happen to many of them. Must admit that it doesn’t seem to be happening to all the pages, but yes somebody in the tricks department at the largest social network definitely seems to have come up with a neat little one to draw more people towards advertising. You might also be interested in reading Stop building facebook pages, start creating websites instead and Its time to start migrating from the city of facebook.

Stop creating Facebook pages, Start building websites instead

 

Stop creating facebook pages start building websites Digital Marketing Digital Defynd

What a dumb thing to say, you might say. How can you compare a website with a facebook page, that’s like Apples and Oranges. But this is such an interesting and deep topic, that we need to begin from the beginning.

Around 6-7 years ago, the facebook bug bit everybody. It was this new cool looking platform that was much fancier than the likes of MySpace or Orkut. More importantly, its time had come. The internet was growing at a good pace, people were looking to ‘connect’ and facebook happened. We logged on and no one ever looked back.

Then brands got pages, Fans converted into Likes. Advertising opened up. Companies acquired thousands, millions of likes, whom they thought were subscribers, just like you have them in email. They were right then, they are wrong now. Facebook reach over time has decreased. It has decreased so badly that it is derogatory to use the term decrease to signify what has happened. There are brands with lakhs of fans, and the average reach for something they post is around a few thousand. That’s not even the 10% reach that a lot of people assume the reach to be. Organic reach is down, it’s practically dead. Brands get to make their content reach out to only 1-5% of their fans. That’s like saying, that if you spent Rs 5 at acquiring every fan and you now have 1,00,000 fans, then you have effectively spent around Rs 5,00,000 to reach out to around 5,000 people(considering reach to be 5%) with every post. That hurts.

While part of the blame lies with facebook, brands are to be blamed as well. Facebook kept asking brands to focus on engagement, discussion, community, but brands kept focusing on branding, sales and more sales. What most brands don’t understand is that facebook’s algorithm has over time penalized them heavily and made their reach become lower. But most brands haven’t paid heed to that and have found an easy alternative to keep themselves happy, Boost post(using which in itself is flawed, considering most people do it from the page itself, but more about that later).

So this is where we stand. You have either spent the money and don’t organically get to reach out to fans. Or you haven’t spent any money, don’t have any fans, and naturally don’t reach out to anybody. Either way, you are stuck. Facebook pages are still extremely helpful, relevant and perhaps the backbone of most organisations’ social media strategy, but if you put all your virtual eggs in the e-basket of facebook, then sooner or later, you are surely going to suffer. Move out, get out, and think afresh. Start from scratch in terms of understanding what can you do better, how can you engage fans, what do people like. Now while a lot of answers will come to your mind right from LinkedIn to twitter to Instagram(Do read 10 Instagram tips to make your campaign rock), one suggestion I’d personally like to make is building a website and making it grow. Might sound like the most boring idea in town, but there’s a logic behind it, so let me explain.

Social Media is easy.

You see what has happened over the past few years is that we have all got comfortable with easy. Social Media, primarily is easy, and that’s why everybody does it. Now the more people got used to easy, the more they forgot the basics. For instance, building a website. So let’s say, you did a wonderful campaign on facebook 2 years ago, and a fan of yours wants to access it. Can s/he do it easily? No, because social media doesn’t work that way. It’s more like Snapchat, things vanish after a point(They don’t really, but you get the point). A website on the other hand stores all information at one place and also allows Google to keep crawling and tracking it slowly. What you get after many months and years is a content repository that is not just relevant today, but will be useful tomorrow as well. You get a collection of posts and blogs that can be re-purposed, reused, re-promoted and more. The thing is, that if you slowly  build a website, then it can eventually do wonders for you. Your website is in your hands, you control it, you define the content, you find numerous ways to reach out to your fans. No third party controlling what happens to it, nobody determining where your subscribers go. If you carefully nurture it over time, then it grows in SEO, if you write great articles on it, then you get multiple people to share it too.

Despite those reasons why most people shy away from making one grow, is because a) They either don’t know how to build one b) A wordpress or any other blogging platform doesn’t look as easy to master. Only if we move over our inhibitions and work hard towards going back to making beautiful websites for brands, can we succeed in owning and becoming better at our online campaigns. What is more important is that a website enables us to track a lot of behavioral traits of a user, right from visiting patterns to using cookie tracking for retargeting or capturing email ids for custom targeting on facebook(soon enough on google) or the plain old email marketing, which if done well can work wonders for you.

So you do need a facebook page, you do need to build it too, the same way you need all other social media profiles too, but more importantly, you need a good strong website at the back end. Facebook pages will grow, virality will happen, reach will dwindle but over time facebook might as well give up on you. Your website, on the other hand, it stays with you; you can change it the way you want and get users to engage the way you like. Use facebook to reach out to people, invest in it to promote your brand, but don’t let facebook become the backbone of your entire online marketing campaign.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like reading Its time to migrate from the city of Facebook.

Social Media has left traditional media behind

social media traditional media

Circa 2009. People started giving up Orkut accounts to switch to facebook. This fancy looking suave place was so full of promise. More privacy, more control, more style, more chutzpah. Oh those were the times, when we were all busy discovering friends on facebook. “Hey, are you on facebook? Yeah! Add me!” Time passed, and the numbers slowly started swelling, literally everybody started trickling, the brands had started shouting, the people had resorted to ranting and the spammers had found newer ways to do seeding. The Singapore skyline had started looking more like the busy streets of Bangalore. While this clutter affects and hurts everybody equally, what hurts the most is what we the people turned social media into.

This new media was supposed to be an alternate to media. Sadly, over time, it has actually turned out to be just the same at many levels. Pages and communities originally built to cater to certain niche segments all seem to be posting the same content. Click bait in all its glory is used everywhere. Anything sensational is spread all across, while the real deal gets missed in the mayhem. There are lots of good pages and channels all around, but most seem to have taken the simpler route to drive more traffic. There are examples of news publications posting provocative content just to get more likes, while there are many niche websites who have had to resort to promote the same content being posted everywhere just because that’s what grabs the eyeballs. Murder mysteries get more coverage here as well, while important events get lost in the process. Journalists are often blamed to not go to the depth of the matter, and people on social media don’t tend to read beyond the headlines before forming their opinions.

What was new, has actually left behind the old in creating an absolutely new kind of sensational media, one that thrives on virality, sensation and negativity.

From NDTV, its become closer to India TV. From The Hindu, its closer to Delhi Times. Not that any of this will change, or that it needs to, but just feels a little sad to see a medium for the people by the people become a victim of the same fate as other media. Social media, over the years has not just caught up with traditional media, but has actually surged ahead in spreading a lot of nonsense. May wisdom prevail.

The use and misuse of Social Media

(This article was originally published on The Sunday Indian magazine’s supplement Media Watch http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/the-use-and-misuse-of-social-media/77/35886/)

Somebody recently commented “If social media was present during the days of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Mangal Pandey, India would have become a free country much before 1947”. I couldn’t agree more! Social media has taken this world by storm. Like all other technological advancements till date, you can use, misuse or abuse social media. The rules are new, and the ones waging this war are people like me and you.

Think of abuse, and for some reason politicians come to mind. They are one breed which has brutally been punished by social media. Mudslinging has got a new medium, and people are venting all their wrath and anger by blasting off tweet after tweet, mocking every aspect of these servants of society. Abhishek Manu Singhvi became the latest victim of what was an incident that could have easily got brushed under the carpet had it not been for the social media. You can’t call up everybody on Twitter and ask

English: Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Indian politic...
Abhishek Manu Singhvi was always at his oratory best on TV, but YouTube got the better of him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

them to stop tweeting, can you? One leaked video on YouTube was followed by thousands of angry, funny, shameless, derogatory tweets, which eventually led to other media also talking about the episode. Finally a pressurised Singhvi quit all party posts. No wonder, Kapil Sibal has been after Google and Facebook to ‘censor content’ and make the web clean. Maybe he saw incidents like these coming?

Social media is as prone to misuse as your computer is to virus. Justice Katju recently said in a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni that “a new practice has developed in the social media, of its misuse for defaming people/groups/religions/communities.” While he was focusing on the larger issue of defamation, there is increasing misuse at all levels and growing concern over the same. Celebrity fake accounts are being made and untrue stories about them are being spread. ‘Hacking at home’ has led to stealing of passwords and accessing the private lives of others, leading to relationship woes and even divorces. A survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed that four out of five lawyers reported a growing number of divorce cases that cited evidence derived from networking sites.

Till a few years ago, the Jessica Lal murder case was the only example of the media playing a central role in keeping a case alive and doing its best to bring justice. Ever since social media came around, there have been many more people and cases whose battles are being fought in the courts of law because the layman raised a voice on social media. Deaths of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes stunned Mumbaikars and the entire

Murder of Jessica Lall
Until a few years ago, the murder of Jessica Lall was perhaps the only major case where media played a major role in helping get closer to justice. With social media around, the layman's voice is gaining more weight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

cyberspace. The case was fast tracked and the four accused were booked after the social media raised a strong voice.  Kshama Chopra Shetye, Sanjay Gulati, Loitam Richard, Chhavi Gupta, Dana Sangma are just some of the cases which, but for the social media would have been long forgotten.

Social good is difficult to spread because it has no commercial value. Smaller social organisations used to falter at the task of apprising other people of their work and making people contribute. With Facebook and Twitter, NGOs could breathe a sigh of relief. Many unknown social organisations today have a sizeable following on social networks. Their work doesn’t go unnoticed anymore, and in fact attracts the appreciation and attention of people.

Regular attempts at curbing the freedom of the social media will be made, but the truth is that it is leading us towards a new world where the lies will be trashed and the guilty will be charged. It will not happen overnight but change has begun and it is for the good. 

The article in print –

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Good news everyone! LinkedIn acquires Slideshare!

Acquisitions don’t always make one happy! But this case is different and special.

Ever since the social media industry has exploded, the world seems to have gone gaga over facebook, twitter and maybe about how google + may or may not beat them at the social game. LinkedIn, and the even lesser known Slideshare somehow get lost in the game. Now the argument may be that LinkedIn doesn’t have a user base that matches that of facebook, or people haven’t gone crazy for this network, but that actually doesn’t matter. What matters is, that LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks that we have out there, and it is responsible for altering career decisions to candidates getting through better companies to better business networking and deal cracking for entrepreneurs and businessmen.

You can have all the fun you want on facebook, but when it comes down to serious work, you’ve got to actively use LinkedIn! Moving on to slideshare, i remember once making this tiny harmless ppt on ’10 simple lessons from Kolaveri Di’ and uploading it on the network to see if people like it. To my amazement, it started trending on the slideshare platform and till date has got 12,000+ views from across the globe. 130 people liked it on facebook, 54 ending up tweeting about it, add to that 9 favorites on the platform itself. No other platform on the planet gives you the power to reach out to so many people irrespective of the kind of content you create, but with slideshare, if you’re good, word spreads fast.

The reason to be happy today is that when 2 important platforms come together, they are bound to end up helping out lots of professionals out there, making their task of reaching out to relevant audiences easier and better. Cheers to the team at slideshare! For its a well deserved acquisition :) Hope this fuels the hopes of many other Indian startups as well, the hope of doing good work and getting noticed across the globe.

 

Social Media for Social Change

NGOs, non profits and any other social organisation which is working towards social change in the society most importantly needs to make use of social media. I was recently invited by Center of Civil Society ( http://ccs.in ) for a talk on social media at their conference titled ipolicy for Development Leaders’ . It was a pleasure getting to meet some great people who are trying to bring about all kinds of good changes through their initiatives. Find below the video from the talk, hope you can gain something out of it as well.

 

 

Social Media Business Bootcamp in Delhi NCR

I am conducting a two day business bootcamp in Noida in the  month of January. Come join in if you love social media or are interested in exploring the same :) Details below –

“Having a strong online reputation allows people to listen to you, buy your product/service and be a part of what you have to offer. Social Media has taken this world by storm. This new media is creating a new generation of influencers and it is resetting the hierarchy of authority, while completely freaking out those who once held power without objection. The truth is that most of the existing formulas, methodologies, and systems miss or completely ignore the role of new influencers to inspire action, cause change, spark trends and recruit advocates.

After so many successful workshops Urban Vidya brings to you next, a 2-days Business Bootcamp.
If you want to be a part of this revolution and leverage social media for the success of your brand, then come be a part of this bootcamp.

Who can do this?

This bootcamp is not for the conventional, for those who are risk adverse and for those who don’t like change. It’s for:

– Entrepreneurs who want to streamline their business and implement systems
– Business owners who want to work ON their business not in it
– Creatives who want to understand how to use online marketing to grow their business
– Busy people who want to become more productive and successful
– Smart and savvy people who understand how powerful Social Media is for any business
– People who want to have a thriving business and their ultimate lifestyle

What will you gain?

• Learn the key concepts of Social Media and understand how it differs from other forms of marketing (both online and offline).
• Learn how organizations can, at 140 characters a tweet, turn this into a powerful marketing tool.
• Explore why would an organization blog? What would they blog about? How do they create fresh, relevant content? How can organizations hook up blogs to other social media channels?
• Profiles, friends, groups, networks, social ads, pages, polls… What does it all mean and how can you leverage the power of Facebook to improve your marketing efforts?
• Know how does an organization use LinkedIn which is one of the biggest professional networking sites in the world to develop new contacts, to enhance the online image of their company, to talk and engage with their peers and to advertise to specific audiences?
• Explore the range of sites that are on the web and begin to identify strategies that your company could adopt to maximize their potential.
• Learn all the online tools to help you run effective campaigns
• Tips and suggestions customized to your brand’s need
• Measuring the success of your campaign
• Live Project to implement all that you will learn

Fees: Rs 5000/-

To Register/Know more:

1. SMS “SMB_yourname” to 9582011500
2. Call on 9582011500
3. Email: [email protected]
4. Online Registration : http://urbanvidya.com/smw/payment/

Social Media Trainings by Urban Vidya – http://urbanvidya.com/smw/

10 simple lessons from Kolaveri Di

The fact that Kolaveri Di has taken an entire country by storm is a fact that we all know. Here are few ‘lessons’ we all could learn from the same

 

 

1. Under promise, Over deliver – Calling it a ‘Flop Song’ reduces one’s expectations

2. Social Media is not = Facebook – Other sites, one of them by the name of YouTube can also be used to make powerful campaigns

3. If you are good, the campaign works – And if you are not, then no amount of marketing can help you

4. When many like, others follow – You need to wait till your campaign reaches the tipping point Even overnight success takes decades to happen

5. Social Media campaigns are global – Age no bar, language no bar, caste no bar Powerful campaigns can even bring North and South together

6. Online is not about babies and beautiful – Not so beautiful faces(only)Beautiful In the online space, if you are good, you are good If you are not, even angels can’t help you

7. Online TV is no more a hypothetical term – There is a 90% chance that you did not hear this song first on TV. (The rest 10% didn’t have an internet connection)

8. Social Media Success can make other media talk about you – First some cover you, then others join in, and finally rest wonder why they haven’t talked about you so far

9. Be certain about online medias uncertainty – They would have not known when recording the song as to how successful will it eventually become Nobody knows if you will do well on social media, but the only way to know it is to try

10. Simplicity wins – At the end, it’s a simple song that everybody can relate to, that’s exactly why it works. People’s lives are complex already, don’t over complicate them

And just in case you are one of those people who hasn’t even heard the song so far( what! like really?) , then here you go

 

 

Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication

I was recently invited to speak at the Ahmedabad Management Association on the topic of Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication. I talked about the evolution of internet, social media and how Facebook replaced Orkut; Something else replacing Facebook in the time to come and the growing trend of customised Social Networks for organisations. All that and much more in this four part series.

 

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4 –

Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication

 

Social media sites have taken this world by storm. It was orkut few years ago, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and more today, and probably google + tomorrow. The platforms will come and go, but the medium won’t change. Man is fast becoming an online social animal and will grow to learn up any new platform that comes its way. What the communicator needs to understand is not how to do facebook, but to communicate with humans online.

Inviting you to a seminar on Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication to be conducted by me at Ahmedabad Management Association ( http://www.amaindia.org/ ) on 12th August at 6:30 pm.

Feel free to invite all your friends and colleagues who are interested in knowing more about online communications and social media.

More about the workshop here –

http://events.linkedin.com/Demystifying-Social-Media-Online/pub/745637

http://www.amaindia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=98

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=253635454655304

 

2010 : Emergence of India 2.0

It’s funny how you tell the world to blog but end up procrastinating it yourself. But that’s the thing with blogs, while tweets and other updates are enough for daily views and discussions, there should be something worthwhile to blog about. Something should move you enough to make you ponder over it and pour your thoughts onto a blog.

All the controversies that have marred India this year and how they are related to captioned subject made me write this, with the latest Open Magazine expose being a perfect case in point. Lets quickly go back to the beginning of the year, when Tharoor was caught in the controversy of a lifetime. One of country’s most adroit politicians with a few lakh of supporters on twitter got caught in his own web when good friend Lalit Modi decided to send his fortunes for a toss with a simple tweet. Both are now to be found far away from their offices, while one spends time in his constituency , the other finds solace in another country.

 

Shashi Tharoor
Image by Cmic Blog via Flickr

 

Move over to our beloved CWG (Controversy Worthy Games), and we saw how on one hand there was talk about even the toilet paper that was bought whereas broken bridges made us famous across the world. Kalmadi jokes were all around the place and the media left no stone unturned to ensure we all discuss, debate and bring the culprits to task. The good part was that even once after the spectacular games were over, people carried on with their wrath and eventually some heads rolled.

While that issue was simmering , our leaders were getting ready to give us more reason for our blood to boil. The 2G Scam, touted as the biggest the country has seen so far (1.7 lakh crore, i thought of putting it down in numbers, but was afraid i’d commit a mistake ) has left people befuddled and bedazzled over the magnanimity of it.  Cracked by a journalist from The Pioneer, J. GopiKrishnan , it has brought upon unprecedented shame upon the government with even the Supreme Court questioning the Prime Minister about his silence over the issue.

So far so good, but then came the shocker which perplexed many. Leading journalists of the country, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and other caught on tapes in a controversy involving lobbying and wrongly influencing masses under the effect of corporates. Open Magazine blew the lid, twiterrati went crazy, there are blogs on the subject by the dozen by now and everybody who got to hear about it is discussing it. But wait a minute..what about the media itself? What are they making out of this controversy? They should be airing all these recordings demanding explanations by these stalwarts right? Afraid they are not and in all probability they will continue with their blackout stance. But the point is we still got to know about it all and that’s what matters.

 

Barkha1
Image by BalaSub via Flickr

 

The change is evident, what was a fad till an year ago is a reality today, we are becoming more open and how. Tharoor, Modi, Kalmadi, Raja have all been a victim of the ever increasingly aware becoming Indian, who talks, discusses, questions and helps create ripples nationwide which is eventually reflected in the powerhouses where the final decisions are taken. Social Media has not only helped people speak up, but led them to collaborate, form opinions and influence outcomes. You might call these facts baseless, but i sadly can’t do a qualitative analysis of the same and definitely wouldn’t be possible to get any tapes from the boardrooms.

If you are still skeptical, then lets talk about the Open Magazine controversy, where did you get to hear about it? You didn’t buy the magazine right? You read it online,  the link to which you got through a mail/tweet/fb update and still there’s such a big controversy around the same, ain’t it. How? You did it.  Social Media did it. And the same social media will keep ensuring we move towards openness, truth and being genuine; all of which has led to the emergence of the Indian who maybe online all the time but is doing enough to bring about changes in the offline world.

2010 will long be remembered as the year when India turned into India 2.0 . Be ready to witness an array of sting operations  in the coming times. Each one of us is now empowered to ‘break news’.

Prateek Shah

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P.S : There are more instances of Social Media playing an active role in bringing about change. Air India fiasco – http://bit.ly/aMDUzN , The Times of India reply to its Ayodhya headline – http://bit.ly/bYaMz9

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When going for a movie, do your friends influence you?

Been mulling this thought for quite a while, and finally decided to throw open the questions to a lot of people. After getting a lot of feedback, i am down to writing this, hoping to get an answer to the captioned question.

Few years ago, when we produced a lot of movies, a buff usually ended up watching a lot of them, and even if the movies weren’t good, they ended up doing good business for the simple reason that so many people went to see the drama that they were being teased with for some days with the advertisement and promotions. Incidentally, the movie reviews in the newspaper also used to be published on Sunday, thus giving a flick enough time to do decent business over the weekend.

Inception at The Fox
Inception, one of the highest grosser globally this year was trending on Twitter for weeks. Image by angad84 via Flickr

But times have since changed. We now produce more movies than you can count through the year, there is fair competition from Hollywood, the movie reviews by a seasoned critic in the newspaper now appears on Friday/Saturday and the other review begins right from the time a show begins anywhere in the country.  This other review is the subject of discussion here, the verdict in this case being pronounced by less seasoned but far more trusted people, whom we also call friends.

The moment a movie releases and people start catching a show, they talk about it, with the people they have seen the movie, with their friends over the phone, with the world  when they post messages on Facebook, twitter, gtalk status messages recommending or bashing up a movie big time(the latter is usually the case, we need good cinema!). So what happens then? The friends read, comment and enter a conversation about the latest movie, possibly getting influenced on whether to catch the movie or not. Now whether or not that happens is the big question, and here are some of the responses to the same as captured via different media.

IIM A pass out Aditi Verma, who is currently working with a telecom company says “I do prefer online reviews of my like-minded friends, mostly on Facebook. Usually they prove correct.  Of the other sources, i don’t check online, just

The Social Network, a movie based on Facebook is running a campaign across online media channels. The 33k recommends are a testimony to the fact.

read newspapers, of which i can say some newspapers seem to be paid for reviews.” Delhi based marketing professional Varun Sharma who works with India’s leading media monitoring agency, Blue Bytes says “People are shifting towards the real-time reviews for which only online tools like twitter,Facebook etc makes relevant sense.” Consultant Chaitali Dave agrees “Yes, there is great influence as online world is an instant, easy to operate, natural, a routine affair and also a part and parcel of our life these days. Movies and their reviews are no exception!”

Most people feel that the online space acts as an all important second endorsement to what they have been listening elsewhere and thus makes an important part in taking the decision. Voices Abhinav Malhotra, “I trust both reviews and

what people say online. I feel that some of the movies this year like Dabangg, Inception, Kites did well or doomed also because of what was said about them on the net”. There are others who feel people see movies based on their personal choices, but friends play a part in building their perception. “I think yes people do get influenced by what their online friends say, but some people go for their personal favourites too.” says Dr Rohinee Motwani, Director, Just for Hearts.Deepika Sethi, HR manager and PR consultant Sweta Mantri concurred with a simple ‘Yes!’.

But when we talk about movies, a lot of people are totally bindaas! and they would only watch what they like whether or not the people, the reviews say favourably or otherwise about them. “The only thing that influences me is when a friend says ” who wants to go to xyz on Thursday night ” and xyz can be a lousy Finnish film or all I care. Otherwise it’s just a random movie going experience, where you show up at a cinema and randomly watch a movie that has tickets available.” came the earnest reply from Yasser Rahman, Director at  Cutch Soft Private Limited. Designer and part-time banker, Neha Jain simply said “I prefer my opinion”. Retorts Varun Patil , Digital Marketing Manager

at Globostay,   “My friends might influence my decision to watch some movies

which might not have caught my eye, but for the biggies, I trust my instinct and go by my mood.”

All in all, there is a clear shift of people ‘noticing’ what their friends and other netizens have to say about a movie. While people do

Dabangg
The fact that Dabangg was trending on twitter ( http://www.twitpic.com/2mzctv ) the day of its release goes on to show Indians are aggressively discussing their movies online. Image via Wikipedia

not seem to be going by just the online word for taking a call on an issue as sensitive as a movie, they definitely seem to be getting affected if not ‘influenced’ leading to a change in perception.  As seasoned communications expert Prathamesh Pathak says “I personally don’t go by reviews online or elsewhere. But it certainly builds a perception and you tend to watch movie with prejudice and then people comment about it. I think that way online reviews can make or break perceptions.”

So how about you? Do your friends influence you when you choose the movies you watch?

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