Monday, March 9, 2009

How Marketers Can Get Things Wrong

Marketers are not perfect, we make mistakes, and sometimes we can get it so totally wrong. I got an email a day or so ago from a Facebook API telling me to send ecards to my women friends "that are designed to make them feel 'beautiful'" -- the word beautiful was inside double quotes. The editor alarms inside my head went off, that means so many things! After I managed to ignore the quirky punctuation, I came back to the sentence. I thought International Women's Day was about the exact opposite of that. In fact, this year's UN theme on International Women's Day 2009 is "Women and men united to end against women and girls," I think that includes mental abuse and pressures against girls to conform to standards of "beauty". Unless we want all girls to be anorexic.

Today in the afternoon, I went to a Barista, which is the closest thing to Starbucks out here in Calcutta and my friend sees a small poster saying: "Celebrate Women's Day with size zero." He started laughing. Now this can't be right. Encourage more women and girls to fit in the norm and feel less secure about themselves and lower their self-esteem and self-confidence? That's how you're supposed to celebrate International Women's Day?

All my women friends ARE beautiful, thank you very much. And you can be in all sizes, shapes and forms to celebrate Women's Day. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bra-burning feminist. In fact, I don't like the label. I don't really care about dates and holidays either except for Mother's Day and Father's Day. Christmas, I think is the best way that the Christians back in the days of Constantine marketed their religion. There's no better way of taking over a pagan holiday by saying Christ was born at that time, too. But marketing on a day like this without the depth of what it's all about is just a lost cause. The most ironic thing I find in all this is that capitalists are using a day that began in the Soviet Union to further their causes. It's just the wrong way of going about it. There's nothing wrong with marketing the event and promoting your business, but marketers should at least be sensitive to cultural and social issues that surrounds the event. It looks to me like 'cause marketing' gone haywire.

That's my two cents, what's your take?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Twitter Follow Friday: 10 Writers to Follow

Twitter follow friday: Writers - Pen, glasses, and notepadTwitter is the one of the best tools for a writer. I mean, where else will you learn how to write short, precise sentences? If the 140 character limit doesn't force you, nothing will. Being a writer of course also means that you should be following other writers. I do it to learn more, get tools and share my writerly woes. There's a bunch of great writers on twitter so this can be a never ending list but this is my top favorite writers to follow on twitter.

Joanna Penn is a self published author. She tweets a lot about how to get your own book published and what the resources you'll be needing. If you're thinking of putting a book out there by yourself, she's definitely the person you should be following.

If you think the pains of being a writer or the joys are experienced just by you, you should think again. Julie Roads writes about life as a writer and she can connect it to everyday life. She imparts wisdom and what to do or not to do as a writer.

Brian Clark of course is like the god of copywriting. I think the past three years of my career wouldn't happen if it wasn't for his blog. Although he doesn't tweet in the same frequency as other folks, he's still great to follow on twitter.

Fellow expat-writer Saskia is from the down under Aussie land, but she's living in Silicon Valley now. I like meeting fellow expats and it's great to have folks who are not just expats but writers, too. She's really involved with the LA politics so sometimes I forget she's originally from down under. She's a great source for inspiration when you need that extra boost to jump start your writing.

Dan Christensen keeps a blog about the life of a bus driver. I like reading his stuff because it's so random and so funny. I mean, how often have you boarded a bus and dismissed the bus driver immediately? I think they're really under appreciated in cities. Dan will give you a whole new perspective on that.

Judy and I go back and forth about food, and how technology has changed so much in our lives. We struck a conversation about VHS machines and 8 tracks. Frankly, I want to know how her book is turning out to be 'coz she's writing a book about housing for baby boomers. She's a great conversationalist too!

Best thing about Kenneth is his last name Yu ^_^! Jokes aside, best thing about Kenneth is he got attitude. Most of the time it makes me smile, but sometimes I go "Huh? How does he get away with it?" I really like his tweets especially the questions he throws out from time to time.

Another expat writer, (I heart expats!) Amanda van Mulligen tweets from the Netherlands (a place that's on my list to visit since age 11) she writes about being an expat, especially an expat woman and how life is to live and work in a different country.

Meg is really funny. She an all round the-Internet-is-where-I-live-gal. But her physical address is in Vancouver. I love her quirky sense of humor. Head over to her blog for a warm and fuzzy feeling inside your stomach.

Amy Lupold Bair is one of rising starts in the social media sphere, I can't wait to see what she does next. I mean she brings the whole Mom 2.0 a new meaning. Plus she's a writer!

Photo by: Bright Meadow