Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Google Winter cleaning affects mostly unused sync features

This article was first published in my Examiner column:

Google announced their Winter Cleaning  on their blog. This is part of their periodic announcements where they shut down products or features that are not popular. In this announcement.
  • Google Calendar will lose some features like Appointment slots and Google recommends "Find a time view or Suggested times as alternatives."
  • Google Sync will not be open to new devices starting January 30th 2013. Google recommends using CardDAV specially for syncing Google contacts on your iOS device.
  • I had not used the app Punchd and that is going away. Here is what Google says : 
Punchd is an app that keeps loyalty punch cards on your smartphone. On June 7, 2013, we will discontinue the Punchd Android and iOS apps, and merchants will no longer honor Punchd loyalty cards.
This was a small winter cleaning and maybe Google has completed their product housekeeping. Have you heard anything else?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trends in Coupon Marketing and Small Business

I wrote a trends post on Coupon Marketing for 2013 for SmallBizTrends. I talk about how companies like Groupon are evolving their business model with resources to help merchants like GrouponWorks and what I think the evolution of coupon marketing will look like in 2013. Take a look and comment there on the article at SmallBizTrends.
On another note hope you saw my post on SheerID talking about Couponless Marketing published by Techcocktail.
Of course if you want another way to send a treat read my post on Treater.

Friday, December 14, 2012

[BOOK] Technology and Critical Literacy in Early Childhood : Vivian Vasquez

I was part of the book Technology and Critical Literacy in Early Childhood  by Vivian Maria Vasquez and  Carol Branigan Felderman

From the book description on Amazon :

What do new technologies and new forms of communication mean for young children growing up in the 21st century? How are they shaping the mindsets, identities and practices which impact their lives at home and at school? This book explores the intersection of technology and critical literacy, specifically addressing what ICTs afford critical literacy work with young children between ages three to eight.
Here is a embed from Google Book Search on the page that includes my relationship to this book:
I hope this has tempted you to buy this book specially if you are in education or have kids.
Vivian Vasquez is Professor at the American University. I met her at one of the first ever Social event I attended PodCamp DC EDU. I am glad a chance sharing of my experience on Facebook was instrumental in getting my experience featured in the book. Thank you Vivian.
On the Subject of PodCampDC EdU you may like this video by Joel Mark Witt.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Real-Time Treats : Take Action Immediately When Your Friends Share Good News

At a high level Treater solves several problems, specially with the holidays coming and a lot of us scrambling to make sure we thank all those who helped us be successful this year. I was on the phone with my friend Duncan Alney of Firebelly Marketing and challenged him to send a gift using Treater. Within minutes he was able to send a gift of a coffee to his friend and says it is really easy to use. Admittedly he was hesitant at first wondering if there were merchant partners that Treater had in all parts of the country. After receiving the treat of course his friend was wowed by this and said she was not surprised that Duncan had chosen a treat from Dunkin (get it ;) )

Following treater on Twitter or Facebook is also a treat with all kinds of fun stuff and contests.
"Our first contest winner, Julie, had such an amazing Treater story to share," says Kim Bryden . "To enter, you had to say why you deserved free coffee for a week. Julie won with an amazing response - she was getting married! Every day that week Julie sent us photos of her drinking her coffee and prepping for the big day. It's moments like these where we love to #SpreadTreatLove."
Kim Bryden works as the Treater's Social Media face to the world and takes a lot of delight in looking for how people are using Treater and ensuring a great experience.

Gift giving should be an easy process. I remember way back when I was still working for the hotel industry, fielding calls from relatives from out of town to mail them the restaurant gift cards and then they would send it to their local relatives who would use it.
Treater makes it easy, all you have to do is to be a Facebook friend and magic is in the air. Treater has both an Android and a IOS app and is looking to add more social networks.

“Magic is indeed in the air, Shashi” says Treater’s marketing head, Trish Tobin. “The number of serendipitous stories we’ve heard about Treats that connect people near and far warms our hearts. We’re looking forward to spreading more generosity and fun in 2013!”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rohit Bhargava's : 15 Marketing Trends In 2013

Speaking at the Potomac Tech Wire's "Social Outlook 2013", Rohit Bhargava had given us a preview of his trends for 2013. This is the full version and I am happy to see Infusd included as well under the 'Social Visualization Trend". Rohit's Blog is interesting and you should subscribe to his RSS feed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is The World Coming Closer? Delta Buys Stake in Virgin Atlantic

The first inklink I got about this deal between Delta and Virgin Atlantic is from an article by Carla Caldwell in the Atlanta Business Chronicle of course In his inimitable style Richard Branson announced
I love following International travel and this is exciting to me. I have flown on Virgin Atlantic to London Heathrow and decided never to use a flight through Heathrow to Asia again. It was not Virgin's fault but more of the airport itself. It may have improved a lot since then with the opening of the new terminal.
The world of travel gives you more choice now. You can get to Asia faster through the Middle Esst with direct flights from DC to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain on United, Etihad, Qatar or Emirates. It is usually a 14 hoir flight to the Middle East and then a 3 to 4 hour hop to most places in Asia.
Coming back to Delta and the Virgin deal, Richard Branson thinks it will give Virgin a advantage over his competitor British Airways. For Delta which already flies a lot of International Destinations after the KLM/Air France/Alitalia Joint Venture. Now thay have many spots in Heathrow so I expect they will fly to more destinations. In any case a slot in Heathrow could be a very good investment.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Swami's Sunday Digest: Google+ Confusing Numbers, Netflix CEO should not be in trouble

My Geek cred ... and age found this in a old box
This week had it's share of interesting news and here is what got my attention :
  • Google Plus introduced Communities and Geoff Livingston promptly starts Billy Bob Thornton's Marketing Chutzpah. This is another feature that is bringing Google Plus to parity with Facebook, I compare this with Facebook Groups. The blog post announcing the communities also said,
    "Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google (+1'ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search...), and 135 million are active in just the stream."

    This was confusing to me and they could have just said 135 active users. Of course Vic Gundotra , Google's SVP, Engineering is supposed to have said in an interview with Danny Sullivan that his boss asked him to stop tweeting. If you see the tweet in question you can see why. The tweet is snarky about a competitor that I think senior executives should remember they have to show thought leadership and learning and rise above snarkiness.

  • NETFLIX CEO Reed Hasting apparently got a notice that his Facebook update streamed a billion hours of video in the month of June could be in violation of the rule "Reg FD" that prohibits selective disclosure of material information. I think Reed Hastings update was very public and there is a view that social updates spread to the public much better than press releases and SEC filings. I think Holman Jenkins agrees. Madoff Got Away but Netflix Won't

  • Jonathan O’Connell wrote a nice post in the Sunday Washington Post about what he calls Experience Economy. Many brick and mortar businesses are disrupting their model of selling products to providing an experience. His examples include Dupont Circle's Kramer Books (Which is a delightful restaurant) and Heidi Kallett's Dandelion Patch (Has sessions and event programs to design invitations and Thank you notes. I think I have an additional example Lost Boys DC by Kelly Muccio where you not to buy pants but get a style experience

  • New tool of the week: I am looking forward to the release of PersonSpot's new version. Yiannis Velissarakos CEO of PersonSpot wants to solve the curation and publishing problems that content marketing faces today. I am looking forward to seeing the new version this Monday and I think it will make my engagement more efficient. Check out the Site on Monday.
How was your week? Are you all ready for NMX/BlogWorld at the beginning of the year 2013? WHat are your plans for 2013? Let me know.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Swami Sunday Digest: Nora Roberts, Capital Area Food Bank & More

Snow Finally Jan 2010
Reading a physical paper has been a habit I cherish with my morning coffee. Love going out to get my copy of the Washington in the hurricanes snow or sunshine.

I found these articles well worth reading and I hope you will too.

Romance queen Nora Roberts has remade Boonsboro with books, businesses 
Michael Rosenwald profiles the town of Boonsboro, MD and the difference having the leading romance novelist Nora Jones has made to the town. I have passed by this town several times and now it's time to make a trip to see what this article mentions and also a lot of civil war history. Did you know Nora Roberts writes mystery novels under her pan name J.D.Robb.

Washington-area hunger seen as worseningColumnist Robert McCartney aptly profiles Lynn Brantley Co-founder and long time chief executive of the Capital Area Food Bank who is preparing to retire. During the coming week of food extravagance this column and story is very appropriate for us to remember those less fortunate than us and those serving the less fortunate.

Anything that makes you smile P111512PS-0111
I saw this photo yesterday shared on Twitter and Facebook and was happy to see it covered in the Washington Post as well. Read this story if you want to know the history behind the "Not Impressed"
(Photo Credit : White House Official Flickr Stream)
Other interesting articles :
He slept with her. Who cares? John Prados in the Outlook section.
Picking up the right smartphone by Hayley Tsukayama,Of course my phone Samsung Galaxy S3 is in her list.
In closing - Do you think we have become a nation of voyeurs? Long after it was determined that there was no security issue in the Gen. Petraeus affair it should have become a private affair between the family members.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Five Tips to Get More Views for Your Posts on The Niche Mommy Blog

I met Nadia Jones Founder of the Niche Mommy Network during my last visit to Jacksonville Florida. I was thrilled to contribute this article "Blogging Hot Tip! Five Tips to Get More Views for Your Posts"to the Niche Mommy Blog.

Definitely recommend reading and hope you will add comments there to let me know what you think.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two Posts on Social Media Marketing Published today

In case you missed my share of the two posts published today, here are the links for you to check out.

  1. Dell Community Blog :  Connect with Influencers to Increase Your Digital Footprint
  2. Smart Blog on  Social Media :Facebook proposes, Google+ disposes
Both the properties publish great resources so hope you will consider subscribing to them.



Monday, November 12, 2012

SNCR Society of New Media Communications & Research 2012 Recap

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Small Business Talk from the Swami - Shashi Bellamkonda

I always have thoughts and like to write posts based on my thoughts that may be useful to others. Of late without a editorial calendar I am finding that my posts are getting postponed. My good friend Bob London does drive-time marketing and maybe I will be inspired to do more videos. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Smart progress on Amtrak with e-tickets and Apps

@amtrak find a tech solution for gate / track nos
A lot of good things are happening on Amtrak and I am most excited about the eTicket and the mobile app that Amtrak has launched.
Using the App available both on Android and iPhone you can buy , tickets, cancel or change reservations. For the non-believers of mobile connectivity you can either print the ticket or show the Mobile code to the conductor who scans with his own iPhone and has real-time information on your reservation.

Why am i so excited:

a) I do not have to spend the extra time trying to print the ticket at the station kiosk
b) If I arrived at the station early and tried to take a earlier train, it was a big deal waiting in line and the anxiety and stress of worrying if the train will leave while you are in line is removed
c) If I ever want to quickly book a ticket I have the access right on my phone

Kudos Amtrak and the wonderful folks there who made this happen and to my cheerful conductor on train no 2100 Acela from Washington DC Oct 17th 2012.

What they can do to improve on this is to let us know exactly which platform my train will arrive at the New York Penn Station by sending me a text or activating my app when I enter the station.

Other good news from Amtrak:

  • Ridership record 31.2 million passengers best ever, On-time performance up October 10, 2012
  • Amtrak is testing trains to travel at 165 mph in a few test routes, maybe this will bring New York closer to Washington DC
I love trains and hope to continue to use them for my NY trips and one day travel cross country and to Canada.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chat Tomorrow Night Sept 25th 8 p.m #MasterYourBrandChat

The term "influencers" can be often misconstrued to mean celebrities only. This could have been true in a media that was a one way broadcast and no engagement. Simply defined anyone who has the power to change or effect opinions or behaviors can be an influencer. In childhood our parents are influencers as we grow friends, family and colleagues become influencers. In today's connected world you could be influenced by a detailed review on Amazon or Yelp, or reviewers on blogs.

As a business owner how would you "Influence the Influencer"? How would you find them? Do they matter to your business? What are your thoughts?

Join us in the #MasterYourBrandChat with  Akia Garnett Tuesday September can participate in by going to and entering this "hashtag" #MasterYourBrandChat at 8 p.m or go to TweetChat

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Swami's List of Startups to Check Out This Week : @mailstromapp @sano_int @backtweets @storiesinherited @pichaglobal

Startup Weekend LA 
This weeks Swami's List of Startups that are interesting and worth checking out :

MailStrom : @mailstromapp Intuitive way to clean your inbox and unsubscribe lists. Works with Gmail or any other IMAP enabled email

SanoIntelligence@sano_int: Sano is building a small, wearable sensor that can capture and transmit blood chemistry data continuously to virtually any device.

BackTweets : @BackTweets: Lets you search "through a tweet index spanning more than three years and reaching up to real-time."

StoriesInherited: @storiesinherited: "Stories Inherited is a life history company committed to helping families document, preserve and share their loved one’s experiences and stories in a professional format

PichaGlobal : @PichaGlobal : Selling and buying photos to raise funds

Start-up List : Week of 08/25

Loyakk@loyakk : You own event social network - simply realtime

Speek: @speekapp : Social connections and conference calling. Don't call me "speek to me

Markerly @markerly::  Mark and share the relevant info from a web page. Reduce your need to search for text

Newsle:@newsle: A newsroom app and a real-time alerter for enws about you and your social network friends

Waze@waze: Crowd sourced traffic and navigation. Very useful in finding new ways shared by others on your commute. Warnings of traffic and much more.
Launching soon:

Infusd: @Infusd (bring energy back to exploring and showcasing ideas.)

Inwiter: @MyInwiter ( Creativity in greetings and invitations)

Photo Credit : Flickr 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abundant Caution Is Never Enough : Beware of StalkTrak

My apologies to the folks who got a DM from my Twitter account for about an hour this afternoon. 

Here is how I think this happened. I have a strict password policy for myself and change it frequently. I test new tools regularly and make sure if the new tool asks for a Twitter login it is through the Twitter API and not asking me to login with username and password.

 Today I got a DM with this text "I saw that you viewed my profiler earlier :D want to know how i found out?" ( Purposely added Xs so that link is not clicked by mistake. I ignored it as it seems sneaky anyway for a few hours. I went back to this tweet a few hours later and curious if this was a feature to check out like Linkedin's "Who viewed your profile".  I am not sure if I was on a mobile device or my personal laptop so I did not notice that the link actually goes to a phishing page.
It is always good practice to watch the address bar on your browser to make sure you are entering the link in a legitimate website and that was the simple precaution that I did not take this time. I signed in on this page thinking it was a Twitter login. ( Kicking myself now)

 If you want to see the phishing page the link is Please be careful if you click this page) . The correct URl to look for when using a Twitter auth is ""  followed by a string of characters comprising of a token. Anyway I appreciate the fact that Twitter has a mechanism to stop the DMs when it sees a pattern or the account exceeds a daily DM limit.

I am also thankful to be warned by a few of my friends as well. I managed to get to a computer and change my Twitter password quickly . Luckily I use different passwords so I won't have to change passwords at other places. It seems like this scam has been around for some time. Here is a post from July 2011. I reported the link to the US Computer Emergency Reradiness Team phishing page.

Lesson learned that you can never be too careful and I hope this helps you be cautious as well.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Good Bye iGoogle and a few other products by spring cleaning in summer

First published in my Examiner column

Ironically the news that Google is shutting down iGoogle along with a few other applications came to me via my iGoogle ( a customized home page), Google's blog post "Spring cleaning in summer" is high on my widget for news about Google on my iGoogle page.
I liked iGoogle and am mifffed at Google for shutting it down. I am sure there are alternatives other than  My Yahoo, Netvibes but in general custom home pages have seen a decline. I wish Google had polled the users on iGoogle. Read details of the iGoogle shutdown  which will be retired in 16 months, on November 1, 2013. The mobile version will be retired on July 31, 2012.
If you are a consumer or a small business you may want to see that Google is shutting down it's widget that let you embed Google Chat on your website. They want you to try the Meebo bar that Google acquired recently. I may not miss Google Video, or Google Mini or the Symbian Search App the others that are being shut down but will definitely miss iGoogle.
What do you think ?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facebook comments can now be edited

Cross posted from my Examiner Column

It looks like when Facebook sneezes it becomes news. Amply proven by my posting this article as well.  This evening Facebook introduced  a feature that many users have been asking - the ability to edit their comments. Till today it was possible to edit your comment if you did that immediately after you posted your comment. Both TechCrunch and Mashable let their users know about the new feature. Meetu Singhal -Web and Social Media Strategist at 33voices posted the photograph accompanying the article to show users how to access the edit button.
The most common reasons for using this feature is when you make a typo or add a clarification. Facebook did not have to do this but decided to allow anyone to see the edits after they are made by using the "Edited" link under the comment. Some users did not appreciate is that you can see the history of the edits if you clicked on the "Edited" link under a post that has been edited.
We wish the feature had been extended to the Status Update as well which still cannot be edited but can easily be deleted. What do you think of Facebook's new edit feature for comments?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Small Business Advice for the Men's Grooming Business

When visiting small businesses, I always think about ideas and tips that I can learn from the business and additionally any ideas I can contribute to the business. I recently experienced my first pedicure and immediately wondered if the male pedicure business was a neglected market.

Read my post on Small Business Thoughts While Having a Pedicure that I wrote for

Saturday, May 05, 2012

[VIDEO] Bustin' the Stereotype for Science : Science Cheerleaders

On Sunday April 29th 2012 I visited the Us Science and Engineering Festival. The expo hall was filled with a large number of exhibits  which I enjoyed very much.  I also saw the Science Cheerleaders in action on stage. What a great concept. More details about them and their mission is at

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

3 Minute Tips Getting Smart with Your Social Marketing

I enjoyed the session “Getting Serious with Your Social Marketing” panel along with:
Wendy Moe (@wendymoe): Associate Professor of Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland
Jen Consalvo: Cofounder and COO of Tech Cocktail
Souny West: Owner of the W Salon, a hair salon and spa located in Northern Virginia
Susan Wade (@susan_w): Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Neustar (moderator)

The audience participated with a lot of good questions. You can see the highlights of the panel in the video posted on the Network Solutions Small Business Blog.

Thank you Conrod Associates—a branding, strategy, and communications firm for corporations. David Conrod, who organized the panel, and Kathy Young, Board of Directors 2011, ViennaTysons Regional Chamber of Commerce.

AI generated summary of 60 minutes AI edition

In a 60 Minutes interview that aired on April 17, 2023, Google CEO Sundar Pichai warned that artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing rapid...