Circa 1998… I am in my first job – and get a call from the Director-Marketing’s cabin. I reach the cabin with all sorts of good, bad and ridiculous thoughts racing in my mind… Mr Khardekar says – “Come in, Vishal. Meet your brother!!!!” Great. Except for one tiny detail.
I had never even seen the guy in my life – this brother of mine! (Sorry, Atul Dada)
We got to know each other that day, then met quite a few times till we drifted apart again in due course of time. What has this got to do with Facebook? Plenty – Have patience! Well, time passed – and then, one fine day, I receive a friend request from Atul Kale on facebook. He had since shifted to England, and we rarely – in fact, never spoke to each other. But then, thanks to technology and facebook, we got in touch again. Score one for facebook!
I myself am a late convert to this platform… rejected many, many requests – till one day, in an idle moment, I decided to see what it is all about. And, that has proven to be one of the better decisions I made. People from all periods of my life came back into my life – classmates from 1984/5 onwards; my closest friends from college – just by the simple expedient of a received request in my inbox – or a simple friend search. And, if that friend has his phone number updated… all the better. The branch commercial manager of my second job; the ex-colleagues; the extended family in the form of Shirish and Milind Dada who I met through Atul Dada…. I could go on and on. Not that I hadn’t tried hunting on other websites before – but never with any great success. Facebook is in a class of its own.
And there is more to it… I found, to my great delight that, by the simple procedure of clicking like on my favourite websites – Hindustan Times, Times Of India, Business World, Business Today, The Economic Times, The Business Standard etc – I could stay updated with news from around the world on my wall. Product Updates from Cakes India, Peter England, Allen Solly etc added spice to it. It all depends upon the consumer – you can configure your wall the way you like it. Share important articles -it gets recorded on your wall – return to read or refer at your leisure! The uses are myriad in number – and perhaps that is what makes it so ubiquitous.
And that, my dear friends, is why I have classified these personal ramblings of mine into Business category. Note the word ubiquitous… the business possibilities are innumerable. From reaching consumers with product updates – Peter England – to staying in touch with consumer sentiment – Perfetti Van Melle, whose wall was updated with comments on consumers who found their soldier ad offencive – the business uses offered by this platform span a veritable cornucopia of avenues. Like CakesIndia, with their mouthwatering cake snapshots, and ordering possibilities, for one example. Each month (maybe more) I find one or two innovative measures…
These opportunities are based in one simple fact: this is a medium through which you can target almost the entire online population of the nation. Two, most of the regular facebook users are young- 15 – 25. Three, 25-45 age group is also getting into the act (Fact- I just checked the number of my family members who have gotten onto facebook over the past 12 months). Three, the addictive nature of the medium means a large number of users regularly check in. This can be readily seen from the number of old connections who got in touch with me, and vice-versa. Four, you are directly addressing an educated person. Five, it offers a chance to interact with consumers directly. Six, the users span the entire spectrum of product target markets. Point is, it is a ubiquitous medium composed of an educated, and by and large earning people – or related to earning members. At least at this point in time….
The icing on the cake? Yup. You got it!