On my way back home, as I pondered over our interaction, I thought of another recent incident. But, before I get into that (and, you must be wondering, why Santa?), here is what I look like [Top photo on the right].
The only difference: I was wearing a red turban and shirt on that day. As you can see, I still have a black beard. So, I don’t think I really look like Santa! But, at least, the kid thought so.
Going back to the other incident. Here is what recently happened with a fellow Sikh-American. Cartoonist Vishavjit Singh was featured in a Facebook Tips video that showed up randomly in people’s feeds. It immediately attracted a barrage of ignorant comments from bigots and racists who didn’t care about the content of the video or what Vishavjit was saying. These trolls instead chose to attack him based on what he looked like!
That is, because of his turban and beard.
Now, compare the above treatment with my being called a ‘Santa’ – a legendary, saintly and fatherly figure that represents Christmas in many ways and forms!
Isn’t that good? Hell, yeah!
Photo credit – littlesikhs.com
Christmas! What a wonderful time – isn’t it? Holidays, Family, Food, Gifts – enough reasons to love it! Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, or get gifts, who doesn’t like festivities?
Yesterday, I went to my daughter’s school and a cute little kid told me – “You look like Santa!” “Is that good or bad?” I asked. “I don’t know”, he said in all his innocence. On my way back home, I pondered about our interaction and a recent incident came to light. But, before I get into that (and, you must be wondering why Santa?), here is what I look like.
The only difference, I was wearing a Red turban and shirt today. As you can see, I still have black beard. So, I don’t think I really look like Santa! But, at least, the kid thought so.
Going back to the incident. Here is what recently happened with a fellow Sikh who was featured in a Facebook Ad. Vishvajit Singh was featured in a Facebook Tips video that showed up randomly in people’s feeds. You can watch the video at the end of this article. Below is a sample of comments he got from bigots who didn’t care about content of the video or what he was saying. These trolls rather chose to attack him based on what he looks like!
Now, compare the above treatment with being called a ‘Santa’ – a legendary, saintly and fatherly figure that represents Christmas in many ways and forms! Isn’t that good? Hell, yeah!
What happened to Vishvajit Singh is nothing new. Sikhs have been targets of hatred and bigotry not just in US but also in their home country (India). This has happened not only once or recently, but throughout our 500+ years of history. But, the point I want to make is not about unwarranted hatred against Sikhs and other communities. We have all read and listened to it many times and it will sound like another rhetoric.
Rather, I simply want to put forward something that I believe is quite strange. Come Christmas time, every parent is ready to hand over their kids to a stranger dressed up as Santa – overly sized costume complete with long beard, moustache and headgear. Well, often, these costumes are smelly, hands are dirty, and conditions are not really the most hygienic. Add to it the fact that some of these Santas don’t even go through background checks!
Now, how many other occasions can you recall where parents would willfully hand over their kids to a stranger, or to emphasize, a ‘person’ with above description sans Santa costume? Yes, that stranger could be me, who this cute little kid called Santa! And, like me, many others who don’t look like so called “Typical American”, the way bigots and hate mongers describe it – White, European, and so on… And, us Santas, exist all year around. We don’t do it for money, though. It is part of our daily life – it is our faith!
Now, bear in mind, I do not intend to spoil the holiday mood or mean to say that anyone should stop posing with Santa! I take my kids to mall to pose with Santa. They actually took pictures yesterday with local Santa on the fire truck. I also do not intend to discount one of the biggest virtues of America – acceptance of all faiths, cultures and races, which most Americans embrace.
I just want to point out double standards of bigots (like the ones who posted comments on Vishvajit’s Ad), who in no way represent the spirit of America! Most racists and bigots don’t have the courage to say such things face-to-face, so they use the Internet. Nevertheless, they feel the same way and would never allow “Year-Around Santas” to even come close to their kids. The funny thing, though, they are out there today clicking pictures of their kids with someone, whom on another day, they might call ISIS or Taliban!
Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
Here’s Vishvajit Singh’s Facebook Tips Video
Also, published on Medium – https:[email protected]/santa-for-a-day-isis-for-the-rest-c7e9a4f501ab
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Facebook’s eCommerce efforts. Many believe it is the next big thing in eCommerce. According to IDC, in three to five years, 10 to 15 percent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook. I agree that some consumer spending will go through social networks, but these numbers along with predictions by many others are somewhat inflated. Facebook’s initiatives like Open Graph, Like button, Facebook Credits and partnerships with retailers indicate a push towards making its platform more conducive for eCommerce transactions. But, it will take years before physical product sales become mainstream on Facebook.
What can really work in near future is Facebook as a referral platform. The real value for anyone trying to leverage Facebook comes from heaps of social data that the platform owns. But, collecting data is one thing and putting it to use is another. It will take a while before Facebook itself can effectively mine and use this social data, let alone its partner being able to make good use of it. Currently, when making a buying decision outside of Facebook, this data rarely helps. This is due to the fact that at a user level limited amount of product recommendations can be derived via Facebook APIs, and anything outside user’s immediate social graph very quickly becomes vague. But, if Facebook itself were to launch a product recommendation engine (or such), they would have huge amount of data to analyze and tremendous targeting opportunities.
When Facebook executives talk about user privacy issues and control over content, it is apparent that user’s interests are their top priority. But, it turns out their actions are nowhere near public statements that they make. After massively faltering with Beacon, it seems Facebook has learned the art of deception. They have learned that an average user wouldn’t care about their practices as long as they can avoid negative buzz. They effectively do this by consistently claiming they are pro-user. An average Facebook user is sold on those ‘void’ claims.
I would highlight 3 changes that are already in effect, or are in the pipeline that show Facebook’s actual intentions:
Along with good design and layout, it is important for brand pages to have great content that drives conversations and social interactions. Unlike retailers, most brands do not offer any coupons or promotions making it even more important to have quality content. I have come across hundreds of Facebook pages, but these 5 brands stand out for excellent design, engaging content, and social features that draw millions of Likes.
There is no denying the fact that social media has quickly become a top priority for most marketers. According to eMarketer, four in five US businesses with at least 100 employees will take part in social media marketing in 2011. According to the same report, social media ranked third among areas marketers planned to focus their online marketing budget in 2011, after search and their own website.
As the stakes get higher, it has become increasingly important to effectively measure ROI. But, social media ROI measurement is still in its infancy. Very few marketers are successful in determining the true ROI from this channel. But, regardless of ROI conundrum, no marketer can afford to sit on the fence and wait until it’s too late. You have to get your feet wet and understand how this channel works. This takes time and there is no silver bullet that will make your social media campaigns successful overnight. Your social marketing needs and objectives are unique and they require a custom approach that can only be developed over a period of time.
In the retail world, there is a lot of hype about Facebook integration. Social media marketing, in general, has become an essential component of the marketing mix for most eCommerce marketers. But, are there any good Facebook eCommerce solutions available to serve that need? I was asked this question by a friend who runs a small eCommerce operation selling musical instruments. I thought I’ll provide a list of solutions I’ve recently come across in this blog. These are listed in no specific order.