SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS HAVE POLARISED/ UNITED OUR WORLD

While in the midst of a worsening pandemic in India I am seeing the worst side and the best side of social media.

In our school alumni group I found there is very strong polarisation for and against political points of views.

This is true globally we saw the same recently in the US . We see different flavours of the same across the world.

The problem gets bad when positions are so strongly held that each is not able to see the other side of the story that the situation reaches a breaking point in long relationships.

And it gets worse with manufactured truth to fit ones world view . The fallout is violence as we saw at the Capitol Hill , it could sow distrust in communities and groups with opposing view points.

Every hour the trends on Twitter change based on the two view points , further adding to bitterness and division.

The hate created is so deep that it has forced platforms to ban certain handles from using their platforms for good.

Is social media responsible for dividing our world?

I remember a time in our early childhood when there was no social media there was lesser polarisation , friendships were not so bitter.

Then again I have not seen any better example of how social media is being used in the worst time during the current pandemic where ordinary people are seeking help and are getting helped by strangers .

Twitter , WhatsApp, Facebook have become a way to reach out and ask for help real time , people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital or medicines turn to social media.

And they get helped by complete strangers !

Few celebrities have leveraged their social presence to amplify the message of those in need.

Many are using social media to raise funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrator. So many lives have been saved because of social media.

Social media is a double edged sword on the one hand it can divide us as a society on the other hand it can unite the world for good.

Unfortunately politics plays a role , fake news can be easily spread to divide for motives. Those on the edge can be converted with constant visual content.

Interestingly platform algorithms show you more of what you want to see . That is how AI and ML gets smarter. The ultimate objective is to hook you to the platform , to get you spend more time on the platform.

How can we stop hate being spread through social media platforms ? Is there a way out ?

Has social media become a Frankenstein monster that is now difficult to control?

There are no easy answers , there are powerful vested interests.

I would yet say there is enough good about social media which is why it needs to exist . It brings people together, it connects people and hearts .

It is the one thing that has kept us sane in prolonged periods of lockdown.

It is for us the users of social media to keep the balance on the side of good , on the side of humanity and guard against hate and spread love and compassion.

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED

We were all hopeful that vaccines would help us end the pandemic. Till we saw what happened in India.

The second wave has been devastating, people have died gasping for air.

Hospitals are full, the medical infrastructure has collapsed.

The subconscious impact of not being able to get a hospital bed and oxygen despite of having money and connections is going to remain.

What we also know that there will be mutations that will bypass the existing vaccines. So the third wave is inevitable.

No one is confident of how long would this last the earlier hope that this will soon fade away seems distant.

Most doctors and scientists now say that the pandemic is here with us for a long haul . How long no one knows . At least till large population of the world is vaccinated.

Unless we get lucky and the virus just vanished away on its own.

How will this change us ? How will this change the way we live ? Do business?

Health is going to be a focus area for all, one needs to be healthy to survive was never more true than now.

Vaccines can protect us till a point as seen there would be mutations and waves.

Staying healthy is urgent, building self immunity is urgent .

The stress of working from home being confined in regular periods being uncertain about health and the future would increase stress.

Depression and anxiety are bound to go up.

This is what I see ;

1. There would be a focus by individuals on preventive healthcare.

2. Tele medicine would be a way to connect with doctors and most people would be comfortable.

3. Wellness would be in high demand as individuals will seek support for mind and body health.

4. Immunity is going to be a key word.

5. As WFH takes root homes would be equipped with gyms.

There would be a COVID fatigue as countries open up people would indulge , travel , party.

As waves come they would be followed by lockdowns and again people would sit at home.

Flexi working would be the way.

Humans are social animals they seek social company , people are going to need people to talk to , be with , express their inner feelings.

World will come together or will drift away as borders get protected from waves of virus.

Third world and poor countries and communities will be impacted the most.

All these changes will impact every business and profession and person on our planet.

Some businesses will die some will reinvent.

Marketing will change , will become less sales and more humane , more caring and less greed, more focused on the inside than external world.

Spiritually and faith will find place in an uncertain world it will get strengthened.

We are at crossroads like never before, it can bring out the best and the worst from us as humanity.

I hope we choose to reflect on our priorities , what truly matters and heal the world.

A SMALL BUSINESS STORY

Every business has a story.

I met Renuka after my cycling today , she has a food truck that sells healthy detox juices.

I asked her her story.

Renuka had lost her job of 19 years during the pandemic.

She was managing the CRM at a real estate company.

The business vanished , “we were like white elephants for the company, I was fired after 19 years.” she said.

I did not find any regret in her voice.

Renuka has a charming smile and is a happy person.

I proved her further, why healthy juices .

She said her parents suffer from Parkinson’s and diabetes.

She learnt the benefits of healthy juice detox from her grandmother.

One thing has changed for her after she started the business, she now gets up early at 4 am to make the juices.

“ I was never a early person but all that changed after the job loss” she says.

He food truck is called ‘Naividyam’ which means ‘offering to God’.

She is not just in the business of making juices for her her work of healthy juices is an offering to God.

I made a small video on her story from my mobile phone and shared it on my social media.

There are stories and and stories .

We forget to tap into the power of story to build human connections.

When a brand story integrates with that of the customer magic happens.

Renuka can be just running a food truck selling healthy juices , but she has a story.

The story of her struggle , the story of her food truck , the story around her healthy juices , then the stories around her customer.

We forget to tap into the power of storytelling in business.

Renuka is inspiring, I like her spirit to fight back.

She has no regrets but a lot of hope.

That is the story of every business owner. The story of hope despite the challenges.

Tell your story

Sanjay Mudnaney

#brandstory

http://www.CrowTales.in

PUT YOUR EXCUSES ON HOLD

The cage is fictional, there is none , we create our imaginary cage .

The day I understood this I experienced freedom.

When you put your excuses on hold the other side is joy.

In school and then college I was always on the stage participating in elocutions and debates.

I loved the stage and the audience in front of me.

When I would be on stage I would be in a zone.

I loved to communicate ideas , enrol and inspire audiences.

I could get those around me find their expression and express more fully.

But then life happened. I put myself on hold.

There were more important things to do.

“I will do it some other day in the future” I said “when the kids are grown up , when I have enough money in the bank , when I am well settled.”

I kept postponing my dreams to the future.

Then I turned 50 and it occurred to me I have finite time.

One day I made a bucket list and I jumped head on.

I wanted to sing , I went ahead and recorded my first song in a studio. It’s there on YouTube.

My first song recorded in studio

I bought myself a professional home studio equipment , now I sing whenever I feel like.

I wanted to cycle . I was warned it is risky and this is not my age .

I went ahead and bought a cycle , I invested in the best I could.

I am now a cyclist, I cycle every day , weekends is for long distance.

When I cycle , it’s just me and the wind on my face , I can feel the freedom.

I wanted to see the stars I went ahead and bought a professional telescope.

That experience of watching the planets was surreal.

Felt the vastness and being one with existence , limitless.

I wanted to write a fiction story book . I did that and self published it . It’s on Amazon .

I got my first royalty check , felt good.

I wanted to teach non profits the art of fundraising with storytelling.

I travelled to five cities and over 500 non profits in India attended my workshops !

I always wanted to start my business.

I kept postponing afraid of the unknown.

I finally jumped in at 55 !

It is profitable and growing.

But more importantly I am doing what I always loved to do , helping individuals , businesses and causes express themselves fully . Live their potential.

I wanted to tell stories of good through films . I had no experience, no team and zero budgets.

One fine day I just decided I will do it . And that too during peak lockdown !

In a few months we have made over 10 short documentary films .

Launched the YouTube channel’Heroes of India’.

We now release two films a month.

I wanted to camp next to a waterfall overnight in heavy rains.

Camping next to a waterfall

I did that , the sound of the water splashing against the rocks and tapping of raindrops was out of the world experience.

From a typical corporate formal life , no fun wardrobe and look , I decided to just be myself.

A small step but one more step in the direction of freedom.

I love being myself

When I stopped my excuses , I truly found my joy.

Have to do it for pay check was an excuse.

Have responsibilities was an excuse.

What will others think was an excuse.

I cannot do it was an excuse.

I am not capable was an excuse.

I will do it sometime in the future was an excuse.

Excuses kept me safe in my comfort zones.

We have reasons , many excuses, why we postpone life.

We make up by trying to live on the weekends.

We trade our joy with a cage.

Sometimes the cage is golden. Yet is after all a cage.

When I look deeply there was no cage , it is all our own creation.

Now I have stopped all excuses , I have started living every day , every moment.

I have no regrets as every step of the journey has been a learning experience.

I refuse to die with my song in my heart.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

P.S – Passion project is a message, life is finite , don’t die with your song in your heart

WHAT IS PASSION PROJECT ?

What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?

You think that is not possible. Think again .

Thousands lost their jobs suddenly overnight during the pandemic. No warning.

One of my colleagues from the first company I worked at connected with me , he was looking for a job , he was desperate , months had passed with no income and bills needed to be paid.

His wife was seriously sick , he did not even have a Mediclaim and medical bills added to his misery.

On the other spectrum I have heard the term repeated ‘Thank God it is Friday’. Employees postponing their lives to the weekend and the next vacation.

This got me thinking, something is wrong in the way we work and plan our careers.

Why would anyone want to trade life to pay the bills ? And yet find themselves suddenly stranded without the means to pay the bills.

I have been blogging on #passionproject for a while now .

In this blog I will answer why I feel this topic is urgent and why this blog.

#passionproject is URGENT because I see everyone is going to be impacted.

Everyone.

It is about emerging of a new world and the way of work and living.

It is not the future but it is happening now at this very moment.

The rules of the new game are that those who play for survival will have the greatest threat to their survival.

Skills that can be defined will be replaced !

They will be replaced by someone or something cheaper somewhere in the world.

Distance will not matter , the work can go anywhere, remote working is no longer a buzz word .

Not just change but speed of change will add to uncertainty in careers and jobs.

Technology developments will cause disruptions.

Entire industries will vanish overnight, a business can get wiped out in no time.

Jobs can be lost suddenly , there will be zero security , not that there was any earlier.

Adapting , innovating and taking risks will be the only way to thrive in the new world.

What worked yesterday will not necessarily work today and definitely not in the future.

Q: So is there anything that is going to be constant and in demand ?

Ans : Yes and the term I use is ‘Passionate Artists’

Passion for what you do as a quality will never fade away.

The world needs passionate individuals ,teams and leaders.

The future is for those who follow their passion and make their work a piece of art.

Art and artists at work will always be in demand because they cannot be replaced by someone or something cheaper.

Artists do not follow the crowd , they create their own art , their life is devoted to mastering their art .

Their art is valued because of the value it brings to the world .

They will never go out of fashion as they are not defined , they are not boxed and they don’t draw boundaries.

They don’t guard territories.

Passionate individuals stand out from the crowd because they are like none , they don’t hide in the crowd , they stand out.

They will challenge the status quo. They will rock the boat.

Passion project is my small attempt to inspire those that have forgotten their dreams , their passion, their art .

By not taking the risk now , by not stepping up to their possibilities, their individuality they are risking their future.

By being in comfort zones , they risk survival. There are no comfort zones any longer.

I see an urgency because those who burry their dream to survive are hurting.

I have seen friends and colleagues lose their jobs some struggle to survive and yet bills need to be paid . They are up the wall.

Passion project is also a soul journey for me to meet passionate people and discover and live my truth.

We all know this , each individual has a gift and it is unique.

Fear of the future and bills that need to be paid holds them back from living fully.

Comfort zones are cozy.

There is urgency also because the time we have on the planet is limited and no point of dying with your song yet in your heart , with regrets of not having lived.

Passion project is a message to discover and live your passion whatever that maybe.

And it is not about money or success or fame . Those are incidental.

The measures of success we have defined as a society are broken .

Living fully in ‘this momentum’ , NOW is all that is to life.

Doing something you ‘hate’ or living for the ‘paycheque’ is not in alignment with why we are here on this planet.

We are here to share our unique gifts with the world.

Also it is not about a goal . It is about the journey. It is about each day , each moment.

It is about being and living authentic life not a projection of others or the society.

It is about living your possibilities fully . It is about singing your song .

Ultimately it is about freedom to choose and living life on our own terms .

Passion project is a urgent call to be more alive , Free , NOW !

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

EMPLOYER BRANDING WITH STORYTELLING MY LESSONS AT MASTEK

Organisation cultures are built around stories. When tribes gather they tell stories and some stories are passed down over generations.

At Mastek an IT company I headed Corporate Communications there were many such stories. How the founders who studied together at IIM and went on to build an iconic global Indian IT company was a story . All the founders were first generation entrepreneurs made this story even more interesting.

One of the founders Ashank Desai came from a humble background, his early childhood was in a village and he lost his father at the age of three. His struggles to reach IIT is a story and then build one of India’s leading IT company is a story.

As a communicator all this was a treasure mine for me to build the brand around stories and there were many. I never lost an opportunity to tell a story.

I saw Mastek as a tribe and we even made a anthem for the tribe that has been passed down the generations, even now every Mastekeer gets goosebumps when they hear the anthem because it captures the spirit of the organisation.

Every client and project is a story of two partners coming together to dance , there are so many hidden stories. I loved digging these stories because these stories spoke about values , one of the client statements I remember even now “I know there will be problems , but I know that I can trust Mastek to deliver.” And I captured these stories in films.

I was also heading CSR and one of my KRAs was to engage employees with the communities . Again I did this through storytelling, every nonprofit we partnered with had stories , stories of beneficiaries , stories of founders and every story was inspiring.

I initiated the Spirit of Mastek award and called the social sector leaders Dr Prakash Amte , Dr Abhay Bang , Girish Kulkarni , Dr Ashish Satav , Adhik Kadam and many more to share their stories with employees . Their stories were inspiring, each one of them got a standing ovation . We moved our voluntary payroll giving from 35% to 90% . In a survey with employees Mastek was seen as being highly socially conscious organisation.

Recently during the pandemic I organised an online fundraiser for migrants who were impacted and made a theme song “Naya Savera” (a new beginning which has over thirty five thousand views on YouTube) and we raised over rupees seventy five lakhs for the cause.

When I had to build the Employer Brand in the campus , I got the campus students to deeply engaged in the story of Mastek and social good . The idea that has grown over the years ‘Project Deep Blue’ gets students to solve real problems for nonprofits with IT solutions and they are mentored by the employees. This has built a lasting employer brand in the campus .

I told the stories through film ,many of them are on YouTube. I started a alumni network on Facebook almost a decade back again to share stories with the most powerful brand ambassadors, ex-employees. In one of the films I did with employees I had a sound bite “Once a Mastekeer , always a Mastekeer” and it has stayed as a powerful employer brand line.

An organisation is nothing but a tribe coming together with a vision to solve a problem. And tribes grow stronger with stories and when their stories spread they attract those that connect with the stories.

Employees , Customers, Vendors , Community , Investors connect with strong stories, because whatever maybe the business you are in you finally deal with humans and humans connect with stories.

The digital world offers a great opportunity for organisations to build their brand with storytelling. There needs to be a strong understanding of storytelling and the digital world . From what I see there is a lot more to be done.

And that is why I built a storytelling company because I am a storyteller and I love telling stories and I understand the digital world .

Digital Storytelling Company I founded

The future of employer branding as I see it is authentic storytelling, I see it as the future of brands because we have all become content / story consumers and we consume and share stories in the digital world that touch our hearts .

I see brands and good come together to tell stories of good , stories of hope , stories of empathy. It is these stories that the world needs.

Welcome to the world of stories. Are you telling your brand stories?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

http://www.CrowTales.in

EVERY ORGANISATION HAS MANY STORIES , TELL YOUR STORIES

Organisation cultures are built around stories,
founders have stories,
organisations have stories,
employees have stories,
clients have stories
communities you work in have stories,
there are stories around work you do , impact you make in the world.

Tell your stories , because stories cut through communication clutter , stories touch hearts , stories are remembered and stories are passed on .

Stories mean business.
Organisations don’t buy , people buy and people buy stories they connect with .

Leaders tell stories, stories that inspire change , start a movement.

In the digital world, you control the stories you tell , no intermediaries ,no barriers ,you can reach your stories without filters to your tribes across the world .

You can build , engage and convert your tribes with stories you tell .

In a world that has just witnessed a once in a century event of the pandemic. There is a nervous uncertainty. Brands have a role to play in healing , comforting and being responsible.

It is time for organisations and brands to tell stories of a better future, for the people , for the community, for our planet.

Let us tell stories of hope , stories of love , stories of compassion, stories that inspire change , stories that make a difference.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Storyteller , #passionproject

Founder , Crow Tales , Heroes of India

http://www.CrowTales.in

HE TRAVELLED 80 CITIES IN INDIA WITH JUST 220 $

He slept in buses and trains and on platforms on his journey.

One day he slept in the slum and the next day he was in a palatial house on 35th floor in Mumbai !

He says he drank water from the taps of 80 cities of India , lived on had street food and if he found the food was expensive he would just have bananas and drink water.

He has a network of friends he has built on social media who he called on during his bag packing journey.

Amit Jain lost his father at the age of 3 , he was moved by the plight of his mother.

From a small village Bhusaval In Maharashtra, India he travelled to the city to for education.

He joined Bank of New York and started volunteering collecting old clothes for the needy .

He gave up his job to start a social venture Mitti ke Rang that provides employment opportunities to widows and poor women .

He has done it all , from travelling from a village to living in a city for education to getting a dream job to starting a social venture to bag packing across cities.

Amit says what he has learnt is that the greatest truth in the world is a lie .

What everyone tells you you can do and not do is a lie , his life is an example he says , he has challenged every norm .

Amit is fearless and believes he can do anything if he sets his mind to it . He lives comfortably with just 32 $ a month !

His advice to youth is work hard , save enough , start a side hustle and when you are confident get out of your job to live your dream .

He advices against loans and does not believe in owning things . He says “if I am going to leave everything behind when I die no point in owning things .” Rather he believes in accumulating experiences.

At the age of 30 Amit Jain had wisdom beyond his years and I am blessed as a storyteller to interact with such amazing individuals as part of my journey of Heroes of India project .

Wish I had heard his story when I was in college.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder , Heroes of India

BRAND AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR .

Mastek an IT solutions company wanted to build its employer brand in the campus , it suffered a low brand recall. Mastek is a global IT solutions company with a unique people culture and high social conscience. We needed to communicate this brand message at the campus. The traditional route would be sponsorships of campus events but there fear was getting lost in the noise.  

Project Deep Blue was designed as a campus contest which would connect social sector , students , employees and the brand Mastek. Students had to solve real problems of the social sector through IT solutions. The students would be mentored by Mastek employees. The project was not superficial and needed 4 months of intense interaction and working as a team.

Through the process of participating in Project deep Blue students experienced 1. The unique people culture of Mastek as they interacted with Mastek mentors 2. They gained real life experience of solving social sector problems 3. They were exposed to subjects like design thinking and building IT solutions from experts at Mastek.

The result was that in the 4th edition of Project Deep Blue over 800 student teams participated in the contest ,a strong brand recall as a socially conscious organisation and a IT solutions company has been built at the campus and most important the unique people culture was experienced by the students in interaction with mentors. Mastek mentors too gained by engaging and learning from fresh out of the box thinking of students. The social sector gained with out of the box IT solutions developed by the young students. Mastek gained by instantly recruiting the best talent.

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR . I am of the opinion that in the digital world telling Brand stories around CSR would help build Brand Trust and align CSR with business. What are your thoughts ?

Check out the video of contestant feedback on Project Deep Blue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyulIb_3ID0&list=PLWpXLvyorqav3B0O21rHTHUDj0YNmrVmm