Archive for April, 2012

Skype ‘Humoticons’

Posted: April 29, 2012 in All Categories

Skype’s has just started there latest marketing campaign, the video call service has launched a Facebook app geared at making our interactions more human: Skype Humoticons.


This app basically allows us to recreate classic emoticon images — such as the smiley face, sad face or tongue-out face — with our own real-life expressions. You can post existing photos to a “Humoticon gallery,” or snap new pictures within the app. The results can be shared on a Facebook wall, downloaded, or turned into a URL to share in an Instant Message.

“It’s Time to Skype” campaign, launched earlier this month, is based on the premise that social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are “degrading humanity.” Some of the slogans Skype is using for the campaign: “140 characters doesn’t equal staying in touch” and “Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.”

Reasoning behind Skype Humoticons? “Because nothing can replace the look on your face,” according to a Skype blog post. There is a distinct irony in the campaign. At the same time it blasts Facebook and Twitter, Skype isn’t above using both social networks for promotion purposes. As part of the “It’s Time for Skype” social media campaign, for example, the hashtag #timeforskype will be used on Twitter.

Ads include the following catchphrases:

“When did LOL replace the sound of laughter?”
“When did it become okay to text mum happy birthday?”
“Humans were made to look, listen and feel.”
“140 characters doesn’t equal staying in touch.”
“Your one-way ticket back to humanity.”
“Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.”
“No delays on human conversation.”

The ads have a bold look as well, with “It’s time for Skype,” featured below the slogan:


And not only does Skype have a video call integration feature on Facebook, but the entire Humoticons campaign is housed on a Facebook page. Do we really need to mimic emoticons to put the humanity back in our conversations?

Today is Earth Day where everyone of us can make a difference in one way or the other contributing to the welfare, awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. So I would like to dedicate this post to some social entrepreneur who have made significant difference in the same. By definition social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change or venture. I personally believe there will a big wave of Social entrepreneurship in the coming days which looks to be the need of the day.

Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship

Here is a roundup of some really good projects harnessing the power of digital technology to create a social Venture:

1) Mifos

Idea: Mifos is an open-source, back-end operating system — built and backed by a community — to track the many loans and payments involved in microfinance.

Why It’s Working: Mifos is a platform used by more than 30 microfinance institutions, which offer small loans to nearly 825,000 clients. Think of Mifos as Quicken for microfinance — it’s a streamlined, organized system, and it can help the sector scale and get people out of poverty. Mifos makes microfinance more fair (since it’s data-driven) and transparent, and it’s helped Grameen Koota grow its client base by 40%.

2) re:char

Idea: Utilize organic waste to create carbon-negative charcoal, a substance that pulls CO2 from the air and helps crops grow taller and stronger.

Why It’s Working: re:char‘s mission is about providing farmers — both at home and in developing countries such as Kenya — with conservation-oriented soil-boosting complexes that can double food output compared to traditional farming methods. The startup raised $6,000 and spread awareness on Kickstarter, and the 102 purchasing funders will be contributing data for re:char to analyze.


Idea: ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) is an international 501(c)(3) charity that brings awareness to the relationship between poor housing and poor health.

Why It’s Working: By designing and implementing housing improvements, ARCHIVE can bring down rates of tuberculoisis, HIV and AIDS — a healthier community means a healthier economy. And it all started with a blog. “I felt that as an architect, I could do more than speak about important, thought-provoking issues — I could mobilize people and communities to act,” says Peter Williams, founder of ARCHIVE.

4) Project Noah

Idea: Project Noah harnesses the power of mobile to let users contribute to real scientific data and research.

Why It’s Working: Nature Deficit Disorder, the idea that children’s behavioral patterns are changing because they are spending less time outside, was introduced in Richard Louv’s 2005 book Last Child in the Woods. In short, screens replace the wonders of the natural world that used to provide children with hours of entertainment, leaving kids to wither indoors. Project Noah thinks that spending time exploring nature and time attached to screens don’t need to be mutually exclusive. The startup hopes to mobilize a new generation of nature lovers in a digital experience that’s entirely current. “Project Noah is what would have happened if Charles Darwin had created Foursquare,” says co-founder Yasser Ansari.

5) Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action

Idea: Providing new and expectant mothers in need with free health information via mobile phones.

Why It’s Working: In 2008, India had the most maternal-related deaths out of any other country, according to the Indian government. Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), works with low-income and at-risk mothers and families in India — as well as Bangladesh and South Africa, which are countries with high populations of mobile phone users — to provide vital health information through SMS text messaging and simple voice messages.

Social entrepreneurs can be found all over the world, in most industries, and where the need is the most pressing. Here are a few worthy and notable Social Entrepreneurs of our era:

Istvan Aba-Horvath: Based in Hungary, Istvan’s mission is to aid Gypsy children in getting an education and simultaneously earn money.

Raul Oscar Abasolo Trincado: Raul lives in Chile and works with poor, outcast youth in his country. He has provided an opportunity for them to become meaningful and productive members of society.

Mohammed Bah Abba: Mohammed has “resurrected” a form of pottery that was originally used in ancient Egypt. This pottery has allowed his people to keep their food fresh in the harsh climate of Nigeria.

Abbass Abbass: Abbass started AlManarah in 2005, an organization centered in Israel. His mission is to stop discrimination against disabled people in his country.

Rafael Alvarez: Rafael’s goal is to help American youth extend their outlook beyond graduation from high school, to highly skilled jobs by training students with the skills they need to do so. He accomplishes this goal through his organization, Genesys Works.

Anita Ahuja: In India, Anita has addressed problems of waste, sanitation, and unemployment into a social entrepreneurial organization. Her business produces high-end accessories, such as wallets and purses, out of plastic waste.

VoIP communications company Fonality conducted a survey to find out which mundane office tasks suck the most time out of the day. Pinpointing and compiling all those wasted man hours could save companies some substantial coin. The folks at social performance management tool Rypple compiled the infographic below based on that data.

The top time stealer? Trying to contact customers or colleagues. Duplicate or unwanted information (including spam) ranks highly as well. The study also proposes that “unified communications” (UC) solutions can reduce much of this waste, though it’s difficult to determine by how much.

“Calculating the potential cost savings for a UC implementation is an inexact science at best. Each company has different needs. And UC implementations do not consist of an exact set of components,” the report reads. Still, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that cloud computing is one way to mitigate certain time sucks. What factors waste your precious time at work? Can they be overcome with better technology? Let me know in the comments section.

”]Wasting Time @ Work - Click on the Image to Enlarge