Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The human face behind your avatar: Getting up close and personal with your audience

Last month's blogpost focused on the importance of engaging with and figuring out the time zone of your audience. 

Continuing with the theme of how best to engage with your audience, I am sure you'll agree that the most compelling content are those that show the human face behind the avatar. It is content that tells something personal about you, it is content that endears you to your audience and allows you to forge a trustworthy relationship.

While we have our areas of expertise and topics that we talk about most, at the same time we also have our pet projects and other interests. To boost engagement, you may wish to consider embracing the magic blend between the professional and personal and master the art of weaving the personal with the professional.

For example, as  development worker, I tweet about ICT4D, agriculture, rural development, rural poverty, food security, knowledge management, climate change, environment and most recently about illegal trade in wildlife.

What I've tried to do in my social media journey is to spice up my professional presence on social media channels with personal a touch to show the human face behind my avatar. Quite often I share my personal views about topics that are close to my heart and share snippets of information about my hobbies and pet projects such as  Formula 1, travel itineraries, bucket lists, news about my home country and my adopted home country. I also tweet about a handful of world leaders and personalities.

One of my most rewarding moments, is when someone comes up to me - and this is typically at a meeting - and tells me, "Oh, you are @rsamii who tweets about @Pontifex, @Potus and you are an F1 fan". YES!!!! That is the real me!

I am writing a series of guest blogs for @unsocial500 on how to boost engagement on social media. The purpose of the series is to share best practices and tips. The above blogpost first appeared on UN Social 500 site. If there is a specific topic you want more information and guidance on, please let me know so that I can put it in the pipeline :)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

#MumbaiBeachClean, biggest beach clean up in history, featuring @LewisPugh, @afrozShah1 and @versovabeach #cleanseas

Afroz Shah and Lewis Pugh at the end of a hard day work. Photo credit UNEP
Back in 2009 when Lewis Pugh shared his story of how he swam in the waters of North Pole at a TedTalk, he got a standing ovation. Since then, he has received many more standing ovations. 

His latest feat, was this weekend, when he joined Afroz, a lawyer by profession, who has taken upon himself to organize the biggest beach clean up in history.

Some 40 weeks ago, Afroz, the Versova beach hero and his beloved mentor Mr Mathur took it upon themselves to clean up the this beach in Mumbai.

Thanks to their will power and conviction, they managed to rally 200+ volunteers who have since been relentlessly engaged in the most massive and historic beach clean up and have collected 1.3 million kilogrammes of trash.

Lewis Pugh joining Afrouz and his team to clean up the ocean of litter on Versova beach in Mumbai. Photo credit: UNEP
The civil action and efforts of these responsible citizens caught the attention of Lewis Pugh, United Nations Environment Patron of Ocean

Lewis, who is the personification of a champion and a true ocean advocate took it upon himself to lend a hand to Afroz and his team. 

Armed with his usual will power and knowing that if you train your mind and have a clear vision of what you want, you can achieve no matter what, yet again, through his deeds managed to "really shake the lapels of world leaders to get them to understand what is happening".

What I found most admiring and inspiring about Lewis, is how he followed his heart and conviction and how in the most unassuming and "non-diva" manner he literally rolled up his sleeves to help Afroz and his team. He is one of those few folks who does not need a world stage to do good deeds. And as a leader he makes sure that those around him rise to the top. 

Lewis and Afroz have set the bar high for anyone who wants to get involved in a good cause and bring about change. They showed us all, that to do a good deed, you do not need to create too much fanfare.

When there is a will, there is a way..... The ocean of litter made way to a clean beach
They showed us that to bring about change and raise awareness about issues that matter to us, we need to follow our heart, remain true to our beliefs and champion our cause in a responsible manner.

And at the end of the day, when a cause is worthy, it will have many followers and the results will materialize in tangible manner without millions of spotlights shining on an individual.

Here is a glimpse of Versova Beach after the clean up...... Some may call it a miracle.... It just shows when there is a will, there is a way.

Thank you Afroz and Lewis for staying true to yourselves and thank you for inspiring us to pursue our dreams and all the things that are close to our heart.