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Welcome to Webgrrls Wisdom, a blog to find commentaries about women's careers, business, technology, and the industry.

Posts published in 'Webgrrls News Breaker' category

Thoughts On India’s Technology Renaissance

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Events, Technology, Webgrrls News Breaker
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At the company I am currently freelancing for, I called the help desk to configure my computer settings, which was easily and quickly, done with no misunderstandings to speak of. The woman I spoke to over the phone was obviously an Indian, living and working in India. She understood my thick American accent and I understood hers; my family is from the country, after all. It struck me how normal it now is to speak to Indians quite frequently to help resolve a wide range of tech issues. When my phone call was complete and my Internet connection was up and running, I also realized how India’s strong presence and involvement in IT (Internet technology) should not be surprising; throughout history, the country has made significant contributions to the advancement of human civilization. Its people have moved all around the world to settle, work, and flourish in almost anything they choose to do. India’s “Technology Renaissance” period, which has been growing since the mid 1990s, is just the most recent phenomenon to become globally recognized. Like anyone else who is interested, I can’t help wondering what the future holds for Mother India and the people within her borders, and beyond.

Outsourcing has almost singlehandedly revolutionized India’s economy, and cities like Bangalore in Southern India are now synonymous with this subcontracting process. My parents knew Bangalore as a popular honeymoon destination. Now, the city’s residents are surrounded by historical remnants and the burgeoning IT industry. Even though Western sentiment is generally against outsourcing jobs to India, we all should agree that the Indian economy has flourished considerably because of the influx of tech jobs that have become available to the people there. The companies who choose to cut costs by outsourcing are the ones who are “to blame” for depriving their fellow citizens of employment.

Now that Bill Gates has given his encouragement and advice concerning the future of India’s tech industry to the country’s business and government leaders, the India’s “Technology Renaissance” will continue to grow for years to come. I personally don’t mind that when I call for tech support, I speak to someone from India or anywhere else. As long the issues are resolved and I can understand what he or she is saying on the other end, I am content…for now.

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A Global Cyber War?

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Webgrrls News Breaker, Work-Life Balance
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It isn’t news that the Internet is both an incredibly informative and extremely chaotic virtual space. Like millions of others, it is highly unusual for me to go one day without checking email or doing a Google search. I am dependent on the World Wide Web; I would like to think that if I was in a remote location for an extended period of time where Internet access is limited, I would be satisfied with going online once a week, at least.  The thought of such sparse contact might frighten most, but I would welcome it, if I didn’t have anything urgent to take care of. 

Why do I bring up the possibility of the lack of access to the Internet? When I heard the news about cyber attacks originating from North Korea, I started to think seriously about what I would do if I could no longer go online without being besieged by maliciously created viruses. The isolated and angry dictatorship seems to be doing its best to launch attacks on South Korea and its allies in any way they can. Could a “cyber war” be in our imminent future? While no lives might be lost in this situation, such an event would definitely damage people’s abilities to communicate and acquire knowledge on any topic in a speedy (yet concise) manner.  

How should we prepare ourselves for the devastating possibilities of a global “cyber war?”  The first suggestion that comes to mind is to keep hard copies of all important documents, images, emails, and any necessary contact information you may need at any time. The other suggestion is to keep posted on the news, without becoming pre-occupied or too nostalgic about the past. Both of these steps are very important when preparing for the worst.

Still, I don’t think that we should become too paranoid and scared about a possible situation. It is hard achieve some sort of balance, but it can be done—at least I hope so.

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Small Business and Social Media

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Blogs, Business, Events, Marketing, Networking, Social Media, Technology, Webgrrls News Breaker
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A friend of mine has a small fashion business based in Brooklyn, where she makes clothes, accessories, and bags from recycled items. She is very talented, if I do say so myself, and I feel for her and others who are in business for themselves and trying to stay afloat during these difficult times. Before the recession hit, she had three full-time employees; now she has only one part-time seamstress. My friend has designed for several fashion shows, but she has not garnered any significant business, or even been paid any sum of money for her participation in them (the latter, I hear, is commonplace). I cringe to think of the money and effort she has put into making her vision a reality, and the continuing drop in sales.

The situation is far from hopeless, because she continues to build relationships with designers and boutiques in New York City and beyond, using traditional networking and marketing methods. Even with the economy being what it is right now, I know that more can be done to help boost her profile, reputation, and overall sales. While I am no expert, I have learned (along with millions of others) how important an online presence is for small businesses. My friend is also aware of this, and even though it is an overwhelming feat for her, she is learning the more about the power of social media for business. For example, she has a Twitter account for her business, but she has not spent enough time finding and following other users and replying to their posts. When I told her that this was necessary to help expand her networking and marketing possibilities, she was both surprised and intimidated by the process.

To help my friend overcome her micro-blogging fears, I encouraged her to attend the Webgrrls Workshop: How to Use Twitter for Business on July 29 in New York City. I know there are many entrepreneurs like her who are unaware of the power of social media, and its networking and marketing advantages. Some are so overwhelmed by other aspects of their businesses that they have given up, or won’t even attempt to enter, the world of social media. My friend knows she cannot afford to be afraid anymore, so I know she will soak up as much as she can from the upcoming WG Workshop.  It may be cliché to say it, but “knowledge is power,” and we all need as much of it as we can get.

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Cyberspace Behavior When Celebrities Die

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Events, Technology, Webgrrls News Breaker
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I was at my local nail salon when the headlines on television caught everyone’s attention: Michael Jackson passed away. As I sat in my massage chair getting a pedicure, I automatically reached for my phone, but unfortunately had no Internet service in that area. I received texts and made a phone call to a friend, while looking up at the television screen to see the news unfold. Other women around me pulled out their phones to call and text the news at a frantic pace. While the shock was palpable in the salon, I started thinking about what was going on in cyberspace.  

While I was not in front of a computer when news of Michael Jackson’s death became public, I knew that the news hit the Internet like a tidal wave—it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out in today’s world.  According to CNET News, sites like YouTube, Amazon, Last.fm, Wikipedia , as well as numerous other sites are popular destinations for those wanting a trip down memory lane, access the latest information about the one of the most popular musicians of all time, and purchase his music in droves. It is a sobering and somewhat morbid fact that when a celebrity dies in this day and age, his or her popularity and product sales get significant boosts.   

Farrah Fawcett died earlier that day, which had already elicited widespread reactions from people who remember her iconic hairstyle, her brief stint on the famous TV show, “Charlie’s Angels,” and the overall impact she had on women and men in the 1970s and beyond. I when I checked Google News, I noticed a flood of retrospective articles covering both Michael Jackson’s and Farrah Fawcett’s lives and careers, the reasons for their deaths, and some unsavory reports of the “supposed” deaths of Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum, of all people.  These false reports remind me that the Internet is a haven for rampant gossip and exploitation; none of us should be surprised to hear that email spam exploiting Jackson’s and Fawcett’s deaths have already been sent out to unsuspecting Internet users.

I have never been a big fan of Jackson’s, but when I heard about his death, I remembered the song “Human Nature,” which is my favorite of his from the “Thriller” album. I loved that I could find it on Last.fm and post it on my Facebook profile in minutes. So while there are plenty of morbid curiosity-seekers, spammers, and your garden-variety jerks out there in cyberspace, some of us who are looking for some information and nostalgia, without being a hypocrite.  I consider myself one of them.

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70% of the Webgrrls say they leverage or are totally immersed in social media

written by Kevin Kennedy
Kevin Kennedy
Topics: Social Media, Webgrrls News Breaker
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Social Media – Web 2.0 – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, My Space and many others, Webgrrls use them all. 70% of the Webgrrls respondents say they leverage or are totally immersed in social media. Only 13% were not involved at all.

Marketing, making connections and getting and giving referrals is what it is all about. Grassroots, warm leads, and leveraging the tools and your network to build your business or propel your career, is a great recipe for success.

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