Lt Gen Ashok Agarwal,
PVSM (Retd)

Presidential Address


Lt Gen Ashok Agarwal, PVSM (Retd)

On the Occasion of

IETE Foundation Day

02 Nov 2009


Theme: "Blogging or Twitting – Bane or Boon"




Dear members and Students,

As technology innovations are expanding, the Internet now has integrated into nearly all aspects of everyday business use.  Many people are recognizing the important role that social networking can play in the world of entrepreneurship. It is becoming increasingly crucial to be involved in social networking on some level.

            One of the newest internet activities now is Social Networking. It is one of the simplest ways to build online communities of people who share the same interests. It offers a wide range of services such as Blogging, Messaging (Email, IM, Chat Room), Sharing Photos, Group Discussion, News and distribution of Applications.

            The social networking sites allow you to keep in touch with your friends from work, universities and other sources. It helps you build your own network and keep track of every update of your friends. The growth of a social site greatly depends on the applications, games and other activities available on it. In short, these applications are all about sharing and communication. In simple words, social networking sites help people pass their free time and have some fun.

            Social-networking is really critical in connecting institutions with our target audience.  It enables the students to access the institution conveniently in a medium they use; they can get in touch with faculty and so forth, so it's like a huge connection point. The students get in touch to ask questions, to find people within the institution who have similar experiences or are from similar backgrounds, and it also allows us to connect with potential students.  

            The main reasons behind the popularity of online social networking are - lack of time, allow people to be more open, learn and share from others in a fast paced environment and a new way to find content. The reasons are many and as the networking grow the advantages increases exponentially.

            So, when you use your already existing contacts to meet new people as potential social or business links and anything that gets your company’s name out there, or connects your company to helpful resources, is considered networking. Technology now makes this possible to do online, and not just face-to-face.

            Social networking is a great tool to generate traffic to your website. The use of social networking is an indirect way to generate more traffic to your site. There is a community of people out there that may not be aware of your website. It provides you other leads that you may not have accessed to otherwise. 

            The major three social networking websites are Sulekha, LinkedIn, Twitter and Face book. Though there are more options, these websites represent the different formats that budding online social networkers encounter. These sites provide easy and simple accessible space for expressing needs and emotions in different forms.

            LinkedIn is best used as a type of corporate social networking. It's a living resume and a place where a professional can compile his or her job experience and achievements, and showcase written recommendations. Numerous professional groups on a wide variety of topics exist to get feedback from others in the field, and videos, pictures and even recommendations can be uploaded and shared.

            Twitter is laid out in a micro blogging format, which means users share short thoughts throughout the day or week at a 140-character limit. This social networking tool doesn't take as much time to update as a traditional blog, and can be used to inject personality to a personal brand as well as provide useful links to followers. The easy flow of tweeters from a cabinet Minister of Government of India, Mr Shashi Tharoor is creating news headlines for Indian dailies. Whether it is the case of Cattle Class and Holy Cow or suggestions to have working day on 2nd October, micro blogging is gaining momentum.

            Face book is a social networking website that can blur the line between LinkedIn and Twitter. There is a section where users can update their friends in short blurbs. Users can also become a fan of causes; engage in groups that consist of major companies, universities and geographic regions; and allow applications to play word games with friends or send virtual gifts.

           Unlike any other phobia, social networking anxiety can be harder to combat because it takes place in a virtual format, which makes it easier to avoid. It's about a fear that a person has to willingly log into in order to participate. Some people are not really thrilled at the prospect of jumping into the world of social networking. However, sooner or later they realize that building coalitions and developing an extensive network of associates helps them collaborate and share best practices and provides for the flow of diverse ideas and diverse thinking.

            Many have benefited from these social networking sites because they never abused the possibilities and potentials it offers. The most successful online business utilizes social networking according to what its real purpose is and that proves the means for people to interact despite distance, time and place. But we should all remember that multiple personality disorders do not work well in social media. If we confuse, we lose. If we try to be an expert one day, and a commoner after that, people will ultimately stop connecting.

            These online sites will remain a boon if a simple approach to make a short list of what we want to talk about via social media and stick with it. The same concept applies for joining multiple networks. Keep the same personality for each network. To be useful we should offer information relevant to a particular field and promote others with quality ideas. However, do not share details like exact addresses and phone numbers with strangers or post them in a public setting. Treat social networking profiles like email, and don't allow applications unless they come from trusted authors to ensure that private information is protected.

The golden rule of communicating in an online setting is to type and share what would be appropriate in a professional face-to-face setting. Sometimes, the perceived anonymity of the Internet can get people in trouble when they post first and think later. This is especially true for sites with connections both to casual friends and business contacts and this will remain a bane rather than a boon.

The increasing availability of massive networked data is revolutionizing the scientific study of a variety of phenomena in fields as diverse as Computer Science, Economics, Physics and Sociology. Yet, while many important advances have taken place in these different communities, the dialog between researchers across disciplines is only beginning.

          On the occasion of IETE Foundation Day, I wish all members of the IETE fraternity and hope that social networking sites provide ample opportunities and advantages for their personal and professional career.


Thank You