Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great article from the Wall Street Journal Blog

The article "Chief Mentor: Are you fearless?" is an excellent article for anyone to read. This is also good for students. They don't need to be students of business, they could also be students of literature.

Here is the article:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Short Stories

I'm writing short stories on campus lives, full of satire. I have sent some for publication and I plan to write a campus novel soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stories of Campus Lives

I have bought a domain name, and I have started a blog there. These are stories of campus lives in a satirical vein. They are quite enjoyable and I look forward to your comments to take it further. These are small vignettes and I hope they shall develop into complete stories or a campus novel in the near future.

Please check it out at:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pettiness in Academia

How many of you have experienced pettiness in the academic world? I have personally experienced quite a lot of it. In my university, where I teach, I have seen many things happen because of personal reasons, not because of any professional logic. Everything is dictated by personal jealousies and by hatred. There is all-pervasive hatred for colleagues because they are personally successful. I have heard senior colleagues tell me stuff like, 'you have been making lots of money in the stock markets'. I have never known European and American universities and I don't know about the levels of 'professional rivalry' there. But in the university where I teach, I have had the occasion to encounter it at personal levels.

I would like to learn what most of you think and feel about it. If you want, you can email me at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Love Poem With a Difference

I don't know if you have heard of the great poet and
translator, A. K. Ramanujan.This is his translation
from the Poems of Love and War. Later on, Vikram
Chandra's novel took it's title from here. His novel
was called Red Earth and Pouring Rain.This translation
has also been there in the London Underground. This is
a famous poem. And certainly, a famous translation. How
would we interpret these love poems witha difference?

What He Said

Trans. by A. K. Ramanujan

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
But in love our hearts are as red
earth and pouring rain:
mingled beyond parting.

Cembulappeyani:ra:r (Kuruntokai 40)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poll on Linkedin About Twitter

I have just created a poll on Linkedin about business generated through Twitter. It is online at

UK Schools to Teach Twitter and Blogging

There is a very fascinating bit that I caught in a PR email list. This is from the Guardian, UK. The Guardian has reliably learned that British primary schools are going to train students in twitter, blogging and other forms of new media and that there would be reduced focus on Victorian literature and other traditional areas. I believe this is a great step. I am sure purists would be very angry.

Here is the link to the news item:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Notes on the PhD Degree

I hold something known as M.Phil. degree; it is a two-year degree one attains after an MA. I don't hold a PhD degree. However, I read a very interesting piece on the Purdue University website which makes out a great case for completing a PhD degree if one would like to pursue an academic career. Here is the link:

I am sure in a future post, I would also tell you about the worthless PhD degrees that I have seen proliferating in Indian academia disguised as 'scholarship'.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Resources on Twitter

I have managed to collect 419 websites on Twitter. They include blogs and articles. 95% of the material is quite informative. A large number of the articles are blog posts. However, one should take blog posts seriously. There are some very interesting links in this collection. One is a website of the National Council for Teacher Education, USA, which has a blog and where there are quite a few articles on how Twitter could be used to teach English to students. I also found an academic who had written a nice paper on it. There was a proposal for an MLA (Modern Language Association) Annual Convention Panel on Twitter. I am tempted to write a book on the subject.

Let us wait and watch. I might come up with something really substantial.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twitter, Twitter: A Case for Social Media

I am sure you are going to start thinking that this blog is less about education issues and more about social media. Well, that isn't really true but it is clear that social media has great power, which is waiting to be unleashed at various places.

I am not writing this post in the form of a formal seminar paper and I am going to maintain my chatty tone throughout. However, the title "Twitter, Twitter: A Case for Social Media" is certainly a catchy seminar paper title.

I would like to approach this issue from various perspectives in my posts and in this post, I am going to focus on Twitter. However, let us begin with Mr. K Srinivasan of PR Point, a leading Public Relations practitioner in India. Mr. Srinivasan sincerely believes that social media should be taught to students in Indian colleges. I would be tempted to agree with him. Recently, I asked my media students to write about the way in which Barack Obama used social networking to his benefit. There was one student in my class, who said, "Sir, I don't know what this is all about." There were twelve students present there and we are referring to a very reputed institute in the country. There were two other students that day who didn't articulate it the way, this person did but they too seemed quite lost. Then, another day, I was speaking to another set of students, again students who are studying at a very reputed institute. I was teaching them public relations and we were discussing how various social networking sites could be used to create good PR. I spoke about Twitter and my students-- young 20-somethings, who stay in New Delhi, study media and are net-savvy--had heard of Twitter but they didn't know what it was all about.

This does show that there is a great need to educate young people about the uses of social media. Going back to Mr. Srinivasan, he is running an online poll on the Impact of Social Media on Indian Voters. Only Indian voters are eligible to participate. However, even if you are not an Indian voter, you can still access the website.

Sometime, early this week, I wrote a status update about myself on Facebook and I said I would like to explore Twitter for education and one of my Facebook contacts asked me how I would go about it. I thought that query gave me more food for thought. When I explained about Twitter to my students. I told them that it was a microblogging service where you could post updates about what you were doing in 140 characters. I also told them that you could follow other peoples' updates and that you could update others. The first question that five students asked in unison was: What's the use of following other peoples' updates? Why should anyone follow you? Those were pertinent questions. I explained the advantages to them. Then it made some sense to them.

Speaking about this Facebook friend, who asked me how I could use Twitter for education. I would like to be brief here and I would follow up with future posts which would demonstrate how Twitter could be used for education. Let us take an example. Let us speak about language teaching. However, one could form a limited Twitter group with students / speakers who are second language learners of English. The teacher could use Twitter for writing small phrases and could use the service for explaining the sentence structure used in the English language. The teacher could post an incorrect sentence and ask the students to correct it in real time. The teacher could use a conversational method to teach language.

Now, let us change track a bit. From the domain of education, media, and public relations, where Twitter can be quite powerful, let us speak about what Twitter is doing to the internet these days. John Battelle believes that Twitter is the You Tube of real time search. I thought that was a very powerful idea. Battelle wrote a post yesterday, February 25th. He calls it Twitter=You Tube. He says that You Tube generates more searches than Yahoo and he says that Twitter is community driven and Battelle states that Google wasn't that strong in that part of the media business. I liked the piece and I also liked the way he titled it.

Mercury News also has a very interesting article on the issue. Chris O'Brien wrote How Twitter could be a threat to Google. There is a great online buzz about Twitter and how it can be a transformational idea. We are already in the transformational age now with the election of Barack Obama and everything seems possible these days. Twitter hasn't made a penny yet and it suffered from a major PR disaster recently when some famous accounts were compromised. Figures tell me that Twitter has six million users and that a search function, is growing rapidly.

The co-founders of Twitter, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have already sold a business to Google: Can you guess which one? They sold: Blogger. The same blogger that I am using right now to write this post. Twitter is based in San Francisco and is known as a microblogging service. O'Brien feels that the way Twitter has developed shows that it can do to Google, exactly what Microsoft did to IBM years ago. He feels that this is the way Goliaths are beaten. Twitter has already refused a $500 million offer from Facebook.

I am sure there will be more action in the near future. I wanted this post to focus on Twitter and to show how social media has developed. I would follow up with related posts soon.

If you would like to follow me on Twitter, please go to