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By Ajeet Bharti
Do you remember that Syrian toddler who was washed ashore? Yes, the kid in red shirt, tiny shoes, face down in sands of time (pun intended)… must have wrenched your heart. It is also likely that you remember the Charlie Hebdo killings. How about Boko Haram? You must have read or heard it somewhere, may be, in your Facebook news feed.
If you are on social media, chances are you have (at least once) thought to change your profile picture to ‘black dot’ or a ‘candle burning with a dark background’ to ‘show solidarity’.
We, as humans, feel for fellow beings. That’s what makes us humane. However, what appals one is, the show of solidarity for a cause is often detached from its purpose. The show of solidarity, on social media, is limited to hashtags. It is more about ‘he/she has a black dot in profile, I must have it too’. This ‘solidarity show’, many times, is often a result of ignorance or of hot trends.
In Hindi there is a term for it: bhed chaal (herd mentality). Being sensitive has become a cosmetic phenomenon rather than the true meaning of the word. Often done in peer pressure, because everyone is doing it, people just do it anyway. When asked about the details, they draw a blank.
In India, more people have died of cold in the winters than the deaths as a result of Boko Haram or ISIS attacks. Assam, in the North East, faces flood every single year. People get displaced, they die in the flood and after it, but somehow there are no black dots in our profile pictures.
Unless it is trending, no one, neither the mainstream Indian media nor people, cares. Our sensitivity looks for cool quotient of the news. Would sharing the image of a Syrian kid, face down in sands, be good enough for a projection of my sensitive self? People in Assam, Vidarbha, Andhra are dying in hundreds due to unnatural reasons, I haven’t seen a black dot for it.
It takes an article with lot of adjectives cramped in phrases like, ‘humanitarian crisis’, ‘death of humanity’, ‘humanity cries’, ‘humanity died, again’ to make us realise, we need to react to it. The reaction is, again, limited to a symbolism.
It is rare to see a debate or discussion on such crises on Facebook. Apart from monosyllabic ‘oh’ and ‘ah’, other emotional expressions are rare.
The thing is: our insensitivity becomes apparent when we show selective sympathy. There is no wrong in having a black dot for a Syrian toddler or Charlie Hebdo. There is nothing wrong in walking with candles in hand for Nirbhaya. There is nothing wrong in protesting on roads against miscarriage of justice.
It is convenient for us to say that people from North East don’t feel like being Indians without even having interacted with one of them. When your mainstream media, your Facebook, and your Twitter feed is limited to a hashtag trend, your outlook towards your own brethren would have to be limited.
How many times we make an effort to even click an article that speaks about the ‘farmer suicides’, ‘violence in North East’, ‘youth killed in Kashmir’, ‘three dead due to cold’, ‘several die due to heatwave’, ‘protests in Manipur turns violent‘ and the likes?
Maybe, it is not cool enough to be shared. Maybe, the tribals from Nagaland (which is not in Europe, as some of you might assume) aren’t cool enough to inform yourself about the same. Maybe, the whole idea of unity in diversity is dying a slow death due to sectarian beliefs and our discriminatory attitude.
It is not just us but, even in the contentlessness of 24×7 media, mainstream media doesn’t care about it. At times, an IPL match becomes more important than national policy on education.
The brutality of the fact is, we are ok with it. Apart from a limited number of groups, most of us don’t know or, even when we do, we don’t feel compelled to complain or have an opinion.
Compassion shouldn’t depend on how a news piece is being covered. With news media getting monopolised by likes of Rupert Murdoch and Vineet Jain’s Times Group, we can make use of social media which is truly democratic.
People would have to realise the power of free information flow on social media and how it can bring about a change in our world (and others’). Cosmetic, cool, black dot sensitivity hasn’t done any good to anyone. It is the thought process that needs to be changed.
Thinking is getting scarce and Hamletian ‘to click or not to click’ is taking over sensible thoughts. Before you click, and change your profile picture, try to know about the situation bereft of adjectives that (apparently) concerns humanity. Before you tap on ‘share’, try to write a paragraph about why that issue needs attention.
Being sensitive is not a choice, it just comes to us unless we have conditioned ourselves to quantify the intangible.
By- Sunidhi Beeliya
Unconventional career choices might be challenging at first, however, the benefits associated with these are promising. Today's job opportunities are the ones that didn't exist a few years ago. Similarly, the pace of technological evolution would continue to generate millions of new jobs in the future that we can't think of today. Equipping oneself with relevant, unique, evolving, and out-of-the-box skills, is thus, an important aspect for young graduates aiming to start their own business or land a secure job. As parents, education institutions, and the government are now motivating the youngsters to walk an extra mile, think of new ideas, and explore new career routes, students have gathered the confidence and courage to pursue their interests. For those who don't align with the traditional work culture, believe in doing something revolutionary, aim to pursue their passion, and wish to make an impact, learning an offbeat skill could be exciting and rewarding. Here are a few more reasons that would add up to your decision of learning an offbeat skill.
1.Pursuing your passion - Whether painting, dancing, writing, scripting, anchoring or travelling, passion fuels your willingness to work. Mastery in an offbeat skill would help you turn your interests, passions, and dreams into reality. While working professionally in the field of your choice, you stay motivated, continue learning, experience a sense of accomplishment, feel positive and energetic, broaden your horizon, and constantly discover new career opportunities. For those with multiple interests or hobbies, you must first assess your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats of building a career in those fields. This will help you to determine your capabilities, make the right decisions, and stay focussed, consistent, innovative, and dedicated towards your career.
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2.Earning potential - Delayed results, sleepless nights, lack of resources, hefty equipment costs, and fewer earnings initially, are a few complications associated with pursuing offbeat careers. However, once you build your recognition, loyal clients, and credibility, your craft will be appreciated by everyone. Unlike 9-5 jobs wherein your earnings would increase by 10-20% annually, earning potential in offbeat domains is humongous. Few photographers during weddings and festive seasons, scriptwriters working for top-notch brand ads, and animators designing their own video games, earn more than someone's 2-year package within 2-5 months. Your expertise, experience, knowledge of the field, quality of work, and ability to market yourself could help you fetch a lucrative amount once you are established.
Constantly learning new things helps to stay updated and meet demand Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
3.Possibility to build a great network - Offbeat career choices like animation, photography, video editing, blogging, digital art, calligraphy, playing guitar, or creative writing feature a great scope for networking. You build your own professional portfolio, reach out to experts in your niche, connect with more people, do your own PR and marketing, build your visibility on social media, and develop long-lasting relationships that help you in career progression. You get access to more work, stay informed, get expert advice and suggestions, gain new insights, and strengthen your social skills that are essential for growth. Pursuing a career in an offbeat skill is thus an excellent way to meet new people, showcase your ability to the world, make lasting connections, and grow profoundly.
Also read: Skills You Can Learn At Home
4.Be your own boss - Offbeat fields have enormous choices when it comes to choosing the place, time, duration, and type of work. You can start as an intern or freelancer, can work on a contractual basis with private or government firms, work for multiple clients at a time, or can start your own business. You set your own short term goals, mission, vision, and deadlines, have the freedom to choose projects that excite you, and quote prices that justify your talent and skills. Unlike fixed commitments wherein the work is driven by company expectations, here you can connect with your clients and customers anywhere, anytime, enjoy a great work-life balance, do a variety of work, work in-office or from home, and live life on your own terms.
5.Constant learning and progress - As trends and technology keep advancing, success in offbeat careers require you to be dynamic, up-to-date, active, creative, innovative, and self-motivated. You need to master the latest trends, in-demand hard and soft skills, new software or tools, and analysis and marketing tactics to stay in the competition and have steady career growth. Obtaining certifications might also become essential to display your competency, validate your expertise in your domain, showcase your commitment, and assure your clients that your skills are worth considering. Thus, learning through part-time or online courses would become an essential element of your life once you start working in an offbeat field. You would be constantly eager to learn and acquire more knowledge, discover new techniques of working, compete passionately, and grow in your career.
Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (training.internshala.com) - e-learning platform to learn new-age skills from Internshala
Keywords: Passion, Techniques, Offbeat Skills, Career, Potential
By- Sunidhi Beeliya
Blogging has lately become a popular tool for building a positive online influence through legible content. As many young graduates are plunging on the startup bandwagon, it's evident that becoming an entrepreneur excites them more than choosing to work for someone else. The enormous inspiring stories of various multi-million businesses that started off as a blog initially, add up to their ambitions. Blogging helps drive traffic, promotes your content and offerings, and helps to instill trust among your target audience. Moreover, blogging is one of the most economical and effective ways to start sharing your ideas with people. Although good content writing skills are essential for starting your own blog, knowledge of marketing your content to the right audience is what helps you turn it into a business. So, if you are a budding blogger and are willing to increase your reach, here are a few marketing tips that would not let your blogging efforts go in vain!
1.Search and target keywords - Readers majorly consume content through search engines. Targeting top keywords and formulating your content around the same is essential for your blog to be seen, consumed, and shared. Set your content goals and expectations, understand different types of keywords, your audience's taste, your competitors' habits, things to avoid, and create a keyword research strategy. Regardless of the industry and niche that your blog is focused on, you must know about different keyword research tools and techniques, competitor keywords, keyword gaps, long-tail keywords, buyer keywords, related keywords, and low competition keywords. Strategic keyword research helps attract the interested audience, increases conversion, gives you an insight into market trends, helps in prioritising time and resources, and helps your blog to rank better.
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2.Leverage social media platforms - Unless you own a full-fledged website, opting for paid marketing alternatives might feel heavy on your pockets. Thus, social media is a vivid, free-of-cost, powerful, and highly engaging choice to reach out to your audience. To leverage the power of social media, it is imperative to not only share your blog on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, but to also create and optimise socially shareable content. Link your blog with social media posts and use relevant, intriguing, unique captions, and visually appealing images. You can use free tools to create infographics, GIFs, illustrations, and graphics. Integrate social media buttons on your blog, automate content sharing on social media, produce and share blog posts consistently, set an optimal time for posting based on your audiences' activity, and use relevant hashtags to ensure maximum reach.
Blogging helps with marketing with audience Photo by Fikret Tozak on Unsplash
3.Network with experts in your niche - Building meaningful relationships with experts in your niche gives you an opportunity to learn from more experienced and skilled content creators. Use your networking skills as a blog marketing tool by searching and connecting with influencers in your niche, mentioning industry experts in your blog posts, inviting people to write on your blog, hosting thought leaders in your niche through webinars or podcasts, and co-hosting with renowned brands in your industry. Building fruitful relationships will gradually help you to get mentions, tags, redirected audiences from other platforms, valuable insights and facts about your niche, business advice from experts, and would ultimately build the credibility of your content. You will be able to connect with a larger audience and have a good share of voice in the highly competitive market.
Also read: Essential Marketing Tactics For Any Start-Up
A pro tip: Learn professional marketing strategies through specialisation courses
For your blog marketing tactics to be on spot, honing in-demand marketing skills is important. While good communication, content writing, creativity, language, and editing skills are prerequisites for starting a blog and could be developed over time through constant practise, learning blog marketing skills on your own could be a hard nut to crack. Online specialisations are specifically designed to help beginners start their careers in the field of their choice. You can opt for a digital marketing specialisation which will not only boost your blogging and marketing skills but will also help you become an expert in content, email, and social media marketing. You can learn to create your own blog, publish posts, and use Google Analytics to track your blog performance. Concepts like SEO, Google Ads, ORM, social listening, marketing automation, strategic planning, and growth hacking, are also covered in the specialisations. Add on perks include continuous practice and assessment sessions, industry recognised certificates, and 1:1 Career Planning Sessions with industry experts that help you build professional knowledge and have a credible presence in the market.
Keywords: Blogging, Content writing, Networking, Social Media, Marketing
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said final congressional passage of the Biden administration's major infrastructure plan comes down to "a fundamental issue" of the lack of water brought on by climate change.
Harris made the comments Monday during a visit to Lake Mead, a man-made reservoir near the gambling and tourist destination city of Las Vegas, Nevada, which provides drinking water and electricity for more than 40 million people across seven western U.S. states and northern Mexico.
The U.S. government in August declared the first-ever water shortage at Lake Mead, which has fallen to record lows amid a two decade-long drought in the Western United States. The shortage has forced officials to impose water rationing next year for Nevada, the neighboring state of Arizona and Mexico.
A buoy once used to warn of a submerged rock rests on the ground along the waterline near a closed boat ramp on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, near Boulder City, Nev. Water levels at Lake Mead Image credit: VOA
During the visit, the vice president promoted a $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, an agreement reached earlier this year between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. The investment includes tens of billions of dollars to shore up the nation's water infrastructure and protect communities against the impact of climate change, including lingering heat waves and droughts, along with investments in water recycling and technology to convert sea water into usable drinking water.
"This is about thinking ahead, recognizing where we are and where we're headed -- if we don't address these issues with a sense of urgency, understanding this is literally about life," Harris said.
The infrastructure plan has been approved by the U.S. Senate, but is stalled in the House over intense and increasingly bitter negotiations over funding for the president's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, which would provide a significant boost to the nation's social safety net. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Climate Change, Kamala Harris, Urgency, Infrastructure Plan