Archive for 2013

7 Rules to Follow for Better Use of Mobile Phones

 I see lots of people who doesn't realize the importance of these rules.

Rule 1. If the person you are calling, doesn’t answer the call within 15 seconds; disconnect the call and try again later.

Rule 2. If the person you are calling declined your call, don’t call them immediately right away. They would have dropped the call for a reason (a meeting or something like that) so you shouldn’t irritate the person with repeated attempts of calling.

Rule 3. If the person you are calling declined your call, send him a text message asking for a convenient time to call back.

Rule 4. It is OK to decline/ignore an incoming call. If they are really in a hurry, there’s something called SMS to follow-up a declined/ignored call.

Rule 5. If you decline a call from someone, use an automated text message to let other person know the reason why you declined the call (I’m at a meeting, driving, eating, etc etc)

Rule 6. Always return the missed calls from known numbers!

Rule 7. Think twice before returning a missed call from an unknown number. If you were anticipating a call from an unknown number (a taxi you booked, call for a job interview you applied etc) you should always return such calls. But 80% of the time, when you return a missed call from an unknown number, you would realized you asked for some unnecessary trouble :-)

Did I miss anything? Add in the comments below..
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Do You Have Broken Windows in Your Facebook Page?

I’ve received some good feedback on my last blog post about the ‘broken windows theory’. Some of them were discussing the applicability of this theory in certain other areas such as politics; particularly about what’s happening with some political parties in Sri Lanka :-)

Politics being one of the topics I have put a strict ‘self-regulation’ as a topic not to be discussed in this blog, I would rather leave it at that point and quickly jump into the topic which I’m about to write on my blog this evening.

The broken windows theory can be a good example why some Facebook pages (Youtube channels, blogs even) becomes favorite hunting grounds for trolls. A Facebook page which isn’t attended by its admins well enough can easily be a target of a competitor’s troll.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

The Broken Windows Theory and Ex-Alien Video

The Broken Windows Theory was introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982, as a theory in criminology which explains how maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crime.
Ok, let me explain this with a classic example they always take when explaining this theory.

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars. (From Wikipedia) 
 Now think about how most streets in Colombo & suburbs looked like four years ago. It was untidy, filthy, not well maintained. As a result what happened was, people fearlessly went ahead and dropped more garbage out of their vehicles. They spit on sidewalks, dropped their food wrappers on the streets, and in some streets in Colombo it was a common thing to see even people urinating on the sidewalks. Fast forward to 2013; thanks to massive urban development projects happening in and around Colombo, most of the streets are now well maintained, clean and disciplined. You will probably think more than twice before even dropping a toffee wrapper outside your vehicle, because nobody wants to be the ‘first culprit’ who spoils it all. Now, you might be asking me ‘how this broken window theory relates to Ex-Alien video?’ The relationship occurred to me when I noticed this Tweet on my timeline this morning.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

Delivery Cranes and Google Quality Score

Kid: “How did I born, and become your son?”

Mom: “Well…. Your father and me got married, and god gave you us as a gift”

Kid: “But how did god come to your wedding? He’s supposed to be invisible?”

Mom: “Errrrr… a Delivery crane from heavens delivered you to us”

Kid: “But, how can such a small bird carry a baby?”

Mom: “Look honey, now there are things you don’t understand; it’s too complicated, you will know when you grow-up, now go to sleep”

Kid: “Mmmm… I think there’s something that you don’t tell me”


Marketer: “How does Google rank sponsored links?”
Friday, July 12, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

First Batch of "Digital Enabled" Marketers from University of Sri Jayawardenepura

On Saturday I spent the whole day evaluating the practical assignments by the first batch of students for newly introduced Digital Marketing subject at University of Sri Jayawardenepura. Three months ago, I got the opportunity of becoming the lead resource person for this course, among some other guest resource persons from various places across the globe.

As part of their group assignment, students were asked to select an organization (business, or non profit) of their choice and develop and execute a real digital marketing campaign. They were given 12 weeks for the project. In my brief to them I clearly advised them not to go after big multinational brands, but rather focus on SME brands who are agile and open enough to leave their brand in the hands of some university undergraduates.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media Day Colombo 2013 – Reflections

Kushan & Srimal Performing at #SMDayCMB

Despite the occasional “Ratification” [A new social media word invented at #SMDayCMB - Don't think literally, but metaphorically] inside the venue, the Social Media Day 2013 event was an overall success according to many people who attended it, and then gave their honest feedback. When I say “honest feedback” I’m not only counting the ones who simply told us ‘good jobs guys’, but also counting the ones who gave some seriously valuable constructive criticisms.

As I set out in my opening note for the event, we deliberately wanted this event to be very casual and unstructured in its format. After all, the event was about ‘Social Media’ and the inherent nature of Social Media is; it is casual, it is unstructured, and it is nonconforming to what your typical event adviser would consult you to do. “The ideal event format” we (the organizers) had in our mind was, something a little more objective driven than a casual Tweetup, and something a far less serious than a ‘Social Media Marketing Conference’ which would typically be held at a luxurious hotel. We wanted to keep the casual and friendly environment of a Tweetup, (Yes, folks were allowed to come in shorts!) and the content and outcomes of a conference (presentations, panel discussions). We definitely achieved the first objective in my opinion, but I agree with some critics, that we would have done it better with the second objective.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How to Prepare Yourself for a Career in Social Media

Finding people to fill vacancies in Social Media jobs is never easy. To make things worse, you get some random people that send applications for Social Media jobs thinking that being a Social Media marketer is as the same thing as being a stores clerk. They think that, knowing how to chat with friends on Facebook, or liking and sharing pictures of funny cats on Facebook are the two most wanted qualifications to become a Social Media marketer. Here is a conversation which happened today, between one such interviewee and the interviewer panel (including me).
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Cheapest Android Phones in Sri Lanka – 2013 Updated Version

About year and half ago, I wrote a blog post about cheapest Android smartphones in Sri Lankan market at that time. I received a good response for that post, and still it is one of the most popular posts on my blog. I noticed, the models and prices I’ve listed in that post were bit outdated as of now, so I decided to put together another list of cheapest Android phone models in Sri Lankan market.

Last time I took “Priced below Rs.35,000” as the sole criteria for being “cheap”. This time too, I will keep that criteria but will add another qualifier this time. The new qualifying criteria is, only the Android models with Android 4.0+ (ICS or higher) will be included in this list. The reason is, there are whole lot of cheap Android phones circulating in the market, under Rs.15,000/- but most of them are with older versions of Android like Gingerbread or Honeycomb.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Education 2.0 – How Sri Lankan Universities Can Best Use Technology in Education

Suranga Connecting From Sydney
Yesterday, I had the opportunity of being the coordinator of what could be the first ever live web-based lecture at the faculty of management, of the Sri Jayawardenepura University (I may be wrong to say this is the first, but you are free to correct me in the comments section). It was a live lecture on the topic Search Engine Marketing, conducted by Suranga Pryashantha, (currently based in Sydney Australia). For about one and half hours, Suranga delivered his lecture over a Webinar connection, and at the end of the session a direct Q&A session was conducted, with students posting their questions at Suranga over a Facebook group and Suranga responding to the questions directly on the webinar.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

Fake Accounts on Facebook - Does it Really Matter?

In several client meetings I’ve attended, and occasionally at some social media workshops and conferences, I’m hearing this common sentiment of ‘fake Facebook Profiles’ over and over again. Many marketing professionals raise their eyebrows first, when they hear that there are 1.5 Facebook users in Sri Lanka, and their next reaction is denial. “No… that cannot be… Maybe most of them are just fake accounts”.

I’ve noticed, in many occasions I deliver lectures or webinars on this topics, one of the most popular questions asked is “now, what percentage of those Facebook accounts are actually real?”.

While I agree on the fact that there can be a certain percentage of fake or inactive accounts within that 1.5million count, but my point is this isn’t the right question to ask! Come on… You know the number is 1.5 million, you know it’s going to grow at least by another 500,000 accounts within next 8 months. So, why waste time by trying to perfect your data?

Let’s say that there are a certain percentage of fake profiles on Facebook, but you wouldn’t say it’s 50% or at least even 30%, right? How many of us are questioning the TV reach statistics published by various market research firms, before we make decisions to spend millions on those TV channels? Any brand manager (and their seniors) in Sri Lanka will easily approve a media budget of over 5 Million rupees, without any hesitation, solely just dependent on ‘estimated’ ratings and reach statistics published by these research agencies. So why we are so worried about 7% or 10% fake accounts on Facebook when it comes to a decision of spending even less than 1% of the amount you spend on TV?

Forget about the silly questions of fake accounts vs. real accounts, but here are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself before spending even a rupee on Facebook.

1. Can I really reach my target audience on Facebook?

or, am I going on Facebook just because everyone else is doing so?

2. Do I have a clear call to action for my campaign?

Unlike your TV campaign, Facebook ads won’t just build passive awareness. People can actively engage with your ad. So, what do you offer them to engage with?

3. How am I going to re-engage them?

Do you have a compelling Facebook page with attractive content to keep your fans coming back? If you have, you don’t have to go for another paid ad campaign next time, to reach them (or at least you will have to spend less than 50% of your original budget).

If you don’t have clear answers for above three questions, it doesn't even matter even if 100% of the Facebook accounts are real. The money you are going to spend on Facebook ads will simply go down the drain, and you wouldn't even notice a difference between putting that money into your TV budget or to Facebook.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

Sri Lanka Internet Penetration Crosses 3 Million Users Mark in 2012

UPDATE: Latest Sri Lanka Internet Penetration Statistics

Statistics for internet users in Sri Lanka is now updated on, based on ITU sources. According to the latest published report, at the end of June 2012 the number of internet users in Sri Lanka stood at 3,222,200, a 28% increase in users within 6 months, compared to IWS’s published data for 3st Dec 2011.

This data is further verified by Google’s Public Data Analysis (based on World bank Stats) which indicates a 15% internet penetration in the country at the end of year 2011.

If the published numbers are only as of June 2012, then what’s the real number of Sri Lankan internet users at the end of year 2012? According to our prediction, the number is more or less close to 3.5 million users, if we apply the same YOY growth rate for last 3 years.At this rate we will cross the 4 Million internet users mark by the end of this year.

Last year, we passed 1 million local users on Facebook, and as of today there are 1,529,700 Facebook users which is a 61% of total internet users. If we discount about a 500,000 of these accounts to be inactive and fake, we still have a significant number of people accessing Facebook from Sri Lanka every day.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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