In Conversation With Karthik Srinivasan

Interview with Karthik Srinivasan at WATSummit 2012

karthik srinivasan

I have always wondered how can Karthik Srinivasan blog, tweet, manage a job and still take time out for his family. So when I got to know that Karthik was in the list of panelists at WATSummit 2012, I had my questions prepared for him. Being a prolific blogger, meeting Karthik was more important. I found him a really chilled out guy who was quite okay for the interview. I asked him about his passion for blogging, his thoughts on premium content and how does he see the social media industry evolving in the near future. Please find the interview shared below:


1. Karthik, lets start our conversation by talking about what is keeping you busy these days.

Blogging keeps me busy all the time. I can blog for every single day like the Mashable with SEO centric keywords but then there is no point, as I need to add value to it. Things need to impact me also to write about them otherwise I won’t write about them. So this keeps me busy most of the time.

2. If something goes good on social media then it is because it is a cool brand but if something goes wrong then PR is to be blamed. How do you see it being a PR person yourself?

The thing is that social media has been around for millions of years. Initially it was at a very small level in the offline world between family and friends. Now we are doing the same on Twitter and Facebook and it is archived for the whole world to see not just for our family and friends to see.

[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_pull”]Things can go bad and good and it has been going on for millions of years but the basic difference is that all the bad things are archived forever[/pullquote]

So whenever you do a Google search you will find it very easily. So most of the times you will see bad things are associated with the brand and ultimately the PR is blamed. So it will be like that and it is a good job to do for the PR all the time.

3. Should Startups consult a PR agency for it’s social media?

[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_pull”]There is no wrong way or right way in social media. Everything depends on what works for you.[/pullquote]

Now for a startup, social media is not an easy job as it needs quality time to think what should be expressed online about the product. You can’t just say that I have a product and it is very fantastic, etc. People will just listen to you once and then forget you. But you need a good agency for a startup as it actually gets the message in a right manner. What should you talk about and what should you brand about. You as a startup should be known for one particular topic really well. For example if you have a startup in the financial space then you should be perceived as a smart and intelligent person within that space. Only then people will think that your product is equally credible like you. The important thing is the message that is put across as people will associate your startup with the message so a industry person or a PR agency is needed.

4. Your thoughts on “Content is King but why is it free” and could you share on what did you actually mean by saying in one of your tweets that will Chetan Bhagat go the self publishing mode.

The thing is that Chetan Bhangat has already got a market given by Rupa. Now after all the four or five books that he has written, if he goes for self publishing for his latest book then I think he will be very well successful. It won’t be a problem for him because of the brand he has created for himself and the amazing Twitter presence he has too. Self-publishing is very luring but I think he will stick to Rupa for the loyalty factor. However if there is a new writer and trying to self publish his new book then that is altogether a very different story.  

To answer the first part of your question, monetizing content is really tough unless we get a platform or an aggregator who will pay us for the content. I was actually having a discussion with Nikhil Pahwa about a platform which basically will be an online newspaper. For instance an average newspaper has everything from politics, sports, movies, etc. So is there a possibility for an online player like Rediff, Indiatimes, etc. to look bloggers in each of the verticals and get them on this platform to write and get paid. So everything becomes an online newspaper created by “aam junta” or the bloggers who blog because of passion. It would be a passionate newspaper. The point is also that if somebody is interested in stock news then he should be able to subscribe that only rather than subscribing the entire newspaper. I think this is a point taken by the traditional newspapers that everyone buys it because they want to read the whole newspaper.

5. So how do you see the market of social media evolving in 2012.

I am assuming that more and more marketing guys would start taking digital and social media very seriously. It won’t be a question of removing the spend from TV and putting it in digital. TV still has a phenomenal reach, digital still has some time but then you really can’t ignore it. Saying that it also won’t mean that people will be cutting their print budgets and pushing in digital but we need to find new budgets for the engagements that we intend to drive from digital which are very different from the traditional ones. 

Thanks Karthik! Premium content is tough but then you have shared an exciting idea with us. I think as we move ahead in the social media world we will start digesting curated content and this industry is for sure going to grow in 2012.