Opinion|Social Media

Top 10 takeaways from The Social Dilemma

the social dilemma

If you haven’t seen this doco yet… I highly recommend you do.

Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma is a documentary-drama hybrid streaming on Netflix that features the voices of technologists, researchers and activists who have played a significant role in creating social media giants including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram to name a few. This doco is their attempt to raise awareness about the growing data privacy concerns, the misuse of our information and behaviour on social media – all for profitability.

Here’s how the people who help build these social media giants use (and recommend using) these platforms. I’ve put together a list of 10 tips that they share in The Social Dilemma.

Top 10 takeaways from experts

  1. Uninstall apps from your phone that end up wasting your time. Turn off notifications on any app that demands your attention like social media apps and news apps.
  2. Turn off notifications.
  3. Recommend switching from Google search engine to Qwant, a search engine which doesn’t store your search history.
  4. Never click on the video recommended to you on YouTube. Always choose. There are several chrome extension to remove recommendations.
  5. Reduce the number of notifications you receive on your phone.
  6. Before you share, fact check. Consider the source. Do that extra Google. If it seems like its designed to really push your emotions, then it probably is.
  7. Make sure you get lots of different kinds of information in your own life. Follow people who you don’t necessarily share the same views with. So that you are exposed to different points of view to avoid unintentionally being in an echo-chamber.
  8. Notice that people in the tech industry don’t give these devices to their own children.
  9. 3 simple rules for kids:
    • All devices out of the bedroom at a fixed time
    • No social media until high school
    • Work out a time budget with your kid(s)
  10. And of course, to those who can… Delete your social media accounts

“We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we’re spending that time living our life in a rich way.”

“We’re seeing corporations using powerful artificial intelligence to outsmart us and figure out how to pull our attention for the things they want us to look at rather than things that are most consistent with our goals, our values and our lives.”

– Justin Rosenstein, Co-Founder of Asana and One Project; Former engineering lead at Facebook; Former product manager at Google


Top moments of 2019: A year of love, travel and learning

Prachi Tyagi at University of Melbourne

The year began with me fresh into my role as a digital and content coordinator. After a rejuvenating trip to Delhi, it was a smooth transition back to work. The first part of the year was spent in implementing marketing strategies our team worked on mapping out in late-2018 followed by breaking the year in half with my trip to San Francisco after exactly 20 years (no big deal).

The trip was better than I had imagined – spending time with Dad, my sister and cousin. Our first official attempt at a girl’s trip and we made it in one piece to gorgeous locations in San Francisco and a couple places not so far away. We borrowed dad’s Lexus and drove to Napa (of course our love for wine knows no bound), spent a day with distant cousins in the heart of San Francisco, went out clubbing in downtown Oakland, spent a couple days in Monterey Bay and Big Surr (Big-Little-Lies-style).

Out of all the times we ended up spending some time in front of the TV, one thing always irked me – ads about medicine. Just because pharmaceutical companies read out what the drug is meant to do/be used for doesn’t really give people the right knowledge or expertise to basically subscribe themselves to self-medicate (this topic needs its own post).

Soon after, my favourite professor invited me as a guest speaker at the University of Melbourne’s Master of Marketing Communications networking event. It was an incredible experience talking to current students about life after university. It wasn’t long before another similar opportunity presented itself at the University of Melbourne and this time I was a part of a panel discussing ‘ethics in marketing’ with future marketing students as our audience.

In a time where tech giants are trying their very best to get away without taking any responsibility of how their platforms are being misused – be it a matter of privacy or fake news – it is in the interest of consumers to read between the lines and understand the real cost of sharing their data. A recent research found that 67% of consumers are concerned with the way brands are using their data. This confirms any suspicions that marketers are going to have to find a space where their consumers’ boundaries are respected but as brands they’re also able to deliver personalised and engaging messages. Simple? To put it in a sentence – its going to take corporations a lot of experimenting with their privacy and messaging to get to a point where they can satisfy their consumers. In other words, as we move to a more data-driven marketing world, marketers are going to play an unprecedented role in shaping privacy policy.

Highlights from this year include working on Choice Hotels International’s website rollover to Australia. It was a huge learning experience working with the US to build our website. I also completed a year at Choice Hotels Asia-Pac.

With the Choice team at the launch of the website

This article would not be complete without mentioning watching U2 and RHCP LIVE! Two things crossed off my bucket list.

U2: The Joshua Tree Tour 2019
U2: The Joshua Tree Tour 2019

Oh and another thing…

I GOT ENGAGED! On the 7th of December, my partner and I went to Halls Gap where he proposed in the Grampians. It has to be my favourite moment from 2019. Now, as December begins, I’m keen to fly back to Delhi and make some more memories with close family and friends.


Top Moments of 2018

prachi tyagi

2018 delivered more than what I anticipated.

The year began with my last semester at the University of Melbourne which turned out to be busier than other semesters – I volunteered as a media officer at Red Cross Australia and writer for the Students’ Association of Management & Marketing at the university. Throughout my journey as an international student at UniMelb, I kept looking for ways to share my story. This wound up taking shape as a side project called Humans of UniMelb that continues to publish inspirational student stories. An advocate for personal branding, I realized that students wanted to know the stories, accomplishments and hardships of the ones before them. While to some, stories might help answer questions, to others they may serve as motivation.

One of the most rewarding internships, my stint at Catch Group lasted 8 months. It was a great space to work in as I got to get my hands dirty with creating SEO-optimised content for the Catch website plus their sister website Brands Exclusive.

After two years of assignments, deadlines and an unhealthy consumption of coffee, graduation day finally arrived. My dad and his partner flew in all the way from Morgan Hill, California for a 12-day road trip across Australia.

Prachi Tyagi at the Royal Exhibition Building
At the Royal Exhibition Building with dad, Graduation Cermony, July 2018

As I reflect, time spent at university has been more about exploring evolving marketing concepts than just reading up on existing campaigns and strategies. I grew closer to understanding the DNA of marketing and communications as I dived into topics like sensory marketing, information vacuum in social media, and the ever-changing face of digital advertising. 

Towards the end of October, I landed a job at Choice Hotels Asia-Pac. I consider myself lucky to have such a diverse and ambitious team to work with.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac Christmas Party
Choice Hotels Asia-Pac Christmas Party – Marketing Team

The future of my profession is undeniably experiential marketing. We are increasingly integrating it with our everyday life, the most recent instance – Netflix’s interactive movie, Bandersnatch where we get to ‘choose our own adventure’.

It truly is The Age of the Consumer. Not that it ever wasn’t. But today, consumers aren’t just consuming what brands give them, they have a voice and appreciate a sense of real connection with brands. Choosing a brand is personal and consumers want to make sure they choose one that listens to them, represents their values, and validates the content they create.

After a short trip back home in Delhi for the holidays, I’m excited to be back and ready to create some magic.  ✨


Anxious applying to jobs in Melbourne? Here’s what I learned

diversity in the workplace

Are you anxious about applying to jobs in Melbourne? Here’s my 2 cents…

Despite the large number of international students in Australia, there is a significant lack of information about the employment market. In fact, almost everyone I’ve met on my post graduate journey in Melbourne did not know what to expect after graduation.

How long will the post-study visa last?

Are there companies hiring people on a temporary visa?

Since career portals like Seek and Indeed are full of jobs seeking candidates with Australian citizenship or permanent residency, these questions quietly haunt the minds of international students living in the land down under.

A little bit of a back story…

When I applied to the University of Melbourne, all I researched on was the reputation of the institute and the availability of my course. I hadn’t spoken to any professional in the marketing industry who had graduated from UniMelb (or any other university) who would give me an insight on how the job market was doing, especially for international students. My focus had been on getting my master’s degree ticked off my list but now that I was studying in Melbourne, I had to start thinking about the possibility of gaining work experience in Melbourne.

In the duration of my two-year course, I reached out to a few alumni through LinkedIn – but received no substantial response. On the other hand, I did find LinkedIn useful in getting one internship in New Delhi (India) and one in Melbourne (Australia).

How to land a job as an international student in Melbourne

There’s an obvious gap between international students, alumni, and especially those who get work here in Australia. So, I thought I’d share my story – hopefully giving you an idea of how to navigate your way through the job market in Melbourne. But before I get to what I learned while looking for a job here, I should emphasise on how you, as an international student, must reach out and grab opportunities in your university. It could be a club, a journal, a volunteer position – everything you do in uni counts.

  • Every university has its own career portal and resources that aren’t necessarily highlighted – you need to be looking for these.
  • If you’re passionate about a subject or topic, this is the time to connect with like-minded people including peers and professors.
  • And since we’re talking about connecting with people, I may as well add how important it is for every university student to have a LinkedIn profile. Keep your online CV updated, be part of discussions and explore industry trends. LinkedIn is not only a great way to stay connected with people you meet at university, but also a fabulous way to build your personal brand.

For international students looking for a job, I found this article by Jack Gaffney extremely helpful. Current University of Melbourne students can also take a look at my top 15 tips here. Click on the ‘resources’ section here and dive into a world of websites that will help you get started.

Getting a job in Melbourne 

It’s no surprise that the number of international students in Australian universities is on the rise. Needless to say, there is an explosion in the number of graduate visas.

After I got my Temporary Graduate visa 485, I officially began my search for a job. Three months in, I finally got a position in the marketing team at a reputable US-based company. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Networking, networking, networking

There’s a reason why this is the number one on my list.

A great way to start networking is by getting involved during your good ol’ uni days. While university projects connect you to peers, internships and part-time jobs give you a chance to get to know your potential future employers better. At the end of the day, connections made through these routes make for much-needed quality references to give your future employer. Additionally, check out these tips on how you can prepare yourself while looking for work in Melbourne.

Photo by brittany gaiser on Unsplash

Every country has a different idea of what a CV should look like. I’ve literally edited my résumé a bajillion times since my time in Melbourne. After first adapting it to a friend’s CV, I went on to get tips from specific seminars held to guide students on how to optimise and design CVs better. Your CV is how you make your first impression, so make sure it’s a good one. Starting with stating your career purpose, recent employment history – make sure you highlight your achievements at uni or/and at internships.

  1. Meet as many recruiters as possible

There are several recruitment companies in Melbourne that you should connect with. You can either try connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn, or directly apply to a job they’re seeking candidates for on their respective websites.

Meeting them in person is a step closer to differentiating yourself from heaps of resumes they receive every day. Not just that, but recruiters also provide helpful tips on how you can make your CV better. A total win-win situation. Don’t forget to dress for success.

  1. You got your first interview – now what?

One of the many amazing recruiters I met told me to take examples of my work to my interview with a potential employer. Isn’t it just a fantastic way to wow people with what you’ve been up to? A great way to showcase your passion, print out your best work and be equipped with examples when you’re being interviewed.

Another great pointer is to ask your interviewers relevant questions towards the end of the interview. Not only does this help you get more information about the role you’re applying to, it’s a great way to show your enthusiasm as a candidate. Moreover, be honest about your work experience during the interview.

  1. Don’t rush

I cannot emphasise on how much your communication and professional skills matter. Coming from another country, note that people here in Australia deals with things differently. For instance, the time it takes to get a response on an email or getting a call from a job you applied to – while some people might ask you to get in touch in a few days, others can take months – make sure you don’t come across as pushy. Nobody likes that.

Your uni days are the perfect time to start building your personal brand. Although it takes a considerable amount of time for your brand to gain traction, it will definitely be worth it by the time you’re looking for a job.