#IconsAround Interview: Shilpa Srivastava – A Social Networker – In The True Sense of the Term

You must have heard the saying that “You don’t become a human just after you are born. You need to develop certain qualities to be called ‘human’ unlike other living species”. I think same is true for being a ‘Social Networker’. One can not be called ‘Social Networker’ just because they use some social networking sites. One need to understand the true meaning of the terms ‘social’ and ‘networker’ to be qualified for that. Honestly I am learning & practicing being more social and a better Networker for quite a few years. And today I will introduce to you one of my teachers in this subject – Shilpadi (she is too humble to admit, but I’m always learning from her). She is among the very few persons I’ve met, who regularly meets new people, maintains good relationship with them, connects people with each other, takes the online relationship to real life meetings. And trust me, it’s easier said that done.

Her Story in Her Own Words

I started talking

When Sourav informed me he needed my story I told him there wasn’t any. He said everyone was telling him the same thing. So I had to drop the idea entirely and here I am penning something which may have been there but I never thought of sharing it with anyone.

Today people find me always saying something on the social media platforms.  Those who meet me can also vouch for that. But was I talkative always?  Was I an extrovert? No, I wasn’t. I was branded as someone who kept quiet or more correctly to say, someone who didn’t know how to talk.

What makes me talk now and what prompted me to be quiet then? I won’t say I don’t know. Yes, I know. At that time, in my growing years, I got encouragement only from my parents. Yes apart from that no one. Everyone had some opinion about me. In fact I was part of joke as well in the gatherings. Right from my appearance to how I am always immersed in books, how I don’t know how to talk, was what I had to hear. It pained me a lot and I got withdrawn in the shell more.

Change does come. For me change came when I joined my first job. Imagine an introvert, shy and silent person joining a job which involved concept selling. There was a daily target and monthly target. Initially I was not able to get much business. But when the jokes started doing the rounds here, as well, I decided now I won’t remain quiet. And I didn’t. I went on to do aggressive marketing and visited offices in Strand Road, Ezra Street, Canning Street. At that time in 1992 probably in those places I was the only female hopping from one office to another. I did marketing in Patna, yes Lalu land and got huge business for the company. Shy person had a transformation. My father was right, job changes you and he encouraged me to join this job at the age of 22 years. I have stood at road intersections and distributed brochures too and standing there in the heat I got the hardest lesson of my life. I needed the money and I had to earn it. There was no other way out.

That was my first job and then I went on to do number of jobs. I worked for an insurance surveyor for preparing his reports, I worked as a vacation consultant, I taught students, I was a crime reporter and then Compare Infobase Ltd. came into my life. I am with the same company since 2006. In the meanwhile something great happened to me – Social Media. I started with LinkedIn, Ryze,Orkut then Facebook then Twitter and the story continued. I liked the way this medium opened up immense possibilities. There was one incident which helped me, which was my meeting with Abhijit Dasgupta, the person who somehow taught me the importance of meetups, the importance of being in touch with people and to enjoy life. I was there on so many platforms but was I meeting people in person, no I wasn’t. I asked myself is this real social media. The answer came, no it wasn’t.

Now I am at a stage where people tell me. I have so many meetups, I am present everywhere. Some find it bewildering, some find it encouraging. But for me I learn from people and their behavior. And so I keep on meeting so many people. My closest friends are all from social media. They are my family like Sourav is. Otherwise I cannot imagine sharing all that what I wrote just now. I would end my account here as seriously there is not much to tell. It is a journey of words and expression in all the 43 years. That is it.

 A Short Interview: Social Media & Life Lessons

I asked Shilpadi a few questions. I am sure you would love the answers as much as I did. I forgot to tell you that Shilpadi is a Social Media manager for Compare Infobase Ltd. So if you are a professional looking for guidance to use Social Media properly, you’ll find many gems in following lines.

Q. How many Social Media sites are you using? 

A: Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Tumblr, Quora, Pinterest, Instagram & LinkedIn. These are the ones I remember.

Q. What are the differences between different Social Media platforms?

A: Difference as such is there in how we can use the features for ourselves. Whether you want to share, connect, broadcast, express, it all depends how these platforms provide you the option. For example on LinkedIn your primary motive will be to connect then share then maybe broadcast but will you express there? It is better to understand your purpose first and then check which medium offers the best solution.

Q. Some dos and don’ts of social media?

A: Connect not broadcast or brag. Be human but not the one who becomes difficult for others. Never lose your temper on social media.

Q. How to arrange meetups? Planning, promotion, discussion, after meetup?

A: Arranging a meetup is very easy if you have interested people and that difficult if you have disinterested ones or who have varied interests. You need to think over do you want them to come on a common platform, will that work? What benefit you will get? Are the meetups stimulating or it just happens? All these questions are very important for proceeding further. To me social media means when virtual steps into real. So one needs to plan accordingly.

Q. Can you give some examples of common social media mistakes?

A: Social media is where you can sell yourself and your business/service. This is the most common mistake.You do branding not selling.

Q. What are new career options available related to social media?

A: I think the new option for those in social media is they can be very helpful for the HR department. Help in recruitment. Secondly people in social media analyze people well considering their jobs demand that. This can be very well used by organizations for studying behavior of their employees or even I would say can be helpful in many other fields. But one has to delve into these aspects. Futuristic it may sound but I see this happening down the years.

Q. Some advice for fitness habits? How do you maintain regular morning walks?

(Shilpadi is not just regular in meeting people, but also in daily habits of morning walk.)

A: I am amused to answer this question. Considering the fact my weight has been the topic of discussion when I was thin, when I was overweight. It has got more limelight than me. Jokes apart,well I just go walking. I found myself a place which attracted me and created a trigger in my brain. Every morning the button is pressed and I start. So you need to first think of your heart. Find a place, find a companion who will go with you, find something you like. You will never have to think of maintaining a routine. It will happen automatically. Also analyze your fitness levels not the figures on weighing scale or the words of your detractors. You will be through.

Sourav Ghosh at Kolkata Tweetup Manisquare

First time met Shilpadi at Kolkata Tweetup 2010


Wow! I loved it! This is the whole purpose of #IconsAround initiative! Taking inspiration from people around us & sharing with many more. Being an introvert person myself (though improved a lot in last few years), I felt a relief that I can be a social person too. Though I am quite active on Social Media sites, I feel I should attend more Meetups and meet more people in person.

I’d love to know what you think. If you are reading this post & you know Shilpadi, drop a few lines please.

P.S. Do you ( someone you know) have an inspiring story to share with the world? Then we should talk.