Opentalk; A network for students

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I got connected to someone on Opentalk who was living off in London, and I mentioned him having a horrible international internship experience in Tokyo, and his story too was on same lines.
He mentioned. ‘I was a foreign exchange student in Cataluña, Spain. I was stuck up in the flat most of the time and most of the times we left the apartment was for my host brother to drink or smoke. My host brother and his friends refused to speak in Spanish and would always speak Catalan; additionally, my host brother and his friends kept berating me for cash because I’m apparently a wealthy American (I’m middle class at best). One time we were at a public pool and they kept pestering me for cash I decided I was going to walk the 5km home, I told my host brother I was leaving, and he thought I was joking. When I turned up at the flat an hour later, my host family and the program coordinator was furious at me, and I got lectured on how I should stay with my host family at all times.
Apparently, I can fly 3000 miles on my own, but can’t go outside. What a load of bollocks. If I go back, I’m staying in a hostel and not going through a program’.
Thanks to Opentalk for building a platform where students can connect to one another and share their stories and experiences.

Stranger helped me in getting over a Break-Up

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I was devastated when my breakup happened; it is hard to cope up with trauma and mental abuse a distorted relationship brings to a human. It was almost 3 am at night, and I was roaming alone in the streets of Alabama with no one to talk to. I started downloading phone app through which I could talk to someone. People don’t realize the value of someone talking to them until and unless they are left alone with no one to talk to.


I chose relationships topic in Opentalk and started talking to this guy from Paris, he listened to my whole story and mentioned, “In the world full of miserable things- heartbreak is a luxury.” In 15 minutes he boosted my morale made me realize that my life is much more than a relationship which didn’t work out and how love for one self and family is more important than that of a partner. He asked me to forgive myself- how the relationship was not my control, and practically I could do nothing to save it other than doing it later. But you know what they say, better soon than later.

He gave me his number before hanging up, and I went back home, apologized to my ex and said that I would be more than happy to break up as long as we get to stay friends and cherish whatever we had rather than crying over something which was not in over hand.

Thanks to Opentalk, I got someone to show me direction when all gates closed.


Talking is fun

Inspiring Youtubers

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#Opentalk brings you the coolest #Youtubers with some wise advice to have a better tomorrow as part of #Wisewednesdays. Read, Like, Comment, Share and don’t forget to download Opentalk app to meet new people with similar interests every day!




We are moving! From 5 to 10 minutes

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This week saw a minor roll out on Opentalk. Although small in the overall change effort a tectonic shift for the users interacting with platform and driving value out of every interaction. Since inception, by design the conversation length on the platform was limited. And based on the users interacting, the same could be extended for another limited duration. The idea for doing so relies on few hypothesis, assumed primarily to be deeply rooted in a user’s behaviour across the plethora of regular activities. A few such hypothesis were, and not limited to:


1.Fatigue: Conversations tend to get tiring after a point of time once the novelty or the jest of it is over. Fatigue might set in as the conversation digressing away exponentially with every passing minute unless of course, it continues to remain a mutually helpful discussion. In such a scenario, arriving at a logical concluding time might not be possible. Hence, the solution of short time limited conversations.

2.Butcher’s Guilt: Even in the scenario, when the conversations go on for a limited appreciable duration, sometimes, it continues to drag on as none on the line wants to explicitly give up, though mentally both would have done it long back. Suggesting to ‘hang up’ would reflect losing interest to the point of being viewed as insensitive, if the other one is still Vested in the conversation. It also innately would acknowledge that the conversation has stretched beyond a point and right to let it go, which by nature is difficult.

The feature was available for over 2.5 months and provided fascinating peek into behaviour around conversations. From an everyday user perspective, conversations are such integral part of daily life but rarely is it broken down, analysed and learnt from. Of course, not considering the professional speakers, politicians, etc. Coming back, conversation insights were something to ponder over.
Firstly, Persistence: Conversations post proper introductions usually persisted, proving once again that proper context and the setting can lead to meaningful and enriching conversations.

Secondly, Great introductions took longer: To being with, introductions were factored to take only about 30 seconds, however, as conversations grew in time and effort, it became apparent that real conversations need introductions and that too longer intros. The better the introduction and context setting, more interesting the conversations ended up being and as a result happier users.

Thirdly, Craving more: A few requests came in where users were too engrossed in conversation and missed the limited duration. These were some of the best conversations and given a chance, would have persisted much longer. Even after disconnect, users reached out eagerly to resume their talks. Real conversations needed longer to satiate cognitive hunger.
These insights were compelling enough to shed new light on newer aspects of user behaviour. A couple of conclusions stood out which had to be taken care/built into the product to improve the overall user experience:
The first one picked up goes back to Newton’s first law, i.e., a body in rest or motion tends to maintain its state. Humans by design are an embodiment of inertia, in common parlance known as a comfort zone. So users in conversation, tend to keep and continue without changing too much. And once disconnected, likelihood to strike another good conversation is usually little.
Secondly, users enjoy talking once the context is set and comfort with the other user. This, of course, takes a good long introduction to get the conversation going.
Both these conclusions led to new questions, followed by a change in the way user behaviour was understood in conversations. To develop a better understanding and incorporate some of the learning from the data into the product to see if the hypothesis and conclusions still hold good. Some of the features which entered in the contenders list included:

1. Subtle suggest much earlier in the conversation to continue or discontinue
2. Deeper context setting
3. Removing the limits altogether

Next step was to pick one of such opportunity to pursue. Considering multiple parameters and user behaviour insights, the team decided to pursue a single opportunity for a small win while building for a bigger win in understanding user behaviour.

Coupled with significant improvement in user experience, the first change in the series of changes was to increase the Duration of the limited call from 5 to 10 minutes. As an afterthought, sounds quite straightforward and intuitive, while checking all Boxes of conclusions arrived at. The biggest benefit, which is expected to happen with this is to leverage user inertia of Changing states. Hence, if a user continues to have a good conversation, it’s best to keep it going and disrupt it only once both the users are already too bought in. Disconnecting after 10 minutes, in this case, will then only mean save the user from the trouble of getting out of a boring conversation, although unlikely since such a conversation will automatically be killed.