04th Nov2010

iLike ; iLight Marina Bay

by Dorothy

It’s been quite some time since any exhibit in Singapore caught my eye, but I’ll have to say that the iLight Marina Bay installations definitely piqued my interest. I made it to each and every one of the 25 pieces of creativity and loved it!

I had the pleasure of running into Mary-Anne, who’s the festival director, all the way from Bondi and she shared some behind the scenes snippets of everything. It’s pretty interesting how she highlighted the need for entrance fees to a lot of the exhibits and events in Singapore – maybe this differs quite a bit from other places? Never quite noticed it, tbh.

She also spoke about soul, and passion (or perhaps the lack thereof in some situations), something that I had to agree with her. Sometimes things can get a little too clinical, too restrained around here. Until the generation learns, we’ve just got to live with it I guess. I constantly miss the ease that one can strike up a random conversation overseas, small talk, and all that jazz.

Sustainability was another thing – Fullterton had been supposed to turn of the lights to offset the energy usage from all of the installations, but somehow this wasn’t happening <?>. Pity, because the initiative definitely had a good intent. Even the paper fans that were distributed, on “paper from sustainable forest sources”.

I loved how there seemed to be a mixture of planned and unplanned interactions going on. There were some workshops at One Fullterton, where people were apparently turning plastic bottles into art. Photography buffs with their tripod and camera gear all around, snapping away. Curious gazers who just happened to wander in – the families, the couples, the accidental tourists on their own home turf, those experimenting with the technology capturing and projecting their images in a mosiac pattern on the screen….

Love the iphone App loading image too! I love the sketchy style and the mood of it, and the little plays of light. This proved really useful when trying to navigate through and planning the exploratory route. 🙂

You can check out more info here. I believe there are guided tours for those who want some directions, else its really much more fun if you take your own time to explore the area and just enjoy the scenery, literally.

Apart from mistaking another light installation at the Marina Barrage as the actual artwork itself, which was kind of hilarious..the only other thing was the haze which obscured some of the view on Day 1, but Day 2 was much better. It’s a bit of a stretch to try and cover everything in a day, but definitely worth it.

It’s on till the 7th of November, so if you haven’t caught it, you really should. I recommend the stretch from the Customs House all the way to Marina Bay Sands, where most of my favourites were concentrated. Awesome stuff!

11th Sep2010

Of Search and Social

by Dorothy

This morning (and now about a day ago because I sat on posting this), I came across this RWW article that got me thinking about certain things.

Americans spent more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google for the first time in August, and Yahoo edged out the search giant in monthly traffic, according to new data from marketing research firm comScore.

Information is being created at an amazing speed. The folks over at Youtube quip that “every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.” But correspondingly, human capacity to process, comprehend and store this cannot possibly mirror this exponential growth. This capacity remains the same, and hopefully all that talk about how the internet is making us stupid is not true.

So what interests me about the RWW article was the intricacies of the nature of interactions on each site/platform as well.

Say Google really delivers the quick and streamlined search results (even before you finish typing..Google Instant anyone?). How does this affect their ad revenue model if it’s working so well and a user skips off(albeit happily) in the few seconds of interaction?

 

When I grow up, I want to be just like (you)?

With Facebook…

– Trying to be Yahoo with the newly rolled out Facebook Answers, which doesn’t seem to have the superior targeting engine that Facebook ads seems to have… because none of the questions have been particularly compelling enough to click on. Not sticky. It is also seemingly mostly perpetuated by USA centric discussions so the lack of local probably is another factor as well.

– Trying to be Foursquare with Facebook Places that nobody in this parts can access without a VPN (seriously..), which I would say has greatly affected my experience naturally.

I’m still logging into Facebook daily though.

I don’t use the Yahoo portal much honestly but their mail interface really works for me over Gmail. I suppose new ways to present old stats will always surface and I suppose part of this is that it’s interesting to have a sexy title that any other company could challenge and (gasp) beat Google at its game. In perspective, it’s really all about how you define “beat” as well. It depends on your purpose. Am I going to stop returning to Google because they can quickly direct me away (incidentally to exactly where I want to go)? No.

Here’s another perspective on the overall picture, since the Comscore data seems to focus largely on the USA  – Google still ranks tops on sites like Alexa, and there are whole lot of other related properties like Youtube, Blogger and etc so collectively it will be interesting to see how each entity fares. If Twitter would not fail whale so often, I wonder if they would move up as well. 

At any rate, I just came across this post here that claims people spend more time on Facebook than on Google‘s sites combined. You will notice I use the word “claims” because I still think everything is too subjective nowadays until there is a unified way to look at things across the board, one site’s claim is only as sound as you make it to be.

 

(Search)

On an aside, Search was one of the topics that happned to be discussed when Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising came down from the UK. Had a nice cozy chat this week with a couple of other practitioners together with Mel…and interesting that he highlighted his background in SEM.

Search is important and I figure it shapes the way you learn, because in essence, you dictate what your perception on the topic is. Like the case of BP (something that was brought up a couple of weeks back in another setting, so I just wanted to hear opinions on this), and I’m still on the fence about how ethical, or “right” it is for brands to spend on search to have control over the results. And case in point- BP and the oil spill disaster.

During the conversation, Mel shared that it was something like 57 thousand to later 3.6 million that BP spent on Google Adwords. Which is an astonishing jump if you think about it. The stats are also up at this post from Adage.

BP’s increase underscores how important Google has become for reputation management, and in the battle for public opinion. In the wake of the spill, Google was a natural first stop for people seeking information, and BP bought up dozens of keywords associated with the disaster such as “oil spill,” “leak,” “top kill” and “live feed” as it vied for clicks with news stories, images of oiled wildlife and plaintiff attorneys trolling for clients.

“Google has become the remote control for the world; it’s the first stop, not TV,” said Will Margiloff, CEO of Innovation Interactive, a unit of Denstu. “More than any other media, that messaging is requested; people are seeking BP’s answers out as opposed to waiting to be told.”

Clearly there are implications for PR, Crisis and Reputation Management, since this is just another arsenal that can be utilized. Not one of the more discussed strategies, since most people are typically more focused on the tangible responses (Did the CEO apologize? Did they have a press release?..etc). It’s pretty much impossible to try and control social media (people are going to share what they want to anyway), but the public can’t read what they can’t find if you’re going to manipulate search results that way. So at least some of the traffic can be redirected that way.

And just to document the thoughts from another conversation, I think Greenpeace are actually one of the world’s most successful creative agencies or filmmakers or storytellers if you think about it. If I ran an agency I would be hiring someone like their creatives for projects. It is exceedingly difficult to defeat a machine powered by passion. Some of the content they produce, or the way they can mobilize the masses is just nothing short of amazing compared to some of the other “official” creative advertising.

The mind is an interesting thing. Sometimes just starting to think about a single topic can lead onto so much more. Short of titling all future blog posts “random thoughts of the day (date)” etc I haven’t quite found a way to address this when trying to consolidate certain thoughts.

This has been a good week of conversations, I seriously hope this continues!


Other previous Search/Social related posts

Social Media Sticky Behaviors – Google & Facebook

Search Portals v.s Social Networking Sites – A Fight for the Advertising Dollar (& our eyeballs)

13th Jul2010

National Parks: Love Green Messaging

by Dorothy

I was walking along East Coast Park for the SITF Beach Clean Up Day, when I spotted these posters by N Parks.

Love Green by you.

  by you.

At first glance, very cute, nicely done graphics, right down to the psuedo 3D shadows. I only have one issue with all this. The dustbin seems to play a major role in all this, rather than the people who actually contribute to litter. In the second picture, we even see a jogger hurling a piece of trash flippantly onto the pristine beach.

While the message is to “Help keep our parks clean for all to enjoy”, why is the responsibility of doing so left to an inanimate object? All this only points more to a culture that expects, probably even assumes someone will clean up after them.

16th Jun2010

CommunicAsia: Skype

by Dorothy

Popped by the Skype booth at CommunicAsia with a bunch of other bloggers, thanks to the folk over at XPR! Loved the booth, which was like a breath of fresh air and probably the most well designed amongst the others at the exhibition.

CommunicAsia: Skype booth

Branding wise, these guys have got it down…from the almost irreverent and fun decorations (think rainbows, clouds and synthetic grass) to the friendly staff that were hanging around the booth.

All this extends to Skype-blue Slushees, and the iPhone case….All great talking points as well.

CommunicAsia: Skype Slushee

CommunicAsia: Skype iphone Case

CommunicAsia:  skypetv

“You’re on Skype TV!”

CommunicAsia: Peter Parkes

Peter, one of the faces of the social media team, whom you can also find over on the Skype blogs.

_______________________________

Curious about the Skype story in online conversations in Singapore, this is what was came up in terms of the top discussed themes/buzz clusters in relation to the Skype brand name.

Unsurprisingly, Skype is strongly associated with functions like Video Conferencing and Calls.

  • Video Conferencing/Video Calls
  • Mobile Phones: Given that mobile usage is increasing, the fact that Skype is often mentioned in conjunction with mobile phones isn’t all that surprising.

Phone Models discussed

  • iPhone 4 /Apple iPhone : Interestingly enough, there were separate conversation themes for the iPhone 4 versus generic chatter on the Apple iPhone itself, possibly double the share of voice for the iPhone compared to other phone models.
  • Windows Phone 7 : There was a previous rumour floating around that Skype wouldn’t be developing for the Windows Phone 7 but that has since been cleared up over at ZDNet Asia.
  • HTC Touch
  • BlackBerry
  • Motorola

Communication Centric:

  • SMS
  • MSN
  • Social Networking
  • Facebook – Skype was also one of the top Web 2.0 brands often mentioned together with the likes of other communication options like MSN and Yahoo!.


“We have cellphones if its important, and email, IM and Skype if its not.” – a post from The Singaporum Forum.

Skype for “not important” calls. Issue or non issue?

“Erm i normally use skype to call my friends during gameplays… Not really used for overseas purposes. ” – Hardwarezone Forum.

While Skype might be utilized heavily by the overseas crowd ( I know I would!), it’s interesting to note that gamers might also be an alternative target audience in their messaging. Not something that immediately comes to mind.

_______________________________

Also saw that the Skype business solutions offering was given a counter of its own at the booth. Skype still seems to be resonating with the average consumer online, but it will be interesting to see how their branding might translate to serious enterprise customers, and the impact or effect, if any.

Full Disclaimer: All buzz clusters phrases were taken from Brandtology’s (where I work!) Digital Conversation Workbench.

Other official pictures from the event here! : Skype Twitter Accounts

25th Oct2009

Edelman partnered with Brandtology Digital Brand Index (APAC) finally launched!

by Dorothy

Apologies for the radio silence here the past period, it has been absolutely insane the last few weeks but I have a good excuse. 🙂

So one of the projects I’ve been working on….the APAC Digital Brand Index!
Edelman, together with Brandtology (where I work) have just released a APAC Digital Brand Index spanning across the major markets in the region. To quote John, “8 markets, 800,000 posts, 233 tech brands…” and then some <!>

Please show the team some love if you can because while this may come under the umbrella project of the DBI, multi-market projects really could be mini projects on their own (as is often the case). A full story can be found on the Edelman & Brandtology main sites. (This is where you get the media goodies like fact sheets & media releases, so I suggest you check it out!) and more on John’s site here.

There’s been some nice coverage so far, from online sites in Malaysia, India, China (post in chinese), more India, Australia, to publications like Marketing-interactive.com. I’ve heard the team from China had some great respones from the media session too!
And of course, there are scribd documents, youtube videos all over ( you don’t have to look too hard.)

It is pretty interesting to watch how the news grows. The Google bots are clearly doing their job. Early Friday morning, a Google search returned some 3-4 relevant hits top of page, but that has changed significantly now for any of the major search terms one might use to hunt this down. Search also turns up hits from Facebook pages pretty well too.

Across other spaces, the word is alive on Twitter…. it’s nice to see the multi lingual comments coming in.



I think some of the main findings are already nicely summarized in the various fact sheets on the Edelman site, but of course there are a whole lot more that the data set could provide. Off the top of my head:

  • Online behavioural patterns of APAC netizens… ( 8 countries so far, 2 more coming out). This is for the psychology buff inside me somewhere. I’d really like to see if there are patterns of posting. Weekends are generally less buzzy (people apparently don’t post when they’re not at work?), with conversations happening mostly during weekdays. I can see all those questions about productivity popping up already!
  • Behavioural patterns in different channels – Twitter, unsurprisingly ranks pretty highly in terms of activity and mentions of Brands in the DBI. Part of me thinks that this is largely due to the ease and low effort needed to do an update (aka people are lazy. Easier to post on Twitter than write a full blog post).
    If you’re holding a smartphone, armed with the great Twitter applications and a mobile data plan, it’s easy to make a habit out of Twitter. Instead of calling up our best friend to rant about the lousy brand experience you’d just had, the whole world is now your audience. Clearly, we are seeing signs of that happening, given the number of rants that seem to originate from Twitter.
  • Virality of a Brand – is a certain brand name confined within a select few channels? and why? What’s the difference between a brand that enjoys a lot of buzz within a limited number of channels, as compared to one that is widely disscussed across multiple platforms, but in less depth.
    As a brand, which would you rather be and why? Is this what people call “reach”?
    Does mere reach ( my brand is discussed by 100000 people but each of them only talks about me once ) mean more than longevity in conversation ( my brand is discussed continually by 100 people, across a period of months )?
  • Between a brand and an iconic product – The Singapore data shows Singtel topping the list of mentions. This is probably correlated somewhat with the fact that they still (at this moment in time anyway) have a monopoly on the iphone market. It’s interesting that probably Apple is not mentioned as a brand itself much, but it’s hugely successful line of products – the iPhone, iMac, Macbook, MBPs, MacOS etc would probably generate a huge amount of conversations. Maybe Apple is an aspirational brand, but i personally hate the iPhone because I can’t type on it (yes, seriously). How does brand loyalty feature then, and does it even matter anymore? Would you place product function over the brand, or do you like to convince yourself that this is so?
  • Influencers – What is the difference between an online influencer who owns a blog, and say, someone who’s really active on Twitter? In a forum? In which forum? And how would you qualify this? Microblogging and forums clearly win hands down in terms of activity, as compared to blogs (Again, back to the fact that blogging is hard work!).

Endless questions of why, how, etc and I could really go on and on…

But really, if you’re a slice and dice data wizard, it would be cool to find out what else I could have missed! Any major angles?

If you’re a practioner in Communications/PR/Marketing, it would be great to hear what matters in your daily projects, what are the kinds of metrics and measurements that are important to you and why? How would any of these feature in your social media/digital strategies?
PM me or drop a comment here! I’m decidedly curious. 🙂

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

09th Aug2009

Banking and Social Media #2 : Silence is not (quite) a strategy

by Dorothy


As a continuation of my last post, I’m looking into how financial institutions are communicating with their Web 2.0 stakeholders and managing the responding procedure, if any.

The previous mentioned Financial Times article mentions how research with the London School of Economics had uncovered two banks now using blogs to communicate in a much “softer” way than traditional marketing.

In fact, there are not just two, but a whole lot more.

Just to name a few from the Fortune 500 list, we have on Twitter

  • UBank (linked to the National Australian Bank,
  • Westpac Banking Group (not quite a big fan of the “Westpac help” username though)
  • ANZ Bankings CEO used to be on Twitter, but apparently he isn’t anymore (Why?)

And on blogs, we have Wells Fargo’s Join the Conversation. AOL Finance has a pretty nifty blog aggregator that pulls in blog posts around the web on the various institutions, like Bank of America, for example.

Over at this article,”Know Your Customers Means Knowing Your Social Media” some overseas examples of how consumer banking can approach the issue of delving in to the brave new world of social media are mentioned. As quoted,

Peter Aceto, CEO of ING Direct Canada who is personally active on Twitter, puts it, “Banking is our business, and we think our business needs to be wherever people are talking about banking.”

Silence as a Strategy

The questions: when do you respond, how do you respond, and should you even respond at all?

It’s true. Not every single thread, blog post, tweet or discussion online needs responding to. It would also be a near impossible task to respond to everyone. But that is no excuse for not trying. Silence is Not a Strategy, Even If You’re a Pirate.

By remaining silent while netizens raise their voices online, a few of the following situations could occur.

  • You appear unresponsive, worse, unware that anything is amiss.
  • You give competitors a chance to jump in and pacifiy upset customers, and lose the opportunity to engage.
  • You allow the situation to possibly spiral out of control.


Demanding Transparency and Truth, now.

We live in an age where the public demands transparency. The web allows for by-the-minute updates of day to day happenings, from the mundane (what you ate this morning) to the serious (breaking news of attacks in a certain city). If I can receive updates that a friend just had an amazing bacon and eggs breakfast, why can’t I receive a genuine response to a query or complaint online, on platforms like Twitter? Again, if your competitors are already doing so, won’t your customers be expecting that you follow suit? Jumping on the bandwagon isn’t the best way to do it, but shows some proactivness, at the very least.

With regards to banking, two areas immediately jump out- that of risk management/brand reputation and customer service. These are of course, generalizable to any other service orientated organization out there. With openess, comes trust. No industry needs to focus more on rebuilding trust right now. We need to trust our banks, as this article postulates.


Inertia, eradicated

And yet, the uptake of social media hasn’t quite taken this industry by storm, despite the powerful competitive advantages that could be derived from using the tools wisely. Inertia is a curious phenomenon that I can’t quite understand, in an industry that basically is commercially driven, and fueled by competition.

“Currently many traditional bankers tend to reject the concept of
social banking as a fad while others refuse to recognize or accept any
degree of threat posed by such new phenomena,” said Alistair Newton,
research vice president at Gartner. “Although bankers may see current
low usage by consumers as a permanent source of safety, this disregard
for changing consumer behavior with social networking generally may
mean that they miss the possibility of fast, viral uptake of social
banking.
” – Gartner Says Banks Need to Be Ready to Take Advantage of the New Age of Social Banking



I’ll end off by sharing some links, one which touches on a bit of Social Banking goodness and another nice link about managing your online reputation- enjoy!

Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing

In the Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing addresses social networks, user demographics and the role of social networks within the greater sphere of social media. Also addressed at length is the development of viral marketing programs, consumer advocacy, conversational marketing, metrics and common pitfalls.

NYT – Managing an Online Reputation

Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening. How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic? Monitor – Manage – Promote.

“Social media for business now is life or death,” said Dan Simons, a restaurateur in the Washington area who closely monitors these forums. “You could open a business and do everything right, but if you’re unaware of these social media you will perish. Social media can take a business and put a bullet in it.”


As always, thanks for reading & would love to hear your comments or feedback if any!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
02nd Aug2009

Banking and Social Media #1 : Some thoughts

by Dorothy


It seems like an oxymoron to talk about banks and social media, given the former’s often authoritarian grip over their employees’ access to the web. However, all that looks set to change. Banks (or any other organization for that matter) are finding that the same level of control can’t be exercised over their consumers.


The Financial Times has published an excellent article about business and social technology (or social media). It postulates that organizations need more listening, watching, engaging with interested parties or being responsive to communities.

Banks surely recognize that they need to be where their consumers are. That was probably the premise of the introduction of Internet banking.

“Yet many banks, for example, still refuse to let customers post comments online because they fear what will be said.”
– The Financial Times


It used to be that organizations might be able to “own” the conversational platforms where netizens might find their comments (or complaints) censored on sites hosted by the organizations themselves. The point is, people are talking about you/your brand/organization/product/service whether you like it or not.


FB’s Lexicon gives some interesting data over the content of Facebook Walls over time. Looking at the period of January 2009 to current, it seems the total amount of mentions of DBS and HSBC are going in opposite directions.

Mentions of DBS are going up…

Picture 3

Recent events include:


Whereas, mentions of HSBC peaked around March 2009 and has dipped since, over the same period.

Picture 2

Events that happened in March 2009 that might have contributed to the increase in conversations.

Google Trends gives a much more nuanced analysis because it allows us to narrow down to geographical data.
Some comparisons from Google Trends, of search traffic from Singapore ( I am biased of course, August is the month of National Day 😉 ) on the various trends.

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8

“Most organisations still think of their boundaries as very fixed – they don’t see the outside world as part of their organisation. They think it’s far too risky to break down their borders – but there is opportunity in blurring the boundary.” – The Financial Times


Between the Lexicon and Google Trends data, it shows people are not only talking about banks, they are actively searching for information on them. And this number has increased from year 2004, regardless of which bank we are looking at (DBS, HSBC, Citibank, in this case). I did try looking for a couple of other local banks, but there wasn’t quite enough data for Lexicon to pull any charts out. No conversations in itself, is possibly an indicator of other things.

Trust (me)
One would be hard pressed to find someone without an inherent skepticism about the banking industry after the global financial meltdown. Keeping silent is simply not acceptable to most consumers anymore, especially in this age where the internet affords so much transparency.

Your consumers are moving their conversations about you online. They are looking for information about you online. If you are not managing what the active netizens are saying, will the first thing that people find while keying in a search term be a negative post, or a positive one? If, a bank, you are not listening, how are you going to respond to something you’re not even aware of?

What is your take on this?
….More thoughts in the next post!

30th May2009

Communication Thoughts Case #1: Crisis Comms & Mainstream Media [updated]

by Dorothy

Case #1: H1N1 in Singapore

So the lowdown, as it literally unfolded on the web…..
The news broke on Twitter early in the morning. Something along the lines of this happened on my Twitter timeline. I will have to tell you that upon seeing the flight number, age of patient and time of arrival, my heart literally sank. For reasons disclosed right below in this post. For one, these people involved are my friends and faculty. Yes, I am from SMU. Yes, I know these guys personally. No, I was not and did not go on the trip. No, you will not get any personal contact numbers/info from me. Especially if I don’t know you. The keyword here used repeatedly is personal. Although given the conversations, the press has already been remarkably active in emails and the likes in trying to reach the students on the trip. Impressive but fyi did not make you particularly popular with them. There is a difference between a message that says ” Are you okay? i’m worried about you.” and “Are you okay? I want to tell x number of other people about this story!“. And people can tell.

Some good lessons:

It’s good to have a crisis communications plan in place.

Bottomline, in this case, I and any number of other people had pointed all queries back to our university’s Corp Comms office. I think in any organization, if there had not been any prior briefings, there might have been all manner of untruths out there because people’s assumptions are being taken as truth when a random sampling of opinions of people not even involved is sought. It is only natural that in times of breaking news, those in the relevant organization will be contacted for their opinions. If you are in the PR/communications department, do you have a contingency plan in place to address this scenario? Are you actively aware of what is being said about your brand/service/employees, etc?

Also, in SMU, we are kept constantly updated about what is being said about us in the news. Apart from the daily alerts about the general mentions of the school that every single student receives, the NY BSM students get forwarded articles in which the class is mentioned. This means that I have a gist of the articles that were previously written about the NY BSM in the news so I roughly know the database of information that the journalists have access to. Do you think this could be extended to become a practice in any other organization or company? I sure think so. This is useful information and at the very least, at least those in the communications department should all be aware of the past coverage on their organization. If only because that’s probably going to be the one of the starting points of reference when any research is going to be carried out on a new article.

Mainstream Media

I cannot believe that people from the various media bodies are just randomly calling up any SMU student they know, asking if they are a NY BSM student (the New York cohort has always been carefully pre-selected from hundreds of applicants) and expecting them to cough up personal contact numbers. You call me, I can totally understand why, given I could very well have been on that trip, and even on that plane, if I had decided to cut short my extension. But random shots in the dark? There has to be a better way to go about doing this. Also, please, try not to do the media version of ambulance chasing.

I also feel a bit like the papers put words in our mouths. I said nothing of the sort of being scared of contracting the virus as appeared in the papers. Which normal human being would want to get it? Yes, that might have been one of the reasons but if I didn’t say it, should it even be taken as fact? A sentence generic enough to be believable was assumed, and stated as true. The same thing happened in a past interview in the New Paper, in an article where I was interviewed about Twitter. Classic “I don’t remember saying that” situation and a feeling of being misquoted ensued. Nevertheless, this is still remains a small issue in comparison with the fact that a certain publication has named the student, something that I am truly disappointed about.

I have heard that there have been other cases of our students in this BSM class being “misquoted” in the papers. I have nothing more to say except that this only breeds even more mistrust so it is highly unlikely that I will speak to any reporter that I do not know personally in future situations that may be similar, simply because I cannot trust them to do the right thing.

As for finding out the actual identity of the student….If you need a visual analogy, the point is that when someone has fainted on the road, they need oxygen. All of the bystanders standing around cramming and trying to sneak a peek simply cuts off that supply. The student has asked not to be named. We want to respect that. If you were close enough to know who it was, close enough to care, you would have already known who it was. If not, let’s just give her some space

I noticed to date from all the coverage that a certain paper has named her – was that honestly necessary? She’s in stable condition, the rest who have taken tests in the States have all tested negative so far. Plenty of other people are arriving from business trips and holidays from the States everyday, maybe someone was sick but didn’t have the courage to head straight to a doctor precisely because they were fearful of having to deal with the media attention and repercussions. Maybe this was the most newsworthy angle? We want names when we want to find out who won the match, sports, elections. I am not sure how everyone benefits from the naming of the student in this case, because it seems to cause more stress for her from the media attention, and honestly does nothing much more for others not personally involved. And yes, I am disappointed as well in whoever it was that volunteered her name to the press. I will not add on anymore because these posts pretty much sum up what many people are talking about privately.

Real Time Search & Information dissemination

So. After the news spreads on Twitter, CNA site crashes due to the influx of traffic (everyone wants to know what’s going on). < Aside: The geek in me wonders about the wonders of cloud computing and why crashes still occur when scalability was promised, maybe they are not hosted on the cloud? Not my area, maybe someone can explain.> Then there was the Today online article. And then, there was the Straits Times version, and SMU’s prompt follow up.

The news is live, information added as people are doing their jobs and filling in the blanks very impressively. Retweets/replurks on H1N1 in Singapore are fast and furious. Not just on Twitter, but on several discussion threads on Plurk. And many more in the other news publications.

Ironically, the Google and Twitter face-off in the real time search space has never been more apparent than this. Twitter was all aflutter with the links to the news article about the first case. Google search results kept returning the ironic link to “SIngapore still free of H1N1” as top post no less. Something to chew on then, for the Googlers, if they want to retain all slices of the search pie. Quite different to read about North American examples of breaking the news, and to experience our own local Singaporean version. Digital ethnography at it’s best, then.

Full disclaimer:
I am the teaching assistant for the NY BSM class that was mentioned in the news. Our business study mission is one of THE best modules that we have at SMU, and in the case of the New York BSM, a chance at global exposure to some of the major media conglomerates in New York and interaction with people in the industry. No, I did not go to New York like I was slated to. For personal reasons, and after discussions with key stakeholders in my life. All these opinions expressed are my own. Thank you to friends who dropped a note and were genuinely concerned and thankful that I did not travel out.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
22nd Mar2009

Avatars: Virtual environments & Liquid Identities

by Dorothy

For a psychology module I am doing, I have spent the last couple of weeks trawling through an insane number of academic journals and research on computer mediated communication (CMC), in particular, focusing on Avatars. Lots of very interesting and recent research on the topic!

For a brief introduction, CMC can be both fully text-based (MIRC or Internet Relay Chat), graphic avatar-based, or a mixture of both.

Avatars can be both static (photographs/still images in chat programs like MSN) or dynamic (2D/3D virtual characters like in games or Second Life).

The general trend of thought during the early days of the Internet was that it allowed for a certain amount of anonymity so that people could become “someone else”. Interestingly, the research shows that people are likely to pick or modify Avatars to be “like” themselves, in terms of gender and type (aka human), which might extend to picking avatars that have other characteristics that are closely matched to their own, e.g hobbies, hair colour, race, personality and dressing.

In a nutshell, avatars allow one to maintain a sense of privacy (without divulging your true identity), and yet let you have complete control over the expression of your online identity. This expression is almost complete when you think about the level of control over your physique, features like eye colour, hair, lips and nose, right down to the length and size of your limbs in virtual worlds like Second Life.

Some cool Avatar facts!

  • The selection of Avatars is context dependent. Males have been known to select a female avatar to represent themselves in online gaming spaces because they find that they receive more help and hints from other players. They also receive more attention as a “girl”.
  • This probably means that the same person could choose very different kinds of avatars in different online spaces to represent themselves. e.g on dating sites, work related sites, gaming sites and so on.
  • Anthropomorphic (human-like) avatars were perceived to be more credible.
  • Participants strongly preferred avatars that were both human and of the same gender as themselves. Only a small percentage of subjects preferred androgynous avatars.
  • Choices choices choices (in terms of character design): Some studies report that given entirely pre-created avatars, and allowing people to mix and match their avatars, people were more likely to take the time to customize their own avatars. They hardly opted to pick the lazy way out and just select the “default” characters. (Cheng, Farnham, & Stone, 2002; Taylor, 2002)
  • There is even a Declaration of the Rights of Avatar, by Raph Koster. ‘‘Foremost among these rights is the right
    to be treated as people and not as disembodied, meaningless, soulless puppets. Inherent in this right are therefore the natural and inalienable rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression’’. Far out!

On that note, I’m missing Google’s Lively as it is. Walk through my exploration of that here!

Everyone has their days… when they have no idea how to control their avatars, and you drive yourself up the wall, literally.

And this goes for default sitting positions too… (why they programed it as such, I can never fanthom)

Pimp my Lively home! Before v.s After

I guess this comic pretty much sums up Avatars on the Internet! On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
11th Mar2009

Strategic Ad Placement

by Dorothy

Strategic Ad Placement - FLV To

It came to my attention that there is an interesting placement of advertisements on the 2Convert.net or formerly Flvto page, where you can convert online videos to MP3s, or songs in high quality as promised on site.

Right next to it, advertisement banners for the HIP campaign in Singapore, the fight against illegal file sharing, ironically, AND links to other competitors in the online video converter segment.

Pretty smart combination of advertisements served, I would say!

On another note, it is high time that the Itunes store started selling music here, instead of just applications. As mentioned in my recent post about piracy, there is the current problem of not companies not providing the content that people were willing to pay money for.

Of course I would love to support my favourite artistes, I’m just not too sure how much of this actually acrues to them and not the intermediaries, but that is another issue altogether.

I believe that most of Gen Y have no issues with purchasing their content legally, following the rules officially laid out. Subscription based, pay per download, it really doesn’t matter which model.

Just make it easy and affordable for them us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Pages:123»