24th May2009

Web 2.0 & Gen Y: The Other Side of the Story

by Dorothy


Frankly, I’m fatigued by all this hype about Web2.0, and how it is being touted as being the ‘cure’ to everything except cancer. Coupled together with its initial links with the irreverence of Gen Y, I believe we are seeing trends of a different sort right now.

In a couple of weeks, I will be speaking at youth panel at Ad:Tech, moderated by the very awesome Graham Perkins. We talked about how it would be interesting if we could carry on a conversation without using some words like Facebook, Gen Y, Social Media, and how everyone and their pet cat is on Twitter. Would this little alternative game of Taboo be even possible, the way people are throwing these terms around lately?

Seriously, at the heart of it all, is communication, good old word of mouth, but through a new medium – the digital channel. It is less about trying to pigeon hole all this as merely a fad or something for “youths”, which is the natural inclination.

I am partially convinced that ironically, most of what we believe we perceive of this digital movement is shaped by the traditional media, dying or not.

A couple of ‘myths’ that are becoming old…

#1. “No one watches TV, anymore.”

But what would you define as TV? The last I checked, a little site called YouTube was garnering a healthy number of hits (though not making much money), as so was Hulu.com (last year they were touted to surpass Youtube in profits in 2009). I wish I wouldn’t encounter so much of the US copyright restrictions where TV viewing oneline is concerned. Nevertheless, looks like the lucky folks over in the UK will get some of the action from Hulu and UK TV shows on Youtube soon.

What they really mean is the weakening popularity of sitting in front of the classical definition of a TV then …and the old channels, but most of us are watching shows and content off our mobile devices, off our laptop and computer screens, and then some. In other words, people are still watching, just on alternative screens, and in fact, for longer hours since mobile allows considerable freedom.

Nielsen Wire reports that Americans Watching More TV Than Ever; Web and Mobile Video Up too.


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02nd Feb2009

World Wide Rave: Singapore!

by Dorothy

World Wide Rave: Esplanade Singapore

Here is my interpretation and addition to the World Wide Rave for David Meerman Scott‘s book!

It is like a Where the hell is Matt?, just involving a whole lot more different people (and less potentially embarrassing for those with two left feet). Very sticky idea, very cool.

Welcome to Singapore, folks worldwide!

From the left, the Singapore Flyer, the red mass that is the River Hong Bao 2009, the construction is the imminent Integrated Resort (Marina Bay) , the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore, and all ravers are standing on the pavement of the Esplanade.

Wee bit of a cloudy day, but the hazy background probably brings out the vibrancy of the poster better, so it’s all good! By sheer coincidence almost everyone holding the poster is wearing colours that match the poster. The idea was to get a whole different bunch of folks from different cultural backgrounds and have them in a single shot..we are a multicultural city, after all!

Thanks to ZW for helping out with the photos! A shout out also to our prof, Micheal Netzley, who heads the Digital Media Across Asia class at the Singapore Management University and finding this cool project for us to work on.

P.S. This is the LAST time in a long time I will attempt to manually stitch a panorama together. I went there without a clue as to how it would happen, armed only with an idea. Okay, actually I had many ideas, but this was the one that won out! 🙂

…Rave on!

Other places where conversations on this are happening:

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29th Jan2009

Journalism 2.0 (Part 2) : What Journalists have got

by Dorothy

This is a continuation of my previous post on the changing landscape of Journalism 2.0, where I’m looking further into the tensions dynamics that exist between professional journalists and bloggers.

The whole point is, when I think about what “social media” is, as much as I’m beginning to hate that label, right after the community and connections, comes the tools that make these important elements possible. It is absolutely brilliant to read about how journalists (and not just bloggers) learn to harness these tools to collaborate online.

Here is a link on Facebook Journalism – some insights into the perception of credibility, trust and journalism…Facebook related.

We are beginning to see journalists and news/broadcast companies creating a significant presence on Facebook to engage with Facebook users and help facilitate this notion of the trusted referral to assist with the viral spread of content. When journalists can really engage with this audience and enlist Facebook users to market and share their content, that is such a powerful way to share credible news and information and tap into the implicit trust that people have with their friends.


If you can’t beat them, join them
In an information driven economy, news can hardly be considered irrelevant. Yes, knolls might seem to be sounding for the print editions (perhaps all that is needed is a new business model?) , but those who remember that at the very core of newspapers, apart from the advertising model that sustains it, is that they package information in digestible form. Information for which there is an ever increasing demand.

It is funny how power (or the potential loss of) drives much fear in groups of people. Those who held the tools of production used to wield significant power, right from the early days of the Gutenberg press which enabled mass access to printed material. Not anymore. Still, those with the professional expertise and credibility have a lot going for them.

If the professional journalists are uncomfortable at the speed that bloggers are getting the word out there, nothing is stopping them from utilizing the same tools to do likewise. The community spirit works just as well amongst professionals, as it does with amateur bloggers. However, unlike bloggers, they do not have to fight for press credibility, having already earned their stripes.


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06th Jan2009

Bloggers’ Calendar 2009: The lowdown

by Dorothy

cover2009

Bloggers Calendar 2009

Just a little project amongst ourselves that happened during December 08! For bloggers, by bloggers.

Of course, there were Web 2.0 elements, including crowdsourcing for how best to display the printed version of the calendar, the best type of paper to print the calendars on, which version of the cover to useranting about production issues…all the way to the final launch party and wrap up!

Many thanks to:
Pat
(whose idea we could not have down without),
Willy for the gorgeous photoshoots and event coverage,
Darran
(for making the web version available to all),
and Daphne for being the amazing multitasker and coordinating all logistics from start to finish!

Interestingly, this would be the first time ever that I’ve done so much liaising over a project on Plurk, but it worked really well. I’ve always been a fan of working remotely and any tool that enables that automatically gains points with me!

“The Tribe has Spoken”

The point is that in many things, you can never please everybody, but most people seem to accept that “the majority voted for (X decision)”… and I’ve heard more than one instance of that happening during this period as it is.

No story is complete without some form of intrusion advertising efforts which came in the form of an offer to sponsor the calendar from the industry. Almost immediately when the photo teasers came out on Facebook, we had an offer to sponsor the calendar by a PR company, but the crowd pretty much voted no. I’m not against sponsorship, but I do believe that it would be nice if the intent could be there right from the start, rather than what most people felt – that the company was just jumping in on a project that had already gained some traction at that point.

On another note, Digital Media advocate or not, I happen to think the physical copy of the calendar turned out really nicely. Check out the web version here!

If you’re itching to get your hands on a physical copy, email your enquiries. 🙂

A glass of white wine
Image via Wikipedia

To end off, I really like SimplyJean’s idea of turning this into a charity project (perhaps for 2010?), and from the responses, it looks like I’m not alone in this.

To 2009!

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07th Dec2008

What will the web be like for future users?

by Dorothy

The Strip-Mall Effect
I recently came across an interesting perspective on how the Strip-Mall effect could “destroy the web”.
It’s a pretty American analogy. The huge strip mall appears, the one stop destination for all your purchasing or grocery needs. This basically causes the little mom and pop stores to go out of business, simply because they cannot compete with the likes of anchors in huge chains like Target or Walmart. I never really thought about the fact they actually built roadways to make these malls unavoidable. Then again, I guess that was a huge theme in Pixar’s Cars…

So here’s how this analogy applies to the web:
…the next generation of Internet users will grow up with a different understanding of the Web. To them, it won’t be the odd, wild, vital place it is today, but instead a smaller pool of big sites that reinforce each other’s traffic and wield heavy influence in purchases and tastes. The next generation will be able to access most of what they need – news, entertainment, shopping, comedy – through the hub of their social network, or even hubs that pool all their social networks. That leaves them removed by several degrees from the go-anywhere Web of today. They’ll have little reason to mosey up to the address bar and type in anything else.

Consolidation and the Likes
The article above was largely focused and based on an assumption that websites online depend on advertising to sustain themselves. Issues about advertising and trying to monetize what’s on the web aside, fundamentally, there is that underlying theme of aggregation and consolidation. And then the loss of any opinions that are peripheral to the “main” viewpoint that most in the group hold.

I feel Seth Godin alludes to this in his post, Death of the Personal Blog, in which he talks about how the world’s ‘top’ blogs are written by groups of people. True, this means that updates are frequent but this may mean a less diverse opinion, especially if the groups decide to simply reinforce the general opinion/perspective held by the team.

The music industry has gone through a similar evolution, only to have the internet and digital initiatives handing the power to produce and distribute back to the masses. The communications industry is still arguably controlled by the major holding companies. I guess this simply means that the landscape is constantly evolving, it is going to be pretty difficult to say that the emergence of a certain phenomenon (e.g masses all congregating at social networks and not visiting individual sites anymore) is the end.

Thoughts
It seems pretty harsh to use the phrase that the web will be “destroyed”. That raises a few questions for me.
1. What exactly is meant by “destroyed”? If the web still serves a function for people, regardless of the diversity of content, it still exists. The word “destroyed” is a bit too apocalyptic, too terminal for me.

In addition, the future looks to remain digital, if findings from reports such as this are anything to go by. Haven’t had the chance to read the actual content, but the abstract is pretty concise.
About The Pop Culture Trend Report – While icons like Barbie and LEGO continue to captivate people, global pop culture has become highly defined by the internet. Only by translating these brands into the digital world, and establishing an online presence, have they managed to sustain their appeal. New brands can also be more easily discovered if they appeal to online consumers.

If anything, people will become increasingly dependent on the web to carry out their daily chores and communication.

2. What is “the web”?
Is this just something that you consume off an internet browser? Or basically anything that you do online, say, Skype or emailing? In which case all you need is an internet connection and a computer or a handheld device that does the same job.

3. Will there be a day when internet connection is going to be 24/7, completely affordable, universal, and accessible to all? We’ve already moved from dial up, to cable and broadband. Perhaps the question is not will there be a day, but rather, when?

4. Does it really mean the demise of the web?
Sure, maybe most of the people are going to be concentrated on those “hubs” that the first article mentioned. But the tools to produce and distribute on the internet still remain in control of the users. Increased homogenization yes, but total? I don’t think so. At least not so soon, and not so easy.

Nevertheless, it will be pretty interesting to watch how all this panders out.
Actually, lets not just watch, let’s be a part of it as well. 🙂

Update: Some cool stuff about what experts are predicting for Web 2.0 in 2009.

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09th Oct2008

Corporations engaging with Social Media – What do you want?

by Dorothy


Daryl’s post spurring corporations to take the lead led me to think about the fundamental issue that I believe most corporations have where social media is concerned – that they don’t seem to know exactly what they want.

He warned that his post was critical, and it is, but in a good way. It also has refreshing candor, and that is the liberty that one has when you don’t have to worry so much about your sentiments being misconstrued as coming from the organization you work for (yet). 🙂

So this is what I said in response, which has taken on a life of it’s own and morphed into an entire post.

Great post Daryl!!
I just feel a lack of faith from the corporations in this – that, and the fear of actually using the tools and channels that SM provides (for some bizarre reason it seems to make more sense for them to act as curious spectators rather than to try it out).

Given that this IS Singapore, I guess most corporations are just not willing to take the “risks” and “fail” as of yet. Failing is relative though. I see it more as a learning process. Maybe they’re waiting for a blog post on how to skirt all the issues in getting involved in SM in SG before they’ll dare to venture out… (or worse, a book!)

Every time a blogger posts something online, every time someone posts something on a social networking site, they’re sharing a piece of themselves, their thoughts with others. Can corporations dissect SM into its raw basic building blocks- people and relationships and sharing? That’s what’s really powering the entire movement right?

As for taking the lead…well, this is social media as powered by the crowd right..should we even still expect them to take any sort of lead? Or are we just asking for participation?


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Corporations: Who are you engaging with?
Your conversational quality depends ultimately on this factor.

I’ve seen a lot of questions so far from people in the industry that go along the line of “Oh, so who is the best blogger we can use to pitch our idea/use as front person for our campaign, etc“.
I’m sorry, but if you have to ask, then you’ve not really been doing your homework, have you? And you’ve definitely not taken the effort to listen to what’s going on in the blogosphere either.

Ever thought about sparing some effort to monitor not just your brand online, but also your customer’s reputations? Check this post out.

It’s Not Just What Bloggers Are Saying, It’s Who They Are

They’re asking not just what people are saying about their products and services, but also who’s saying it and how important that individual or group is to their brand.

In essence, marketers who have been monitoring their brand reputations are now also monitoring their customers’ reputations.

“Social media is this evolving, kind of weird world that lies somewhere between PR and marketing, and they both have something to learn from each other.”

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I also have an issue with those who want to harness all the goodness of social media, without any intention whatsoever to put yourself at the frontline. Perhaps the sentiment is best summed up in this aptly titled post – Is your social media consultant… social?

I’d like to draw attention to the author’s last point of contention, a serious issue if you’re in social media/community management and you’re not getting your feet wet.

#3 They don’t practice what they preach.

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Corporations, what do you want out of this relationship?
I am trying to speculate on all the possible avenues.

Is it just:
short term sales strategy? – To which, I’d say don’t waste your time (and others’). SM is alive and is likely to turn against you.
just eyeballs you’re after? – Hire a clown. Much more visible, less effort and investment needed. Might even be more entertaining than a pretentious viral campaign.
a genuine desire to
listen to and engage your brand fans? – You’re heaven sent.
You don’t know. – Umm.. No comment?

Did I say “No comment”? Not really!

Nothing irks more than large corporate bodies with their collective expertise moving without intent. There is just no excuse nor enough justification for that.

It’s difficult to respect a photographer who does not have his camera as an extra “arm” on him all the time, a writer who does not write in his mind as he goes about his daily chores, a race driver who does not become one with the car he is driving in.

Just like anything else, expertise in any area takes time to cultivate, and
effort. One does not simply decide on a whim, to delve into something
new (for example, social media), and expect to be a fully fledged social media maestro the next day.

I’ve had my reservations about fast tracking anything. And I still do. Ever see those instant trees that we get planted around the roads? Ever seen them after a storm, all toppled over because their roots weren’t deep enough to anchor them?

So, figure out what you want.
And take your time to grow into who you need to be, to find out what you need to do, to get what you want.

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16th Aug2008

Social Media Breakfast 3, Singapore: The third; My first.

by Dorothy

The event
I attended my first ever Social Media Breakfast today, having missed the first two… being overseas and all. I hear it’s been getting better and better, so kudos to the team, especially Daryl and Claudia for holding the fort this weekend! Have I missed out any hidden backstage heroes? Give a shoutout and that will be rectified, fast!

I guess it is always nice to be able to put a face to all the online characters that we converse with daily, because face-to face interaction still remains top priority for me at the end of the day. The internet and all it’s connectivity is just a tool for me to sustain certain relationships that are important for me, but certainly no substitute.


Bringing online communities offline
I thought it was pretty timely then, that I came across this post- Why Bringing Your Online Community Offline is So Crucial“, because it is true. At the end of the day, we are all social beings (Online social media geeks or not, ha!) and getting to meet like minded people who believe in what you do is basically analogous to having a gym buddy. We all need that periodic encouragement and boost, someone we are “accountable” to or someone to motivate us to keep going, and vise versa of course!

Personally, I’ve always found it easier to sustain friendships that were cultivated offline first, then taken online, rather than vise versa. Of course, I attribute this to the older ways of interaction that we are all accustomed to, and I would not be surprised if there would be (or already is) a directional change in the flow of interactions.

Perhaps this is different in working relationships. Many of the people I work with now, I either have never met, or have only interacted with online, or mostly online. And at the end of the day, the job still gets done. The beauty of technology (when it works!).


Feedback?

My only comment about the event would be about the slightly disruptive “announcements” that occurred in the middle of the introductions and brunch, in which people had already started to mingle and chat. Everyone sat down to listen, and I had been expecting some sort of guided discussion, since they had put out a topic…but I did feel a little “lost” when we all realized after the announcements, that we could still go on with our own conversations.

I guess it was because everyone gathered and sat around the little separate islands of chairs around the ballroom, and something in the dynamics just changed there and then for me.

Other than that, food was great, central location, comfortable ambiance and wonderful hosts who made sure that everyone was comfortable as promised! It was fun. Pictures coming in next post!