13th Jun2009

Ad:Tech Singapore Thoughts: #2 Engage the Youth Keynote session

by Dorothy

Just got back from a pretty cool experience speaking at this year’s Ad:tech… the keynote panel on Engage the Youth – a direct dialogue…Starting off with some snapshots of the session!

 

keynote1
It was a pretty lively session, from the responses on Twitter and conversations. Here’s the gang panel in discussion with Graham.

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Amidst the blinding lights, waiting for the delegates to come back from coffee….

 

So a couple of highlights from the discussion:

Q: What do you like about digital marketing? What do you not like?

I remember saying that the one thing that I really felt didn’t quite “work” was corporate accounts following me on Twitter. I’d probably follow back if I like the brand, but if not…it just feels like going back to the old days of intrusive advertising. If I like the brand, I’d hunt them out.  This point apparently resonated with Jeremy Snyder, in his great summary of what transpired on Day 1.

 

The concept of Friends

… To me, it’s really not about the numbers game. The people who are in the numbers game are SEO/digital marketers on Twitter who follow 10000 random people who vaguely mention a keyword once, and have about 100 followers back (maybe other spammers“digital marketers”  who can help you “get rich quick”).

Someone asked if Gen Y measures success by how many friends you have. I sure don’t. The only people who do are the said people above…and probably the likes of Ashton Kutcher when he was in the CNN Twitter challenge.

 

Digital Identity

The question was whether or not digital identities were an accurate portrayal of ourselves, since marketers were probably using social profiles to try and get a sense of who you are as a person.

My answer : I (and partial mountains of psychology research that I had to trawl through for a past paper) believe that digital identities are not accurate on their own, but they could either be an extension of who we are or an aspect that may not be seen in our offline selves. True, social profiles are completely malleable online, so that people can choose to “create” their own digital identities, but the same can be said of how we pick how we speak, what we wear, how we behave, and where we choose to hang out. Impression management works the same way in real life and the digital channel.

I wish I had a photo taken with Devin and his hot pink glasses. Cool stuff. 😉

 

Advertising

I think that advertising will move towards being invisible in the future, it will become content. Ideally content that people are searching for. If I’m looking online for the best hotel to stay while in a particular country, it says a lot if your brand is mentioned in the top post that search engines return. And no, I’m not talking about the text based ads (which I never really pay attention to anyway because they are not what I’m looking for).

 

Media consumption from different perspectives

Great to have fellow panelist, Devin, from Uni of Texas on the panel, with his statement that no one really reads the newspapers in the States anymore (“You’re throwing your money down the drain advertising there”, to quote him) . He also mentioned how magazines were probably 85% of advertising ( I reiterate the importance of my point about advertising as content in future). TV – no one’s watching. Malik watches TV ..but online. Did that count? he pondered aloud, to the chuckles amongst the audience.


keynote2

 

The very tired argument about traditional v.s new/social media

Daryl & I have recorded some live Ad:tech thoughts on our newest installment of the GennY Podcast. , where we address:

  • the traditional v.s new media issue as mentioned (must there really be a distinction? I’d vote for a wholistic campaign. Just because everyone is increasingly on digital doesn’t mean you stop talking in all other channels altogether.
  • Influencers – do they need to be friends/family? (not really)
  • Reaching out to youth…
  • and finally questioning if youth are really that different?

Thoughts
All in all, it was a fun session. Always too short – its hard to really gleam insights when you’re pressed for time, so I do wish there had been more responses to Graham’s call for questions, both on radio and on the official Ad:tech blog. We’ve got forever now online to really respond. 🙂 Would love to hear in the comments if you have any opinions!

True, we’re mostly alpha users of the tools online and exploring the social media space, but a panel session is not much different from a focus group. Qualitative research has never been about the numbers, but more on insights and trying to find out the reasons why, how people do what they do. We all fall somewhere along the technology adoption curve anyhow, so once you have a clearer picture of that path, you can pretty much predict some possible trends for the population at large.

More Link Love:

Graham’s Pre Ad:tech interview : 28th May : on 93.8 Live on ‘How to Market to Youths’

Some good insights here! Loving the research insight on how the folks at Apple visited a sweet factory before successfully deciding to name their products in yummilicious flavours.

Part 1: Play here: [audio:http://www.dorothypoon.com/audio/938Live%20The%20Living%20Room-1010am%20to11am-28May-How%20To%20Market%20To%20Youth-p1.MP3]
Download Part 1

Part 2:

Play here: [audio:http://www.dorothypoon.com/audio/938Live%20The%20Living%20Room-1010am%20to11am-28May-How%20To%20Market%20To%20Youth-p2.MP3]
Download Part 2

Ritsa’s post has a pretty detailed commentary about the main gist of what transpired, so do check it out. She seems to have a great sense of humour and I am digging the BYT (bright young things) description. But I’ll have to say that Graham is anything but a dinosaur!

Speaker page

My other Ad:tech posts:

Pre Ad:tech thoughts: Web 2.0 & Gen Y: The Other Side of the Story
Ad:Tech Singapore Thoughts: #1 Live event Tweeting…

Next up…a post on Scott Goodstein. You can stay tuned through this blog’s RSS here!

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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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10th Mar2009

GennY Podcast: Genesis of a Gen Y Podcast from Singapore!

by Dorothy

genny_logo1

I’ll have to say that this was an interesting experience, recording my very first podcast with Daryl, Krisandro, Yin, Yinqi and myself!

Being a pretty visual learner, experiencing+creating material through an auditory channel was quite a different ball game for me! Anyways, so here’s GennY (as christened by Kris & Yin), which will see different people behind each episode depending on availability. Broadly speaking, everything is Gen Y centric, but fluid in terms of the voices in each session. It’s also pretty much free for all, topic wise. Leave a comment if you’d like a certain topic to be featured!

Gen Y, who?
Incidentally, Walter over at Cooler Insights recently posted on Are we ready for generation Y?, which gives a nice take into the people that make up this cohort, and how they compare to the previous generations as well as their mindsets and quirks.

The Podcast

All props to Daryl for organizing this & coming up with the podcast notes!

* 00:00 – Krisandro starts us off – introductions all round
* 00:53 – The topic: How is Gen Y different in the work force?
* 01:28 – Will Gen Y mindset change during the recession?
* 02:26 – Gen Y has no qualms with changing jobs, even in a recession
* 03:39 – Perhaps Gen Y feels there isn’t enough recognition at work
* 05:08 – Did the media influence Gen Y’s outlook on life?
* 07:56 – How is Gen Y different outside the workspace in peer-to-peer interactions?
* 09:57 – How does online interaction affect offline interaction?
* 10:51 – Krisandro claims he’s 19
* 11:01 – Are there different norms that apply online and offline?
* 11:58 – Maybe it’s easier for us to verify if people are weirdos online
* 15:10 – Blooper

 

Other links:

Daryl’s Post – Introducing the Genn Y Podcast
Krisandro’s Post- Introducing ‘The GennY Podcast’ – A Singaporean Podcast of Gen Ys about Gen Ys

Psst: I’ve just moved to Feedburner! Subscribe to/update your old RSS feeds

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04th Mar2009

Media Economics ….& Piracy

by Dorothy

Here is an article that I came across some time ago.

The Problem of Media Economics: Value Equations Have Radically Changed

“It seems that most media companies still haven’t figured out how to adapt to or even understand the changes to the fundamental exchange of value in media.

Some of that stems from a failure to understand legacy media economics.

People ask why no one wants to pay for news anymore, referencing the decline in newspaper circulation, when in fact that misrepresents the value equation. People were paying for newsPAPERS, which contained a lot more than news, and they were also paying for newspaper delivery, which is a service.

….It’s not that no one wants to pay for music or movies, it’s that increasingly we want to pay for content when, where, and however we want. We’re willing to pay for the convenience of video on demand, but the service isn’t always being offered. Digital technology has put content producers in the services business, but they don’t yet fully understand that value exchange.

New business models for media require entirely new exchanges of value — it’s not about finding new ways to balance the old equation.”

It’s interesting to read the author’s take on this issue, because people have focused largely on the death of traditional media, when perhaps they should be focusing on the dearth of companies that should be working to deliver content on demand in the most cost effective and efficient way.

The Craigslist example where the author had been looking for someone to rent their room out to, and was “able to achieve for free on Craigslist what they couldn’t achieve by spending money in the newspaper” is also rather telling. The question is, Is the Freemium model, or even, Free, model sustainable in the long run? Then again, content has always been used as bait for eyeballs in advertising.

The internet has changed a lot of the ways that processes and services can be monetized. For benefits that accrue to end users, think about postage. Telegrams, airmail, shipping costs all used to come into play before the arrival of the web and suddenly, email made communication (almost) free, easy, and much faster to boot. Of course, the illegal side of free (aka piracy) has the the people in the software and music industry tossing in their sleep, but that is another issue altogether.

pirate

On that note, I blogged about the Pirate’s Dilemma book last year, and you should check it out if you haven’t. Youth culture, trends, innovation and “piracy as a business model”, that’s what this book promises. The author also informs you why the book is relevant to people from all walks of life(and not just the suits from Hollywood and the music labels). Other stuff also ties in nicely with the economic thread running through this post- the author weaves his own background and training in the said field and you can read snippets about his thoughts on the book here.

Enjoy!

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14th Feb2009

On the Principles for a New Media Literacy: My thoughts

by Dorothy

I was pretty interested in this thread on literacy in new media that has been started in our Digital Media Across Asia class, so here are some of my thoughts on the matter. It is a topic close to home, and also adds on nicely to my earlier posts on Journalism 2.0.

The original article by Gillmor can be found in it’s entirety here. Questions posed from our prof!

Question: What is a literacy? What is Gillmor talking about?

From my interpretation, I take the meaning of literacy as being able to understand a certain subject, to be well versed to communicate about it.

Wikipedia cites literacy as “the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate ideas in a literate society, so as to take part in that society.”

Wikipedia also portrays the problem of illiteracy as “a social problem to be solved through education.”

How this links back to Gillmor:
All of these elements are highlighted in Gillmor’s article in

  • His principles of media consumption (“reading”), Principles of media creation (“writing”)
  • Taking part (“Participation”)
  • Right at the end, Gillmor states that “If we really believe that democracy requires an educated populace, we’re starting from a deficit. Are we ready to take the risk of being activist media users, for the right reasons?” (education)

I feel that he is advocating the ‘education’ of the crowd in not just media consumption (as would have been important in the past, since all we did was largely consume our media), but additionally, media creation, now that the tools are widely accessible to all. People have to learn how to digest and make sense of all the information that is presented to them from various sources, and also to use and disseminate that information responsibly. This education is not complete nor thorough, since a large number of web2.0 users are still illiterate about how best to handle the changing media landscape and channels. Some people have yet to even jump on the Web2.0 bandwagon.

2. Why would digital media be important in SG society?

Some important points for me, with regards to the situation in SG:
#1 New media tools are pulling down some walls and helping to create the possibility of deeper nonlegal accountability.
This gives every citizen a choice, and a voice. Whereas previously, complaints and grievances might have been screened by the editors of newspapers before they could make it to print, nowadays, blogs and forums give one instant broadcasting rights to air your opinions.

I like the idea of nonlegal accountability because it suggests self governance, and also implies a more mature process of communication in which we do not have to rely on laws to trust that people will say/do the right thing.

With great power, comes great responsibility (think Spiderman!)
At the same time, we have to learn to be responsible. Emotional rants online about sensitive topics are no more appropriate than discussing the same offline. Do not hide behind the computer screen and feel like this removes you from all accountability for your words. The way I see it, don’t say online what you would not feel comfortable saying in person, in public.

The conversational style that blogs adopt means that more emotions get filtered through. Read, re-read your posts to make sure that your tone of language is not overly harsh/critical/emotional. The easiest solution I can think of is when truly in doubt, get someone else to read what you’ve written and see if it elicits any warning bells.

#2 The tools of creation are increasingly in everyone’s hands + #3 We can make what we create widely accessible
Power comes from being able to control the tools of production. Singaporeans can now take their opinions online and have a worldwide audience, not just local.
This is important for us because other people around the world get access to our thoughts, and can contribute experiences of their own. We are a very young country and can learn a lot from citizens where a more mature system of democracy, or “liberal traditions” are in place. We have to be willing to admit that sometimes, what we feel and think might be myopic in the grander scale of things. Opinions from sources overseas who are distanced from any vested interests are great for getting a sense of balance.

#4 The Concept of being Collaborators
We effectively become collaborators, with anyone in the world. We can find like minded people (not just in a local context), but also off our shores. This sets up a great foundation for brainstorming, and the “education” that Gillmor advocates can finally take place.

#5 Being Skeptical + #6 Going outside the Comfort Zone
Citizens need to become aware of something other than what’s happening locally. Once there is this awareness, perspectives change. It may lead to perhaps more demands on accountability and transparancy, more freedom of press. It could manifest in many other different ways.

If we are to move from an economy driven by mere efficiency to innovation, we need this increased sense of awareness of what is truly happening in the world. To learn how to be discerning about what we read, to understand that it is not enough to just depend on a single source for our “news”, and that combining this knowledge with other credible global sources helps to give a more balanced viewpoints, upon which we can make better decisions on.

I see digital media as a great catalyst where conversations and learning can take place for Singaporean citizens. It has always been a tricky situation whenever a “closed” or “sheltered” society opens up, because it is difficult to control how people will react to this new found freedom, and hard to trust that they are mature enough to use the power responsibly. But these are necessary risks that the government will probably have to monitor, if we are to remain viable. We are (arguably) still very comfortable with a government that we naturally turn to in times of crisis. But is it fair to ask that the government solve our problems all the time, or should we take more initiative ourselves?

Singapore simply cannot exist as a closed society, unlike some other economies of the world, because our sole resources are our people. If we want to have business dealings with our global counterparts, we need to understand more about them, and all the underlying intricacies of cross cultural communication.

Here is where digital media is great ….because (pardon the cliché) the world then is truly your oyster. No one dictates what you will “learn” from this channel, nor is there a fixed set of rules that you follow. You make up the rules. You learn as much as you want to, and along the way, information is constantly added and changing, and you learn about how best to deal with all this.

This flexibility of mind, discernment, coupled with the fact that there will be increased diversity in thinking (rather than producing a whole cohort of people who think and react the same way), I believe, is one step in the right direction in the education of Singaporeans to become more competitive in this fast changing day and age.

It may not be something that we consciously want, but it is something we need.

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12th Jan2009

Journalism 2.0 – The Changing News Landscape

by Dorothy

Early December, I had the privilege of being asked to share my online habits at Prof Netzley‘s workshop, Digital Communication for the PR Professional, and it was a blast. Both literally and figuratively speaking because the questions came fast and furious after the sharing. I’ll be dedicating a couple of blog posts coming up next on those issues that were particularly thought provoking.

One topic that kept surfacing was the comparison between digital and traditional media. The workshop participants were curious as to whether Gen Y preferred to read online or physical books. I’m probably learning towards being a digital native, but I’ll have to say that spending my formative years engrossed in story books means that I still prefer reading a physical book/paper. Other factors include the amount of material and type of information being presented.

Some of the questions raised:

  • Do you still read books? Yes.
  • Do you find that you read less now that most information is consumed online? Not really.
  • Where do you get your News? Hardly ever from the newspapers first hand.
  • What role does the traditional media play in your life? No TV. Newspapers only for extra information on current news that I’ve already seen on the web.

Journalism needs a new function
Breaking news no longer comes from the newspapers, but rather, is more likely to spread through microblogging sites such as Twitter and Plurk. I learnt about Obama’s win and about the Mumbai terrorist attacks from these platforms. Traditional news media (be it in paper form or online news sites) only comes in when I want to look for more in depth information.

If they are not breaking the news anymore, what can professional journalists do to remain relevant? On Sunday, a photography outing lead our group to a reporter from a local newspaper, who quipped that it was “embarrassing” that bloggers were breaking news stories, and that journalists themselves had to learn of the news through these citizen journalists. That got me thinking.

It is difficult to fight with the speed push button publishing (especially with an editor breathing down your neck and having to follow the dictated style of the paper you write for) but what journalists can do is to place all these information into context. Since the masses are already getting their news from elsewhere, traditional news sources can compete on accuracy of information, breadth of expertise, or even interviews with established authorities – all of which are weak links where blogging is concerned. Many thoughts were inspired by this excellent article, Journalism’s battle for relevance in an 
age of too much Information, which encourages journalists to consolidate the information out there and package it to “teach” the public.

Much like educational institutions, the best news organizations help people convert information into the knowledge they need to understand the world.

The tragedy of the news media in the information age is that in their struggle to find a financial foothold, they have neglected to look hard enough at the larger implications of the new information landscape—and more generally, of modern life. How do people process information? How has media saturation affected news consumption? What must the news media do in order to fulfill their critical role of informing the public, as well as survive? If they were to address these questions head on, many news outlets would discover that their actions thus far—to increase the volume and frequency of production, sometimes frantically and mindlessly—have only made things more difficult for the consumer.

The article goes on to suggest a polarization of behaviour. Those who are keen to be informed will take advantage of all the information accessible to them. Those who are passive simply moved away from these overwhelming sources of information, leading them to become even more uninformed than before.


Citizen journalism may be all the rage, but it is not without issues of its own. Incidentally, I found this journalism-related piece off Vic’s page, inspired by the article about how bloggers ought to try and win the conviction of the community instead of the government.

While we may relish the autonomy that seems to come with being able to pick from all the choices available to us regarding media consumption, having too many choices is not exactly a good thing. This only results in a cognitive burden.

Some things to ponder:
Research by Pablo Boczkowski, who teaches communication studies at Northwestern University, has revealed that when we consume news online we do so for significantly less time than in print and that we do it while we’re working.
News media must not only compete with one another, as well as with an ever-increasing assortment of information and entertainment options, but also with the very thing that supports their endeavors—advertising.

All of this only further confirms what we already know. Fatigue results as all the different sources compete for our attention. It is impossible to encode all the material that we encounter. Our coping mechanisms automatically kick in to screen out any information we deem peripheral.

In an age of infinite choices
Not too long ago, I was engaged in a great conversation with Mr E. who shared with me this gem of a sentence – In an age of infinite choices, the conviction then becomes being chosen in return. Granted, it was to address a totally different context, but it is no less applicable to this situation.

How, then, does traditional news media work towards being chosen, over all the possible distractions that the average cosmopolitan city dweller is exposed to? How, then, does a single blogger work towards being chosen, to be taken credibly alongside mainstream media? Is there even a need to work towards that?

Only time will tell.

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05th Sep2008

Youth Marketing Forum 2008 – 2Ps:Passion and Presentation

by Dorothy

I was at Day 2 of the Youth Marketing Forum 2008 at Dragonfly on Wednesday, along with Amelia, as part of the youth panel for the interactive breakout session, and a big shout out to Prof Mark Chong for putting our names through for the panel! I suppose many of you are now expecting a post on the hottest trends in youth marketing. I will get around to the cool highlights of the Forum but first, I just want to make some points about the presentations that I witnessed.

As the day went on, it became increasingly apparent that there was a chasm between the quality of the various presentations going on.
There were several categories of presentations that I could detect.
Awesome content + Awesome presenters = Always a joy to watch and learn!
Moderate content + Awesome presenters = Still bearable.
Moderate content + terrible presenters = EPIC FAIL.

How (not) to give a presentation:

  • Sit down and drone on and on about your content.
  • ‘Talk down’ to your audience
  • Read your slides word for word.
  • Read your slides word for word + monotonous android voice.

I think that our local presenters have a long way to go before we can catch up with our other counterparts who are clearly more adept at managing their stage presence and engaging the audience. Nevertheless, I do believe this might be a generational issue as well- the more youthful presenters let their personalities shine through on stage and were a welcome relief from overwhelmingly monotonous deliveries.

This thought just struck me. How many of the presenters were talking about something that they truly believed in, and not just something they had been a part of under the guise of work, or worse, not even been a part of because the work had been done by colleagues?

I am going to post this video of Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention, that I found off this post, entitled “Fantastic public speaking“.

Let’s ignore the politics for a while. The main point about Clinton’s speech was that it was touted as the one in which she finally “won people over” without trying to win them over. In other words, they finally could connect and believe in the message that she was bringing across. Some background info: there had been previous issues about Clinton apparently being confusing in her stance, and that translating to a lack of believability while the primaries were going on earlier this year.

It occured to me that a few of the presenters at the marketing conference hardly seemed to care whether or not they were coming across as believable. They were saying the words, but their body language spoke otherwise. They were talking about the ‘cool’ widgets, youth initiatives that their companies were going to implement and invest in. I will take that leap of faith and assume the initiatives were meant to excite people our generation. I saw none that I, nor the other youth panelists sitting around, would have liked to engage in. At one point, it seemed that there was more energy coming from the youths sitting at the back than on stage.

Presenting is not just standing up on stage and delivering the lines you have to, and scurrying off. Trust me, the audience can feel it. It is about sharing, it is about engaging, it is about telling people about something that you have to make your audience believe in. It is about sincerity.

The great presentations that I heard combined the evergreen elements of success in presenting – great sense of humour, great case studies, intelligent points and of course, passion for their subject. My favourite presenters for the day include Rob Campbell and his talk about An Inconvenient Lie, Ban Yinh Kheow from Stickfas, and Graham Perkins who shared about the i in Apple.

A great presentation energizes you like a refreshing drink after a long, tiring run. It wakes your mind up ; it makes you start to think. And question. Some times, it is not even what you present directly that is of the greatest value, but simply because you were able to use what you had just heard to springboard to other ideas.

…more on the forum (and other topics that came up) next!

25th Aug2008

Social Media and The Corporation(s)

by Dorothy

I’ve been hearing about how various local corporations have used (or have tried to use) Social Media as their new weapon, magic bullet, etc. to tackle PR and Marketing issues.

The particular method that seems to be top of the list for companies appears to be creating a Facebook group and expecting miracles… in terms of people clamoring to join the group, keeping conversations going and generating buzz.

I have a problem with this, because this is akin to taking old mindsets of the push marketing tactics into the realm of the relatively new Social Media. Yes, it is easy and cheap free to create a Facebook group, but it is tragic when the only one posting on the walls and uploading photos is the Admin or Creator himself. Somehow, the fact that social media is largely about User Generated Content (UGC) seems to be lost on the Suits. So, I feel compelled to highlight the key words: USER GENERATED content.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, is the next book that I intend to pick up – because it sounds so awfully interesting. I was fascinated by this article in which

And yes, this social surplus is also the main thing that a lot of companies still fail to harness, because their psychological mobility in terms of digital strategy is often close to zero.

I see no point in creating something with Social Media and then making it a one-sided conversation, such as using a Facebook Group like a website in which content flow is largely top down…because then group content is not even easily searchable publicly. Users are also not in the habit for searching through Groups for information as compared to website search engines, and you would be better off harnessing some other Web 1.0 method, aka creating a traditional website.

…True?

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