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.

IMAGE_527

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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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.

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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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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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