15th Feb2011

Social Media Week – New York; Musings.

by Dorothy

I’ve touched down right smack before Social Media Week New York starts. Jet lag could not keep me away from this. The cold at night, unfortunately occasionally won.

Too many good sessions, too little time, coupled with an inability to divide and clone oneself meant that one had to be selective about the entire week’s events in New York. The level of discussion was amazing, and listening to people who were really into what they did is always highly inspirational.


Several themes that surfaced across various talks that were of interest:


1. Culture & Digital Identities:

  • Don’t confuse Anonymity with Privacy
  • Mentions of the shift from hiding behind avatars, even in traditionally privacy obsessed cultures such as Japan
  • The question of the impact of culture on adoption?

I love how bits of culture still filter through online. As interactions become increasingly digital, there must be some discount to the 30-70% rule that body language contributes predominantly to non verbal communication. In my work, having a feel of the various digital conversations on the ground also helps – I’ve noticed that posts from India tend to be 2-3 times longer than other regions. Some social media landscapes are much more politically charged than others. We’ve found that there might be higher levels of sarcasm in certain markets than others. A huge bulk of Singaporean netizens might not haVe ReAchEd ThE sAMe MatUriTy LevEl of otheR PlacEs WorXX.~ (Note to self: If someone types like that to you. Run. Do not hesitate.)

Purely digital text conversation is full of nuances. How people behave and participate online is full of nuances. There is all this talk about digital plumage and how people create their identities online, and even how responses might vary to different avatars online (important for all those customer service folk). It’s been 2 years, I am still interested in how research in this field is developing.

The question posed was then, How can brands help people shape their identities, and share? Those who successfully tap into this would become part of the conversation, gain valuable mind space in this attention driven economy.

Another aspect of culture to take note of – organizational culture. Social media empowers a small number of people to change the culture of an entire organization. Like most change, time is needed, but now, all the tools are at your disposal. This is equally fascinating to me about how a dominant culture usually permeates those from a particular organization.


2. A Time Sensitive Idea Economy

One interesting thing about cloning was raised, about how the USA could learn from Chinese innovations. A mature culture will equate to more innovation, and it will not be the first time that copy and paste culture exists.

3. Platforms


  • Birth of Hyper relevance- Opengraph, the semantic web. Location based advertising and marketing.
  • Facebook positioning as a company to power the next generation of web.
  • Question: Who’s going to be the open graph of China? Since Facebook is not in china. Ans: Localized versions of Chinese platforms? They have the money and resources.


4.  Infrastructure, Government & Politics

Big Government and politics also constantly surfaced.  How people used social media to organize themselves in times of unrest.

  • Social media is now permeating up especially where government is concerned
  • Freedom of Speech – With the law finally catching on to the game and laying down the rules, I’m really not too sure of the extent of this anymore.
  • When mobile lines are cut, should an internet “kill switch” actually exist?
  • When platforms like Twitter are blocked – How to use other tools to mobilize people?


We heard first person accounts of how some used public phones to stay anonymous, when the sharing of information became their daily goal when dealing with the situation unfolding in Egypt then.

Infrastructure always plays a huge role in communications (do not get me started about the lack of reception underground in the MTA subways.)

  • In India, even the roadside florists are implementing mobile orders for their businesses. Free Wifi is increasingly common.
  • The Delhi Traffic Police Facebook Fanpage allows citizens to upload traffic offences (hopefully the posters were not committing one themselves when documenting this.)

….and many have never even gone to school.


Interesting discussions & amazing people aside, this should be the beginning of a good trip.


And now, allow me to indulge in some #iphoneography.

Hues of the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge



NYC,Times Square


Advertisement v.s Consumer Sentiments:



Horses @ Central Park









NYSE; Wall Street.

new york,NYC



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!


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


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. 😉



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.



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?

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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12th Aug2008

Visit to the Microsoft Innovation Center: The Spirit of Innovation

by Dorothy
In his book The Medici Effect, innovation guru Frans Johansson asserts exactly that, putting forward the idea that our knowledge about an area can make us put up “associative barriers,” or stifling assumptions we make can subconsciously influence us to do things a certain way. “Although chains of associations have huge benefits,” he argues, “they also carry costs. They inhibit our ability to think broadly. We do not question assumptions as readily, we jump to conclusions faster and create barriers to alternate ways of thinking about a particular situation.”

– excerpt from The Pirates Dilemma, of which I am still going through, because I am trying to test out my tolerance for new reading habits, what with the audio books, pdf books and what not!

I decided to write on this topic, simply because innovation has been a recurring theme amongst a lot of material that I have encountered lately.
I was listening to the very charismatic leader of the Fellowship of Inventors on the 25th of June, and the notion of organizational fluidity really excited me. Being able to assemble teams of people of varying expertise for short innovative projects, pulling them together, and then, letting them return to their “mother” organization is not really done much here. But think of the possibilities!

I also paid a visit to the Microsoft Innovation Center, where their evangelistic team repeatedly emphasized the importance of software as a driving factor for any technological magic in the future. And there were some interesting things going on in there, I saw the 3d version of an application that emulated Google’s street view, the Silverlight technology in action, as well as a video documenting the touch screen technology that was unveiled some time ago.

Interesting, but I disagree that software is everything, and incidentally, after reading this, maybe you might too. For me, it’s always been about the talent and people behind. It is about making sure that your message is communicated across and it becomes something that people can feel and identify with.

I was a huge Star Wars fan a couple of years ago, so I remember when George Lucas had to hold off making Episodes 1, 2 and 3 because the “technology he needed wasn’t quite there yet”. Well, he did get the films made in the end, but they never quite achieved the same cult status as the original Episodes of 4,5 and 6, did they? Something was missing. So yes, while software and technology are important, you do not require it to create magic.

I guess the final issue really is, so how do you get things going? You can check out this PDF manifesto for some good pointers. Ironically, most of the points mentioned there on innovation are nothing all that innovative, but most books effectively sell hope to people, just worded differently.
I also like how Mitch Ditkoff substantiates his points.

There’s a lot of talk these days—especially in business circles—about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now. Innovation, they reason, is the competitive edge. What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need—whether expressed or unexpressed—ideas with enough mojo to rally sustained support.

1. Follow Your Fascination
2. Immerse
3. Tolerate Ambiguity
4. Make New Connections
5. Fantasize
6. Define the Right Challenge
7. Brainstorm
8. Look for Happy Accidents
9. Use Creative Thinking Techniques
10. Suspend Logic

A couple of friends and I were musing about the prospects of Singapore’s future. In due time, whatever advantage we might have in manufacturing, efficiency, and the likes will be lost to the next cheapest, fastest competitor(s).
What would we be left with then?
We need to encourage people to think. One thing that stood out for me during the Microsoft site visit was how some of the students candidly admitted that they had been “forced” to go for the trip, and hence, their presence. I would have been pretty discouraged if I were their lecturer, or the speaker for that matter. How else can we cultivate a spirit of learning?

07th Aug2008

Want a digital copy of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat(TWIF) ?

by Dorothy

You can get one from now till August 11th!

More (legal) sharing goodness.
Check the details out here. The book comes in a 3 part mp3 download, together with an extra preview of Friedman’s new book – Hot, Flat and Crowded.

I personally vouch for the hot and crowded. “Flat”, like the introductory paragraph in Friedman’s updated version of TWIF, has many different meanings to different people.

To consume a book in this manner is new to me, but I could get used to it!

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06th Aug2008

How much of your life do you live online?

by Dorothy

Here’s a read from the New York Times that you might want to check out.

I’ve been sitting on this post for some time now but I suppose this is a social issue that is pretty relevant.

As bloggers, I think there are a few golden rules to abide by where information, especially that which involves other people, is concerned. While you delude yourself into thinking that some semblance of privacy still exists, I beg to differ.

It’s about respect, really. The point is not everyone is comfortable with posting their lives online.
Make sure you know who amongst your friends does not want their pictures circulating on the internet or appearing on random search engines. And honour that trust. I happen to find blurring select photos of people in a group photo, and posting the picture anyway rather irrelevant. How hard is it to find out who was present, at what event, and where? Not very.

Time is such a commodity nowadays. Blogs are the lazy way out. Someone could tap into your open journal and learn more about yourself than another friend who has interacted with you superficially for the last 5 years. It’s friendship the Gen Y way, and the listening ear/eye, without the commitment of old, aka having to actually be physically present and interacting with your friends.

Needless to say, I think that many have found out the hard way regarding issues of privacy in this age of Web 2.0. Another golden rule: If you don’t want it to be seen, don’t take photos of it. I cannot count the number of scandals that the tabloids love to exploit.

Put simply, if you don’t want it to be seen, don’t do it. Celebrities are not the only ones who fall prey to this. Everyone has their (accidental) chance to obtain their 15 mintues of fame nowadays. Think about all the videos of UK school kids and their lynching episodes. Teachers abusing their tech savvy students. Everyone owns a mobile device with some sort of recording function nowadays. It is relatively harder to document an event that never happened, so don’t make it easy.

Don’t make racial slurs. Reiterate point about respect.

Don’t talk to strangers“, your mom cautioned when you were younger. That advice is becoming more and more obsolete by the day. How many of our young people are engaged in multi player online games, teaming up with random strangers from all around the world? It is no longer enough to just caution against physical interaction with online predators, but rather, teaching them about how to be discerning about the information that they offer up.

Streetwise no longer simply refers to not taking candy from random people on the streets, because candy now comes in many different forms. The chance to win a house, a mobile phone? You’d willingly give up your personal details such as your name, address and phone number.

It would be a gross over generalization to stereotype the young as those who are not prudent about these issues. Mothers are also guilty of this, posting pictures of the places that they take their beloved babies to, their routines, their hangouts… all of this easily accessible (and highly detailed) information on blogs and the likes.

There is also the issue of responding to something you’ve read online. If you read entries about spousal abuse, drug habits that have spiraled out of control, or any other behavior on an open blog, the question is, are you compelled to do something about it, especially if you know the blog author? Those posts are cries for help, and how severe should the issue be, and do you wait till it is too late to turn over the situation to someone who can intervene correctly?

Just like the web is changing how people interact with each other, so the must the rules of discernment evolve with the changing landscape. It is not in the Gen Y mental physique to worry- and why should they? They have never been able to identify themselves as possible victims, having never gone through major hardship.

I’ll end with a link to another perceptive piece.

So how much of your life are you willing (or supposed) to share online? And what are you trading your privacy for?

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17th Jul2008

Open source…

by Dorothy

will be the end of the Capitalist model because everything will be free. (and no one will be exploited in the same way ever again!)

Open source = good because then
everyone(smart) gets a chance to edit and improve on it.
The rest of us (clueless) folks just enjoy the application or content that the evil geniuses come up with.

Because its free, you need something other than $$$$ to keep you going.
That something is (often) passion.

Some of us suck at what we are passionate about.
Most of us don’t.

We are passionate about things that we are good at, or we get very good at doing the things we are passionate about.

it can only mean more (good and useful) things powered by love.

I love Web 2.0!

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14th Jul2008

What is your favourite bookstore? / Download (and read) The Pirate’s Dilemma

by Dorothy

I am kind of loving Kinokuniya right now because the books that I’ve browsed through recently on their shelves have proven to be of significantly high calibre, in terms of selection and content.

We don’t get Barnes & Nobles here so I can’t comment on that. I’ve yet to pop down to Borders since I was back, but from what I recall, the shelves were stacked high with too many books, and all of them seemingly with outdated content.

On another random note, I have been reading all the old stashed versions of ebooks in my folder, and I wish there could be more. I guess I am just lazy to make constant trips to the bookstore. Public transport is such an irritant I am trying my best to avoid it as far as possible. I never knew how cheap books were in the USA. Books, I stress. Not textbooks. Textbooks are amazingly expensive in the USA.

The reason I was on this train of thought, was because I saw the physical copy of this book in Kinokuniya the other day. You may be interested to know that you can download a copy of it from the official site, for free (or do the Radiohead thing and pay as much as you would like to).

The Pirate's Dilemma - US Cover

So, I’ve gotten my copy and the instant auto responder tells me:

Dear Dorothy, 

You can download The Pirate's Dilemma - Digital Download at


Please note, the download link will expire after you've downloaded the product 5 times.

Thanks for downloading The Pirate's Dilemma - I hope you enjoy it and it helps you awaken your inner pirate.
Any questions, suggestions or whatevs, drop me a line at matt@thepiratesdilemma.com. All the best, Matt Mason ---------------------------------------------------------

I am loving the personal touch to this. And the liner “helps you awaken your inner pirate” is priceless, including the very deliberate, but coolly mis-spelt word “whatevs“.

I am a big fan of youth culture, have always been, will probably always be. I had a good impression of the book when I thumbed through it quickly at the store, and I hope it will not disappoint.

And of course, I’m doing my bit here by telling you to check out the book download page. Let me know what you think if you read it!

If you’re looking for other online reads, check out the Word of Mouth Manual Volume II, also freely downloadable, but you can get the physical version if you like!

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04th Jul2008

Where you live..and who you become because of it

by Dorothy

The reason I am coming back to this issue, is because of a quip I heard, by Adrian Collard, VP of Regional Marketing for MasterCard Worldwide, that leading brand company Y&R were told that “You need to be in New York”, which prompted them to set up shop in Madison Avenue in 1926.

One of the things that has constantly fascinated me is the nature v.s nurture argument. It is most assuredly cyclical in some sense, and also one of those issues that will never ever elicit the right (or wrong) answer.

However, we cannot deny that certain places are great incubators for certain ideas, with the iconic examples being Silicon Valley and innovation, New York houses Wall Street and the Finance gurus and Cambridge attracts the intellectuals, as stated in this interesting article.

We are all susceptible to influences from our environment, like it or not. This matter is especially close to my heart as I continue to redefine and examine how being in different places, situations and countries can shape who I am. To date, I’ve spent a year in Australia, half a year in America, and the rest of my life mainly in Singapore. That pretty much makes it a couple of times I’ve had to deal with culture shock, coming back to reverse culture shock, and also how all these experiences lead to subtly different ways of processing information, or even changes in my own mannerisms.

On another note, I also like how Adrian mentioned that he enjoyed watching TV to understand the culture of any country. This is something I believe in, although my variation of it involves collecting newspapers more than watching advertisements, because..TV is so before Web 1.0.

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