29th Jun2014

Typed on an iPhone/In the wee small hours of the morning

by Summerisque

The internet has too many edits nowadays. Folks editing their content, their words, debates over the right to be forgotten. This was typed entirely horizontally, in bed, no edits save for the part where I seemed to have typed the the consecutively, but I think it was Autocorrect in action. At 3 am, few things matter. 12 days later, here is in it’s full, raw glory. Pic credit to the owner (I did not draw the featured image because this piece is all about the words).

17 June 2014

3:47am -4:20am. Unabridged (for the most part)


I loved Times Square. The hustle and bustle. sitting anonymous amongst tourists trying to superimpose their faces just right onto the interactive ads behind the red steps that were a ceiling for the TKTS booth. 

Where people found solace in the greenery of Central Park or the abandoned rooftops of the city visible only to those who dwelled in skyscrapers- all of it potential space for some fabulous rooftop gardens and bars. All of it mostly unused space except for the lesser known rooftop farms I had only read about,but had no chance to explore. No time to explore. You tend to take things in your backyard for granted.

I found solace in the iconic center of Midtown Manhattan where the all the Subways lines converge. Looking at the history of the city, it is also where a lot of the power is concentrated. 

And yet I loved the City with a passion that I miss.
Perhaps the hugest draw was the fact that the city was a giant magnet for the dreamers, the materialists, the artists, the corporate lemmings, the transient international transplants (including Yours Truly), and the even more transient tourists. 

#gridlock happens very year starting late November all through December when the world and their families descend upon midtown manhattan. It starts with the buses full of school children on school trips, to the couples traveling and their families with grandma in tow, here to revel in the magic of fifth avenue transforming into a glorious display of windows and vying for your mindshare.

Electricity courses through the air in New York. The energy is contagious, recharging and draining all at once. Many love the city; but the city is at best indifferent to most. It doesn’t care.

Resilience and grit drives many, and it shows on their faces. You see glimpses of stories in peoples’ eyes, age old soulfulness; occasionally captured on pages like HONY. (humans of New York). You see it in the way the city bounces back from natural disasters, daily security threats. Three words : East Coast Winters.

These are the prices you pay for living in corporate America where gleaming skyscrapers and a concentration of wealth and power paint a giant bulls eye over the city for humans, aliens, ( the city has been destroyed countless times in movies). I’m pretty sure there is a 3D model of Manhattan online ready to go through the process of utter annihilation and smoke on the second screen. That, and the absolutely ridiculous taxes you shell out to live, work, breathe the air in Manhattan. 

What a complex, moving, dynamic ecosystem. What a ride. 

So.many.possibilities. 

I carry all of these in my heart and soul. Faintly pulsing, awaiting for the chance when I would have to draw on those reserves.

I have been waiting, for what you can say is a very long time. And yet, I have no right to this statement when many before me have been around for longer than I have been waiting. I have so much more to learn for everyone around.

Anticipation is a restlessness that not many understand first hand. Infectious enthusiasm is a fuel that few were built to run on. 

And so, I keep searching. Occasionally stopping to rest. It’s become something of a dull ache, for the most part buried until it accumulates and manifests into a full blown white hot mess of desire, unlocked by the gradual easing into the night, or lengthy conversations spliced with moments of thoughtful, pregnant and yet comfortable silence.

Scanning the horizon, it’s always important to carry a pint of hope and faith. On Faith, you only need the equivalent of a mustard seed.

//norestfortheweary



– Dorothy

30th Nov2011

New York in an Almost Year

by Dorothy

Random quick bits about thoughts and The City from Q1-3:

I guess there is a certain vibe, a certain stigma about New York City. It’s a city on overdrive and it will and can fry your senses if you’re not careful. Mentally, physically, literally, metaphorically.

The city is a curious mix of architecture marvels with history and people. From the eco friendly Hearst Tower, the dimly lit chanderliered entrance of the Royal Palace Hotel, eclectic little shops in Soho and the Lower East Side to the rather sterile concrete buildings of Wall street. The Brooklyn Flea houses a collection of quirky little trinkets and items, and itself is housed in a stately building that was converted from a bank; a stark dichotomy.

Graffiti here is spontaneous and in the oddest of places, narrow subway underground tunnels the top of buildings, each a defiant testament to the people who claimed the space as their own. Not in a tightly controlled environment where a canvas is laid out in front of a curious audience. Like at the Night-festival in Singapore, anyone? Cough. I think that defeats the purpose of it. Don’t think the organizers understood the essence behind graffiti. The only people who should see graffiti being created should be the artists and their friends. Watching it appear in front of you, in a space dictated with crowds of curious spectators watching, with no element of risk, danger or mystery as expected just takes away the soul and experience of it.

I could do a photo series entitled subway trash of still lives – even the trash here somehow manages to look like a still-frame out of a movie.

Ben Stiller walked past us one weekend morning, apparently.

The size of rats vary with the parts of the city – the big black mean ones reside in Manhattan; small furry ones are found on the outskirts. The friendly mouse looking ones live in the Jersey PATH trains. 🙂

If you are anticipating a long subway commute, you probably want to switch your iPhone off while underground if you don’t want to find your batttery at 60 % even before the day has started. Why there has been no serious motion to actually get reception that works well underground or even in various buildings is beyond me. It is kind of like the weekend commute, when basically, the best thing is to expect nothing out of the subway reliability.

Sirens are your lullabies. You grow accustomed to it. The police and fire engines are just, everywhere.

Phones are socially taboo (at least it seems so at most eating spots) or maybe it’s a function of the crazy bad reception. People are engaged with each other here, and with time being such a precious commodity, one notices that cellphones are hardly the focus and the ones whom you meet grant you their attention, for choosing to spend the time.

Colours do not exist in the NYC fashion palette in winter. Everyone wears black black and more black even though the racks have a staple of black, white, red and the occasional electric blue. Who dictated that fashion has to mirror the season? Even within the line at JFK, I was standing out in a bright and (too) happy red.

Unaccustomed to the landscape so distinctly mirroring the seasons, visual cues start to hint to me the arrival of spring. Lighter coats, rain boots, slight colours, (short) skirts. People complain about the heat but hardly ever about the skirts. Do they not see the necessity of the former for the latter to materialize? Thank goodness for the cheeriness of Summer.

The city is edgy, fast paced, if that is your type of fun. Small enclaves of communities exist and in time, I intend to explore these when I’ve gotten my wings fixed. Sometimes the cashier mistakes me for Korean and rattles musically about the items I’m ringing up until I give a polite “I don’t understand you” in English. At other times Korean guys remark really loudly “a Chinese” as I’m trying to get up the steps to dinner in Ktown. I am unsure of the correct response to this so I do nothing save roll my eyes. Ethnicity seems to be a topic of conversation with random people taking bets as to whether you are Korean or Chinese in the most random of places.

Definitely pay more attention to your Chinese lessons if you are still in school, especially if you want to order take out from Ctown. Actually, make that if you want to order food in general. D:

Outside of the tourist belt, there are hardly any children, teenagers or too many old folk. Everyone seems to float around the college age to the young working professionals. And then there are the others, who seem to have decided that being perpetually in Peter Pan mode is their thing. Over 45 and still living like recklessly 25 is just a little creepy. Just sayin’.

There is also the distinction between “the tourists” and “New Yorkers”. Tourists are roadblocks, the grown up children who still find delight in every cranny of the New York environment. New Yorkers are past that – police road blocks and a barrage of media vans and satellite for Osama’s capture or “that IMF guy” being held in an undisclosed location in lower Manhattan? Just part of everyday life, now will you please, not hog the sidewalk so I can get to my cup of coffee/work/you get the idea? Your local news is global here. Something is always happening; somewhere.

I love how people actually care about stuff here.
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Photobucket Chivary is alive and well in the city because here is nothing more odd in their senses for a girl to be carrying a shelf on the streets.  People have also been awfully kind to help me move my furniture that I got from them, so maybe I have just been lucky so far. You can get quite a lot out of a conversation in the 30 minutes while moving your desk. So awfully DIY, but just one of those things you do before you succumb to the instant gratification that is Amazon. On an aside, if one ever contemplated never ever having to leave your house, Amazon could fulfill all your hermit aspirations.

Door holding is nice and I hardly get any slammed in my face if I am within close proximity. Anyone who has tried to get into a lift in SG with plently of space, only to have the door closed on you because everyone was too apathetic to press the Open Button will understand this. It’s the little things that count.

What’s better than holding the subway door seconds just before it closes, is having two young teenage guys hold it open for you, upon seeing your approach and not even missing a beat in their conversation rhythm. Equally heartening is having a random stranger call out to you when you are at the far end of a corridor which only leads to an elevator, just so they can wait for you to enter.

Well, obviously there are rude people as well, but perhaps the word is not so much of rude than brash.
Weather is a huge factor here because it dictates your life. It’s the first time weather reports are actually accurate or important. The coats change with the seasons, and rain coming horizontally at you renders normal umbrellas useless. Let’s not even talk about the winds.

Things will go on even if it rains. At the Rooftop films, the organizers quipped that “We’re tough , we’re New Yorkers”, and the show went on. Seats were kept and folded after the show by each member of the audience, ” just so a lot of us can get out there faster”.

PhotobucketThe weather is unapologetically capricious and erratic – winter seemed never ending with the fresh white snow quickly morphing into black piles of slush. There was a brief dalliance with spring and upturned umbrellas. People marginally freaked out over the earthquake aftershocks. Hurricane Irene brought the City to a standstill whilst everyone went stir crazy being confined indoors. Coming from a country with NO natural disasters, you realize you have no clue what to actually do, but you get by. It snowed in Autumn and this surprised the trees in Central Park and many of them broke under the weight.

 

 

It seems counter intuitive to find contentment in a restless city, but that’s what New York can offer you, amongst a whole lot of other things. Transience is the only staple. The city has a routine of constant change, and possibilities in anything you believe in, if, of course, you search it out. Or maybe it might find you instead.

 

The City will speak to you, if you listen to it. The same City, but somehow in a different language for everyone.

 

^ And more photos, only because they remind…

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

 

Iconic.

NYC,Times Square

 

Advertisement v.s Consumer Sentiments:

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Horses @ Central Park

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Flag.

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NYSE; Wall Street.

new york,NYC

 

 

29th Nov2010

A HP AMPed Christmas!

by Dorothy

Was at the HP Amped Christmas event at House @ Dempsey, and here are some pictures!

HP Amped - Xmas 2010

HP Amped - Xmas 2010

The folks at WE sure do know how to throw a party… I am most fascinated with the 3D station where 3D comes to laptops, now if only I wouldn’t get so nauseous viewing it…. Those, coupled together with mini HP products on cupcakes, games and a whole lot of other festivities!

3D glasses 3dcounter dj

Treats!

So…Christmas is the arbitrary season where everyone is a little more  indulgent and allowed to get more than a little contemplative, so indulge me. ( but really, contemplative doesn’t need to happen only at year end).

I really need to stop sitting on posts, this has probably been lying around for weeks! Ok, so the question was, “how are you going to Amp your Christmas this year?”. I haven’t any super concrete ideas as of yet, but I’m hoping some things come through, and I’ll share that when it happens. 🙂

Well, I suppose a lot of times we think doing something means having to make some grandiose efforts for external parties. Right now, I’d love to be able to focus on the ones closest to me. The handful of people whom you actually interact with beyond hi, bye and small-talk.

Here are some things that I wish for everyone this year. The 8 Fs.

Faith – This is not just the literal religious manifestation of the
word. It is about belief. Trust me, that can go a long way.

Family – They are the only ones you’ve got. No matter what may have transpired. When was the last time your entire family sat down for dinner, or headed out together?

Friends – Then there are the friends. None of those loose ties. I’m
talking about the friends who know you’ll need decaff, no onions in
your sandwich, absolutely only KFC with the ketchup, and remember it each and every time.

Fight
– Not all battles are worth fighting. About a year ago I wished
for something worth fighing for. A strange wish, perhaps, but always good to have something to aspire towards.

Fear – (the unlearning of).

Fun – Frankly, it’s hard to do anything without the element of fun.  School can be fun, work can be fun. Why drag your feet everyday to  what you’re doing? The best stuff is when you can say “Look, no chains.. I’m here because I want to be.”

Freedom – Of speech, of love, of life. Freedom to be yourself.

This is what distinguishes the older cultures of other societies and ours. Acceptance of
diversity. Freedom to be and to deviate from the norm. We aspire after all the glorious products of a vibrant society but we fear the ills that come with it. Why?

(Finding) Time

Lastly, I think one of the best gifts you can give someone this Christmas is your time.

Time flies. It’s been two years since the magic of walking through a 5th avenue
Christmas struck, and watching the first snowflakes fall. Somehow there is a really strong visual correlation between Christmas and snow for me, such is the power of commercialization.

Merry Christmas.


books.JPG

DSCN1472.JPG

We are each given the chance to leave a unique imprint on the world. What will be yours?

I wish I could touch & change lives, positively.

“I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.” ~George Balanchine

p.s: head on over to the HP Facebook page here to check it out! 🙂

02nd Apr2010

Social Media – Moving forward…

by Dorothy

It’s kind of past the season where people throw up new ideas of what the future entails (this seems to happen largely towards the end of the year, because for some reason, the new year seems to trigger the sort of “what’s coming next” type of thoughts. Though if you think about it hard enough, it doesn’t really make sense since every day or any day is a good time to attempt some crystal ball gazing. But I digress.

I was at the HP #futureis event earlier this year, and there were many interesting presentations given by the various folk who shared. And yet, right now, while the whole Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare phenomenon has taken various parts of the world by storm, sometimes it easy to forget that there are many out there who still mainly stick to good old fashioned email, and surfing websites. So what constitutes this whole “social media” concept, anyway? It probably means different things to different people, and just when you think that you’re starting to understand the landscape, it moves again. We’re probably not even scratching the surface of what could possibly be done with all the information we have, and even trying to make sense of the upcoming trends in the scene.

Real time is so Yesterday; Predictive Analytics is the Now <?>

Last year around this time, the chatter was all about the real time phenomenon and how microblogging sites like Twitter could contribute to this. A year later, Twitter still surfaces in conversations, but now we’re looking into something that I’ve recently become very interested in – using past and present data to predict the future. Apparently, Twitter can even predict box office revenues of Hollywood movies, better than some established standards. All this is inherently fascinating to me, and something I’d love to explore more. The end of the research pretty much sums up the importance of this.

At a deeper level, this work shows how social media expresses a collective wisdom which, when properly tapped, can yield an extremely powerful and accurate indicator of future outcomes.

So effectively, this could apply to product launches, electorial campaigns (as the paper highlights) and all sorts of other CRM related issues.

What is Privacy?

On top of that, the definition of privacy continues to evolve as well. I’ll have to say that the behaviours linked to Foursquare still border on stalkerish creepy at times, and other sources like Facebook house such an incredible amount of (mostly accurate and genuine) data about demographics, user interests and the like, it’s seriously hard not to see this as a gold mine for marketers/advertisers. Imagine the conclusions that could be drawn from all this information.

What goes viral? Some good folk at UPenn/Wharton have published some research studying the list of the most emailed articles on the NYtimes that suggests that positive, rather than negative news is more viral (all those in PR can heave a sigh of relief) and that “useful” information is more likely to be shared, given that these could enhance connections with others. That goes for awe (inspiring) stories too. The generalizability of the results is a little suspect, given that it was largely confined to the readers of the NYtimes.com, and those who actually use the email function, but interesting nonetheless.

Share Prices & the Bottomline Another angle that has surfaced recently has been the effort to try and measure some real world impact of social media. We have the entire situation with Nestle and the impact of the Facebook debacle on it’s share prices. Zilch, at least according to this article. My sensing is that this is largely to do with the nature of the conversation. I do not deny it’s importance, but CSR for the most part, has been a tricky component to compute in terms of tangible profits. Perhaps it might have been different, should the issue have centered around an actual product, or service deficit. ROI is a tricky thing to nail down, one simplistic formula would probably not be able to encompass all the variables to be taken into account.

These are just some random musings that have come up… More about some other trends and thoughts on those in the next post! 🙂

11th Sep2009

More random thoughts: Excuse me, are you a phone?

by Dorothy

Iphone Musings
More little tidbits from some great conversation in the past weeks….

The Apple folk just have a way of making normal features seem heaven sent. While people are pumping R&D into increasing megapixels, shiny new hardware designs (wow! 10 colours to choose from), Apple have managed to make a 2+ mega pixel camera phone (that still seems a tad bit laggy if you ask me) into the TOP camera phone on Flickr. Also, they made picking colours seem so yesterday (like the first generation candy coloured imacs).  I can only imagine the gap between the ubiquitous iPhone and it’s other competitors from Nokia and Blackberry will widen, given that Flickr is coming to the App store. flickr_popularcamphones

Clear market leader!

Top camera phone is not interesting on it’s own, given that in most cities, within a 3 m radius on the train, one can probably spot at least one Iphone user. Given that most of them will probably be on data plans, this naturally leads to a lot more submissions from the hardware in question.

What is more interesting is that …on Flickr, the iPhone has been comparing pretty decently against the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. Now that, is a flipping DSLR from Canon, ten megapixel and all sorts of other great features thrown in….but the graph below shows the slowly dipping popularity of the Canon Xti. Compared against the rising love from netizens holding an iPhone, Apple isn’t doing too shabbily at all.  The iphone is also the only cameraphone in the Most Popular Cameras mix.

*I wish the horizontal axis from the Flickr graph had some dates thrown in, so we could correlate that sharp spike with the release of the Iphone 3Gs, hypothetically or otherwise.

flickr_popularcamera

All this has some connotations for the camera market. Given that Flickr is (in my impression at least),  a great community of artists and photographers who range from amateur, semi professional to professional, I do wonder how product lines will evolve in future. What will happen to the cameras that are in between (neither the powerful DSLRs for the serious photographers, nor quite as handy and functional as a camera phone)?

On another note, I have my thoughts about the interesting correlation between handset monopolies (aka sole iphone telco providers around the world) and bad customer service. But I will save them for another day. 🙂

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11th Jun2009

Ad:Tech Singapore Thoughts: #1 Live event Tweeting…

by Dorothy

…is a brain intensive process.

This was the first time I’ve tried to live tweet an entire 2 day conference, and I’ve found it was no easy feat…

Brain Intensive

A couple of the guys were remarking that it was pretty trying to Tweet, listen, synthesize and breathe all at once. Tiring yes, but I shall credit the factors that supposedly make females more adept at multitasking, and maybe the live blogging practice from Social Media Breakfast sessions.  🙂 Still, end of Day 1, we were Zapped with a capital Z, reflected in the more modest number of Tweets on Day 2, if you were following the live Twitter feed.

Self PWNed.

I love Tweetdeck. really I do. I’d never tried out the Twitter/FB syncing on Tweetdeck so something in me asked why not? I’ll show you why (not). See this, and multiply it a few times in length.

annoying-fb-spam

Basically, I spammed my FB profile with my Tweets. Horrendous. I’m sure I spammed the FB News feed of all my friends as well, giving them sure reasons to filter me out .. haha ( just kidding).

Anyway, by lunchtime of the first day, I decided this was not working (not as fun as I thought it would be, visually or mentally), so I stopped the simultaneous posting to both Twitter and FB, so my profile could breathe. Left a status msg linked to my twitter feed instead.  The really un-fun part was having to go in and delete the posts on my wall..one by one. Didn’t quite erase them all… No more experimenting on this!

Lets try not to parrot

I also didn’t want to repeat every single thing that was being Tweeted, so the plan I had really was to watch the live feed and pretty much figure out on the spot the angles that each of the other people Tweeting were taking, and avoid posting similar thoughts. Not entirely avoidable, of course, since most good points are usually the ones that get picked up and Tweeted, but worth the effort and still manageable due to the number of Tweeters. Which brings me to my next point…

It’s a digital conference

…but where is the tech? went a Tweet that I saw. Should we hope to see more people actually getting their feet wet and using the tools that would help them understand the different aspects of how it could help them in their jobs better? Only a handful of people were live Tweeting, with the rest of the comments coming from interested parties not present at the conference.

Live event broadcasting

I can see why there is the debate over whether or not a portion of the presentation screen should be devoted to the live Tweets while presentations are going on. Possible issues I can think of are:

  • It’s distracting : some people can’t listen and focus on the Tweets at the same time
  • hijacking: some people mistaking the Tweet screen as a stage to send SMS-type msgs like on TV/ or saying something inappropriate.

The Tools are more powerful than you know…if used right

Some thoughts on the conference as a whole – It really would have helped if the folks organizing the conference could have confirmed the #hashtag, rather than the Tweeters finalizing it themselves. I saw Claudia taking the inititaive to try and standardiz the tag, but there was still some confusion and all conversation got divided mostly between @adtechasia (the official one) and @adtechsg, with a huge majority not even using them… so just adtech ought to return those results in Twitter search. The problem with the last option is that it returns all global adtech sessions – Twitter is now “mainstream”…hopefully digital marketers will make more effort to really utilize the power of the tools offered to them.

I found another Tweet about how Ad:tech singapore might end up as the conference with the most number of abandoned conference Twitter accounts ever amusing.

Having said that, it was very encouraging to see progress, however small, in terms of the ad:tech blog, using Twitter to get live audience questions during sessions ( although there was the query about why Wifii appeared to be cut off during sessions without a Twitter Q&A feature. Feedback off the Adtech Twitter stream should show lots of griping comments about a technology centric conference with no internet from both visiting and local delegates… ). Baby steps, but it can only get better!

Are you on Twitter? Drop a note to say hi if you were at Ad:tech too! If not, it would be cool to connect on Twitter anyway, or you can leave a comment here. 🙂

More up next on the Keynote Youth Panel session… and meeting Scott Goodstein (man behind Obama’s digital campaign)! I shall try not to fangirl too much.

My other posts on Ad:tech this year:

Pre Ad:tech thoughts: Web 2.0 & Gen Y: The Other Side of the Story
Ad:Tech Singapore Thoughts: #2 Engage the Youth Keynote session

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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02nd May2009

A Disconnected Blogger : Sydney : #1 “Some Things Can’t Be Shared On A Blog”

by Dorothy

A Pictorial Overview…

So, things have been a little silent in this space for a while, because I just had an awesome trip to Sydney. And the first thing that accosts me while we head out from the Sydney Airport is billboards, billboards and more billboards. Never really noticed, but when coming home, we don’t really see many billboards in the airport, and that really is rather refreshing on the eyes. I successfully tune most of them out, but one that I really liked was this particular one from Heineken. Excuse the grainy photo – we were moving and high shutter speeds can only do so much.

some things can't be shared on a blog by you.

I know the title of this post sounds rather like an oxymoron – disconnected blogger, but it was a good breather to just disconnect from the Interwebs for a couple of days (although it was also largely through a certain inability to find/stay within the wireless hotspots) and just experience the world. But truly, some things are just difficult to share over a blog (yet another little contradiction as I try to do just that), but I could try to stop marveling over how beautiful Bondi Beach was…



(the two gendered pairs made for an interesting shot)

the eclectic crafts at Paddington that I totally fell in love with,

how quaint the town surrounding Blue Mountains was, how we scared ourselves silly on a railway touted to be at a 52 degrees incline but really, felt like 90…



…or the plush seagulls that stalked and crept up on us while Fish and chips were savoured by the harbour while we ran our toes through the velvet sands of Bondi. It is not funny when you watch them do a 360 degree formation circle around you and start closing in, and I constantly thought of Hitchcock’s The Birds.








P4250617.JPG

And a little drawing for my illustration site in the sands of Bondi. I think I redrew it 4 times, thanks to wave interference, each going higher than the next. So truly, this is a time based illustration.

Hello Bondi

I will end of this first post with the mandatory travel jumping shot. I think I’m getting better at them, but don’t ask me what my feet are doing. I usually let the music and moment take over. T’was only a first try, good enough but I now wish I tried more variations.

So here I am, defying gravity somewhat. Photo courtesy of S!

More thoughts; less pictures in the next post!

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16th Mar2009

A Different Kind of Currency

by Dorothy

With headlines about the bleak state of the economy dominating the news, it is quite difficult not to feel discouraged about the situation. Nevertheless, here are a couple of links to some good reads.

A different kind of currency
Lets talk about a different kind of currency, one that is not financial, but financially linked.

Will Online Volunteers Transform Our Economic Recovery?
Josh Bernoff is the co-author of “
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies“.

“A pessimist sees value erosion. But the value’s not gone, it’s just different. The consumer/creators get paid for their contribution in love, admiration, pride and a sense of belonging.”

“The online social world is driven by free, volunteer activity. Now add a horde of unemployed and underemployed digital talent, both those laid off and new college graduates who, when they reach the doorstep of the job market, find a sign that says “Sorry, We’re Closed.” While they wait for better jobs to appear, they’re going to invent online tools that supplant the current ones — tools whose modus vivendi is emotional, not financial.”


You know you truly have someone’s passion when they would be doing it for free anyway. Intrinsic motivation is hard to beat, easier to sustain in the long run. Will we see a surplus of innovative tools as digital talent fuel the volunteer economy? Only time will tell.

What people want – a “good job”
Here is another read on
Global Migration Patterns and Job Creation.
The article details that what people really aspire for is a good job. Given that employment levels are at an all time high, there are no surprises there. As the world moves beyond the basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy, it is only natural that other qualitative factors come into play in determining one’s fulfillment in life.

This article makes for a good manifesto that leaders of countries, education, lawmakers, military leaders, amongst the few listed, could look into, as we try and move out from the current crisis. It also looks into the driving forces behind global migration and how best to tap into this trend of mobile talent.

“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” Work is crucial to every adult human because work holds within it the soul of the relationship of one citizen to one government and one country. The most important World Poll discovery, so far, is that the primary driver of almost everyone is a “good job.” This particular condition relates to net migration in high-income countries and GDP growth in low-income countries, but it is also a core influence of elections, revolution, and war.”

“…A successful team of global leaders will need both state-of-the-art classic economics, such as GDP, inflation, population, and birth rates and state-of-the-art behavioral economics, such as law and order, citizen engagement, and well-being to affect the migration patterns of the most talented people and create the next global economic empire.”

Time for a “less selfish” capitalism?
The concept of progress is questioned in this article.

“…despite massive wealth creation, happiness has not risen since the 1950s in the US or Britain or (over a shorter period) in western Germany. No researcher questions these facts. So accelerated economic growth is not a goal for which we should make large sacrifices. In particular, we should not sacrifice the most important source of happiness, which is the quality of human relationships – at home, at work and in the community. We have sacrificed too many of these in the name of efficiency and productivity growth.”


love_currencyThese reads were pretty thought provoking for me, and I do wonder how this situation we are all in will play out. Of particular interest for me would be how technology can help to connect talent around the world, so that physical migration is no longer necessary.

The reasons are, of course partially personal, and ones that I will expand on in future posts!

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