Archive for March, 2008

Social Media Breakfast: Singapore – Blog Coverage

March 31, 2008

Taking the place of Icio Links this week, some great online coverage of SMB: Singapore.

First up, Michael’s video. 12 minutes of awesomeness (you have to click on the link because as usual, WordPress is giving me problems with video).

Hisham gives his recount of a crazy weekend .

Amsie the foodie of course has her food pictures up.

Andrew too had a busy weekend but made the time to appear for SMB

YuHui’s post is here.

Prof. Michael dropped in for awhile but then followed the various conversations online to chime in as well.

Jeff Pulver (from whom we borrowed the personal tagging idea) picked up our video and we’re also very happy to have been picked up by Mitch Joel in Episode #97 of Six Pixels Of Separation. If you haven’t listened to this podcast, you need to. It’s the spark that got the collaboration for SMB off in the first place!

Truly a remarkable experience with great connections and conversations going on as well as a great community being formed. Don’t miss the next one!

It’s very possible I didn’t get all the pingbacks/trackbacks/links/Google Alerts, so if you posted something up on SMB: Singapore. Do let me know and I’ll add you in!

Edit:

Also picked up: a comparison between journalists and bloggers.

Nabilah has a recount of the whole social media adventure of hers from class to our audio interview to the SMB.

Sheylara wrote a lengthy post (with lots of great pictures) that you should check out as well.

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First Social Media Breakfast: Singapore A Success!

March 30, 2008

About 40 people turned up for the first Social Media Breakfast: Singapore at Frujch today and it was a really good experience for me and I just wanted to thank everyone for getting up early on a Saturday to have breakfast at 9am.

It never ceases to amaze me how “flat” interactions are between people involved in social media (ie I can be a student but people doing real research and real work are still interested in what I have to say on certain issues and vice versa). I don’t have pictures (because I was too busy running around) and I’m sure videos will be posted by Michael and Andre in the coming days, so look out for that.

Before going further, I just need to clarify that SMB: Singapore was not organised as part of the social media course I’m taking in SMU. I don’t get a grade for this. In fact, Derrick, who isn’t in SMU, started the ball rolling and I just joined him for the ride. The aim, as emphasised in my earlier post is community.

So, here are my memorable experiences (in no particular order):

Finding out ladyironchef.wordpress.com (aka Brad) is a guy and introducing him to the other foodie in the room, Amelia.

Finding out Jean is a researcher in life science (which you would not expect from a social media person). Thanks Xiao Hui for the introduction.

Meeting Andrew whose passion is virtual worlds.

Discovering Michael’s very cool site: Comiqs.

Putting faces to people like Michael Cheng, Debbie, Joanna, Brian, Enning & Supriya.

And meeting people I never even knew online before like Coleman, Hisham, Ridzuan, Yu Hui, Robert & Kenneth.

Of course, it was great seeing people from social media class: Andre, Amelia, Nabilah, Lydia, Yunying & Xiao Hui. As well to Prof. Michael who dropped by despite having classes to teach today.

Finally I need to say a big thank you to Derrick (for the initial idea to start SMB: Singapore), Sheylara (for really doing a lot of work to get it going and reminding me that if you wanna do something, gotta do it well), Nabilah for kindly letting us use Frujch even when they don’t open on Saturdays and Caleb for appearing out of nowhere and sponsoring SMB:Singapore for everyone. I think one thing the organisers felt really took off was the tagging concept (as explained in our video), but credit has to go to everyone who was game enough to help the activity take off.

Ps: I just know I missed out some people and there are people I didn’t even get to talk to today. So sorry about that, but hey, that means we gotta have another such event soon to make amends! Also, it was sad that Kevin and Vanessa couldn’t make it because they were speaking at NUS (I guess Kevin couldn’t have made it anyway unless he Skyped). Next time us Singaporean social media people must schedule properly! (And thanks for the Tech65 crew for postponing their podcast recording just to make it down. Means a lot!)

I have to say if today’s response, interaction and conversation is anything to go by, the social media community in Singapore is definitely present and definitely posed to progress strongly in the future. So if you’ve been a passive reader or consumer of the blogosphere and social media, it may be that time to get your virtual feet wet and jump right in.

Well that’s it for the first Social Media Breakfast: Singapore. Stay “tuned” for the blogosphere coverage that should occur over the weekend and I’ll post all the links up either late Sunday or early Monday. I’m really looking for feedback on today’s session, so any discussion in the comments or email would be greatly welcome and appreciated!

If you’d like to be in the mailing list for the next SMB: Singapore, just contact me directly or leave a comment below.

Social Media Works! (At Least For The Consumer)

March 28, 2008

Remember the chance to win a Wii? How many of you brushed it off and didn’t join it? Well, Nadia (the person I was voting for) and Claudia (the person I found it out from) both walked away happy, winning the Australia trip and Wii respectively. (Damn I’m jealous).

Obviously this is great news to those who won, but here’s a big question: Who remembers the company who organised the event?

I ask because I don’t. Even though I voted every day for a week.

Is such an online campaign considered successful if it’s largely popular and social, but people can’t remember much beyond the prizes and prize destination? What metrics should marketers and/or communicators use to determine the success or failure of such a campaign? Would love to hear from all of you who are smarter than me. (A considerable lot!)

Sheylara And I Present: Social Media Breakfast Video

March 26, 2008

Sheylara and I met up just yesterday to squeeze out this video to serve as a trailer for Social Media Breakfast: Singapore happening on Saturday (full disclosure: she did most of the work and deserves most of the credit). Check it out:

I’ve been asked a few times what exactly the Social Media Breakfast is for. To me, it’s mainly for networking and meeting like-minded people who are into the social media space. That said, I think it’s perfectly fine if anyone feels that the main purpose is for fun or socialising or anything like that.

The other question is whether discussion has to be about social media, and I think the answer is no. I think it’s great to talk about the last movie you watched, or what you usually have for breakfast, or if you are a Twitter-addict. Anything goes. I suspect the true magic and connections will materialise after the event, when these relationships are allowed to grow both online and offline, as CC Chapman alludes to from his SXSW experience.

The ultimate goal of Social Media Breakfast? To me, as a believer of Mitch Joel’s belief of building communities and Joseph Jaffe’s belief of creating and joining conversations, the ultimate goal would be to really build up the social media community in Singapore, regardless of individual usages, be it personal, work, school or play.

If you’re interested in attending the event, the Facebook event page can be found here. Breakfast is $4 a person, but you will receive the personal tagging kit free!

If you need to speak to anyone to clarify anything, there’s me, Derrick or Sheylara online, or on Twitter at @uniquefrequency, @derrickkwa, @sheylara. See you on Saturday!

NTU Replies To The SMU = NTU Ad (Finally)

March 26, 2008

Huishan, my friend and NTU student emailed NTU’s corporate communications department to find out their side of the story and here’s an excerpt:

NTU had bought into the search engine’s Sponsored Links with keyword search. When one does a search using one of the keywords, a link to NTU marked “sponsored link” will appear. The descriptor should be “NTU Official Site” or “Study in Singapore” and not what appeared in the printed-screen above. There is no intention to mislead. The underlined descriptor above the ntu website address should not bear the SMU name; but names like “NTU Official Site” or “Study in Singapore”. The title of the sponsored link observed in your screen capture on Thursday evening was due to a feature of the search engine known as ‘dynamic ad copy’. When a user typed in eg. ‘SMU Singapore’, the search engine automatically generated ‘SMU Singapore’ as the title of our sponsored link. This resulted in the screen that you emailed us on Thursday.

Full story can be found here.

While NTU did take a week to reply, at least they did reply and not wait until it appeared in the newspapers. So I’ll give them credit for that. Unfortunately I think most of the blogosphere has moved on in a week, and people not keeping up with the issue anymore may not read this update, and just continue to maintain the impression of NTU based on the fiasco.

Why Twitter Is So Powerful

March 26, 2008

It hit me in the shower last night why exactly Twitter is so powerful. It’s like IRC.

No, I’m not kidding and don’t run away yet.

Today @stripedshirt and @valene were talking about why MSN (aka IM) isn’t used by them anymore, simply because it’s too distracting. On top of that, MSN mostly allows for one-to-one conversations (yes I know you can add more people to conversations), but Twitter is cool in that you can have many people adding to a conversation at different times of the day and it’ll continue on.

And that’s what I like most about Twitter and that’s why it’s so powerful. It requires a short amount of attention, but it allows you to feel connected and part of a community more than IM does (at least for me). A real example is when a few of us just got started on Twitter. Me (@uniquefrequency), Andre (@stripedshirt) and Valene (@valene). So 3 of us kinda were messaging here and there but with only 3 people, there wasn’t much benefits to reap in terms of network externalities.

Fastforward 4-6 weeks, add in Andre’s group’s great presentation on microblogging, and now we have Nabilah (@allquirknoplay), Jacqueline (@jacquelinechang), Amelia (@amsie), Lionel (@gaothebao), Peiling (@gniliep), Alaska (@alaskie), Xiao Hui (@thehsuperficies), Mark (@beatmastermark), Gladys (@gladyschock) and Christina (@tinana).

The best part is I have less than half of these people on my MSN list, and yet I talk more to most of them than to other people on my MSN list.

It’s like IRC in that we all drop in the same “room” at different times of the day and maybe I’ll know that some of them are in the library, some are awake at 5am finishing a project, who’s in a Starbucks, and the list goes on. It’s come to a stage where we even have @SMUtweets to tweet school-related stuff to all of us. How cool is that?

To me, Twitter has truly become the new social water cooler.

You might argue that 13 of us out of a school population of 4,500 is insignificant. But is it really? If you were a company and you had 13 passionate advocates following your brand on Twitter, Tweeting things to each other and spreading your brand and/or message, wouldn’t you be happy? (Wouldn’t it be great if Frujch could tell us when the queue is short? Or if portobello melts are running out so we can ZOOM down to get the last few?)

I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and here’s an experiment I want to run: All of us SMU students currently on Twitter should aim to get one, just one, other friend on Twitter by Week 14 (just lean over to the person next to you in the library and do some convincing!). We’re going to try to double the SMU-Twitter population and see just how far we can go with this in really forming a community and network, and see what comes out of it.

Post your success stories and/or great Twitter stories in the comments section so we’ll know who to follow and we’ll review this experiment in 2 weeks! Let’s keep in mind that getting new people to sign up on Twitter is just the first step, we need to make them feel welcome to get them to stick around and enjoy it as much as we do!

SEO Guest Post #3: How Much Should You Know About SEO?

March 24, 2008

How much should the average blogger know about SEO?

Frankly, the average blogger does not need to be worry about SEO. Here’s why:

First, the blogging platform which most bloggers use, such as Blogger.com and WordPress.com are generally search engine friendly come complete with SEO-friendly default template or theme.

Second, most bloggers do not need to rely on the search engines to bring them traffic. They can get traffic from the plethora of social networks and Web 2.0 sites.

If you are interested to find out what are the other 20 ways of generating traffic, click: The 21 Traffic Generation Methods

SEO For Blogs

SEO is appplicable to the more advanced bloggers, who are not in the average or casual bloggers category, and those sites which rely on the search engines to drive new visitors to their blogs.

Usually, these blogs focus on a topic of interest or a niche, e.g. Engadget.com which blogs about the latest electronic gadgets and Blogopreneur.com which focuses on SEO and Blog Marketing.

blog marketing singapore

The 7 Unbreakable Rules of SEO

In order to make your blog rank well for your targeted keywords, these are the 7 things that you need to do and must pay attention to:

  1. Focus on one keyword per blog post. Stay within the theme of the keyword.
  2. Keyword-rich blog title. Blog engines such as WordPress automically uses the blog title in the <title> tag.
  3. Write a description for each post and add it to the <meta name=”description” …> tag. Make sure you include your targeted keyword in the description. See #7 below.
  4. Use the keywords in the first paragraph of your post and repeat it as many times as per your editorial requirement.
  5. Focus on writing great content. Make it useful to your targeted readers and interesting enough for fellow bloggers to quote you and give you that valuable backlink.
  6. Use a SEO-friendly theme. The WordPress’s default Kubrick theme is SEO-friendly. And most variants of the Kubrick theme are also SEO-friendly. Don’t worry about the cosmetic effect first. It is more important to get into Google and have a good following because of your interesting content.
  7. The SEO-All-in-One Pack for WordPress is a must-have plugin if you want your blog SEO-friendly and it helps you to prevent duplicated content. This WordPress plugin for SEO also enables you to enter description for each individual post.

P.S. You will need the self-installed version of WordPress to install plugin. So you will not be able to do #2 and #7 if you are using free blog at WordPress.com.

About the author: Shi Heng Cheong is the SEO Trainer with Finggle Pte Ltd, a SEO training company based in Singapore.

Icio Week 12(b) – Twitter Posts

March 23, 2008

Incredible week for Twitter news. Let’s get into it.

If you liked all that news but aren’t sure how to get started on Twitter, my handy guide called Twitter 201 is available:

Icio Week 12(a)

March 23, 2008

So much good stuff this week I’m going to split Icio Week into two.

Lessons From The SMU = NTU Ad

March 21, 2008

Now that the SMU = NTU ad buzz is dying down (or is it just picking up? TIMM Guru put an ad up on Google for people to discover why NTU used the keywords), I think it’s important to look at a few lessons from the whole fiasco:

1) Track What’s Happening

I set up a Google Alert for “SMU NTU” yesterday and quite a few people picked this up, as well as the front page of Singapore Daily. If you’re a company, especially in our small market in Singapore, can you afford this kind of negative publicity? Even if there’s no “new media” person at your company, the least you should do is set up a Google Alert for your company’s name.

2) Respond Quickly

But it’s not enough to know that people are talking about you. You need to respond. Fast. I know on the comments page of sg_ljers one NTU student is valiantly trying to defend the school, but it isn’t working. To be fair, for all we know this could have been the result of a genuine mistake, maybe the mistake was on Google’s part, maybe it’s a typo. The fact is we will not know because NTU chose to keep quiet. It’s going to hit 48 hours since the news was first posted and the blogosphere will move on. People will forever remember the incident as a “fault” of NTU’s, simply because they did not take the opportunity to engage and respond.

3) Your Brand Isn’t What You say It Is, It’s What Google & The Internet Says It Is

The commenter on sg_ljers said:

But I just want to highlight how easily people can draw conclusions based on what they see (which is worse than conclusions based on what they don’t see). Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that SMU might have the same tactic? Hasn’t it occurred to you that maybe NTU is not behind that link? Personally I wouldn’t think that the NTU corp comm would be so dumb as to ruin their own reputation like that.

Yes, bloggers draw conclusions at face value and quickly and will look for the most controversial story instead of the most likely one (although in this case they are probably the same). We’re not journalists, we’re not going to do research or contact NTU Corporate Communications to find out. We will just blog. And the internet will represent it as such. And who reads the internet? Well…

4) Know Your Audience

If this appeared in the Straits Times forum, you can bet NTU would have responded quickly. But choosing not to join the conversation online may be their biggest folly. Who’s reading print? Not me. Probably people much older than me. Who’s on the internet? Who’s picking up this story on Twitter? Your prospective students (or from a business perspective, prospective customers). Just because the discussion is not via your media of choice, does not mean the people in that discussion do not matter. They could matter more.

5) The Internet Is Permanent

Google “SMU NTU” now and you’ll see the SMU = NTU ad as the first link. Now every year new students are going to compare the two business schools and see this issue as well as this (from Tomorrow.sg):

They will draw their own conclusions. I’m betting those conclusions aren’t positive. Again, your brand is what Google says it is.

Finally, I ran this article not to be sensational or controversial for the sake of being controversial, but as an experiment to see if NTU would reply, even with an explicit call out. I think the results speak for themselves.

My word of advice to all companies would be not to ignore what is said about you online. The content creators (ie bloggers, Youtube video creators, Flickr posters, podcasters) are the new gatekeepers of the online community. This one post led to all those other online posts which will enjoy the multiplier effect via word of mouth to reach thousands (more if it were Xiaxue). And you ignore them at your peril.

By the way I can’t seem to replicate the results anymore. Can you? Result of NTU getting rid of the ad? We’ll probably never know. Share your thoughts in the comments section.