Posts Tagged ‘john bell’

Why Social Media Struggles In Singapore

May 1, 2008

One thing I’ve continually questioned is why social media is blooming slowly but not blossoming rapidly in Singapore. I’ve noted that we don’t have problems other countries do, but yet social media is still a very, very small slice of the pie.

Discussions with Michael Netzley, John Bell and Ridz have all resurfaced the same theme: We’re too small. ie the benefits of social media don’t translate as much when you can sms a friend and meet him/her in person in 20 minutes, compared to someone living on the opposite coast in America.

Social media events in North America bring together people who see each other a few times a year. We can see the same people twice in a week at events here!

When we all read the same papers, watch the same news and television and generally consume the same media, does new media still bring additional benefits to the table?

Tracking social media events over the last few months, it does indeed seem like the same people are going for the same events. It’s not a bad thing in itself, but it also means that options to companies are limited. Kami Hyuse’s case study on SeaWorld is an amazing one with great ROI. Attracting 22 roller coaster enthusiasts? That would be hard to replicate here. Obviously I don’t mean for roller coasters (because we have none), but for almost anything in general. It would be easier and simpler (maybe even more cost effective) to put out a print ad than to do a blogger outreach programme, just by impressions alone.

HP did a great blogger outreach programme, but does that value dilute if another company tries something similar and the same bloggers turn up?

I’ve anecdotally heard that 20 million is the magic number for social media to take off. Not in the sense that it’s an automatic qualifier (Indonesia has 25 million but that’s a fraction of it’s population), but it’s an indicator. Given that we’re at something like 4 million total population, does it mean that we’ll never get there?

That said, there is obviously a huge social media interaction on platforms like hardware zone, to some extent Facebook and others, suggesting to me that there is an audience, but we haven’t found a way to properly leverage it yet.

There are a lot of instances when I wish companies would engage the social media participants. But let’s think about it, if 5,000 people talk about your brand in a year (and I’m already stretching it), would you hire a person to monitor that and engage? Or is it easier to close an eye to that miniscule number, and focus on other things? Let’s face it, most companies aren’t Dell with hundreds of thousands of customers complaining. It’s a real question where companies only have a limited amount of resources, and have to prioritise.

Do you think our size is the biggest limiting factor? Do you have other thoughts on why social media’s influence is still limited in Singapore? Most importantly, do you see it changing? In how many years? Or will this being small turn on its head and be a strength? I want to hear from you.


Report: The Open Room Launches!

April 28, 2008

The Open Room was held today at Ogilvy with the tagline “where brands and bloggers connect”. I was one of the privileged bloggers to be invited, and I have to say I had a blast.

John Bell (who I had the honour of talking to for awhile) kicked it off with 12 points on the Code of Ethics for blogger outreach. Needless to say with my recent issues with journalist-blogger relations, this struck a chord with me and I have to say I think Ogilvy has got it spot on.

The Open Room was a great event for me as a blogger. I got to meet people I met previously from Social Media Breakfast: Singapore like Sheylara, Supriya, Jean, Ridz, Rinaz, Nicholas, Michael Netzley and Aaron, as well as some bloggers I know of online but never really met in person like the Tech 65 crew, Ian on the red dot, Sabrina, Plaktoz and Nadia, as well as a ton of people from Ogilvy. (I’m sure I’ve missed people out, let me know so I can add your link!)

The one thing that I felt was replicated from the IDC Conference was that the companies involved seemed a little unsure about what to do when meeting bloggers. We were identified clearly by our magenta tags (they had green), but yet the two groups never really mingled. I don’t think this is the “fault” of anyone in particular, just that this new social media space and community marketing concept are something corporations are just figuring out right now. I definitely hope this changes soon. I don’t want to be pitched by companies at events like these, but it would be nice to talk to them and find out more about them.

Y’know, start a conversation, have a relationship. Like real people.

For example, I was checking out the new Canon models (because my sister took my camera), but there wasn’t really anyone there I could talk to about it. In fact, most of the “green tags” were gone by 6:30pm. (Probably considered as overtime for them).

I think the issue here is simple: Bloggers have taken a step forward. Companies like Ogilvy have taken a very important step forward by organising something like The Open Room. Now the companies, the very people who the bloggers and agencies are trying to help and engage, need to take that step forward and be a part of the conversation, part of the community too.

After all, at the end of the day, for the bloggers it’s a blogger social event, but the companies should at least go back with something to show for it, be it a new blogger relation or a referral. Because otherwise, the time was wasted wasn’t it?

Edit: Forgot to insert the picture, but we got some swag from the event! Nice touch I must say. Anyone needs the PSP case? I don’t have one so feel free to ask for it. Don’t even think about the Nokia N-gage thumbdrive though!

Big thanks to Brian and Tania for inviting me, looking to future events!

Blogs I’m Subscribed To: March

April 2, 2008

A regular feature on this blog, here are the other blogs I subscribed to in March which I feel should be shared with the community:

A VC – I have no interest in VC, but every now and then there’s interesting stuff on social media that I read and enjoy. is a great site keeping up with social media in the business setting.

I like Student Blog Project because the notion of using web2.0 in education is a curiosity of mine and I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon it on early in the month.

Inside PR is one of the many podcasts that I’ve added to my Ipod (soon to be Ipod touch) this month. I think it’s a great listen to keep up with what’s happening in the PR scene in Canada. Their recent episode talks about interns not wanting to do admin work (?!). Dave & Terry: I will be in Canada later in the year and will be happy to do admin work on top of whatever else you require.

Pamela, who I also follow on Twitter has a great blog, and us PR/social media students have to stick together!

I also added: and PR 2.0 by Brian Solis
Digital Influence Mapping Project by John Bell
Andy Wibbels
Influential Marketing Blog by Rohit Bhargava
Ubernoggin by Intellagirl aka Sarah Robbins.
Winextra by Steven Hodson
PR and Comms Network

As always, if you have a blog you think I should be subscribing to, please feel free to leave it in the comments section. I’m currently a little overwhelmed by my feeds, but anything that adds value will still be greatly welcome.

Tomorrow: Blogs I’m Subscribed To: Singaporean edition. Lots of good stuff, I promise.