Posts Tagged ‘sheylara’

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!

Xiaxue’s iPhone Fiasco: Entertaining But Negative For Singapore’s Social Media Scene

April 12, 2008

I read about Xiaxue’s iPhone blunder via Sheylara two days ago, and here’s the video in question:

The (new) Mediaslut posts:

If I was Apple, I would fight back, take Xiaxue out for lunch, give her the spill on the iPhone and work on convincing her why the iPhone is better than the Chinese fake!

Spot on. For Apple.

But the (new) Mediaslut also says:

Xiaxue’s post about the Apple iPhone is a social media practitioner’s dream come true.

Think of it. A local Singapore blogger get globalised all because of a video review.

Really? Sure, it’s entertaining for two minutes, but for all of us web 2.0 evangelists and social media junkies, especially those on the agency side, let’s step back and look at the bigger picture.

We’re firm believers in what social media can do for us, personally or for a business. But in all likelihood we have to pitch this to a supervisor or client, for their approval. Now, what do you think an MNC client will do if we suggest blogs? One thing they might do is Google “popular Singapore blogs” or some variation of it, to see who’s active in this scene. Who’ll they find? Mr. Brown at #1 and Xiaxue at #2.

Is that going to inspire confidence in them and convince them that Singapore’s social media scene is worth investing in? For better or worse, Xiaxue is arguably the public face of Singapore’s blogosphere, and those looking at social media for the first time may not look beyond that to find the others in the long tail actually contributing and adding value to the social media scene. Is it any wonder businesses in Singapore don’t seem to take blogs seriously?

Reading about social media in Asia, we don’t have many of the problems facing our neighbours that obstruct social media. We don’t have the low internet penetration of Indonesia, nor the geographical issues of India. And yet out social media scene in the business setting is sadly lacking. Is this a possible reason why?

I think it’s okay for us social media evangelists in the fishbowl to see an issue like this and laugh it off as an inside joke. But we have to remember that as the main advocates of this media, there is more at stake. We need to recognise that yes, it does put us on the map, but the implications of that are not always positive.

What we cannot do is be insular and blind to the concerns and issues this raises to the large majority of people who are not in our same fishbowl – those looking in deciding whether this fishbowl is a nice place to swim in.

And we need to know how to tackle these issues, reassure concerns and look your client who just saw that video in the eye and say without hesitation: the water’s fine. come swim.

Because if we don’t, who will?

Edit: In case you don’t read the comments, the (new) Media Slut wrote an excellent post in reply to this post which you should check out. I think it’s a really good conversation that’s taking place (and we’re not taking directly opposing views if you ask me), and it would be great if you would comment either here or at Media Slut to enhance our conversation.

Related posts:

Blogger Outreach: Happening Slowly But Surely

April 12, 2008

Over the last two weeks I’ve been reading about Sheylara’s Xbox gaming preview and then heard about it on the Tech65 podcast today, and last night I read about the HP Mini-note PC blogger preview from Michael, Vanessa, Bernard and Estee (among many others).

My first thoughts? “Damn I need to buy an Xbox 360 just to play The Force Unleashed”, and “Damn that HP Mini-note PC would be sweet to carry while I travel”.

More serious thoughts: I think it’s great that companies like Microsoft and HP would reach out to our local bloggers in the blogosphere. And on top of that, I think it’s great that they didn’t just throw out a wide net and see who gets caught in it, but they really made an effort to engage in targeted outreach to reach the people who would be excited about their products.

Today I also met up with people from The Digital Movement for an informal discussion with a couple of execs from Google to talk a little about feedback and collaboration.

I think this is definitely signaling change in Singapore. No longer are these big companies thinking: We will just produce the product and people will just buy them. They recognise that there is a conversation taking place whether they like it or not, whether they want to take part in it or not.

And frankly, I feel they ignore this conversation at their peril.

I’m sure there are people who’re going to say “Well, how many of these bloggers who saw the HP Mini-note PC will actually buy it? Or how many people who read a blog entry on it will buy it? What’s my conversion rate?” in other words: How is this going to affect my bottom line?

I think from a very practical point of view, that has to be a consideration. But is it the only consideration? So many management case studies point to hotels who give employees a certain amount of money to make right customer complaints as a way of generating goodwill. Is this truly any different?

If the result of this blogger outreach means that the next time someone is searching for the HP Mini-note PC as part of research about whether or not to buy it, and the top few results on Google are these pages and reviews and feedback from the bloggers who attended the outreach, I think the cost of holding that blogger outreach has paid for itself.

I have a lot of other thoughts on the whole blogger outreach strategy and who it works for and stuff like that, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts on the issue. So… comment away!

Blogs I’m Subscribed To: March (Local Edition)

April 3, 2008

As promised:

Sheylara, who helped me with the Social Media Breakfast: Singapore video.

Jasmine from social media class. (Dammit I haven’t tried Entrecard yet)

Geek Goddess who is actually pretty entertaining.

Lionel from media relations class (also a regular Twitter user)

And finally my four favourite local blogs right now: Kevin, Priscilla, Vanessa and Brian all for being simultaneously entertaining and informative at the same time. Not easy for a blog to do.

I’d encourage you to subscribe to their rss feeds if you like them, and if you like the stuff I blog about, why not subscribe too?

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!