Is it acceptable for bloggers to ask for sponsorship from brands directly? The same question can be asked of journalists and editorial staff.
The Internet democratises publishing. Using a blog platform or other content management system, anybody from anywhere in the world with Internet access and a computer device can be an editor, a writer, or publisher. Alas, whether you are able to draw a substantial audience is another story altogether.
Recently in Singapore, a self-proclaimed, full-time professional blogger (via her LinkedIn profile) named Janice Leong (Janiqueel), wrote to a local hair salon to get free haircuts. When her request was not granted, she turned nasty on Conrad Chua, the salon manager:
If this woman was a journalist, one phone call from Conrad to her boss would probably have gotten her fired or garnered her severe corporate demerit points for the utter lack of professionalism. However, there lies the problem: Who keep bloggers in check?
The term “bloggers” refers to a loose collection of vastly different individuals, each writing for different purposes with different agendas. There is no central code of ethics on professionalism governing bloggers....[more]
03 November 2013 · by Nadine Kamlow
Almost everyone uses some aspect of social media, whether it’s to share or view content, follow celebrities and brands, or — for some people — to do their jobs.
There is an infinite number of examples of social media gone wrong, and I don’t just mean Miley Cyrus’ outbursts on Twitter. A number of brands have tried to be tactical but ended up with backlash due to insensitive or just plain cheesy social media campaigns.
I actually think it is more useful to focus on the positive ways social media has helped businesses day to day, so I’d like to share some good examples that have caught my eye recently.
Meeting new contacts is less awkward. Before a meeting with a new or potential client, it is now standard practice to search on LinkedIn to learn more about that person and the company he or she works for. It can tell you a lot about that person’s professional life and also help you find some common ground. Having no profile is worse than having an out-of-date profile.
It can be a boon for international business. A friend of mine is a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and part of the job is to recruit medical staff and patients to take part in medical trials all over the world....[more]
06 October 2013 · by Alvin Lim
When marketers started making staged, “user-generated” videos and sharing them on YouTube to get them to go viral, it was cute — at first.
Here is a fun example done by Chupa Chups as an April Fool’s joke this year. It depicts the sighting of an alleged lollipop artist in Singapore by a tourist:
Good stuff? I was tricked, too, but it was all in good humour. Here is the behind-the-scenes clip that “gave the game away.”
A string of copycats followed. Some good, some bad (mostly bad).
If you are just jumping on the bandwagon because all the other brands are doing so, I’m sorry to say you might be too late.
I find this “viral video,” for example, in bad taste:
There is no context, and I feel like I have been taken for a ride by the marketer. The video was supposedly promoting a new brand of chocolates called “Bournville” by chocolate company Cadbury.
Yes, you have more than one million views. But what has this video got to do with your brand?...[more]
11 September 2013 · by Alvin Lim
A month ago, I was transferred from the omy.sg editorial team in Singapore Press Holdings to ST701, our online classifieds for the local market, consisting of four main verticals: STProperty, STCars, STJobs, and STClassifieds.
Globally, print classifieds, yellow pages, and directory businesses all have been severely affected by online competitors over the past decade.
I view ST701 as a strong strategic product to fend off competitors. Together with our print older brother, it provides both advertisers and users with a better cross-media classified experience – one sole online competitors cannot offer.
The ST701 team has some impressive results to show, following a series of re-launch and re-branding efforts since the middle of last year:
- STproperty was re-launched in August 2012. Since that time, it has since clawed its way from relative obscurity to the No. 2 property site in Singapore in terms of absolute traffic.
- STJobs is at No. 3.
- In April, SPH acquired the top car site in Singapore, SGCarMart.
14 August 2013 · by Alvin Lim
The casualty number so far in Singapore is two valedictorians.
Darren Woo Hon Fai was the valedictorian this year from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Singapore. He made news headlines for his controversial valedictory speech in which he unwittingly poked fun at his fellow graduates from the Chinese division, by suggesting they might not be able to understand English.
Here is a full video of his speech. Watch from the 8:00-minute mark for the highlight:
After reminding everyone to honour thy parents, Darren went on to add these hurtful words: “This is especially so for the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten what I just said in English, ??????????? (Translation: Every parent would want to see his or her child succeed in life). I can speak Mandarin, too.”...[more]
23 June 2013 · by Alvin Lim
The first-ever Social Star Awards were handed out in Singapore on in May at Marina Bay Sands, and I was present to witness the event.
The live Social Star Awards served as the pinnacle to 24 hours of virtual awards given to stars from around the world who were recognised for their popularity in the world of social media.
You can watch the full show here on YouYube if you missed the live broadcast.
Singapore Press Holdings played a role in this inaugural global event. The Straits Times is the official Singapore media partner for the event, while Hot FM 91.3 is the official radio station and Kiss 92FM, the supporting radio station.
The Social Star Awards are based on data from global popularity leaderboard, Starcount, which uniquely aggregates and charts social media’s most popular stars and celebrities through the measurement of 1.7 billion people’s social media activity on the 11 biggest social media networks in the world.
Starcount ranks and charts fans based on their individual social behaviour by awarding points for every tweet, share, view, and comment about the individual stars they love. In other words, all that matters to win a Social Star Award is your number of fans and followers on social media, as well as the level of support they gush over you on social media.
Among the top winners for the first Social Star Awards are One Direction, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few.
What was glaringly obvious was celebrities with the youngest fans dominating all the awards.
There were many big name celebrities, such as rock legends Aerosmith and worldwide pop sensation PSY (right), of “Gangnam Style” fame, gracing the red carpet and performing on the awards night.
Interestingly, there also were many Internet sensations, who get as much applause and cheers from the young crowd. They are able to hold up on their own....[more]
15 May 2013 · by Alvin Lim
Malaysians went to the polls on Sunday (May 5) to elect their government.
The ruling National Front coalition (or BN for Barisan Nasional) was returned to power, winning 133 of the 222 in parliamentary seats. The opposition won 89 seats, up from 82. Defeated opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim accused the ruling coalition of widespread fraud.
Quite frankly, I have not been following the election closely. But through the past weeks of campaigning to the actual voting day and result announcement, I have been getting regular updates via Facebook and Twitter from many of my patriotic Malaysian friends.
Social media brought the news of the Malaysian election to me. I did not search for it or read about it because I flipped open a newspaper or visited an online news Web site.
Think about it: For big breaking news these days, was social media your first information source?
Granted, the shared articles on Facebook or Twitter probably originated from news content sites. But it is still significant to reckon your social circle of friends might determine what news and information you consume — and not the traditional media ombudsmen.
For news publishers, if readers are increasingly getting their news from social networks, is our brand deep enough to still occupy mind-share? Are our readers sharing and tweeting our news content to their friends? This is something to think about for the future of the newspaper business....[more]
16 April 2013 · by Alvin Lim
Recently, I was the moderator for a panel discussion on blogging for leisure versus blogging for profit.
The session featured four prominent bloggers from Singapore and was attended by more than 70 bloggers and media professionals. It was held as a prelude to the sixth-annual Singapore Blog Awards, a successful social media campaign we have been running at omy.sg, billed as the biggest social media event in Singapore.
What struck me after the forum discussion and chatting with the bloggers in attendance was the fact that many bloggers were seeking the elixir to instant online traffic.
Bloggers, just like newspaper publishers, are hungry for traffic. Whether the primary motivation for blogging is profit-driven or for leisure, what everyone wants are readers and eyeballs.
I am a relatively successful blogger myself who enjoys reasonably good traffic and fame outside of my work. The current president of Singapore thinks I am influential enough to invite me for a luncheon during his presidential campaign as a candidate. I get dozens of media invites daily, addressed to my personal blog....[more]
17 March 2013 · by Alvin Lim
Doomsday social media practitioners like to predict the death of news publishers with the advent of social media, just as people used to predict the “death of radio” with television and the “death of television” with Internet.
To this day, all these different media are still very much alive, each finding its own audience and adjusting to survive.
What is social media?
From Wikipedia: “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”
Fundamentally, social media is about two things: the people and the act of content sharing.
Where does shared content come from?
Sans the rare breaking news stories, images captured by citizen journalists, and updates on cute cats and dogs (you get the drift), what makes up the bulk of the content being shared on social media? Rather, where does quality content comes from?
Most of the content shared on social media is reposts of online newspaper or magazine articles and professionally taken photos or videos by news organisations or media personnel....[more]
03 February 2013 · by Alvin Lim
Last week, I carelessly left my wallet at a client’s office and only realised it more than an hour later when I was about to take a train home.
It was already 6:50 p.m., and most people would be headed for home from their offices. I called up my client and a colleague who were both present during my last meeting with them. Both were already on their way home and unable to render help.
As there was no one else in the client’s office, I had to wait until the next day to get my wallet back.
Meanwhile, I was left stranded in town with no money, no train ticket and no means to buy an US$0.67 train ticket to get home.
I felt like an idiot, having landed myself in such an awkward situation.
Too embarrassed to ask strangers for loose change, I decided to turn to social media for help since I still had my trusty iPhone 4S with me.
I posted this onto my Facebook update: “Help!!!!! Anyone in orchard now? Lost my wallet. Desperately need some money to go home.... At the train station....”
In less than a minute, three friends responded. Many more later left messages, texted or called me.
Two were in the vicinity, while one offered to travel from a nearby station to render help. I was deeply touched!
I took up the offer from the one nearest to my location and we met up within five minutes of posting my Facebook message.
Social media just saved me (in a small way)....[more]