A crazy war of words between Singaporean bloggers from two rival blogger management agencies was the top online news story during last Christmas and New Year in 2014. This spilled to the mainstream media, earning several page-one stories.
Yes, while our Malaysian neighbours were concerned with the flood on their eastern coast and the tragic crash of AirAsia flight QZ8501, Singapore was obsessed over bloggers squabbling online.
One of Singapore’s veteran bloggers, Xiaxue, spent a year gathering evidence that allegedly proved that digital marketing agency, Gushcloud, is guilty of ad masking (masquerading advertisements as original content), inflating their earnings and the statistics of their online influencers.
Note that Xiaxue is a shareholder at Nuffnang, a similar digital marketing agency, which is a competitor to Gushcloud. I am not siding with Gushcloud, but this means that if Gushcloud falls, Nuffnang gains, and so does Xiaxue.
Essentially, it is a business battle between Gushcloud and Nuffnang, as they are the two main digital marketing agencies specialising in managing and marketing online influencers in Singapore.
The saga has not ended yet. This is because a Facebook satire page in Singapore, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), which started as a satire page of the SMRT public transport company in Singapore, jumped into the online blog war to square off with Xiaxue.
The satire page claims to be the most influential online social media profile in Singapore, with more than 200,000 likes in a country of just 5.8 million.
One of the attacks was on Xiaxue’s claim to be the Most Influential Blogger in Asia Pacific, a title awarded to her by her agency, Nuffnang.
To be fair to Xiaxue, she has more than proven herself to indeed be influential if you consider the amount of media and public attention she created with just a single blog post.
It is this question on the “most influential blogger in Asia Pacific” that I would like to address. Are you ready for the answer?
Remember, a quarter of the world’s population is in China alone. Singapore is just a little dot on the world map.
This guy is the top blogger in Asia Pacific and in fact, quite possibly, the world: Han Han (韩寒).
Han Han was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010. British magazine New Statesman also listed Han Han at 48th place in the list of The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010.
Other than being Asia Pacific’s most popular blogger by sheer numbers, he is also a professional rally driver, best-selling author, singer, and a technopreneur.
Han Han has more than 50 million followers on his two Weibo accounts alone and his viewership is in the billions. To put things into perspective, SMRT Feedback and Xiaxue have a grand total of 500,000 fans on Facebook combined. Very impressive in Singapore, but Han Han has 100 times their combined following on his Weibo accounts.
His is famous because of excellent writing and his awareness of the socio-political landscape in China — not through trolling and blog wars.
The world is very big if we step out of our comfort zones more.
Why am I sharing this?
A post I shared on my Facebook page on this same topic went viral in Singapore. It must be interesting enough for people to keep sharing it, so I am sharing it again here.