This Is How You Create A Religion

Loyalty Lessons From Lady Gaga

1. Give fans a name. Gaga doesn’t like the word “fan” so she calls them her “Little Monsters,” named after her album “The Fame Monster.” She even tattooed “Little Monsters” on her arm and tweeted the pic to fans professing love for them. Now fans are getting their own Little Monster tattoos.

2. Make it about something bigger than you.
3. Develop shared symbols.
4. Make your customers feel like rock stars.

On number 3, the night of drinking that saw the 4 Brothers of S11 became close during that crazy period of Tiger Beer infused nights was the night that second bro taught me the secret handshake.

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What Are We Doing To Prepare For The Elections?

The government is slowing trying to move the chess pieces to ensure a flawless checkmate once we move into the next elections proper.

So, what are we the citizens who are concerned about the next elections and a fair playing field doing about it?

More specifically, what are we doing about it online?

We have SingaporeDaily.net that aggregates posts from blogs. We have blogs offering an alternative voice.

It doesn’t seem enough. It doesn’t seem like we are preparing enough.

What sort of preparations might be needed?

Sidetrack.

It seems to me that the pro-PAP/pro-government people who try to do things online are clueless at best and indifferent at worse. It is like they feel they have nothing to worry about the online space. Could it be that they think that they have the mainstream media all sewn up?

On the flip-side, the general Singaporean online is too lenient towards the alternative voices on the web. Being an alternative voice to the mainstream media does not mean being a constant dissenting voice against the government.

I feel that the online space, with regards to political matters, is moving towards the direction of just being solely dissenting.

Where are the non-partisans online?
Back to the question. What sort of preparations might be needed?

Above question isn’t rhetorical. Do any of you have any ideas what preparations might be needed? Preparations done in a non-partisan way.

How is that possible you ask?

One of my favorite television shows, and ironically enough a credible source of news, is Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. One thing that amazes me is how quickly they can write jokes that parodies or satirizes the day’s event. More importantly, the thing that really impresses is how they are about to spot topics, events and issues that will really resonate with the audience.

I don’ think it is just a bunch of cool dudes and babes sitting around a table deciding what funny shit to say on television.

I actually think they have a dedicated team collecting data from the newspapers and television news shows. Some, probably obsessively compulsive, intern is scanning and taping. Cataloging. Note Taking.

I think we need that for Singapore.

We need a, cue the buzzword, crowd-source way of pulling in every single coverage of our MPs and potential candidates leading up to and during the next elections. Scans from the ST. Screenshots of the online papers. Scans from New Paper. Everything that is available. Recording of Channel News Asia. Recording of the evening news. In English and in Mandarin. And in Bahasa and in Tamil. With subs for the non-English recordings.

Why?

Not for us online folks to have more source material to rant or write funny posts.

For possibly something greater.

Any thoughts on how such a base of information that is cataloged properly (admittedly, properly is such a vague way of describing the organization of the information) can help?

Now, some people may read this post and think, IanTimothy doesn’t like the government, so he must obviously like the opposition.

To that I answer, why can’t I dislike both?

Here is the problem as I see it with the opposition,

The government is like the kid with rich parents who can afford to buy him a football. Since he is the only one with a ball, when he goes to the basketball court, which in Singapore is obviously meant to be for playing football, every kid wants to play with him. And if no kid wants to play his game, well, he can afford to pay them to play with him. The opposition is like the kid who occasionally gets bullied by the rich kid. The kid who instead of training up and learning how to fight properly so he can defend himself, runs to the parents and other kids to cry and complain. Life is so unfair this weak little kid likes to say.

The truth is, for the next elections, I’m really sitting on the fence. And it is really true what the wise Chinese man says,

He who sits on fence hurts his balls.

Back to something greater.

Intuitively, I have a feeling I know what the PAP candidates always talk about. But won’t it be better if we can have proof?

Something along the lines of, based on the information we have, PAP candidates spend 50% of their time telling us how screwed the opposition is and 70% of the time, the opposition whines about how PAP screws them.

And then, maybe we have something like, based on the information, we know that PAP Awesome Hand Picked Candidate Number 1 spends 10% of the time talking about Foreign Talent and 90% of the time talking about how PAP has helped the poor in Singapore (without actually talking about how they have helped). And Opposition Super Underdog Candidate 1 spends 90% of the time talking about how PAP doesn’t give him the right to freedom of speech and only 10% of the time addressing the impact in the reduction of Foreign Labour in Singapore.

Something like that.

On Singapore

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Are You A Social Media Climber?

Social Media Climber

noun.
Someone who assiduously builds himself (it’s usually a him) up as a social media expert with copious blog posts, tweets, et cetera that cite what the genuine innovators have done, and adds on a layer of jargon and marketing speak in the hope that clueless brand manager types will hire him as a consultant, and similarly ignorant media will think of him as an expert. (The latter is likely, because media types tend to have take the ‘re’ out of ‘research’ and hit Google, and the SMC will have ensured high rankings by linking to — and being linked back to reciprocally by — other SMCs.) If either of these things happen at least once, he will then post/tweet/status-message it to all and sundry. Over time, he starts to believe it himself.
The only people more boring than SMCs are SEOs.

via: zigzackly

humour
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Ian Goes To SGTweetup And Sees Hot Babes

Yesterday the first, supposedly, Singapore Tweetup was held at Geek Terminal. Like the usual kaypoh I am, I decided to go down look look see see. It was great to finally meet ctham who I started following during the whole AWARE fiasco as well as catch up with some friends.

Sadly, I had to leave early, but not before acquiring a sour taste in my mouth. Apparently a few other individuals had also felt the joyous occasion of finally meeting people you kind-of-know-and-are-friends-with for the first time was sullied by a seemingly hidden agenda for organizing the Tweetup – the promotion of an online reality TV show SuperModelMe.

Now, there are few things I enjoy more than being in the presence of 10 hot babes, although only 1 lady really came close to shorting my thought and speech circuitries like the Bond gals did many years ago – yes, you the stunning leggy model in blue top, I’m talking about you.

bond05

But I like to be warned beforehand that I’m going for an event where someone is trying to officially promote something, and make no mistake, that was what happened tonight. Imagine if a company arranged an event called ‘Bloggers Meetup’ and a whole bunch of bloggers gathered thinking it was just a night of socializing and networking. Suddenly a representative of XXX company steps forward, takes the stage and starts pitching about a new product.

Make no mistake, THERE WILL BE BLOOD!!!

Twitterers are people too. It would be nice if they were engaged with a certain amount of courtesy. Tonight’s gathering was in danger of becoming a outreach-to-Twitterers event instead of a simple Tweetup. Spin it whatever way you want, the models weren’t Twitterers (despite them having accounts created) and tonight was a gathering for Twitterers.

Having said all that, I think getting the models to use Twitter for the duration of the contest is an interesting concept. Instead of going into a confession booth at EOD to complain about their day and bitch about fellow contestants, they can do it whenever they like by whipping out a phone and twitter. Hell, what I’m really looking forward to is the indiscriminate taking of photos and the subsequent uploads to Twitpic.

Sadly, these fine ladies don’t seem to be that much in the know about Twitter. But every cloud has a silver lining, and while I may not be a social media guru, I would gladly hold the hands of the ladies as they take baby steps into the brave new world of the Twitterverse.

Update:

As always, Unique Frequency weighs in with an interesting post.

Ingrid shares her thoughts.

There are actually worse ways for an event to be ‘spoiled’ – the addition of 10 well groomed ladies into our presence, relatively speaking, isn’t all bad.

Notes:

The story about the Bond gals is an interesting one, at least to me. Never had I ever been so close to four accomplished women with such perfect poise and mesmerizing beauty. I don’t think I ever will.

Happenings
Tangled Web We Weave

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Yongfook’s Peashootapp – Some thoughts.

He gives a preview here. Some thoughts on the app’s link-tracking.

Yongfook’s new project to help track and measure social media campaigns is basically a souped-up URL shortening service focused on helping businesses instead of the average social media user who blogs and twitter.

A URL shortening service basically takes a very long link and makes it into a shorter one. What happens when someone clicks on that shorter link? The service needs to resolve that shorter link into a longer one and redirect the browser to load the original page. During this resolution stage, two key data can be captured: the click and the originating page for the click.

Of course, Google Analytics can be massaged into being about to provide this data, but changes would need to be made in the behavior of the administrators (if not the code) of the publishing and linked sites.

It would be trivial for such a service to allow campaign sites being run by the PR companies to add a DNS entry to point a sub-domain to the service. What this does is that it prevents the creation of obscure shortened URLs that point to potentially malicious sites.

So instead of getting http://urlshort.com/1231872138 which gives no indication of the endpoint, we can get URLs like http://socialmedia.nike.com/awesome_sneakers_campaign.

Of course the latter link isn’t exactly shortened, but you get the drift.

Once the creation of these links pointing to a campaign’s page (i.e. a page promoting a newly launched product ) is done, these little ‘peas’ can be sowed all across the web.

Now, whenever someone clicks on a link, the app can get data to generate beautiful reports.

I guess what happens now is that when PR companies start generating social media releases, the URLs would now all be using a shortened URL or at least a URL generated by the service.

No more http://www.nike.com/campaign but http://socialmedia.nike.com/campaign.

The beautiful thing about this is now PR agencies or any other company for that matter who engages bloggers can start being sure which group of bloggers are worth the engagement. Imagine creating two campaigns for the same site. One to target the ‘in’ bloggers and another to target people on forums.

Each campaign will produce two different links. So, you get http://socialmedia.nike.com/campaign-a and http://socialmedia.nike.com/campaign-b which effectively point to the same site. Now, you use two different links for two different sets of press releases. The service would make it much easier to identify which campaign is more effective.

If a blogger uses the souped up link, data capture is easier and I’ll know which blogger to stop inviting.

If the use of this service catches on in Singapore, we might start seeing which bloggers are the ones ‘not wearing any clothes’.

The idea is a simple and beautiful one. The use of URL shortening services has exploded alongside the growth of social media. Yongfook’s app and other similar ones targeting the same space are using the common behavior of social media users to generate more useful data for companies.

Final thought – This service could potentially even help businesses and PR companies assess the portion of marketing budget that should be spent online. Why? Hint: links aren’t just published online.

ideas
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How To Track Influence In Social Media – What Would Yongfook Do?

Had lunch with Pat Law today and we were discussing about BlogOut 2009 when she shared about the new project from celebrity web producer Yongfook named Rippl3.

She shared that the project was described as being a tool to ‘Set goals, track success, make sense of your social media campaigns’. Immediately, my mind started racing. How would anyone implement such a tool? More importantly, what would yongfook do ( i.e. WWYD ) to create such a tool?

Incidentally, Yongfook also goes by the name ‘Jon’, so it really is ‘WWJD’. He was born for this.

Anyway, I digress. I looked into the name ‘Rippl3′ and wondered whether Yongfook was alluding to the phenomenon of waves radiating outwards from the point where a pebble drops into a body of water. I described the phenomenon and Pat said something like, ‘that’s like the logo’ ( not exactly sure what were the exact words used ).

The logo in question:

rippl3

The phenomenon in question:

So how could such a phenomenon be used to explain the concept of tracking influence in social media?

Simple. You drop a message into a social system and track its effects across time and people further away ( in terms of network connections ) from the original recipient. I’m of course simplifying. The above is the ‘what do you do’. Not how. Not why.

The more detailed thoughts will occur after Blogout 2009. I need to digest this a little more.

ideas
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Dinner With Friends Shed Some Light On Social Media

I had dinner with a good friend and her husband last night. The husband is one intelligent dude and talking to him was a joy.

Anyway, I made a comment about disputes needlessly dragging on and commenting that I didn’t understand why people seemed so intent to pursuing their personal agendas when the payoff at the end was almost non-existent.

He shared this quote from Henry Kissinger with me:

University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

Substitute ‘university’ with ‘social media’.

The truth is, everyone has some sort of agenda even those who profess not to or those who keep insisting that others have, possibly a malicious, one.

The useful question is to ask what sort of agenda the individual has.

Usually, when we say someone has a personal agenda, we assume (possibly erroneously) the end result of that agenda is one or both of these two results:

1. Make sure I gain something at the expense of someone else.

2. Make sure I don’t lose anything which will eventually benefit someone else.

The reason why people don’t compromise and try to resolve an issue is because subconsciously they think, or maybe know, that if the matter is not resolved, eventually, they don’t really lose anything.

So they rather not lose out relatively or try to gain relatively because the possible absolute loss is nothing while the possible nothingness of the absolute gain doesn’t factor in – just win the other guy can already.

The total triviality of the issue removes any sense of urgency.

Which brings me to the final point.

The way we who are involved in social media handle the conflicts within social media betray how trivial social media is even in our own minds albeit it is arguably a subconscious inclination to treat social media as trivial within ourselves.

We can all profess to say social media is this or that, equivalent to the first or second coming of Christ, a panacea for all problems, but as long as we treat conflicts with triviality and not resolve them the way the big boys do, then social media is nothing.

Saying it does not make it.

Musing about Life
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What Is Social Media In Plain English

thanks: brian

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An Excellent Look At The World Of Social Media

Apparently, there is a storm over at Digg regarding its top member. ReadWriteWeb has an excellent post covering the event. More importantly, the post brings up a lot of good points about the social media scene, its nature, the somewhat inevitability of the kind of people it will attract and the dynamics of community on a ostensibly democratic site.

A lot of the stuff said is what I have always felt about social media. I just didn’t say it as eloquently as Marshall Kirkpatrick over at ReadWriteWeb. I’m going to highlight some parts which I find useful and end with a comment at the end about what social media online reveals about democracy.

There are a number of criticisms that Digg users levy against Andrew Sorcini. The primary one, which Vogt’s cartoon remix refers to, is that MrBabyMan submits duplicate stories that other Diggers have submitted, knowing that his superior prowess will eliminate any chance that the original submission will hit the front page.

The next criticism is that MrBabyMan uses an unfairly large network of friends and spam-like “shouts” to garner favors and give his submissions an artificial momentum that they don’t warrant on merit alone.

The dominant one is this. Andrew Sorcini’s MrBabyMan persona is sitting at the top of a small network of loyal friends, made up of people like SEO marketers, PR agents turned would-be social media experts and other unsavory folk. That circle is further surrounded by an even larger network of millions of Digg users who try to have fun on the site but also wish they could find success there. Many of them no doubt with they too could find a way to make a living in the snake-oil filled circus that is “new media marketing,” as many of the top Digg users have done.

MrBabyMan says he has added friends to help promote stories because that’s how the rules work, if he didn’t need to do that he wouldn’t.

“All I ever wanted,” he said, “was just for the stories to live or die on their own merits. If everyone was on a level playing field I would love that – because I still have the skills to find the great stories…I’m not complaining about the algorithm, but I don’t want to be vilified for working within the parameters of it.

While mid-tier Diggers are far more likely to be engaging in pure pay-for-play, other people at various points in the hierarchy are building careers as “new media experts.” The experience that lands them the consulting contracts they live on? A demonstrated history of success in promoting stories on sites like Digg.

but to claim that top Digg users invest as much time and energy into the site as they do entirely “for the love of it” and “to share good stories with people” – with no economic incentive, short or long term, is a cynical joke.

He’s human, too, so sometimes he fudges a little. “The only promotion I do,” he said, “is Digging the stories my friends submit and keeping the chain of Digging going. That’s the same thing everyone does and that’s the system Digg has set up.”

We like to think that democracy is a system where every individual’s vote counts. I believe it is. But it isn’t just a system where everyone who has an idea or plan or opinion just puts it out there for everyone else to hear and then hopes everyone supports and vote for it. There is work that needs to be done behind the scenes. Part of the work behind the scenes is to build up a network of friends who are more likely to support you because of the nature of an existing friendship. We can feel that it is unfair. We can feel that it goes against the essence of fairplay that a group can dictate proceedings. While some members of the group will have their own selfish nefarious agenda of personal aggrandizement, I believe such groups are necessary because it allows people to find support for their ideas, plans or opinions. Sometimes, these people have terrible ideas, plans, opinions and the sadly, they gain momentum in the wider community because of the work and support of the inner-circle/elite/core group of whatever you want to call it.

The thing now is not to criticize these groups of power-brokers within a community. The question is this – if you feel you have an idea, or plan, or opinion, or whatever worth advancing, do you have the skills to bring it to the rest of the people. A core skill in a democracy is the ability to network.

The only criticism that can possibly be levied against such systems is when the existing power structure prevents a new group with better ideas, plans, opinions from advancing their cause.

Is that the case in online social media sites?

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Is Social Media Really Struggling In Singapore? I Don’t Think So.

Daryl from Unique-Frequency asks why social media in Singapore is blooming slowly but not blossoming rapidly.

Is it really struggling?

Let’s stop and ask ourselves what is social media? That phrase has a definition that is nebulous at best and schizophrenic at worst. But lets try to use the great Google to help us. Using define:social media, we get this:

Web content such as blogs and wikis, created by individuals or a collaboration of individuals.

Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.

Hmmm…so blogs are just one of the tools and bloggers just a subset of the individuals involved in creating social media.

It would seem to me that the problem is not that social media is struggling. It is there. It is happening. The problem I feel is that we (people who live/breathe the media2.0/web2.0 space) think it is all just happening on blogs (Daryl also touched on this point). It isn’t. Have companies made an effort to reach out to Singaporeans commenting on forums beyond just sticking ads on it? Are there companies creating tools to make it easier for forum owners to monetize their traffic? From the conversations with my colleagues, most of them participate more actively in forums then social networking sites and blogs.

The thing is, I suspect Techmeme, Techcrunch, Mashable and all the other similar sites we (the media2.0/web2.0 groupies) check out have done us great harm in skewing our perspectives of the online world in the context of Singapore. We see cool stuff happening there and think it SHOULD happen here.

The thing is, what’s happening in the US, UK or whatever other markets is interesting and we definitely can learn from them. But we got to be sensitive to what’s happening here. We can try to get everyone to come to our new club to party. Or we can see where the people are going to have fun and go there and be part of the fun if not make the fun there better.

Daryl asks if the problem is our small population. He also asked if the convenience of meeting people we know and the ubiquity and ease of other channels of communications like SMS hurts social media’s growth.

No. Well, maybe it hurts it in the form of blogs and reviews on a website or whatever Web2.0ish thing we can think up based on current tools. But it shouldn’t.

Why?

Because basically what the above happening shows is that people want to share. They share differently – not through blogs, not even online. So, how can we capture this sharing that is happening? In a way, it is social media, just in a different form or rather a form that hasn’t been able to be wrapped and place online and made more accessible. Take SMS – it is just SILOED in our individual phones. How can we make it easier for people who want to share this information offline. How do we track these conversations offline. How do we use what we have learned from Web2.0 and the current crop of online tools to make these offline communications better and pull it online and connect it with online conversations.

I don’t think there is a problem with the same bloggers going for events although I would be worried if the numbers don’t grow though. The thing above social media is that we got to recognize that the same people who create content online are also those who are more likely to share an opinion with a friend in the offline world. So, if the individual is interested, you would want him or her at the event even if they had been to a competitors. Sure, maybe since readership online overlaps, the company might want exclusive online coverage for a certain segment but while online readership might overlap, offline it probably might not.

I think what’s actually happening is companies are struggling to engage with these content creators and consumers (and it is actually a big ‘if’ that they even want to). More importantly, the problem is that Media2.0/Web2.0 evangelists who are trying to carve a niche for themselves to increase their own professional value, career prospects and industry reputation are finding hard to sell their wares here or get others to drink their Kool-Aid.

There is a difference between the above and social media struggling.

Tangled Web We Weave

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