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Singapore2010 – New media to be extensively used in Youth Olympics 2010

Perhaps in recognition of the power of social media to transcend national and geographical boundaries as well as its ability to generate awareness and build excitement, the organizing committee behind Singapore’s successful bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010 announced that new media will be extensively used. 

This is what the Straits Times–the country’s state paper–said: “The new media platform will be extensively used to reach out to youths worldwide by developing youth communities and strengthening the connections between young people even before the YOG begins.” (Feb 21, 2008, ST)

Check out the following 2010 social media sites:

Friendster

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Facebook

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Youth.sg 2010 discussion forum

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YouTube PR – Case of the NUS Math Undergrad

I was just talking about viral videos in Singapore so far coming from “guerilla,” ground-up sources while corporations here have yet to figure out how to harness its communications potential. 

Blogscape highlighted the case of Donovan Lee, an undergraduate from the National University of Singapore who, disappointed that his stellar results failed to gain him entry into an Ivy League school, decided to showcase his Mathematical prowess through a series of YouTube clips.  From the plaudits left on his videos, he has clearly gained a following, not to mention an unusual, innovative portfolio of work.  More relevant to this blog, Lee may offer some lessons on a YouTube clip can be successful.  He does not resort to slapstick or spoof.  Earnest, engaging, and just slightly amateurish (classroom is a white board propped up in his Bishan flat bedroom–but it does help boost his sense of authenticity), he explains arcane Mathematical concepts with an unfailing smile and ease.  More importantly, his viewers clearly think he is offering value and making contributions to their knowledge.

Way to go, Donny.  Is the Ministry of Education watching?

Social media trends for 2008 by Kami Huyse

‘Tis the season for predictions, and there are many.  But one of the most succint and reflective that I’ve come across is one by San Antonio based new media PR practitioner and blogger Kami Huyse.  Read her post here

On the first trend of the rise of viral videos, I’d have to say that Singapore has had its share.  Most of them, however, have been by “citizen journalists” making social commentary.  On the side of the corporates, the most notorious was the MDA “senior management rap” (an oxymoron, if you ask me).  By and large, companies here have not caught on to this trend.  In fact, when famed British 3D street artist Julian Beever was in Singapore last year at the expense of Nokia, the Singapore office failed to leverage on a new media video campaign to boost the reach of its PR program, unlike Aveeno, whose YouTube campaign garnered significant attention (read my earlier observations here).

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Edelman Trust Barometer 2008

Richard Edelman unveiled his company’s annual trust barometer study–this is the ninth edition–on his 6 A.M. blog a day before the official release.  He previewed seven key findings, but I just want to highlight a couple, which I think are particularly interesting.

Finding #1: “Trust in media as an institution is at a high point in the study’s history, with marked increases over past year standings in the U.K., Germany, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and India.”  This is the first year where the definition of media was expanded to include social media, which probably boosted its ranking.
==> In Dec 2007, BBC commissioned a study on the perception of media in 14 countries.  For Singapore, 1,011 were polled out of the 11,344 worldwide.  Responding to one question on perception of press freedom, only 36 per cent gave Singapore’s press a high freedom rating.  This was the lowest of all the 14 countries surveyed, a key fact completely omitted in reportage by local state-owned media.  Almost as if to prove the point, one local English daily put a spin on the figure, reporting it as such: “Despite the fact that the media here was perceived ‘as less free than in any other country surveyed’, 36 per cent gave the local press a high freedom rating.” (TODAY, “Social stability is key: Poll,” Dec 11, 2007).  Check local citizen journalist Alex Au’s blog for more background and analysis.   I am also attaching a more detailed report of the study: 10_12_07_worldservicepoll.pdf

Finding #2: “Social media is on the rise, particularly in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). As expected, it is also more highly used and trusted by young opinion elites. Wikipedia ranks as the No. 2 source of credible information among 25-to-34-year-old opinion elites in the United States, by 55% of respondents.”
==> A surprising lot of professional communicators I know do not give much credence to the community-edited Wikipedia, dismissing its credibility and value.  Numerous studies, including one groundbreaking experiment by Nature, provided much evidence that Wikipedia articles are as accurate as those found in Encyclopedia Britannica.  While there have been a number of high-profile hoax entries, Wikipedia has instituted measures to tighten its editorial policy and process.  There is a whole community out there that is actively creating and editing entries on companies, newsmakers, scandals, and social issues.  Does Wikipedia not provide organizations with an excellent opportunity to be part of a conversation in a transparent, open way?

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What’s your New Year resolution? – A YouTube video by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, the state agency charged with building a nation of fit and healthy Singaporeans, has made its first foray into online video campaigns.

The video, uploaded onto YouTube, takes viewers through the trials and tribulations of “Clara,” who decides to take a smoke break to seek solace from a hounding boss, to quite unexpected results. 

The video is also available at Freshair.sg, the smoking cessation website targeted at women.  One suggestion I have is for both the video and the microsite to be more visible from the corporate HPB site (or at least the Quit Smoking section).  Otherwise, I think it’s a great start, although patience is required to keep trying until one produces a hit.  If anything else, the messages are targeted and intended.  Referring to the inadvertent and notorious MDA “senior management rap” (an oxymoron, isn’t it) YouTube video, I don’t believe that even bad publicity is good publicity.

What do you think of the video?  To appeal to the pragmatic sensibilities, there is a lucky draw from viewers to share the video with friends.  Sign-up here.

Blog Dissonance…

I always enjoy reading Rohit Bhargava’s blog because he consistently delivers insightful, well-considered commentary.  I learn something new each time I visit his blog.

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Using the phenomenon where Scott Adams–the creator of Dilbert–as an illustration, Rohit discusses why it is possible for a brand (I loosely consider the Dilbert franchise a brand) to suffer a reduction in following because of its blog.  This happens when the audience sees a brand and its creator as one entity, but realizes through the creator’s blog (where one tends to express oneself more authentically) that his/her personal persona can speak with quite a different voice from the brand, hence the dissonance.

As Rohit explains, Adams sometimes blogs on his views on politics and social issues, which some of the readers (many of whom are drawn to his blog because they expect to hear the more of Dilbert) do not understand or agree with.  And when some of his audience see that the voice of Dilbert is not always consonant with the voice of Scott Adams, they swear never to return.

There are some useful lessons for marketers here.  Please read Rohit’s full commentary for more insights.  I believe it will be worth your while.

Why Asia’s Corporations Resist Corporate Communication and Reputation Management – Michael Netzley’s Five-point Model

My colleague Michael Netzley of the Singapore Management University posted a fascinating reflection on why Asian corporates are reluctant to actively and openly engage with their stakeholders and constituents.  Netzley has distilled his thinking–which he co-credits his students–into a five-point model: (1) strategic pragmatism; (2) standard practice; (3) relative trust in higher-ups; (4) context of tradition; and (5) market stage. No doubt, the intertwined issues are evaluated through western lens and terms, and empirical research beyond anecdotes are warranted, but I think there is some validity in this model and it’s really worth some thought.


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