Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 5 Top 5’s

This time of year everyone is making lists of their most memorable moments of the year. So, here is my top 5 top 5 lists for 2008:

Top 5 news stories (for me):
1. The devastating Sichuan earthquake on May 12 2008
2. Barack Obama showing us all that ‘he can’ on November 4 2008
3. The collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 13 2008
4. The siege of Mumbai on November 26 2008
5. Russia’s attack on Georgia whilst the Beijing Olympic Ceremony was in full flow on August 8 2008

Top 5 memorable 2008 events (for me and in no particular order):
1. Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
2. Obama wins US elections
3. The credit crunch
4. George Bush dodges journalist shoe thrower
5. Lewis Hamilton winning the F1

Top 5 2008 buzzwords:
1. ‘Change’
2. ‘Credit Crunch’
3. ‘Rickrolled’
4. ‘Tweet’
5. ‘Social media’

Top 5 videos (there are many I could have included, this was a hard category):
1. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (
2. Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon (
3. Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck (
4. George Bush dodges shoe-icide (
5. Lewis Hamilton wins F1 on last lap (

Top 5 songs (this will reveal lots about my taste in music):
1. Pocketful of sunshine – Natasha Bedingfield (
2. Mercy – Duffy (
3. Don’t stop the music – Rihanna (
4. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (
5. Hot n Cold – Katy Perry (

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rockin Robin, Tweet Tweet..

I’ve been using Twitter a lot recently and explored a number of applications that have been recommended to me. Here are my top five, in no particular order:

1. Twitter Grader ( This is great to see who the ‘influential’ Twitterati are, or who just spends way too much time on Twitter. Incidentally, I’m 35th in the Hong Kong rankings…

2. Twitter Vision ( I can see in near real time what people are Tweeting and where they are from. I can spend hours watching this and am trying to convince my company to have this running in the reception. Much more exciting than CNN!

3. Qwitter ( Sign up to this to see who stops following you. You can then send them rude messages!

4. Twit Scoop ( See what the hot topics on Twitter are at any given time. Also, use the search function to search for particular terms and see who is talking about it.

5. People Browsr ( I’m still testing this out, but initial signs look good. It essentially allows you to manage Twitter in different ways and link to other tools.
Have any others you would recommend?

I am loving Twitter and all its uses at the moment, though I am worried when it stops becoming a free service. Somewhere along the line, the guys at Twitter are going to have to start making money from the platform – my guess is that once they have enough loyal customers, they will start charging a nominal fee to use it.

So to do the maths, let’s say the Twitter population reaches 20million. 10% of this 20million are loyal users and will pay a nominal fee to continue using it. Let’s then say, Twitter charges US$10 a month – which most loyal users will probably be happy to pay. That’s US$20m per month….that’s a good business model!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rise of Asia and the Internet

Thanks to Next Fifty Years blog for bringing to attention this video presented by Richard Sanders, President of Sony BMG International on May 4, 2008 to for Sony BMG's annual Global Management Meeting.

I particularly like the fact that it is much less US centric than many other similar videos I have seen - it focuses much more on the rise of Asia and elludes to its impact. For too long we have had to rely on US centric statistics and look embarrassed when clients ask about the region in which we work and then claiming that there currently are not any statistics for this region.

I hope to see lots more like this.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Social media scorecard

Here are some additional stats from Adult Add Strengths blog that highlight the gulf in Obama and McCains social media presence.

- Barack Obama had nearly 6,000 percent more pages on his main website than John McCain did on his (1,820,000 vs 30,700)
- There’s almost 3 times as many results for Barack Obama in Google images (24,200,000 vs. 8,620,000)
- Obama has 51% more hits in Google Video as there is for John McCain (136,000 vs. 89,800)
- Flickr, the photo sharing site, had nearly 5 times the search results for Obama than McCain. (50,000 photos on Obama’s flickr page and 7,000 contact)
- Facebook had 3,032% more hits for Obama than McCain, Obama’s Facebook page had nearly 4 times more followers and posts than McCain’s page
- Barack Obama’s added 400,000 new friends on Facebook in the last 2 weeks, a 20% surge.
- On Youtube, Barack Obama had nearly twice as many search results for his name as John McCain, and more than 5 times as many videos posted
- On MySpace, Obama had nearly 4 times the number of friends as McCain, and 269% more search results for his name
- On the microblogging site Twitter, McCain put out nearly twice the number of tweets as Obama, but Obama had 5213% more followers, and 1,129% more search results

Obama: the aftermath

So the US elections were very exciting weren't they?! Or do you think it was a done deal way before the vote?

There has been a huge amount of discussion on the US election and Obama's successful campaign. It is virtually impossible to miss, from donating Facebook profiles to support the cause, to Twitter updates, from blogs analysing the campaign to YouTube videos of the latest news commentary.

I'm going to add my tuppence worth to the conversation by saying this:

Social media was critical to campaign success as I previously discussed here and as highlighted in this ComputerWorld article.

Sarah Palin was key to McCain's failure highlighted by Matt Damon here and demonstrated in this interview with Katy Couric.

That's all I'm saying!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Busted by Facebook

This is my favourite story of the week courtesy of The Register.

In short, an Australian call centre employee is exchanging email with HR regarding a sick day and the need to produce a doctors note. This email chain has been doing the rounds across Asia and made my Kyle Doyle an instant celeb! Enjoy...

From: Niresh Regmi
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:35 a.m.
To: Kyle Doyle
Subject: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

Hi Kyle,
Please provide a medical certificate stating a valid reason for your sick leave on Thursday 21st 2008.
Thank You
Real Time Manager, Workforce Operations

From: Kyle Doyle
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:38 a.m.
To: Niresh Regmi
Subject: RE: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

1 day leave absences do not require a medical certificate as stated in my contract, provided I have stated that I am on leave for medical reasons.

Thanks Regards,
Kyle Doyle Resolutions Expert - Technical

From: Niresh Regmi Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:39 a.m.
To: Kyle Doyle
Subject: RE: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

Hi Kyle,

Usually that is the case, as per your contract. However please note that leave during these occasions is only granted for genuine medical reasons. You line manager has determined that your leave was not due to medical reasons and as such we cannot grant leave on this occasion.


From: Kyle Doyle
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:43 a.m.
To: Niresh Regmi
Subject: RE: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

Hi Niresh,

My leave was due to medical reasons, so you cannot deny leave based on a line manager's discretion, with no proof, please process leave as requested.

Thanks Regards,
Kyle Doyle

From: Niresh Regmi
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:50 a.m.
To: Kyle Doyle
Subject: RE: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

Hi Kyle,

I believe the proof that you are after is below

To his credit, the busted Doyle concludes:

From: Kyle Doyle
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 9:55 a.m.
To: Niresh Regmi
Subject: RE: Absence on Thursday 21st 2008

HAHAHA LMAO epic fail No worries man

Kyle Doyle

Monday, October 6, 2008

The ugly side of social media

Being a big advocate of the possibilities of social media, I was saddened by two stories I came across today. The first is a blog post by Jeremy Woolf of Text100 Hong Kong questioning the ‘trustworthiness’ of information that filters through via social media. Jeremy alludes that each of us, whether we are PR professionals, editors, journalists or ordinary citizens should take responsibility for the information we pass on, as the consequences can be very damaging. I agree that just because technology has made it easy for us to spread rumours, it shouldn’t take away or conscience or responsibilities.

This view has been further enforced when it has been reported that the suicide of Korean actress Choi Jin Sil was the result of malicious rumours that were spread via the internet – this is the second case following from the suicide of Korean pop singer Yoo Na after cyber-bullying over her plastic surgery. Korean Police have now decided to crack down on malicious new media rumour spreading.

It’s a shame that a small group of people would use such a powerful vehicle for malicious actions. It almost makes a case for internet censorship!!

I hope we don’t see a rise in cases such as Darryn Walker case, in which he is being charged under the Obscene Publications Act after postings about girl group Girls Aloud in the UK.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can you help?

I'm attending a 'compelling writing' training course in a few weeks and have been asked to submit an example of a 'great' press release and a 'bad' one.

I've trawled through my own archive and think that most of mine are good, but constrained by my clients company styles or policies. I've also looked on the web for examples, but have yet to see anything that inspires me.

Here's where you come in - if you have a truly great or a teriible release you would like to share, it would be much appreciated. Please only send examples that really inspired you or ones that have made you wonder whether the person responsible writes with crayons!

You can either send it as a reply to this post or to me directly at


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guess what I did today mum!?

I’ve been steering clear of writing anything about the global economic crisis / credit crunch – partly due to my own cynicism of how the markets work (corrupt greedy brokers short selling on inside information – hey, just my opinion) and my lack of understanding!

But a story that caught my eye this week in Hong Kong is the one concerning the Bank of East Asia as reported by the South China Morning Post. In short, several days ago a rumor started to spread that BEA bank was in serious trouble as a result of its dealing with Lehman Brothers. Text messages were sent and entries were posted on internet discussion forums confirming this. I even had a friend Instant Message me asking whether I had withdrawn my savings from my BEA account. When I questioned him about his source, this is how the conversation went:

Me: I haven’t heard anything, are you sure?
Friend: Oh my god – don’t you watch the news
Me: I work in PR, I monitor the news all day every day
Friend: Well you’re not very good at your job!

This led me to think I must have missed a howitzer of a news story and that I was not as good as my job as I thought I was (tongue firmly in cheek)!!!

Since this conversation there have been throngs of people queuing to withdraw all their savings for fear that the bank will swallow their money - Northern Rock style panic escalated quickly. I thought I had missed the most important news of the day and potentially the week! However, only days after, those throngs of people are now lining up to deposit their money again!

This was in fact a case of Chinese whispers (played by actual Chinese people) and is a fantastic example of how technology today enables rumours to spread like wildfire and wide enough to (almost) bring down a bank.

The chairman of the bank, David Li Kwok-po, has come out to say the rumours about solvency problems at his bank are “groundless” and the perpetrator has now been arrested (an 18 year old bank clerk). Authorities are now looking to make further arrests of those who helped spread the rumour – which in my eyes is every person who sent passed the message on and thus unrealistic.

The key factor of this panic was the wide diffusion of mobile phone SMS and BBS postings warning that there was trouble in the bank. Under current strained conditions, we have to be extra vigilant of messages received from friends and treat them with a lot more caution than viral emails such as the “I Love You’ virus in 2000.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a PC and I don't care!

I’ve just seen Micorosft’s counterstrike against Apple’s ‘PC vs Mac’ campaign, which carries the theme Life without walls. And I have to say I like it…

The ad attempts to dispel the ‘PC stereotype’ by using celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Pharell Williams as well as everyday people who have an interesting story to tell. I like this type of head on approach by companies in which they directly address a previous competitor campaign.

Too often, large corporate are too afraid to address their competitors directly. As a PR consultant I often advise my clients not to reference their competitors by name when speaking to media – but sometimes I think ‘why not’. It’s obvious to the journalist and to most of the general public so why not address the competitor directly (obviously there are times when discretion is advised).

I think this is a good follow up to the Seinfeld / Gates ad, which took heavy (and unfair) criticism.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Facebook Facelift

I've been trying out the new look Facebook over the past fortnight and have found myself reverting back to the old one.

The beauty of the old Facebook was that it was simple to navigate - the new look was too cluttered and I couldn't find the information I wanted in its usual place. I thought I was alone! However, it seems that many others are in the same boat. According to this BBC article almost 10 million out of 40 million prefer the old style.

What I also found interesting is that Facebook has kind of become a victim of its own success - the Petition against the new Facebook seems to have generated a rather large following. It now remains to be seen whether this group has any influence on the platform that raised it and made it successful in so many other petitions. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to go back to the new look style soon with the compulsory switch over.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PR Gaff

The story about the mens and womens Spanish basketball team stretching their eyes to simulate Chinese facial features has been doing the rounds in mainstream and social media recently.

The newspaper ad, for a Spanish courier company called Seur, was approved by the Spanish sporting authorities. This is yet another faux pas by the Spanish (used generally as a stereotype), who have not had the best track record in the fight against racism. People still remember Luis Aragones and his comments towards Thierry Henry and the horrible gorilla chants to the English black football players. This does not put the Spanish in a very good light at all.

I wasn't going to touch on this subject as I thought it wasn't worth while discussing, we all know what the Spanish are like - right? Well, after much consideration, I personally wouldn't go as far as to say the Spanish (again in general) are racist. I've been to Spain many times and met some very friendly people. I think this is more a case of naivety and misunderstanding of what does and what doesn't cause offence rather than an outright attack at a race of people.
All in all though, Spain could really do with fewer negative stories about its racial standpoint.

Thanks for reminding me I have 'slitty eyes' though, as Prince Phillip (1986) would put it!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cultural Differences

I liked this post on China Rises, by Tim Johnson a Beijing Buereau news chief, about cultural differences between Western and Eastern cultures (using Germans and Chinese as examples in this case).

The examples are very true. I find it amusing that many dual nationality citizens like myself (Born in Hong Kong, raised in UK) find ourselves balancing these cultural nuances on a daily bases without even realising it. By osmosis we learn the differences in the cultures and seem to be able to switch depending on the company we are with - the question is, which culture do we prefer?!

Here are some of the examples, depicted by Liu Yang (German in Blue / China in Red)

Status of the boss:

Attitudes towards children:

A party:

Noise levels in a restaurant:

Problem solving:

Preferences towards transport:

Mood towards weather:

Time keeping:


Queing mentality:


High streets at the weekend:


Dealing with a complaint:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Power to the people

I saw news this week that chocolate giant Cadbury is bringing back the 'Wispa' bar, BBC news reports about it here.

According to the BBC, Cadbury's has "…bowed to public pressure after a popular campaign on the Facebook and MySpace websites."It seems the British public has decided to pressure Cadbury's to bring back a product that has not been seen on shelves since about 2003 due to public disinterest.

But it seems that this was no spontaneous movement by the general public to genuinely bring back something that was forgotten. According to Will Sturgeon's blog, this is the work of Borkowski PR.

Needless to say the campaign has been shortlisted in the PR Week Awards - good luck to them.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Daily mantra: We're in PR not ER!

When talking to family and friends about a day in the office, they often comment about how much fun working in PR sounds. This could be down to my genuine love for what I do or maybe because I'm a natural salesperson (tongue firmly in cheek)!

'Outsiders' don't seem to understand why I constantly feel frustrated, infuriated and stressed out. To all of those people this video captures just one aspect of my head against brick wall frustrations!

A wise man once told me - we are in PR not ER! I must remind myself of this and be grateful...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Learning from Obama

I attended a conference a few weeks back and found that the speaker used the same social media slides as me - the same messages, the same visuals and the same statistics. Although this was laborious, I did take away one great nugget of information.

Obama's online campaign had key strategies to achieve its overall objective - raise money and build a community of believers in order to form the 'Obama' brand the way social networks are formed. Hilary on the other hand focused her efforts on advertising and traditional media. Below is a summary of how the two politicians spent their campaign budgets:

Not only did Hilary spend almost three times the expenditure, she also focused her efforts on a medium that Obama's advisors chose to completely ignore. In the first two months of fundraising Obama raised US$91m compared to Hillary's US$37m. The rest, as they say, is history!

This is a fascinating example of how social and digital media is affecting politics, and the wider world, and its approach to influencing people. Even now, if you search Obama on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, you will find cleverly designed vehicles where he delivers his messages and 'wins' your heart.

This is a key lesson to be take on board when devising PR campaigns for clients.

Source: Webguild March 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Viral Videos

A colleague of mine produced this video - I quite liked it, especially as I play a small role!

What do you think? Does it satisfy the requirements to be a successful viral video?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lessons in time management

For all PROs time management and billable hours are key to the way we work. Here is a good example of how we should be thinking, from Dogbert!

Only in Amsterdam

Guerilla marketing and PR can either be a huge success or a massive flop (leading to industry ridicule). With social media, some campaigns don't even stand a chance! But I saw this today, and loved it. I think it is extremely creative and looks to have generated buzz, as well as getting the 'product' into the hands of consumers. Awesome stuff!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Advert

It was only a matter of time before someone turned this great moment into an ad - well done to Telekom.

With the power of social media, I think this will do well.

Monday, July 7, 2008

What does a judge know about the internet?!

The US court ruling on the Google vs. Viacom case has surprised me somewhat.

It seems that all users of YouTube will be surrendering their right to privacy as a US court ruled in favour of Viacom regarding allegations copyright infringments. Viacom will now have access to every users viewing log containing log-in ID, the computer IP address and video clip details. The ruling, although being contested, is likely to affect users worldwide.

I feel this is the beginning of the end for privacy rights and will dramatically shake up how video sharing platforms like YouTube will operate in the future.

I'd like to know how much this particular judge knows about how the internet operates!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Domain name shake up

There has been much discussion about ICANN's potential plans to open up the internet domain name system. There is a good summary of the story here from the BBC website.

I don't normally sit on the fence, but on this occasion I can't for the life of me decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Here is a summary of my thoughts:

- It allows companies to turn their brands and individuals to turn their names into domain names
- It will allow for new domain names to be internationalized meaning support for Asian and Arabic languages

- The creation of hundreds and thousands of new domain names making it harder for us to find what we are looking for
- Less regulation means more potential for fraud
- The application fee to register a domain name is expected to be at least several thousand dollars

It sounds like, maybe, the big fish will benefit, I think!!

Update: Chris Green says "I think the ICANN proposal is a bad move. It will create a cyber squatting war, cost ISPs millions and won't solve the problem"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Opinions from the other side

If you're in the PR industry, you will no doubt be accustomed to the accusations of journalists about our bad practices and how we make their lives a misery. PR professionals have long been on the receiving end of this abuse stick.

In some cases I agree that there is some bad practice in the industry and that we can make the odd mistake or two. But the question is whether we are as bad as 'some' journalists?

This topic came up over lunch today with some of my colleagues. Running the risk of blacklisting myself with media, below is the top 5 PR gripes:

1. Journalists who accept a story pitch and the let you pull all the strings to secure the necessary elements to then pull out at the last minute. It's always a pleasure reporting this back to our seniors and our clients
2. Journalists who think that PR 'bunnies' are a waste of space and do not require our help in generating stories. We've seen the type of news that is reported on 'slow' news days, not exactly groundbreaking
3. Journalists who are abusive to PR professionals because they think they can. Manners are free!
4. Journalists that think the world revolves around them and their publication(s). You have competitors that we can always turn to.
5. Journalists who are bad time keepers. We don't want to treat you like children and have to call you 5 minutes before the interview is due to start and we don't really like it when you walk into an event just in time for the lunch!

Do you have any other journalist pet hates?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Prime Minister's charm offensive...

Thanks to Nicknack Paddywhack for bringing this to my attention.

According to sources close to Downing Street, Gordon Brown's latest profile improving campaign involves cold-calling members of the public who have written him letters. The objective is to 'humanise' the Prime Minister as his popularity continues to fall faster than FTSE share prices.

I'd be intrigued to listen in on a conversation between Mr Brown and a Corby (for example only) resident who has been hit by the consumer recession resulting in an additonal 600 GBP deficit in the space of a few months.

"This call contains strong language and references to brutal violence that may not be suitable for most!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Broadcaster losing his cool

This video clip of Bill O'Reilly amused me. It shows that news anchors are actually human and do have emotions…lucky this wasn't live and thank the lord for YouTube!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PR = Propaganda Retailers?!

I attended Web Wednesday Social Mixer last night, an event founded by Napoleon Biggs the MD of Palava Digital. I was in the company of some of the finest Asian digerati as well as Thomas Crompton (the ex International Herald Tribune and New York Times journalist) and Oiwan Lam (Editor of Global Voices - a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School).

The focus of the session was how the Internet has become a battle ground for the Beijing Olympics, both within and outside China. Both speakers track this stream of information on a daily basis and have the journalistic experience to give a measured insight into recent developments.

I found the event enlightening, especially when we looked more closely at the anti-CNN and anti-Carrefour sentiments from China's citizens, and the use of propaganda by the China government to rally it citizens to 'support' the Olympics. For those of you who are a little hazy on the details, you can experience a brief glimpse of the engagement here (anti-CNN website) and here (anti-Carrefour movement).

However, I was left with one question un-answered in my mind.

We, as PR professionals, represent corporate organisations attempting to harness the internet to educate and inform consumers. The issue is that social media is 'un-regulated' (as it should be) and is seen as too much of a risk to embrace. Social media is considered a weapon for the consumers to use, at will, to generate mass attention for a particular cause or issue. Any activity conducted by a corporate is frowned upon and seen as propaganda. How, therefore, can we as PR professionals 'tame' social media to be of benefit to the companies we represent and use it as a tool to inform and educate consumers without being misconstrued for dealers in propaganda?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sometimes bad things are good.

A belated Happy Birthday to spam, which celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this week. In this BBC Online article, it states that "spam has grown into an underground industry that sends out billions of messages every day."

Spam for products you have zero interest in are a nuisance, even worse are those that contain malware or phishing scams.

I have worked for a number of anti-virus / anti-spam / bandwidth monitoring clients and have been in numerous briefings where the company spokesperson discusses the profile of perpetrators of such activities. I have heard how they are cunning, devious and ever more sophisticated criminals who have a greater online arsenal to dupe unsuspecting consumers. No more are they the geeky, spotty teenager spamming from their bedroom.

These companies and executives hired my company (and me) to educate consumers and corporates on how to protect against spam, viruses, Trojan horses, DDoS attacks etc…but yet the 'underground industry' seems to be thriving.

Here is what got me:

Should I, whose job it was to educate people against the 'underground industry' and ultimately 'put them out of business', see myself as a failure since after 30 years it is doing better than ever?

Or, should I be glad that it is thriving, as without it, there would also be no need for anti-virus / anti-spam / bandwidth monitoring companies to hire the likes of me?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hong Kong PR industry is thriving...

I am in the process recovering from last night’s ‘First ever Hong Kong PR network social gathering’. The event bought together PR professionals from all over Hong Kong, in house and agency, and from all levels.

It was a fantastic success, with over 60 participants taking time out of their busy schedules to enjoy a few drinks with their industry peers. The event, sponsored by the cPRFHK, bought together like minded people who, I believe, will be the drivers of the industry.

David Ketchum, chairman of the council, made a very interesting welcome speech, which I thought is worth mentioning.

He started off declaring that PR as it is today in Aisa will be dead and buried within 5 years and that social media will be the future of the business. He went on to say that all our clients will be looking towards PR consultants to advise and implement campaigns based on interactions with the audience rather than relying on traditional media. (This is a summarized version of his speech!)

Although I agree with him 100 per cent, my cautious side is kicking me in the shins and reminding me not to forget about the bread and butter of our industry. We are in a position where huge change is on the horizon and we are accelerating towards it at 150 mph, but as any one knows, you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch. But I wonder whether it is exactly this cautious side of people that is holding back the true power of social media.

One of my colleagues gave me a fantastic analogy to capture this change and it went like this. Traditional media is the horse and cart, whereas Web 2.0 is the motor car. When the motor car first came onto the scene people were very dubious – they saw it as dangerous, traveled too fast, expensive, a risk. At the tipping point, it became clear to all what the advantages of the car was. Look what happened, where is the horse and cart today?

So, to wrap up and give my head some rest:

- The Hong Kong PR scene is alive and well
- Integrated PR campaigns (traditional and online) is here and now, you can’t ignore it anymore
- Free booze will always pull in the crowds

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Facebook give power to the people - not corporates

Further to my previous post on Facebook as a potential free customer database for businesses, I wanted to share an interesting blog post I have just read on PRbloogger about the use of Facebook as a lobbying tool.

Stephen Davies captures well the pros and cons of using the platform here. I thought that it was interesting Facebook has become a powerful tool for 'anyone' who has a gripe against a company, used as a lobbying tool to bring together people with the same gripe.

Could it be that Facebook is a consumer weapon and will remain so - a tool for the people not for businesses? If so, corporate entities may well find it hard to utilise this platform to engage the people as any effort will be seen as propaganda…

Maybe I should stop trying to leverage its uses for businesses.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is Facebook a free customer database?

We're in the process of organising the first Hong Kong PR Network social event - set to take place on Wednesday April 30. The audience will be those 100 odd PR professionals who have joined the Facebook page I set up about 6 months ago.

The event, sponsored by the council of Public Relations Firms Hong Kong (cPRFHK), will be a first hand experience of how social media networks can really bring together groups of like minded people.

I had lunch with Doug White, Founder of Prosperity Research, and discussed whether corporate widgets on Facebook were a waste of time, and came to the conclusion that yes it was! However, by leveraging the basic initial purpose of Facebook, a networking and information sharing platform, I think it could still prove a valuable weapon in the customer interaction arsenal. It is in essence a free customer database with willing people who want to know about you (since people have the free will to join a group or not).

The effectiveness of Facebook groups to target consumers has yet to convince marketing and communication managers in corporate organisations, mainly because it is still primarily seen as a consumer platform rather than in a B2B or even B2C environment – which it is.

As a social media advocate I have been proposing the platform and its ‘group’ function as a cost effective and simple way to interact with people who may be interested in the company or its products – but to little avail as yet. I am hoping this event could prove to be the first case study (on a personal level) of how it is possible to reach out and bring together people who have a similar interest solely on the basis of a Facebook group – which has so far not cost me a penny. In effect, I believe it is a simple and harmless route to dip the corporate toe into the social media world with potential huge benefits.

Although an old topic, it is an ongoing debate. It will take someone to prove it works or that it doesn't before it is taken seriously or dropped quicker than US interest rates. I'll let you know after next week's event.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good news - TWL is back

OK, so I may have been a bit slow on this one - but one of my favourite blogs has returned. The Worlds Leading is back.

With a brand new look and upgraded Web 2.0 functionalities, I hope it is as great reading as the previous guise and continues with its irreverence and insight. For those of you who don't know it - TWL is one of the only blogs that gives a warts and all account of the UK Tech (and sometimes others) PR scene…

Good luck and welcome back…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing are not too far away. However, it is abundantly clear that there are huge differences of opinion as to how the Games are being viewed across the globe.

I saw a recent comment in an op-ed piece in the WSJ, which I found very interesting:

The Chinese media decry violent Tibetan rioters; the West criticizes the Chinese crackdown. The Western press describes Chinese censorship; Chinese netizens slam Western media bias. A Chinese official calls the Dalai Lama a “political exile bent on engaging in activities aimed at splitting the motherland,” while in the West he is described as a man of “peace” and “reconciliation.” Americans and Europeans debate boycotting the Olympics to protest China’s human-rights record; Chinese commentary describes Western arrogance toward a “developing country that is going to host the games.” Are we all living on the same planet?

Firstly, well done to the journalist for not writing a bias or controversial view - otherwise this post would be ranting at how another Western media outlet is showing its arrogance to wards a developing nation!!!

The entire issue is one that is hard to judge on. This is a great historic moment for China and is much more than just a sporting event for the Chinese people - it is a cultural milestone that has already resulted in enormous national pride and love of a country (I hope the 2012 Games will do the same for the UK.)

I always believed a sporting event should be left at that - do not bring politics into it. Let the athletes do the talking! However, for both 'sides' this is much much more. On an accelerated growth scale, activists, celebrities, government leaders and others concerned about Human Rights, Tibet, the evironment, and other issues are using this 'sporting event' as a platform to voice their own agendas - be it right or wrong, factual or subjective.

My main concern is whether some of this attention is creating apathy towards each side. Will these 'advocates' turn people off their cause? Will these 'advocates' change the true meaning and worth of the Olympic Games for all future hosts? Is this going to widen the gap between China and the West even more?

Time will tell. I personally hope the Olympics are a great success in that the athletes are able to live their dream and that we remember that the Summer Games is a great occasion where records are broken and medals are won. Leave the politics at the gates please…

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