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…

Settling in

So here I am in my new do you like it?

Now that it is finally set up, please add me to your blog roll and continue reading. Any feedback is greatly welcomed too.

In a nutshell, my remit is to share with you interesting news or opinions on current affairs or specifically on the PR industry. Much of my inspiration comes from fellow bloggers I have been following, who's blog links can be found to the left...

Look forward to conversing with you all...