Social Media

The next steps from a Knowledge-Based economy

Posted on June 17, 2009. Filed under: General Current Affairs, Grassroots, Social Media |

ST Front Page 170609

The Straits Times, Front Page, 17 June 09 

The local government is making yet another wise step to lead Singapore towards the next economy. The wireless@sg initiative made use of Singapore’s small physical size to enable wireless surfing at virtually all high traffic areas.

This infrastructure wonder is created in a concerted effort to enable the truly mobile and connected user.

In 2008, the PC penetration rate in Singapore households was about 80% and the Internet accessibility rate was about 76%. (LINK) This was a high number and it set the tone for the growth of social media and a growing netizen community.

Online discussions on local forums ranging from everyday matters to national issues are vibrant and interesting. Valuable points were brought up and that offered local authorities good feedback on ground issues.

Now, with the enhanced speeds of the Wireless@sg, and it is now even more enticing to make use of the infrastructure and get networked.

The scheme to help lower income families get wired up is also a commendable move. In today’s age, the online space cannot be ignored anymore and Singaporean need to catch up. Lower income families can make use of the infrastructure and the scheme to get online, to look for jobs or to engage in self training. Afterall, the net is filled with information and knowledge. Increasing their network via social media can also increase their exposure to ensure that nobody is left behind.

I think that this is a commendable move and it’s the right way to go, for the Singaporean model of the knowledge based economy.

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Building your Social Capital

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Social Media |

The McKinsey Quarterly

When job seekers invade Facebook
by Soumitra Dutta and Matthew Fraser of INSEAD

The increasing popularity of online social networking is changing not only the way people manage their careers but social networking itself.
This short essay is a conversation starter. Read the article, then let us know what you think.

As the economic climate turns for the more challenging, the groundswell shifts towards a more practical, pragmatic tone. ‘Social Capital’, rides on traditional theories of networking for business purposes.

Whether it is on Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media platforms, the central question is, “what kind of reputation do you want to own?”

Your online image and reputation is build upon your beliefs, actions and expressed through words and your actions online. Types of images posted on your social media page, the content, tone and language that you choose to use, represents yourself.

If your purpose of being in the space takes a casual tone, then stick to it. I don’t advocate a sudden change in tone just to build that ‘social capital’. Afterall, people are not stupid and they’ll see through it in no time.

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Singapore Opens up to New Media

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Social Media |

But the nation still believes in the powers of mainstream media vehicles.


25 Feb 2009, The Straits Times, Home Pg B8

Over the past few months to years, the government has indeed warmed up to the advances to new media and concrete steps are taken to get the nation ready to face the tidal wave digital media.

Digital media is widely recognised to be gaining good progress in the cosmopolitan city and it’s expected to make a significant impact in the social and political environment.

Neighbour country Malaysia witnessed a shift in votes against the dominate political party and it’s largely attributed to the awareness and effective online strategy led by the opposition party.

In the US, digital media played an important role in winning President Obama’s popularity and victory too.

The local government had launched the new media champion initiative. The initiative involves getting representatives from grassroots organisations to be new media champions to explore using new media to drive social cohesion and community bonding. Staff from the People’s Association have been attending courses to learn more about new media and how they can tap on them to drive social causes.

On the political front, the government’s feedback arm, REACH, engages the online community on governmental issues.

Whilst critics are saying that these moves are conservative and the government should engage the online community on a more direct and open platform, I think that it is a good start.

Our government has over the years, earned the reputation of being careful, and I attribute that to the success of the nation thus far. There should not be a reason why they should jump on the bandwagon, just because digital is a tidal phenomenon that is sweeping across the world.

I acknowledge that new media is making very significant progress and impact but it’s such a huge and complicated animal that it can lead to one’s success or downfall very quickly. Hence, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Making baby steps could be slower and more conservative but it’s nonetheless, considered steps that I appreciate.

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Listening or not?

Posted on July 23, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

Marketing Guru Seth Godin wrote an excellent piece titled, “Are they ready to listen?”.

In day to day lives, we often come across people who are just interested to get their POVs, messages out. Are they really listening? Is it a right time to make those comments? Is it appropriate?

If my parents are unhappy with you, they’ll lash it out when they feel like it. I’m sure after over XX (insert your age) years of relations, they would know that messages won’t go through this way, but they do it nonetheless.

Not only businesses have to listen, people have to do so too.

On a more casual social media context, the concept of listening is showcased:

I’ve been on twitter for coming a year already. I haven’t had a strong conversation going. I read many posts about the person I’m following but it’s not as conducive a conduit to spur conversations. When you tweet, are there people listening to what you have to say? Are there responses to your comments? Do you then reply to them?

Plurk, on the other hand, takes it the true blue Singaporean way. They incentivise the conversation. “Karma” points are awarded to every plurk entry that spurs responses. So, if you are a “Karma” getter, you’ll make sure you sit up and communicate something that will get people to respond.

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Posted on June 10, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

So there you have it, the netizens are responding fast and furious to the constant downtime of Twitter.

First came devices to test if Twitter was down. Solutions like this help users ‘investigate’ if the problem existed. ISTWITTERDOWN seems to be an excellent example of this.

Then the net sprouted Plurk and new platforms that seek to REPLACE twitter. These platforms offered new applications, new forms and created new databases. Some loved it, others find it a hassle to move on as they face the inertia of transporting their existing network to the new platform. Mostly, users are not sure nor confident about the new platform as well!

Then comes the third wave. Netizens trying to remedy the problem. Here’s one great example, TWIDDICT. For users who are die hard fans of twitter, they created a temporary platform to host the number of posts whilst Twitter remains down. When Twitter goes up again, your posts will automatically be made.

Let’s see what’s next..


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Kudos Kinokuniya!

Posted on June 6, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

Prof Michael Netzley recommended the book Groundswell by Charlene Li over the week.

I went over to PageOne @ Vivocity on Wednesday 4 June 08, which is near my workplace to see if I can get a copy of the book. I was also looking for Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel and Public Relations for Asia by Trevor Morris and Simon Goldsworthy.

After asking the counter girl for the books, she promptly told me that the shop didn’t carry any. I asked her if I could order the books, and she took down my particulars. I was told that PageOne would check with their suppliers and I would get a response thereafter. I haven’t heard from them since.

Anyway, I was sourcing around for the books on Amazon it will take weeks before they can deliver the books over to Singapore.

I decided to try the other big name, Kinokuniya. They have a really functional website that opens with a ‘bookweb’. It’s much like the amazon search engine that makes it fairly easy to find the books you are looking for.

I found all three books there and they were all available for sale.

My next pleasant surprise was that they deliver, free of charge, if you spend more than $50. That’s amazing since mostly, if you buy books, you will actually spend more than the amount.

I placed my order at about 6on Wednesday, and ordered all three books. I, of course, capitalised on the free delivery to my office.

The next pleasant surprise was the speed of which they responded. Thursday morning, I received an email to confirm my order, and also to alert me that my delivery will on Friday (One day later)!

I got my books this morning, all in good order. I paid cash on delivery and there was little hassle.

Absolutely an experience that I recommend to everybody.

Kudos Kinokuniya!

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Is Twitter Down?

Posted on June 6, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

Twitter, after successfully drawing crowd to join its services, it’s now facing issues with bugs and bandwith. The site has constantly been showing problems with either its functions or complete goes down.

It’s quite sad when there’s a site that is set up, dedicated to help users find out if twitter is down and half the time, the screen shows…

Of Course

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Plurk is the new Twitter

Posted on June 5, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

Twitter, the micro-blogging facility is indeed drawing a lot of crowd! The site is now facing overloading more frequently then ever.

To be successful, the guys at Twitter need to work fast to resolve these bugs. Early innovators of the platform have already been sourcing for alternatives as their patience run out from the constant downtime of the site.

One of these alternatives that is picking up real fast is Plurk. Plurk allows users to mico-blog as well, much like like Twitter, but better! It allows the user to form cliques and have discussions with short messages in real time. It also has much better visual elements and more features than its counterpart.

Treads are also easier to read. As traffic grows for Plurk, let’s just hope that it doesn’t show bugs and instability like twitter has…

Oh..btw, if you haven’t added me – user = kevyn

My Plurk Page

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What’s the latest scoop on Twitter?

Posted on June 5, 2008. Filed under: Social Media |

Twitter is not only a place for you to connect by sending out short messages with friends. What’s worst, if you don’t have that many friends who are hooked onto Twitter.

What can you do?

Make more friends, find a topic that’s hot and jump on the bandwagon! Get your name out to the social media space and get the conversations going!

There are trends and interesting discussions that happen on topics that interest the social media crowd. The web address below aggregates the discussions and shows you what are the most interesting, hottest and most discussed on Twitter.

For PR consultants, we understand the hot buttons for the media, if you want to find out what are the hot buttons for twitter… Check out Twitterscoop.

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Facebook at work, A good idea?

Posted on November 16, 2007. Filed under: Social Media |


The boss wants to be your online buddy; Is a superior who asks to join your Web-based social network being intrusive?


9 November 2007

TODAY (Singapore)

The request seems innocent enough: Your boss wants you to add him to your MSN Messenger or Facebook. Put in that position, I’d do a double take, and wonder if I really want higher-ups perusing my online profile.

Everyone has a little bit of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in them, and often it is Mr Hyde who manifests online. Some, if not most, of my friends’ social networking website profiles feature incriminating evidence of their wilder alter egos who surface on Friday nights.

We even tailor our nicknames in our instant messaging programs to reflect our feelings towards something or someone.

“If people put information about themselves up on social networking sites, then they can expect all manner of people to look at it, so they should consider carefully what they reveal before they publish,” said Dr Jennifer Jarman, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore.

Facebook does allow its members to tweak privacy controls so they won’t reveal select information to certain contacts, but not everyone is so prudent in managing their personal information.

Companies like Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs have banned Facebook. But on the other end of the spectrum, there’s Serena Software. This month, the software developer introduced “Facebook Fridays”, where its 800-strong global workforce is given one hour of personal time to surf the social networking site.

In fact, Serena president and chief executive Jeremy Burton is such a fan of the social networking site that he decided to make Facebook his company’s intranet. He believes that colleagues who know each other on a personal level will work together better.

“We feel that company intranets today are limited. They only allow you to passively get information from employees,” said Mr K C Yee, Serena Software’s vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

“We believe it is more important to use an interactive arena where we can engage in two-way communication with our employees, partners, friends and families.”

In the media industry, where networking and communication forms the bread and butter of their business, sites like Facebook are embraced with gusto. Staff from leading public relations firms and advertising agencies like Ogilvy, and Young and Rubicam have formed their own networks on social networking sites.

A survey of 500 Facebook users by IT security and control firm Sophos showed that 14.8 per cent of users admitted to being logged in to the site for the whole day, while 37.2 per cent accessed the site at work “once or twice” a day.

“People post personal information and images that express who they are, so it would be quite intrusive if employers insist that employees share their Facebook accounts for work purposes,” said Ms Mylinh Cheung, spokesperson for HR firm Mercer in Singapore.

If knowledge is power, then it could be abused. More and more employers are trawling social networking sites like Friendster and Facebook for information on their potential employees, although the mole in this case would be the victim himself.

“If the employees prefer to keep their work and social networking activities personal and separate, they should be allowed to do so without fear of repercussions,” said Ms Cheung.

However, that is easier said than done, with most people telling Today that rejecting the request might hinder their career prospects. They’ll accept the request, but will water down their online profiles.

“I gave my boss my MSN contact, but that also means he can find me on social networking sites,” said an account executive at a major events company who declined to be named.

“If employees have concerns about employers requesting information other than what is normally requested on a resume, they should raise these concerns with the appropriate authorities,” said Dr Jarman.

Last I checked, my contract didn’t say anything about me having to reveal my MSN or networking site profile to my superiors. Personally, it’s not that I have anything against my colleagues, but what I do or who I am outside of work is nobody’s business but my own.

“If the employer is not accepted as a ‘friend’, then he should not take it personally, but accept that the employee wishes to draw a boundary between work and personal life,” said Ms Cheung.


The Facebook phenomenon has swept through the Singaporean population aged 15 to 35 like a hurricane over the past year. To many friends I know, it is has overtaken the position of Friendster, a popular social networking platform that many Singaporeans are familiar with. In fact, Singapore, represented by a red dot on the world map, clocked the tenth position Facebook usage in October 2007.

(Facebook User Stats as of: October 25, 2007)

The massive spread of popularity of Facebook is probably because of the high levels of adoption of information communications technology (coined as infocomms in Singapore) in the nation. In a survey conducted by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) in 2006, 78% of Singaporean households own a computer and 71% has access to the internet, marking an unprecedented high level of IT penetration to the masses within the nation.

Businesses in Singapore have also been highly dependent on IT resources and computer usage. More than half of all businesses in Singapore make use of computers in their operations. The chart below shows you a clearer picture of the business computer usage in Singapore.

This extensive penetration of computer usage provides opportunities for employees in Singapore to access Facebook accounts during office hours. In August 2007, an online survey by security and control firm Sophos prompted the discussion on whether social networking platforms should be allowed in the office. Think about this, if the manager and the employees are on the same side, having the superior on Facebook is hardly any threat to the employee.

To get everyone on the same side, managers and employees have to lower their guard and learn to trust the other. Social networking provides a good platform for communicating beyond work, which allows management and employees to know each other better. Be it a scrabble game or an attack by the vampire clan, it will definitely adds colour to the character. The constant communications this format will form a personality behind the solemn mask of professionalism during work. When that happens, hearts will be opened and trust will follow.

Whilst in the short run, operational efficiency may be affected, when everyone is on the same side, I believe the synergies developed will definitely bring results.

Just a personal thought to share. =)

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