Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

The Social Media Page Craze: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Pages. They are becoming very popular. If you’re a brand, you’ve got to keep track of these things. This is sort of a dump of my thoughts on this.

It was quite common in the day to get a Twitter page. Multiple people can update a Twitter page. There are tools for this, and Twitter has an API. You have desktop tools for this as well.

Facebook pages are common if you have a product or business. The more like’s you get, the higher chance of getting your message spread on the newsfeed. Facebook has an API, and there are tools for this. Multiple people can manage the account.

LinkedIn pages exist. The target audience is a little different. There doesn’t seem to be an API or apps surrounding it, so you end up using the web-based interface. It seems to be the least popular.

Google+ just launched pages. The target audience currently seem to be the alpha geeks. It doesn’t have limitations like Twitter, and I see people posting more long-form status updates that resemble blog postings. It has no API (yet?). It has no multiple user management (yet?). And you have to build a crowd amongst circles, because its still relatively new.

We’re told to be present on all social networks. If you’re a brand, you’d be silly not to be where your audience is. My question is, with all these social networks how do you focus?

Don’t forget, you have to manage your website. American brands are now just pointing to a Facebook page in ads ( which is fine, but its something you don’t control. Your website is something you fully control. Your blog is something you fully control. I see things like Clojure Notes and wonder the permanency of something like this.

Facebook looks to be trailblazing and seems like its going to be around for a long time. Your content will live for as long as Facebook lives. Twitter is all temporal content, you forget you even have archives. LinkedIn I have no idea, but there’s always the emails it sends out. Google+ is something that worries me — they’ve killed Buzz, Wave, Orkut, etc. and while you can take your content and run with it, you lose links.

Some people don’t care about continuity of content. I generally do.

Short names. Facebook and Twitter support this. Google+ has something ridiculous in terms of a number.

I read somewhere that the average human can keep track of at most three social networks. I can’t find a reference to this, and I know its not Dunbar’s number.

Walled gardens. If you have a Google+ album, you can’t link to an individual picture. Facebook pages and what is attached to it is not searchable via a search engine. You generally duplicate updates on sites just to keep up with these walled gardens of Web 2.0.

Bottom line: we’re all looking to engage. We all want a large audience. We all want to get the message across. But how much time are we spending on this? When do we get all the tools we need to manage all this “at one go”? Where do we put our eggs in for 2012?

Cyberwar for politicians: Overview of Tun Faisal’s statements

I read this and was really angry. Then I realised a David Arquette (by way of Buddhism) quote: “Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” If the opposition can use new media, I guess so can the incumbents. Anyway, let’s decompose the statements as reported in the article…

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 – In mid-2009, Umno Youth held a course in online media for its grassroots leaders in Kuantan. The names of a few prominent bloggers drew blank stares.

“Only 10 per cent (of those present) were familiar with those names,” the youth wing’s new media chief, Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz, told The Malaysian Insider. “Some didn’t even have email.”

Statement seems incoherent. They held a course about online media for their grassroots leaders in Kuantan, and they didn’t know about popular bloggers. In fact I don’t really care about popular bloggers – most of them have their own take, spin it ways they feel like it, and don’t understand what journalism is, i.e. reporting the facts. I get my newsfeed from The Star (News->Nation), The Malaysian Insider, and Malaysiakini. A mix of that helps keep me informed.

Some didn’t have email? Well this is the UMNO problem. Postmen run as members of parliament. I could probably run with more examples, but I don’t have hard facts to back them up, and I hate hearsay. The opposition tend to be professionals, which is why I prefer them (truth be told, I’d probably vote an ape in as well, just for shits and giggles).

Who is Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz? According to his Facebook profile, he is the Special Officer to the Home Minister at the Ministry of Home Affairs. So he advises kris-waving Hishammudin. Its also clear he has a media unit that he’s heading with UMNO Youth – the cybertroopers.

The media unit that Tun Faisal heads, formed after accepting that “80 to 90 per cent” of those online were anti-Barisan Nasional (BN) in the landmark Election 2008, now claims that despite having to catch up to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the “cyberwar” for the hearts and minds of young and urban voters, it is now ready for a general election expected within the year.

80-90% online are anti-BN? As of June 2009, the stats show there are 16,902,600 Internet users in Malaysia. Thats some 65% of the population of a little over 26 million people. In fact, rough stats show that Malaysia has 11,303,040 Facebook users, which covers some 43% of the population and some 67% of the online population of Malaysia.

Key points to note: Malaysians that are online, not all can vote. And these statistics are misleading — counting mobile phone users possibly, people with multiple Internet accounts, etc. Don’t forget a lot are Malaysians living overseas, either as students or residents whom are looking for greener pastures.

However, Tun Faisal, a member of the Umno Youth executive committee, believes that despite having guns primed, the unit needs the government to provide it with bullets.

Bullets. Is this cash? Is this information? Considering the information sucks to begin with, one can only presume its cash to pay cybertroopers.

“Most young and urban voters perceive the mainstream media as pro-government, so they are automatically prejudiced against it,” said Faisal. “So we have to bring the debate online.

The mainstream media is pro-government. The recent Bersih 2.0 rallies show that. In fact, its not just young voters that have such a perception. Its the adults too. Admittedly my sample-size is urbanites, and the opposition clearly needs to figure out how to get the word out to non-urbanites. Years of misinformation from the Ministry of Truth (aka Home+Information ministries) has generally made everyone not believe mainstream media.

Bringing the debate online is a good thing. Why? Two sides of the coin. Comments, people responding in the open, etc. If people are willing to get the “bigger picture”, they can. Is the public ready for this though? Not many people spend time getting more information. They take things at face value.

“But the problem is getting info from the government to counter the lies from the opposition. How can we fight claims from them and journalists when we don’t have more info than them?” he said.

I’m sorry. How can any one party have more information about the ruling party? Freedom of information bitches! This centralised distribution of information (that the mainstream media has continually executed) is what people do not want! People want free & fair reporting. All journalists present, representing facts. Not opinions. Not lies. Not spin.

BN had its nose bloodied at the 12th General Election in urban centres such as the Klang Valley and Penang, ceding its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament as the opposition took a record 82 seats and, at the same time, five state governments.

But the Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan, where BN surprisingly came within 65 votes of wresting the state seat, is considered a turning point for Umno Youth in the online battle.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had said that BN gained in all young voter streams, signalling a shift in young voters that was said to have backed PR heavily in 2008.

“BN gained in all young voter streams, signaling a shift in young voters”. Please continue to believe that Khairy. Believing in this would then lead to complacency, which would then lead to loss. Say it, don’t believe it. Don’t believe it until you’ve bagged your 2/3rds or decimated the opposition.

“The opposition started in 1999 after Reformasi,” Tun Faisal said. “We only started in 2009. It’s like putting university students against primary schoolkids.

Please believe that Tun Faisal. There were blogs in 1999, yes? Facebook was around in 1999? So was Twitter, right? In 1999, there were mailing lists and static websites. The BN figured they controlled the mainstream media and did not need to participate. But I’m glad Tun Faisal compared himself to a primary schoolkid — his statements reflect just that. In fact, my beautiful four-year-old cousin has more intelligent thoughts than him.

“But if you look at the results since Manek Urai, you can see that BN has definitely caught up especially with young voters.”

BN has since reversed a losing streak in by-elections, and even though PR was confident of making extensive gains in the recent Sarawak state election, BN retained its two-thirds majority in the assembly.

Tun Faisal says that one of the main factors is that his new media unit was given the mandate to strategise and coordinate online communications during these local polls.

Key takeaway? The Ministry of Truth is now not only focusing on mainstream media (radio, TV, newspapers) but also focusing on providing disinformation online. With the appropriate “bullets”, they will try very hard at spending it all on misinforming folk. Be it paying cybertroopers. Advertising. The list can go on.

“After 13 by-elections and one state election, I think we are ready to lead BN online in the next general election. But the leadership needs to have faith in us,” he said.

He revealed that in 2004, he led an Umno Youth cybertroopers unit into federal polls, at which BN claimed over 90 per cent of Parliament. But the ruling coalition’s best showing ever was followed by its worst in 2008.

“The difference was in 2004, we had a direct link to the prime minister’s department,” Tun Faisal said. “In 2008, we were left behind by the opposition, and even some pro-Umno blogs were against us.

Cybertroopers are like bloggers that write advertorials. The moment they write enough rubbish, people stop listening. That’s free advice for politicians on either side. People believe in passion. You can’t buy passion. You might brainwash someone into believing they are passionate, but eventually they will sound like a drone. A robot. And you lose your voice.

“Over 70 per cent of the issues that BN has to answer is related to government. It is unfair for BN leaders to expect party machinery to answer them unless government opens up to us,” he said.

Why isn’t the government open to the people? The rakyat? Opening up to cybertroopers is the wrong move. You’re either open or you’re not. There’s no middle ground.

With Malaysians increasingly being found online – 11.3 million on Facebook as at the end of last month – and Malay and English print circulation dropping, Umno Youth sees a return to 2004 as crucial, a belief shared by Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last month.

Circulation drops. Why? Mainstream newspapers are really only good for wrapping up packets of nasi lemak. Or collecting dog poop for proper disposal. I can already see where the bullets (money) is going to be spent next. Facebook is going to make a lot from the current ruling party in Malaysia.

“Our target by the next election is that all division youth chiefs are on Twitter and every state have their own cyberwar team,” said Tun Faisal.

One wonders why? Every youth chief is on Twitter, yet they quote a Facebook stat above. The usage of Facebook outperforms the usage of Twitter by probably a magnitude of 10x. Tun Faisal is on Twitter, and has a blog.

What is interesting is that every state will have their own cyberwar team. Funded by bullets. How will the opposition deal with this?

I’m excited to see the fight taken online. At the same time, I wonder how fair the fight online will be. Money can buy you leverage in this Web 2.0 world. Maybe the opposition just needs to get really creative.

HTTPS for Twitter & Facebook – enable it!

Use Twitter? Want to use HTTPS where possible, to prevent accessing it over plain HTTP, and getting “tweetjacked” by FireSheep users? Twitter now allows you to use HTTPS wherever possible. A good start. Its accessible in your account settings.

Twitter  Settings

Use Facebook? Want to use HTTPS where possible? Account -> Account Settings and look at Account Security. Again, you can enable HTTPS. Very cool.My Account

I don’t know how I missed this, but I encourage everyone to enable HTTPS, especially since I see the most common website at cafes, restaurants and other public places that are being accessed tend to be Facebook. I was at the KL Facebook Developer Garage (KLFB) at the end of February 2011, and I saw two speakers get fake updates on their Twitter & Facebook profiles, so I’m guessing this is not very well publicized.

Go, spend a minute, and enable HTTPS.

SMCKL #7 notes: Canon, bfm89.9, MyEG, P1 W1MAX

SMCKL‘s case study night, SMCKL #7 also had some other very interesting case studies. I picked up a bunch of interesting bits.

Rachel from Canon Malaysia

  1. You can find them on Twitter at @CanonCameraMsia. They wish they had more followers on Twitter, because in comparison, their Facebook page has quite a lot more followers.
  2. They’ve got 4-5 people in the marketing department, and most of the marketing executives are very, very young. One thing that was made clear: the marketing folk at Canon are very, very passionate. Corporate policy denies them from browsing social media sites, so they bring their own laptops, and use DiGi Broadband at work, to get their social media stuff going.
  3. Their Facebook strategy has garnered them over 56,000 fans. Find them at their Facebook page. I just visited it, and realised that they have a landing tab (Explore! Canon), so they have invested in Facebook a little. Kudos! To bring traffic, they’ve also decided to engage Canon users: they change their Facebook profile picture on a daily basis. As a reward, you get your avatar, and name displayed on their Facebook page for a day. If you are the monthly winner, you actually get a prize – a printer or a camera! Canon has found this to be a rather successful campaign and it clearly works for them.
  4. They also have a presence on YouTube – iLikeCanonCamera. There are commercials, and more. Now with more video on some of the cameras, like the 7D and 5DMkII, they’re also looking at using Vimeo for video.
  5. They are going to build a virtual community at: EOS World. They already make use of newsletter blasting. They also mention they have a EOS Buddy Club, but that requires some qualifications (i.e. you have to own some of their upper-end DSLRs). The EOS World is open for all. I learned something new with regards to the Buddy Club – I qualify to join!
  6. They do blogger engagement: Brian, aka goldfries, Kim Ong, a blogger called Ah Beng (no link because I couldn’t find it via Google easily), and Namewee.
  7. Something they believe in: under-promise, over-deliver

Freda Liu from bfm89.9 (popular radio station)

  1. They do their own surveys, so it may be a little different in comparison to what other radio stations that pay external organisations to come up stats do. With over 500+ respondents, they found that 46% of BFM listeners earn more than RM5,000 per month, and over 45% of listeners live in homes with monthly income greater than RM10,000.
  2. Their most popular listener age group? 26-30. The next highest are those aged 30-35.
  3. They upload all their podcasts to their website. This is true for all their shows. They get over 7,000 podcast downloads, per week! They might be the most successful Malaysian based podcast channel, for what it’s worth.
  4. They want to give more personalisation via their website in due time. Currently they tweet at @BFMRadio, about upcoming interviews, interviews released as podcasts, and they do try to ensure they are conversational (true – this is one aspect I like about their account), and they do run contests.

KK Chin, MyEG

  1. First up, KK Chin is very funny! MyEG is not a government agency, in fact, they are a public listed company, established in 2001. The reasons they are on social media? “You’re there, we’re there”.
  2. They have about 800,000 users in the MyEG database. They process 3,500 road tax renewals daily (this was five months ago); now, at the end of June 2010, they do 7,000 per day! In comparison, JPJ does about 22,000/day. Incidentally, you can also renew your insurance online, and they’re seeing uptake of 120-150 daily renewals.
  3. They had a Facebook page, started in November 2009, iwth over 8,000+ fans. However in mid-May 2010, Facebook decided to delete the page. They have no idea why.
  4. Their Twitter account started at the same time. They look for words like “myeg”, “road tax”, and “saman”. They will then reply and try to help you! That’s what I call customer service, plus a great customer acquisition strategy. From what I gather, they occasionally also give away free road tax renewals, and more via Twitter/Facebook.
  5. MyEG has crazy ad spend on TV, as well as on AMP radio stations. In comparison, they spend close to 8-10% on social media.

Kenny Wong, P1 W1MAX

  1. P1 believes they were the first to have a digital-specific customer care team in Malaysia. The team has about 8-9 people to engage on social media!
  2. They know being a service provider they do get some flack. They have spent the last 6 months expanding their network, and now believe they will come back on SM a lot more!
  3. They help sponsor Project Alpha, and 15Malaysia. 15Malaysia had some interesting stats: over 510,000 downloads, over 3.2 million streamed, over 15 million page views, nearly 94,000 Facebook fans, and over 1,600 Twitter followers. The most popular video (by viewer-ship and being shared) was Potong Saga.
  4. P1 harnessed YouTube for their ads at one stage. They had spent their limited budget on creating videos, that there was no more money for buying air-time. YouTube was their free distribution mechanism.
  5. Kenny mentioned that if you’re in customer service, working for a telco/ISP< you definitely like pain! You'll get more brickbats, rather than accolades. Sometimes, the same sort of person will condemn, but they will also complement - its about how much people value and resonate with the brand/service. Remember to take the hits. Laugh at yourself. And do that well.

Closing thoughts
Would like to say that SMCKL was very well organised. I see these events just getting larger and larger, and it just gets better, and better. I also enjoyed every single presentation given. I learned something new from every one of them. Yesterday, we also received some schwag: Cziplee sponsored a Moleskine, Papa John’s gave a 50% discount voucher, and Crocs provided a RM20 discount voucher, valid forever ;)

The question about metrics was never really answered. Kenny mentioned brandtology, radian6, and red dot. What is the cost acquisition of a fan? What is the ROI on fans? What’s a fan worth? More fans does not necessarily mean a loyal customer base. Having irrelevant non-targeted visitors also don’t necessarily help.

I also wanted to ask: why invest heavily in Facebook, when they may just zap your page? Sure, go there because people are there. But maybe acquire fans via Facebook, and migrate/sync them to a self-hosted BuddyPress or something?

Crocs Malaysia and race based market segmentation

Update – Thursday, July 1 2010, 5.38pm UTC+8: What happened, happened. What was said, was said. Oftentimes, a slip of the tongue, really is no fault of the mind. Maybe I was a little too harsh here, so when reading this 1,000-word essay, just keep that in mind. I’m sure the MarCom Manager did not actually mean what she said. The calibre of her presentation was good, and we learned some new things about their digital marketing strategy. In fact, you might just want to go read the other case studies (Canon, BFM 89.9, MyEG, P1 W1MAX)! To err is human, to forgive divine. Let’s all take a chill pill, and have a beer or something ;-)

I graced a SMCKL meetup tonight. I haven’t been in about a year (scheduling conflicts); it was fabulous to catch up with all my friends, learn new things and I have quite some notes that I’ll talk about soon. But this is about my relationship to Crocs, and Crocs Malaysia, at large.

I love my Crocs Yukon. In fact, I love it so much, I pretty much buy a new pair once every six months! You might wonder why. The soles tend to wear out, not evenly, just around the midfoot, usually towards the forefoot. But this quick wear has never been a problem to me, because I love my Crocs; I wear them everyday. Crocsâ„¢ Yukon | Crocs, Inc.

If I’m on my feet, my Crocs are wrapped around them. The current pair (in its six months with me) is world travelled – it’s been to: Singapore, London, Thailand, Finland, Iceland, Germany, the United States, and China. Its been on numerous planes (Dopplr suggests my carbon total stands at 17,414kg CO2). Its been through freezing winters and rather hot tropical weather. Crocs have been on me when I meet deputy-ministers, ministers, and even a certain prime minister. I wear Crocs to meetings. I wear Crocs when I give talks. Some friends refer to my pairs of Crocs as “government Crocs”. We always have a chuckle at that.

The bottom-line is that it’s quite hard to find me in a pair of shoes. I’m usually always in Crocs. The very rare occasion of me wearing shoes has me wearing a very comfortable pair of Geox shoes, or an amazing pair I picked up from Marks & Spencer.

Back to SMCKL #7 – we had the Marcom Manager for the company that imports/distributes Crocs in Malaysia come speak to us. She mentioned the name of the parent company, but I never did get it, so for all intents and purposes, this is defined as “Crocs Malaysia“. Her presentation was rather interesting, and a few points I took away from it:

  1. They invest heavily in Facebook – they have the regular Crocs Malaysia page, as well as a Crocs Ideas page (which isn’t linked form the main page). They have over 14,652 fans that like their page. Content is largely what’s coming out in the stores, and what’s to become available.
  2. There’s some Twitter engagement (@crocsmalaysia), but it does not seem as popular as Facebook (other speakers had similar comments).
  3. They’re doing blogger engagement. For the year 2010, they’ve picked five: FeeqSays, Rebecca Saw,, MissyCheerio, and Christopher Tock. These bloggers are known as their “official bloggers”.
  4. While the arrangement isn’t made clear with the official bloggers, it is made clear that the official bloggers get free Crocs, in exchange for writing about how Crocs have influence on the daily life of the blogger. Bloggers are basically selling stories, pushing experiences, where their Crocs get involved. I don’t know if there’s a minimum post count/amount of engagement required, or its something you do in passing (which is why I said the arrangement isn’t clear). I do however think that with the proper metrics, story telling and sharing experiences, totally rocks.
  5. To engage with their readers, these official bloggers also get to run competitions on a weekly basis, and the rewards are free Crocs for winners. Good, it gets more Crocs out there, especially to the non-believers ;)

Everything seemed like it was going well, and she was doing a fabulous job at presenting her case study. Until the moderator asked her: How do you choose your bloggers?.

She does not go for “A-list bloggers” like Kenny Sia, or Nicolekiss. A-list Malaysian lifestyle bloggers. She went on to tell the audience that each blogger has value in them. I take it that everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has their own tribe. Then she talked about Feeq. She said that his target market is the Malay market. She did not want to only target the Chinese market. Crocs Malaysia targets all market segments: Malay, Indian and Chinese.

Wait, what? There’s race based segmentation and targeting in footwear? In social media? Online? We live in a time, where Malaysia is no longer just Malaysia; its the cliché of 1Malaysia. And here the faux pas, stated in front of a large audience, the yardstick used, is in which racial segment a blogger is popular in.

I immediately reacted:

Clearly disappointed that @crocsmalaysia is profiling/targeted by race. So much for being Malaysian. Time to find new footwear #smckl

I am trying to break your heartThere was another tweet which wondered what the difference in race brings? And whomever is behind the @crocsmalaysia account stated: it is just our way to reach out to all consumers of all races thru our bloggers. One might think that this is something only I took offence in; lucky for me, I was not alone. People came up to me, replied to me, and even direct messaged me on this very topic.

Social media, and the utility that it travels on, the Internet, does not discriminate against race, colour, creed, nationality, gender, and more. You should choose a blogger because she has a wide Malaysian audience! In Malaysia however, it seems ingrained that there will always be profiling, separation, and a system in where we don’t have one nation, but at least two separate nations. Maybe we only have the incumbent political parties to blame for this.

As an aside, I think it is important to distinguish what you say to a close group of friends, versus what you say on Twitter, versus what you say to a large audience of folk (i.e. when you’re speaking in public). When you start representing a brand, you’ve definitely got to start thinking about how you articulate yourself. A topic to talk about elsewhere.

Either way, I cannot remember when I first shelled out RM209 for my first Yukon. I expect it must have been late 2007, or at latest early 2008. My (extended, truly Malaysian) family is also big on Crocs. However, I think its time to wean myself off from Crocs, and find non-discriminatory footwear.

Twitter needs filters

I don’t know if @ev, @biz or @dickc will read this, but Twitter clearly needs filters. Its not something an external client should do (TweetDeck does this very well, BTW), but the main stream should provide.

The way I look at my Twitter feed, is like email. Twitter currently speaks IMAP, and I can read my feed on many devices: UberTwitter on my BlackBerry, Gravity on my Nokia N97, Seesmic Desktop when I’m on my Mac, and if all else fails, there’s always Twitter web or the mobile version of it.

The way I manage my email is simple – I use server side filters. So when I read my mail on my BlackBerry, or Thunderbird or Apple Mail, I only see what I want to see in my INBOX. Filtration is done using procmail recipes, or Google Mail’s awesome labels, on the server side. So when I look at things on the client side, I don’t have stuff I’d rather skip in my stream.

And is there stuff I’d rather skip in my stream? Sure there is. TweetDeck filters

  1. Live blogging is so 20th century, because in the 21st century, people tweet at an event, using a hashtag. If the event is truly one that I am not interested in following, I can filter out the hashtag.
  2. With the economy recovering, and advertising buyers being clueless on how to spend their money, they start getting people to spam their stream. Now, I must like these folk as people, because I follow them, but their occasional ads do annoy me, and I’d rather filter it out. Lucky for me, they have to use hashtags too, otherwise it can’t be tracked – filtering it out would rock!
  3. Advertising networks are popping up left, right and center. Malaysia is not spared – we’ve got ChurpChurp. TweetDeck allows me to filter from source, something I wish Twitter as being the server, allowed server side filtration.
  4. Foursquare is becoming very popular, but it has this evil ability to auto-post to Twitter/Facebook feeds as well. I can see its use – if I’m bored at a Starbucks and do want to meet strangers, I might tell people on my Twitter stream that. But people are auto-updating, and its getting quite annoying. From Foursquare’s perspective this helps their viral nature; but from my perspective, if I care to know where you’re at, I’d have followed you on Foursquare.

I’m sure the list can go on. The web version should allow me to filter, at the very least, based on Text (a hashtag), and a Source (clients that are known to be spam-generators). TweetDeck allows filtration by Name and Time too. Today, the web version already allows you to search based on a hashtag (think of that as Text + <string> in TweetDeck’s interface). It should allow filtration too.

This will be good – advertising networks benefit from those non-power users (probably the vast majority). Power users however have their own AdBlock built in.

P/S: This is a service I would pay a nominal fee for. I see Flickr and RememberTheMilk charging USD$25/year for a few additional goodies. I would pay Twitter that same price to use their service, and filter out what I’d rather not see (and if they have other features, like metadata support, all the merrier).