I like attending informal conferences where
power influence lies not in the suit one is wearing but in the ideas one exchanges with others. Singapore’s very first Podcamp was just that. Read on for a summary and photos.
For social media practitioners, there was nothing earth-shattering though I did learn a few new things while a few other principles were reinforced. For instance, Edelman’s South East Asia Director John Kerr was quoted as saying that in the end, it is still about communication, not technology.
That is so true. At first, things start off complicated, like the World Wide Web. You needed to know how to hand-code HTML to make web pages. Then came Frontpage and Dreamweaver. Then you didn’t even need those programs, because Blogger came along. Things get simpler to the point that almost everyone can engage in social media now, if they want to.
John gave us an overview of Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer (I think this is the link). Trust is a scare resource these days. I was surprised to hear that in Singapore, bloggers were given ZERO per cent trust levels, far lower than the mainstream media and the Government, who is the most trusted. I have yet to read the report, but that statistic just sounded too extreme to me.
What made the biggest impact on me were things I didn’t know about the region we were in. Jorg Dietzel shared some emerging trends of Asian markets. Some user-contributed campaign commercials were mentioned. Some of us may already know it’s not a good idea to start a fake blog (ahem, the Edelman guy had already left the building). Nor should Marketers label something as ‘viral’. I was relieved to hear another member of the audience share how his/her agency proposed doing ‘Viral marketing’. Which proved they didn’t understand it, because it is the audience, not the marketer, who decides what content is worth forwarding to their friends.
In fact, more efforts should now be spent on creating good content, because the distribution will take care of itself. How much does it cost to post something on Youtube or a blog? And why worry when your customers do a mashup or remix your corporate video, or hack your product?
The problem, I sensed, is because big corporations and institutions already have standard operating procedure. We’re acting on autopilot. There must be a plan. We need to have KPIs. We can’t try something new because there’s no precedent yet. Well, I would counter, wouldn’t it be nice to be FIRST in the market for a change? As one of the speakers advised, call it an ‘experiment’. Or, as a few of us have experienced, just go ahead and do it.
Michael Netzley then took us through a comprehensive ‘Social Media Map of Asia: A Closer Look at Communicating Across Five Economies’. Did you know, for instance, that the Japanese are so concerned with saving face that it is considered bad form to directly post a critical comment on someone’s blog? Thus, trackback is considered a very important feature to the Japanese as it is more indirect.
After Michael Netzley shared various other facts with us, he asked if we had any feedback on his talk and there was a brief silence. Then I told him we’d leave him a trackback! So well, since I promised, here’s a ping on your post, Michael. Hope you get it. Nothing critical here, I’m gushing.
We learnt more about Starhub’s new product, Pfingo. I kind of heard of it before but didn’t know exactly what it was about. It was good to learn how this corporation opened up and took a hands-off approach to let bloggers review their product.
I can’t say we had any really heated debates – this is Singapore and not America – but many of us contributed our opinions. Perhaps it was the place we were in. After all, SMU is known for making its students participate and make presentations.
By the end of the day, it was a small group but a happy one. I hope to have more of the same tomorrow morning. Check out Mitch’s post for his perspective on Day 1 of our very first Podcamp Singapore.
BTW, my new subnotebook is holding up very well. No crashes, automatic startup, and it looks pretty functional! See:
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