Posts filed under ‘social media’

Agencies of The Future

Paul (Bangkok) writes:

A glimpse of the near future, for those of us working in marketing communication?

From Trendsspotting.com:

Sapient recently sponsored a national online survey to gain insights into what marketers want from their advertising and marketing agencies in the next 12 months. The survey polled more than 200 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing professionals.

Two points can be derived out of this survey:
I. Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients.
II. Agencies should acquire Social Media expertise.

For the full article: Brand Marketers aim to receive digital expertise from their advertising and  marketing agencies.

Related article: Sapient’s Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future, based on their survey.

September 23, 2008 at 8:01 am 7 comments

China’s Online Creative Community – Part 2: Interview

Ju (MindShare, Regional Insights) writes:

A couple of months back I had the chance to meet with Sean Leow in a small café in Shanghai, one of the co-founders of the social networking site ‘Neocha’, which Pew Internet dubbed as China’s MySpace for the creative-types, as mentioned in the previous introductory post. I was first introduced to Neocha.com through our trend scout in Shanghai through her article on ‘Online Home for Indie Culture in China‘ on our Asia Scout Network blog.

Sean is a half-Chinese, half-American who has been living and working in China for the past four years. After growing up in San Francisco’s Bay Area and graduating from Duke University, Sean moved to China, studying and working in four Chinese cities along the way.

Chatting casually over coffee, Sean talks about his exposure to Japanese-influenced youth subcultures in China and the one-day Neocha launch event which attracted 8,000 to 10,000 young people through digital means and word-of-mouth while taking us through Neocha’s webzine <Blow-Up>. He contends that the best way to connect with young people is through brand engagement.

This edited video clip is a short collection of the highlights of the interview.

Read on for the full version:

1. What do you find interesting about China’s digital media landscape?
One thing that I find interesting is digital webzines. That’s something that some people say is a failure in other countries – releasing webzines with flash online. In China though, it has been pretty successful coz it’s so hard to get a publishing license here, that if you can release it online for free, people are demanding that kind of content – new content that speaks to them so much more than the stuff that is shown on state-run media.

We actually have one of our own – it’s called <Blow Up>. I’m pretty proud of ours because it’s the only one I know that’s 100% original content. A lot of these webzines they take articles or videos that they find on the internet and they’ll piece together some interesting stuff. There are some good ones, but one thing that we tried to really do is create a fully original one including all the music. All the music is by bands and musicians that we know in China. (View Neocha’s most recent issue of <Blow Up> here – definitely worth a look!)

2. Why create another online community platform in China?
The simple reason was that there was none targeted specifically at the creative communities in China. I’ve spent a lot of time going all over China. I’ve been here for four and a half years and I see really interesting content being created whether it’s music or photography or design. And when I go somewhere like Beijing, I’ll meet someone like “oh, I know someone who’s doing something similar in Shanghai” and I kept running into those situations until I’m thinking where is the aggregation point in this. Is this being done online or offline? What I found was that it wasn’t really existing, it was very scattered groups and I thought there was an opportunity to bring them together. So I went to some of my Chinese friends who are even more knowledgeable on this demographic – guys who are musicians, those who actually live the life. They’re like no, there isn’t a website that caters to us, that speak the same language.

So, on the one hand we saw that there was a need for an aggregator. On the other hand, I grew up in Silicon Valley so all my friends and family were always involved with the internet. Now I think the tools do exist that we can allow these people to both promote themselves, and at the same time collaborate with other people who are interested in this content.

One thing that we do that’s a bit different from other online communities is that we do have a big focus on offline events like that big event I showed. Our communities are already set up like that. To do a concert with them is not difficult because they’re already doing concerts. To do a photography exhibit with our photographers is not difficult because they’re already doing exhibits. And I also believe any successful community has an element where people can meet and talk, to reinforce the friends and the connections that you make online and offline. We’ve already done four or five offline events. We’re thinking of doing something on a monthly basis, on a smaller scale. This (launch event) is like once a year type of thing. Right now we only have the resources to handle Shanghai, but we’d also like to be in Beijing, Hangzhou, and to a lesser extent the other cities.

3. So how did you “get the ball rolling” and start attracting young people to the site and to the event?
In China, young people don’t use email that much. You think of viral campaigns that you do in the US, a lot of that’s through email. In China, you can definitely use email as a tool, but it’s definitely not used as widely as the US, except among white collar workers who use it for work. I find with the young generation it’s almost all IM, in the big cities it would MSN or otherwise QQ, and through cell phone. We also send out emails. I mean you send out 3,000 emails you’re bound to get somebody that’s going to respond to it and not think it’s spam. The other way that we did it was just contacting everybody that we knew that we considered, we’d call them ‘mavens’, guess you could say that, people who we think are influential, who have fans, networks that they can reach out to. You get those people on it and you get them to bring the people that they know. And then on top of that was the big event that we did. I find the best way to market online is actually through BBS’s, BBS forums. That’s traditionally how these online communities have been structured and in China it’s still and extremely popular form of communication. I think that’s moving more to the blog/space type of set up that we have. I guess that’s why we didn’t create a BBS for creative communities. But BBS is still very powerful for spreading your message.

4. Do you think there’s any social or cultural link between these creative communities and the non-creative types of people? Or are they completely separate from each other?
I’m not going to say that [the creative community] is huge because I don’t think it is yet. But it’s different from other niche subcultures that you see, because I think these people are having more and more influence over mainstream culture, and I think in 3-5 years they will be tremendously influential. That’s the hypothesis behind what we’re doing. We think they’re going to be extremely influential – these people are about 17 to about 30 years-old and they really represent the new generation of Chinese kids which is they’re very proud of being Chinese, and at the same time they’re part of the world community and that they have innovative, interesting content. They’re not just the China of old, made-in-China products, they want to turn that around and say ‘look we’ve got some interesting stuff too’. And it’s also the same as the motive by the government because for so long, China’s at a cultural deficit, they’ve been importing movies, music, art, and they haven’t been exporting anything. So they want to reverse that cultural deficit and start creating their own stuff that they can start using as ‘soft power’ to export to the rest of the world, like music. So I think it’s a perfect storm between these people coming of age, having the means to do it because they don’t have to worry about day-to-day existence, and basically being supported by the government and other people, not just their parents, but other people that they know.

5. How have the young people influenced the mainstream? Have you any examples?
Part of it you can just see by walking in this area (Xinle Lu). This is kind of like the hip area of Shanghai. You go into the boutique shops here and you see the clothes and, the T-shirt revolution that’s going in China as everywhere else in the world. There’s a lot of these designers like ‘The Thing’. You see their influences and their designs on everyday people who are walking the streets.

6. What’s the general attitude of the young Chinese people that you meet?

They’re sick of old media. They’re also sick of the canto-pop star. It’s difficult to put a label on them. They’re interested in finding ways to take independent culture and making it more influential on the mainstream. They’re not rebellious in the way that you would think of Americans or Europeans are rebellious, like try to run away from home. They still have that kind of filial piety to their parents. Some people’s parents are more accepting of what they’re trying to do and some people aren’t. They’re not interested in politics. We have over a hundred blogs which I read half of everyday and no one’s ever really talked about politics.

They’re talking about a new CD, posting an illustration that they did. There are different stratums of users. Our strategy is we are going after people who are already creating content. But they don’t have a good place to post it. In that way they already have the content – the pictures, the stories, the music. We think that’s the best way to grow the website fast because people have stuff to look at and interact with. And then at the same time, we’re trying to work on strategies to bring in more regular people who are interested in these creative communities, but isn’t necessarily the members who are making this stuff. They’re more interested in maybe reading about it or maybe commenting on it.

7. What’s the best way to connect with young people?

I really think digital is the best way to connect to young people. Not only are they spending time there and you can target them demographically, but also you can engage them so much more than you can with just an advertisement on TV. You can get them to in there and write a comment. You can get them to go in there and to vote for someone. You can get in there and download a template for a t-shirt and design the next version of the Adidas t-shirt. They engage with your brand that way – It’s not just I saw it and that’s great. They’re actually engaging with it….The cost isn’t that much to sponsor, but the return they get is that get all of these influential people all engaged with their brands for a certain amount of time. Maybe it’s a buzzword, but I think that brand engagement is a pretty important part of the digital strategy.

November 30, 2007 at 4:59 am 3 comments

China’s Online Creative Community – Part 1: Intro

 Ju (Regional team, Mindshare) writes:

 I think Alok hit the nail on the head with the question “MySpace or Facebook or should we even care?“. The basic reason anyone joins a social networking today is to be part of a community that one identifies with. Only 3 years ago, no one really had much of a choice in selecting our preferred social networking platforms. Take me for example… I was invited into hi5 (the main social networking site in Thailand right now) a couple of years ago. Back then, just the simple fact that I connect with friends from grade school and revel at my rising popularity as I added more and more friends to my network already thrilled me. I remained on hi5 because all my friends were there. Period. It was the only network had gained critical mass among Thais. Of course you’d want to be where everyone else is, right?

Three years ago, the answer would have been a resounding yes, but today, it might be a NO. More accurately, the answer would depend on who ‘everyone else’ is, what their profiles are, and most importantly, if you are actually engaging together in similar activities or interests. Yes, it’s great find your long lost friends and show how popular you are, but the excitement over that particular feature is long over (remember how you felt when you received your first ever email, then think how you feel about emails now). Ultimately, for any social network to keep itself alive beyond the initial hype (beyond the phase where everyone invites everyone to be their friends), the social network has to prove itself useful for either a person’s career, hobbies, or social life offline. In other words, it has to provide a strong unifying PURPOSE for a community of people who actually interact with each other for more than the sake of interacting just because they are a bit bored that day.

Enabling this is the fact that the technology for developing these social networks has likely become a commodity these days, because of the open-source movement, and because of user-friendly platforms like Ning which allows non-techies to create their own social networking sites (Ning now has over 100,000 user-created sites).

On his blog theory.isthereason.com, Kevin Lim did a very interesting analysis of the ‘economics’ of social networking in his article Niche Networks // Neocha: China’s MySpace For Creative People. I particularly agree with his conclusion, copied here:

Make it Niche, Make it Damn Easy
That’s where I thought “niche social networks” should enter and hold value by being really quick to use (functional), while being extremely relevant and fiercely exclusive (e.g. offering services specific to the relevant crowd). As fragmented it would turn the social networking scene, it would serve the long tail, catering to the smaller but passionate group of users. For instance, Estee of blogbuzz.tv recently pinged me about a social networking site for professional women cleverly called Damsels in Success. While I only took a superficial look at it, I was more intrigued by how social networking sites like these weren’t about having huge populations of users (quantitative), but rather solid relevance to specific mobs of interests (qualitative).

… the value lies in how you aren’t in a huge community of strangers, but of close friends you can actually do stuff with.

It’s probably one reason why, although I have 3 times more friends on Hi5 than on Facebook, I can’t remember the last time I logged on to hi5, let alone my password (sorry hi5’ers).

Brands would be missing the point to focus only on the numbers. Business and branding potential lie as much in the richness, as in the reach of a social network.

My next post will feature a personal interview with Sean Leow, one of the four co-founders of Neocha, an online community that differentiates itself strongly from other established social network giants in China by serving specifically to the emerging, innovative Chinese creative class, as featured in Fast Company’s article ‘The Next Cultural Revolution – China’. In the article ”New Tea’ in China’, Pew Internet describes them as “China’s first website for artists to show off and share their wares, launched last week in Shanghai. Think of MySpace for creative types, then think of it channeling into groups for bands, or photographers, or clothing designers, sculptors, jewelers, bookbinders, knitters, sketchers…”

The interview touches on Sean’s view on digital media for young Chinese creative-types, his exposure to Japanese-influenced subcultures in China, and how he and his Neocha friends attracted an estimated 10,000 young people to their launch event in April this year, purely through digital means and word-of-mouth. View a clip of the event here:

October 17, 2007 at 7:29 am 7 comments

Facebook or MySpace or should you even care?

facebook.jpg OR myspace.jpg

Alok (MindShare, Regional team) writes:

During a recent business pitch, after we were done waxing eloquent of social networking and the web 2.0, the marketing honcho asked us a simple question – “Should my brand be on facebook or myspace?” At the time our response was, given what we knew of the clients’ brand and the two sites, facebook.

In hindsight however, though the question seemed sapless at the time, I have been perplexed about what the right response ought to be and on what basis one formulates a response.

Should the response be guided by the buzz surrounding the site, a measure of its perceived popularity? The fact is people have been flocking to facebook since it opened its doors to the hoi polloi. It does seem like the next big thing and why should we not be tempted to seed our brand there. Scratch the numbers a bit and it does not seem so cut and dry. On measures like average daily visitors & time spent per month myspace scores over facebook. So while the current trend and buzz favor facebook, this in itself is not sufficient to dictate a response.

Implicit in the question is an assumption that facebook and myspace are distinct brands and not social network commodities. So does the answer lay in assessing which has a better fit with the client’s brand ala CelebZ? Should the current portrait of myspace as ‘a site for soliciting’ serve as a reason to exclude it despite its larger user base?

Social networks by definition should imply a niche. They should be a network of individuals unified around a shared interest or idea. Today, however these networks work more as aggregators of individuals who then, on their own volition, form their social circle of interests. In absence of distinct identities, what motivates individuals to choose one network over the other (or am I wrong and they do have distinct personas…)? And if someone should host a network focused on college students, will we see a migration from facebook of its original members?

In the future, as social networking sites proliferate, will they define their identities more sharply or will they remain the generic places for friends to connect, meet, and get together? And if this should happen, will it make it easier to choose which one would be right for our clients’ brands.

Still trying to get my head around this one and urge blog thoughts.

September 28, 2007 at 6:21 am 14 comments

Where’s the ‘social’ part of the iPhone?

Peck (MindShare, Thailand) writes:

I came across a really nice iPhone review from Peter S Magnusson’s blog. He’s emphasized on the important of social networking and point out that Apple fails to intregrate social networking in the iPhone. Magnusson writes:

(Steve) Jobs does not understand the 21st century computer usage paradigm…..Today, people chat; they blog; they share multimedia like pictures, video, and audio; they flame each other on forums; they link with each other in intricate webs; they swap effortlessly between different electronic personae and avatars; they listen to internet radio; they vote on this that and the other; they argue on wiki discussion groups…..Jobs can’t quite get rid of the notion that a mobile device is nothing but a really small personal computer.

Thoughts?

July 5, 2007 at 11:19 am 2 comments

Digital trends in Thailand, Asia-Pacific, and beyond

Peck (MindShare, Bangkok) writes:

PWC’s “Convergence Monitor” survey shows that Thailand has the one of the largest number of social networking (virtual networking and blogging) users in Asia, second only to China which has more than 85% of respondents having engaged in social networking at least once while Thailand has 71%.

Chatting, instant messaging, and downloading digital music are popular services among Thai internet users. 90% of respondents have used chatting or instant messaging at least once, and 87% have downloaded music through the internet at least once, expecting to see higher growth along with increase demand for broadband internet. However, online banking and online shopping are not as popular in Thailand as they are in other Asia Pacific countries. For example, while 39% of Singaporean respondents stated that they had used online banking and shopping at least once, only 8% of Thai respondents had done so.

Download the full report titled “Convergence Monitor: The Digital Home” here.

Examples of popular Thai blogs and blogging platforms:

www.bloggang.com

top-blogs.jpg

http://vip-galz.storythai.com/

blog-example.jpg

June 19, 2007 at 10:07 am 12 comments

84% of Second Life residents live outside US

James (MindShare Asia-Pacific) writes:

We all know that Second Life is popular, growing fast, and that all forms of innovative media and branding experiments are taking place there. What I didn’t know, is just how international the community is, and how Euro-centric it has become. A comScore press release from last week breaks the geographical regions out, and indicates that Asia currently stands at 13%. With local virtual worlds popping up now in China and Japan, especially, it will be interesting to see if this figure rises…

n March, 61 percent of active Second Life residents were from Europe, compared to 19 percent from North America, and 13 percent from Asia Pacific.  In addition, 61 percent of residents were male while 39 percent were female. 

Geographical Location of Second Life Residents Who Logged-in During January and March 2007

Unique People, Age 15+

Total Worldwide Audience – Home and Work Locations*

Source: comScore World Metrix 

Mar-07

(000)

Percent of Total Active Residents

Increase In Active Residents

Mar-07 vs. Jan-07

Worldwide

1,283**

100%**

46%

Europe

777

61%

32%

    Germany

209

16%

70%

    France

104

8%

53%

    UK

72

6%

24%

North America

243

19%

103%

    USA

207

16%

92%

Asia Pacific

167

13%

N/A***

Latin America

77

6%

26%

Middle East & Africa

20

2%

N/A***

*Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

** Sum of components may equal more than total due to rounding

*** N/A – Residents in January below minimum reporting standard

May 7, 2007 at 5:16 am 4 comments

More free stuff – check out the b-side

James (MindShare Asia-Pacific) writes:

Continuing on the theme of outstanding open source thinking and sharing, don’t miss this great presentation on convergence, given by the super-smart Brian Tiong last month at the Malaysian media congress. Do spend some time at Brian’s excellent blog  b-side which he writes from Singapore and packs with useful data and opinions.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

May 3, 2007 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

“Being Spaces” in Bangkok

true.JPGtrue

Ju writes (MindShare, Regional) writes:

Anyone monitoring consumer lifestyle trends couldn’t have missed out the concept of “Being Spaces“, put forth by trendwatching.com, described as: “commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren’t just the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin.

Starbucks is a great example on a global scale, while many companies in Japan, China and South-Korea offer deluxe gaming and manga-reading facilities, as well as semi-private DVD booths.

BEING SPACES charge us for eating, drinking, playing, listening, surfing, working, or meeting, just as we would at home or in the office, while successfully reintegrating us into city life.”

The trend is rapidly catching on among the young and urban in Bangkok, unsuprisingly, considering these factors: a) the need to avoid the notoriously congested traffic and jam-packed public transportation by remaining in one spot for as long as possible, b) the desire for new, private experiences that set them slightly apart from the masses yet keep them wired to trendy offerings in an urban setting, and most importantly, c) the emphasis on design and beauty that came together with the explosion of the indie scene in 2005, unique among Bangkok youth. The buzz word “dek naew“, a term coined by the local media used to describe the young followers of the indie arts and culture who “wouldn’t be caught dead in Louis Vuitton or Gucci”. Two years later, the ‘dek naew’ rage has quietened, but the concept of counter-culture and the backlash against mainstream culture has already become deeply rooted in the mindsets of the creatively hip and trendy, paving the way for the birth of informal social networking activities like Pecha Kucha nights.

Leading the “BEING SPACES’ trend in Bangkok, local cable, internet, and mobile conglomerate True already has 4 such ‘lifestyle shops’, offering services that range from DVD-watching spaces to wireless iPod stations to live music sessions by indie artists. The services offered vary appropriately, according to the location and the group it caters to. My guess is it’s the chilled-out hippies and tourists in Kao Sarn, the designer-artists-creatives group in Thong Lo, the wired and flashy upscale at Siam Paragon, and the young, trendy teens at Siam Square.

Apart from established spots like The Style by Toyota, Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC), House Cinema, Playground, and the new Central World Plaza which brands itself as ‘the largest lifestyle shopping complex’, the most recent addition to this scene is The Third Place, which positions itself as a place to live, work, and play, with a club where members pay a fee to hang out in an informal work space complete with all the office facilities (fax, printer, scanner, photocopier), conference rooms, board games and even a garden terrace. You can check out the ambience in the video below:

Another signal alerting the re-arranging of social network structures in Asia, as people seek out open platforms to socialize both on and offline.

February 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm 8 comments

MTV Korea teams up with multimedia portals

Ju (MindShare, Regional team) writes:

mtview.jpg

We see media fragmenting everday, in the multitude of delivery platforms (mobile phones, MP3s and other personal media players, video sites) and the increasingly diverse content, such as the “Narrowing Divide in the English news space” in India.

What happens next? With so much choice for content and so many ways to consume it, it is logical to assume that wired consumers will subconsciously desire a simpler way to manage the bits and pieces of content floating around them. This is where the bigger, more familiar brands like MTV can step in, and has just done so with their new offering in Korea, MTView.

They called it “AN UNPRECEDENTED ALLIANCE BETWEEN FIVE MULTIMEDIA PARTNERS TO OFFER VIEWERS A WIDE ARRAY OF ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT

From MTV Networks Korea’s press release, February 12th:

MTV Networks Korea has teamed up with four leading web sites and portals in Korea: Bugs, Empas, Joins.com and Pandora TV, to launch an unparalleled multimedia network platform called MTView, creating an ultimate destination for Korean consumers to access and view a wide-range of MTV-branded and other original content online.

MTView, an extended offering of MTV BOOMBOX’ customizable on-demand music and entertainment broadband and mobile community platform, is the latest free of charge multimedia video sharing network service offered by an unprecedented alliance of diverse web services and content providers in Korea. With an estimated of 15 million online viewing streams and a potential reach of 23 million registered members, MTView is expected to be the largest video content portal in Korea giving access to 69.4 % of Korea’s internet users to MTVN entertainment and other compelling content offered by our partners.

With over 100 music videos being uploaded to the platform daily, consumers are given on-demand access to a vast library of content including music videos, MTV-branded award shows such as MTV Video Music Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards as well as hit shows such as Pimp My Ride, Sunny Side, Punk’d and The Hills. Alongside with pre-released music videos and exclusive MTV-branded international shows never shown on MTV Korea, MTView will also feature wide-ranging user-created content from Pandora TV, more music videos and music-related videos from Bugs, the latest in news and entertainment/lifestyle information from Joins.com and a web search service provided by Empas.

In the next phase, MTView will upgrade its service with additional functions, allowing internet users to customize and share videos across multiple platforms with each other through a social network video sharing service encompassing videoblogs, instant messaging and user-created content online viewing.

Commenting on the partnership, Luke Kang, Managing Director of MTV Networks Korea, said, “The launch of MTView marks a ground breaking partnership in a series of cross platform initiatives spearheaded by five leading media companies in the market. This digital offering not only enables us and our partners to intensify our connections with Korean consumers, it will also give us a strong competitive advantage to stay ahead of technology and user trends in the market.”

“The demand for quality video content is growing every day” Jihee Nam, Vice President, Digital Media, MTV Networks Korea said, “MTView is here to provide a first class service through a unique partnerships between MTV, the world’s leading broadcaster, and four partners specialized in music, search service, news and user-generated content websites, to further enhance the rapid changing entertainment needs and content interests of Korea’s internet users.”

MTV BOOMBOX is a comprehensive online entertainment destination utilizing state of the art technology across online and mobile platforms, providing Korean consumers a robust digital community featuring local and international MTV programming on-demand, a wealth of user-generated content and a vast library of local and international music video and audio downloads. MTV BOOMBOX launched in May 2006, marking the first MTV-branded broadband network in Asia and the first video-based music community site to launch in Korea.

Celebrating the launch of MTView, Korea’s latest girl band Wonder Girls from MTV Korea’s reality show “MTV Wonder Girls”, will be giving their first live performance at the MTV studio in Seoul on 13 February 2007. Viewers can check out the … websites and stand a chance to catch the girls playing live.”

The book MTV Collections of Cool Asia has identified the emergence of “Asian Art Collectives”, where individuals and small businesses come under one collective banner, creating more visibility and attention, such as The Asylum in Singapore, and The Click Project in Malaysia. With MTView as example, it seems the concept of “collectives” can also be applied at a macro-level, with media owners or brands teaming up with high-traffic partners.

The way I see it, it’s like identifying the universe that your target consumer lives in and creating your own branded galaxy within that.

February 13, 2007 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Thai sneakerheads connect to global sneaker movement

thaisneakerhead.jpg

Ju (MindShare Regional) writes:

Urban streetwear and its sneaker culture appears to be another youth community using social media to build network strength.

The youth sub-culture is defined by respect for original design, limited editions, customization, and collaborations with urban artists, designers, retailers, and street magazines offline and online (such as Crooked Tongues, HypeBeast, Sneaker Freaker).

Crooked Tongues, the established London-based online sneaker resource, recently posted news on Nike’s AF1 party in Bangkok, with a link that refers to “our extended CT family in Thailand“. The link connects to Thai urban fashionista blogger who writes about sneakerhead events and the release and pre-order of limited edition Nike kicks. On the Nike AF1 party, the blog not only showed details of the actual party, but also included the preparation of the party (with pictures of the construction blueprints, actual construction and site), all told in the eyes of a consumer, which had likely boosted the level of pre-party excitement and grandeur for the event.

A more apparent symbol of the global movement of sneaker culture emerging from the underground is sneaker-website.com, with a global network similar to the global cosplay community. The website also has a story on Sneaker Society – Thailands First Sneaker Community. , calling it Thailand’s first sneaker website. Its blog links to other local sneaker-freak sites like sneakavilla.net.

From the look of the sites, it seems Nike already has a head start in engaging the Thai community of sneakerheads – the opinion-leaders of urban street culture who are as local as they are globally connected.

February 3, 2007 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

The big switch in news – shifting control to the consumer

news-plane.jpg

Ashutosh (MindShare regional, Singapore) writes: 

Is the user-generated content revolution going to make the old business model of news redundant ? We are beginning to see some interesting developments in the business of news.  

I recently had an interesting discussion with a leading publisher on how online distribution channels are beginning to change consumer behaviour when it comes to news consumption, and how the profile of the consumer who still buys a ‘paper’ newspaper is getting skewed to the generation on the other side of 30. And similarly for news broadcast formats. 

And what is he doing? Hiring 18 year olds to create a supplement for teens in his same old newspaper, which is apparently now being read by anxious parents of these teens to find out what the younger generation is upto! But the teens still don’t read his newspaper!  The old-fashioned way of producing news via a bunch of people who write or present news with their own (or sometimes organisational) biased perspective is distinctly unappealing and therefore does not connect with the younger generation.  There is also a view that the best news experience is a shared social experience and therefore we will soon see the rapid rise of user generated news as well, and I tend to agree with this.   I recently registered at an interesting website http://www.YourNewsDay.com which claims to be a ‘global user generated content site on news, with no agenda, political or geographic bias’. It has set itself up as ‘open to everyone in the world to reflect their news – personal, local, national, and international – and share it with the world’. Check out this article at Contagious Magazine. 

There are other experiments going on, some of which have caught on while others are struggling.  For instance, Findory is a personalised general news service which has not really caught on, unlike Digg (which postions itself as user-powered content), Techmeme and Memeorandum which focus on narrowly defined niches (technology, politics etc). For more on this, read Scott Karp’s article on Is news a fundamentally shared social experience. 

What does this mean to the Rupert Murdochs of the world and how will it affect their businesses? I am sure they are waiting and watching…

January 25, 2007 at 3:58 pm 1 comment

Porn video glasses from Taiwan – a coming trend

 vid-glasses-guy.jpg 

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes: 

At first I laughed at this Digital Journal article Watch porn in public with new video glasses. It’s well-known that the porn industry often pioneers new technology – VHS, internet payment, broadband video sites.

But it wasn’t until I just listened to Ross Dawson’s excellent podcast interview where he discussed video glasses and fold-out screens, that I grasped the underlying importance of this technology, especially for our business… 

First the news: 

Visitors at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo held this week were asked by Victor Quitoriano to try out a new technology that allows for intimate video viewing session complete with audio through an ear piece.

The model was shown at the Sands Exposition Center just a day earlier.“Our technology crosses over,” Quitoriano told AFP. “The videos we showed there weren’t porn, because we didn’t want to offend anybody. Here, it’s different. Imagine you can take your porn all over the place; in a plane or a train, but not in the car unless you are the passenger.

The new glasses are made in Taiwan and sold by Quitoriano’s California based company Body Care and connect to all the latest video playing devices including Xbox 360 and PS3 game consoles as well as iPods and Zune mp3 players. The new models being shown cost about $349.00 but were discounted for show-goers. 

I’ve never heard of video glasses before, but a quick google search revealed a number of new products in the market, such as this review for a brand called iTheater. Here’s some highlights of that product and a photo:

  • weighs 3 ounces.
  • video is at a 230,000 pixel resolution
  • audio is surround sound.
  • hook up your game consoles, DVD players, computers, iPod (video), or other video playing players.
  • Like playing games or watching your DVDs on a 50 inch screen.

itheater-glasses.jpgSo what’s the significance? Very soon our mobile phones, video iPods and other devices will be capable of storing many hours of content. Online gaming can be played. TV can be streamed to devices. Already in Korea millions are watching TV on their mobile devices.

One of the main arguments against adoption of mobile TV has been the uncomfortable experience of ‘staring at a small screen’. With video glasses, and roll-out or fold-out screens, that potential adoption barrier will also be removed.

 To understand more of the implications of consuming content on the go, and especially mobile social networking, you should read Ross Dawson’s blog entry and listen to the podcast.

January 25, 2007 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

Why Filipinos love online communities


 

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes:

Prolific Filipino blogger Mike Abundo explains an interesting theory here:

Why are Filipinos such natural adopters of social media? Why are half of all Friendster users Filipino? Why is the Philippines among the top countries on BlogExplosion?

Here’s what I think. One of the Filipino core values, passed down from our small-town islander ancestors, is bayanihancommunity collaboration. That’s exactly why technologies that facilitate online community collaboration are such hits with Filipinos.

January 17, 2007 at 3:15 pm 3 comments

Japanese street mob stunt. Inspired by flashmobbing?


James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes:

Apart from it being hilarious, all I know about this is what I read at youtube, after finding it via Paul at weird news asia:

This is a clip from ‘Troop of One Hundred’, taken from a Japanese comedy/prank show, where a 100 people chase after random strangers and you see their reactions. Totally harmless but their reactions are priceless.

This is the first time I’ve actually seen something that looks like flashmobbing in Asia. I guess it’s not really flashmobbing, because it’s staged for a TV show, rather than ‘born’ spontaneously from digital and social media.

To find out more about flashmobbing, with some incredible examples, go to wikipedia, where you’ll find this definition

flash mob describes a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, do something unusual for a brief period of time, and then quickly disperse. They are usually organized with the help of the Internet or other digital communications networks.

Has anybody seen examples of flashmobbing in Asia yet?

January 16, 2007 at 1:42 am 2 comments

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