SG Elections: New media elections

Singaporeans will be going to the polls in about six day’s time. This time, the elections have taken on a multi-dimensional approach as new media has come to the fore. During each rally each night, thousands of images, tweets and Youtube videos would be uploaded, shared, and commented on.

From Facebook fan pages for various political parties and specific politicians and activists, to YouTube videos, to live streaming of political rallies, to multiple blogs and viral images, there is no doubt that the power of new media is a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve listed below some of the many links that will help you get a handle on the politics of new media and the new media of politics!

Singapore: Social media, youth, and elections

Singapore elections: Nicole Seah and the social media effect

What Can We Expect In The 2011-2012 Singapore General Elections?

Singapore Elections 2011 – Can Social Media And Politics Mix?

Facebook, YouTube the new battlegrounds in Singapore elections

Social media: The new battleground in Singapore elections


All a-flutter and a -Twitter over HPB’s rude tweet

Subscribers to the Singapore Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Twitter account must have received a rude shock when they saw a rude Tweet instead of HPB’s usual tweets on topics such as the flu epidemic and healthy living.

That tweet was quickly deleted and followed up by apology tweets from HPB, saying that the profanity was a mistake. It was human error. A staff member in charge of tweeting for HPB had sent the rude tweet thinking that it was from a personal account and not the company account!

In a way, HPB showed its maturity in how it dealt with the situation. Instead of being defensive, it apologised for the rude tweet (and I’m pretty sure the staff involved has been counselled). Many netizens also showed their maturity in accepting the apology. Instead of deriding the organisation (a government body no less), many were understanding of the human error on the part of the staff and accepted HPB’s apology.

But I’m sure that has not stopped the PR and corporate comms divisions of many other bodies from holding emergency meetings on the corporate use of new media, and using the HPB example as a cautionary tale.

Philips Bear Ad Goes Viral for the Wrong Reasons

Having an ad go viral on new and social media is any advertising agency’s dream. However, for The Secret Little Agency who came up with the video clip of an ad showing a bear rummaging through a dustbin at a bus stop at Ulu Pandan, it became more of a nightmare.

The agency’s tagline “We are in the business of creating exceptional advertising” could not be more apt when it hit upon guerilla marketing tactics of using a bear to advertise Phlips electronics new razor.  The clip first appeared on Youtube, and it was even mentioned in mainstream news, which of course helped to fuel the general public’s fear and curiosity.

Fearing for the safety of people living around the Ulu Pandan area, the police, volunteers from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and zoo personnel combed the area for signs of the bear. Obviously, they are not amused to learn that the whole incident is one marketing ploy. The video has also gone viral not because of its link to the razor but due to the bad press it has received. No one made the link between the bear and the razor and the agency has come under fire for its tactics and the police are even probing if the video clip has violated public nuisance laws.  But then again, in the world of advertising, is there such a thing as bad publicity?

The other time there was a guerilla advertising tactic gone bad was the one by SingPost where the postal boxes in Singapore were apparently defaced!

Advertisers and advertising agencies will need to think twice before they start such campaigns again.

A more engaging and memorable bear ad would be this one by Tippex! Enjoy!

Netizens in the News

Recently, there’s been some news in Singapore about netizens who have drawn both praise and flak for their actions.

First is a blogger who chose to test the OCBC. What did she do? She went into the Marine Parade branch of the bank and stated that it was her birthday and that the bank should give her a birthday cake, just like in the ad on TV. The bank manager finally decided to give her the cake, after explaining that she took the message in the ad too literally!

She went on to blog about what she did, and has generated quite a lot of discussion online. Some laud her for standing up for consumer rights, while others think that she was being unreasonable. Whatever the case, she created something that she could blog about, and stirred up the online community, perhaps beyond what she herself imagined. What she did, will no doubt, make companies sit up and take notice and be more mindful of the messages they are sending out.

The other case involves something more sinister. Videos and photos have been posted online showing a skimpily clad woman being molested by 4 men at a new year countdown party. What is scary about this is not just the act of indecency itself, but the indecent behaviour of the bystanders who instead of helping the victim, and stopping the men, chose to whip out their cameras to record the act. What is wrong with these people? Are they so engrossed with their sordid ideas of citizen journalism that they chose to record and post the act than actually do something to help the situation. Not surprisingly, there’s been much discussion among netizens on this, with some spreading rumours about the victim, and generalising the race of the men caught in the act. Let’s hope that the  discussion comes back to focusing on the crime that was committed and how it should now be handled, and how such a situation could be avoided in the future. For one, people should choose to help, than just standby and gawk.

George Yeo on Facebook

I’ve written previously about how politicians are using new media to reach out and stay connected with the public. Local politician Mr George Yeo has been one of the ‘pioneers’ amongst his politican peers to use new media. He started with his blogging and then progressed to having a Facebook page which he updates pretty regularly. So now, you can go on and poke George Yeo. He go so popular that he exceeded the 5000-friends limit and has since started a new public facebook page to accommodate the ever-increasing number of friends and suuporters.

It seems that his use of new media has helped to make him more approachable. Just the other day, a student who was facing some Visa problems for her trip to the US emailed him, and he was able to help her sort out her mess. No doubt, this will help boost his popularity even further and will no doubt prompt others to turn to him for help. Already, many supporters are sending him messages and leaving him encouraging notes on his facebook page!

It certainly looks like Mr George Yeo has found success with new media!

‘Crossroads of the East 1938’ heritage video on Youtube

Recently, I caught a news article about a heritage video of Singapore, entitled Crossroads of the East 1938 that  has been found on Youtube.  It’s an interesting take on old Singapore from a colonial perspective, and offers a great source as a video for NE!

Youtube does offer a treasure trove of interesting nuggets if you dig hard enough!

At this point, let me share with you my very own video. It’s my first digital story based on my trip to Israel. Hope you will enjoy it. It  goes to show how easy it is (well, not so much the creation of the digital story – from the writing, to recording, to editing, etc – all that took longer than I expected) to share your personal story with the world on Youtube!

It’s entitled Road to Emmaus


Shalom and Happy Easter!

PAP and New Media

A few weeks ago, I talked about Obama’s Youtube communications method, as well as touched on the local government announcing its wish to engage more, especially the young, via new media.

There’s been recent information about how the use of  new media should be allowed by political parties as it helps put their message out there and reach the Internet-savvy young.

Earlier this month, the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMs) presented its report on Internet regulations, with recommendations made for laws on political videos and online election material to be relaxed.

Young PAP Chairman, Teo Ser Luck, together with his deputies will be looking into this.

What can they do to embrace and employ new media? How could they be successful? Would they be successful? What do you think?