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

#Quakebook

The power of social media.

In the wake of the recent Japanese earthquake, the whole world has been galvanised into action. Many are raising funds, volunteering, doing something, anything, to try to help the situation and lessen the devastating impact of the horrifying earthquake and subsequent tsunamis.

An interesting project that has developed in the aftermath is #Quakebook, the labour of love of 300 strangers who came together online to produce an e-book of 89 stories of people’s experiences in the earthquake and tsunami, all in the name of charity to raise funds for the Red Cross, to benefit the victims in Japan. The call to action was made on Twitter (hashtag #quakebook) and the stories unfolded on Twitter.

Read all about how they did it and their motivations on the Quakebook blog, and do your part to help in this worthy cause.

The Importance of Social Media: To Know and Be Known

What was once thought of as being an additional channel for teenagers to socialise and communicate is now seen as an important avenue for companies and organisations to be in the know and to be known. Adults and teens alike are not only using social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and forums for socialisation and self-expression purposes, they are using social media to share information on just about everything including how they feel about brands and products they have bought. And such user-generated information is often seen to be more credible than the information found in company websites which are often regarded by netizens to be highly suspicious marketese.

Thus, it is crucial for companies to be in the know of what is being said about them in the various threads of digital conversations. Ignorance is certainly not bliss, and knowing how they are regarded, whether good, bad or ugly, will help them to be in a better position to counter the negative sentiments and play to the positive ones. Who can forget the catchy tune of the viral YouTube hit United Breaks Guitars based on Dave Carroll’s bad experience with UA. Apparently, within four days of its YouTube release, UA stocks fell by 10%. If UA had paid closer attention to Carroll and what he was saying about it online, it would have been in a better position to help the situation.

Many brands also recognize the importance of being known via social media as well. Advertising on Facebook and Twitter is now seen to be the norm than the exception as these are the platforms that most people gather on. However, this also needs some savvy handling or the backlash could be painful, as in the case of Kenneth Cole’s infamous Cairo-protest-related tweet. Of course, closer to home, Singapore’s Health Promotion Board came under some fire for a rude mis-tweet by one of its employees, which no doubt compromised the organisation’s credibility somewhat, despite many netizens expressing their sympathy for the hapless, or rather, careless employee in forum discussions.

However, if well-wielded and harnessed, social media platforms could prove to be a useful means to engage consumers and extend a company or organisation’s brand and influence. For example, the Old Spice ad campaign that went viral in the States last year helped to rejuvenate what was previously regarded by many to be an old brand.

Beyond commercial uses, social media has also been used for humanitarian ones. We know of various non-profit organisations raising their own profile as well as that of their causes via social media. Currently, in the devastating aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we see how social media have been increasingly used to help people connect with their loved ones, as well as how charitable organisations are using social media to raise funds to help the homeless and needy in Japan. And therein lies the beauty and efficacy of social media in helping individuals and organisations to reach out and engage, and to know and be known.

Media Monitors Group buys Brandtology

For a company that tracks and measures social media sentiments of companies and brands, Brandtology, itself has been very much in the news recently and would have found much to analyse as it tracks its own brand, especially with news of it being bought by the Australian-based Media Monitors Group.

The sale of Brandtology for an eight-figure sum signals the increasing importance of social media monitoring as a growth market. Media Monitors Group, CEO John Croll, shares in the company blog that “the acquisition further strengthens Media Monitors ability to provide the highest quality and most comprehensive suite of media intelligence services across [its] region and beyond”.

According to Brandtology’s founder and CEO, Mr Eddie Chau, as quoted in the Brandtology blog post on the acquisition, the move is “the logical and exciting next step for Brandtology, allowing [it] to continue [its] rapid growth across existing and new markets and maintain [its] focus on research and development with the financial strength and broad Asia Pacific sales network of the region’s leading media intelligence company behind [it].”

This is clearly new milestone in Brandtology’s development. Not bad for a three-year old Singapore start-up, which has become a global leader in online and social media intelligence. This would also be a boost and an encouragement to the local start-up scene.

Egypt protests with new media

The world is reeling from the shockingly quick descent of Egypt into chaos and destruction as the country implodes with riots and violence, with many of the Egyptians calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

New media platforms in the likes of Facebook and Twitter have been added to the heady mix of volatile politics in the region. Often seen as tools for democratisation that give voice to the everyman, Facebook and Twitter were used by the Egyptians to stir up sentiments against Mubarak, and garner supporters to organise anti-government protest marches. This resulted in the government shutting down the Internet, adding much fuel to the already raging fire of hatred and discontentment.

To add to all this is Kenneth Cole’s infamous tweet: 

Millions are in uproar in #Cairo,” the tweet read. “Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC

Kenneth Cole angered many, who saw him capitalising and trivialising the Eyptian political crisis. Cole has since tweeted his apology. An obviously offended person actually put up the tweet on one of the store windows. Cole has tweeted that it was a prank and that he was not responsible for the inappropriate store display.

Looks like Kenneth Cole’s new media faux pax serves as important lessons in new media PR for all. On, what a twit, er, I mean, tweet.

We can continue to follow the unfolding situation in Egypt through tweets: http://twitter.com/#search?q=egypt%20protests and http://twitter.com/#search?q=egypt%20. Youtube is also full of videos showing angry protests in Cairo. The political struggle is also one played out in new media.

The Digital Story of the Nativity

Christmas may be over, but then there are 12 days of Christmas, and it’s never too late to look at this interesting video!

Actually, I see it more as a Christmas story for Digital Natives! While the format has been updated with new media, the traditional values and message still remain and are important.

Have a blessed Christmas and happy new year, everyone!

Is Social Media Making Students Dumb?

I just read this interesting article about how social media and cellphones could be making students dumb!

It cites some examples from a recent report about how growing up digital could be wiring young people up for distraction.

  • 14-year-old girl sends and receives 27,000 text messages a month. The girl texts every spare moment she can. Yet believe it or not, sometimes she “forgets” to do her homework.
  • David Reilly, a high school principal in California, moved the start of classes to 9 a.m. Reason: Too many students coming into school “bleary-eyed” from texting and surfing the Web all night.
  • 17-year-old student spends hours every day playing video games and surfing social media sites. His teachers think he’s gifted. Yet he’s carrying a 2.3 grade point average. Instead of finishing the short novel “Cat’s Cradle” this past summer, he read Facebook.

Is technology and social media breeding a generation of restless students with short attention spans and abilities that at best can be for superficial analysis?

What do you think? Do share your views.