Monday, March 29, 2010

Social Media Observations in Asia.

As you may know Social Media is gaining popularity around the world.

Is Kung Fu Panda running off to update his Facebook Status?

Everyone seems to be getting into the action, including Asia.

The Statistics

Rank Country Number of Facebook users 12 month growth % 6 month growth %
1 USA 101,303,240 140.80% 46.00%
2 UK 22,625,300 51.50% 20.90%
3 Turkey 16,943,780 113.60% 36.80%
4 Indonesia 14,681,580 1536.70% 126%
5 France 14,290,700 117% 32.60%
6 Canada 14,228,460 31% 19%
7 Italy 13,272,760 137.60% 30%
8 Philippines 8,387,560 2046.80% 208.40%
9 Spain 7,701,200 196.70% 33.40%
10 Australia 7,611,920 75.80% 25.70%
11 Argentina 7,387,120 227.50% 50.60%
12 Colombia 7,243,520 99.40% 25.80%
13 Mexico 6,505,040 351.50% 78.50%
14 Chile 5,808,020 39.90% 20.20%
15 Germany 5,799,520 361.90% 84.90%
16 Taiwan 5,490,300 4763% 701%
17 India 5,397,480 403.80% 66.80%
18 Venezuela 4,952,340 164.20% 38.40%
19 Malaysia 3,975,640 367.50% 99.30%
20 Sweden 3,066,180 80.70% 34.10%
21 Belgium 2,872,160 73.50% 21.10%
22 Hong Kong 2,727,980 87.00% 30.70%
23 South Africa 2,434,500 164.60% 41.50%
24 Brazil 2,413,900 1052.40% 137.70%
25 Egypt 2,341,880 184.70% 44.70%
26 Denmark 2,262,260 27.40% 15.30%
27 Norway 2,256,080 54.90% 21.70%
28 Greece 2,222,860 122.40% 35.60%
29 Israel 2,149,500 149.50% 49.90%
30 Thailand 1,963,560 1063.80% 181.60%

As the number of users are on the rise, Asia starts to take notice of this phenomena, there more and more user online starts to get on social media. Today, there is an explosive growth on social media in Asia, and there is still a growing trend in Europe and North America.

The presentation below are some of my observations of social media in Asia.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Education and Social Media

A very common excuse given by the education ministries and schools about social media training is "We have social media trainings implemented already." I've talked to many schools and administrators of schools of teenagers aged 14 - 18, and they have replied with the same answer, perfectly in tune. I have however yet to see any results or any physical evidence that the schools are successful, yet they are unwilling to ask for help.

Teaching teenagers how to manage their Digital Footprint

I read a blog by the Innovative educator on "Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint - 140 Character Conference Panel Discussion"

And I agree with the author about the following:

Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can't teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint. It is also important not to confuse managing a digital footprint with being hidden or private. Branding our identities has become more and more important in the digital age and if students and teachers aren't actively managing their digital footprint, then who is? Managing your digital footprint starts with asking questions like: Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your passions and beliefs? The important lesson with managing your digital footprint is that everything we do online should represent who we are and what we stand for and we must have the knowledge that this representation will stick with us potentially forever.

How can we teach students and teachers to celebrate themselves and their beliefs so that their digital footprint represents a picture of someone they are proud to be? I've written about some fun ways to get these conversations going by helping students reflect upon what their digital message says about them. An interesting way to start such a conversation might be with this video which really can get students and their teachers thinking about who they are and what they stand for.

I believe across many countries, this is the same problem. Many teachers who are Gen x (Aged 35 - 45) are themselves not familiar with social media, and they are confused with the terms of digital footprint, social media and web 2.0. Many of these teachers have little concept of blogs and personal branding, and some are even adverse to getting into social media themselves.

How are you going to teach social media safety tips if you do not participate in social media?

I believe pitching social media to the teenagers is one thing, another part of it is to educate the parents. By simply taking responsibility and following your children on Facebook and Twitter, your children would take the little extra steps in monitoring their own language and posts on social media. There are few tools and privacy setting that they previously ignore, and due to parents or teachers following them, they have to start learning how to use them.

This concept of self censorship and monitoring personal online footprints would be ignored by some, as teenagers have yet grasped the benefits of forming networks and learning from people with similar interests. Many of the teenagers will still think they know everything will not care about the things they talk about online.

Role model. I believe studies should be carried out on some of the "Superstars" on social media, and some of the teenager bloggers who have successful leveraged on social media and branded themselves and created a following. Having someone to look up to, teenagers can learn the value and benefits of benefits and how it can elevate one's status.

I personally do not think negative reinforcements work well either. The examples of teenagers getting into trouble with the law after some Facebook comments do not seem to resonate at all, as many of them think "This will not happen to me." There are always laws governing jay-walking, teenage smoking and drinking, however with these laws, it would give these law breaking teenagers a form of excitement and an adrenalin rush, just to "get away with it."

Monitoring social media and Googling your children's name and avatar should be a priority for parents and not just for the schools, and as for the schools, well, everyone should start getting on social media just to be part of this emerging communication channel which would definitely be part of our lives in years to come.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Facebook vs. Twitter comparison

Some statistics:

Facebook US and Global traffic ranking: 2
7 day Average daily time on Site by Users: 32.2 minutes
# of users 400 million

Twitter US and Global traffic ranking: 12
7 day Average daily time on Site by Users: 7.8 minutes
# of users 75 million

It is hard to say which is better as the uses of these 2 social networking sites are different.

Facebook Strengths:
Organize events
Sheer number of active users
Include photos, videos and other information in feed.
Direct communication (instant messaging)

Twitter Strengths:
Market research
Viral messages (RT function)
Great Internet reach. (Can follow others without them reciprocating)
Real Time information. (trending topics)

There is not really a question when it comes to which one to use for a corporation. The best practices from successful companies show that as the number of channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate. So why not use both?

There are many tools that allow you to have your accounts linked, but I would recommend just "cut and paste" relevant status updates for the other platform as not all information are relevant, especially RTs.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leveraging Social Media as Business Tool

This presentation is part of my series of talks in Singapore on Social Media.

This was done on 9 Mar, 2010 at NUS Alumni house.

Special thanks to the Office of Alumni Relations and Lisa Marie Lip Ka Ai for making this talk successful.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Introduction to Social Media (Singapore Presentation)

I have given several talks in many cities and universities, and in Singapore, after speaking to several Social Media consulting companies, I find that most of these companies seemed to be "Traditional Media Company" who do not want to relinquish their control and old on their customers, and advice their customers that "Social Media should be left for the experts"

I don't get how some of these "Social Media Gurus" and "Consultants" have only 300 followers on their Twitter account and claim to be experts and advice their clients to give them full control of their Social Media.

I disagree with a lot of them who share this view as I believe that the whole organization should be involved and there should be a clear company policy to be inclusive and transparent. New HR Policies and workshops should be conducted to train the organization on how to engage with the public.

15 Best Practices of Social Media Implemented by the Top 100 Brands By Jeff Bullas is a great article which shares how some companies successfully ran their social media campaigns.

I believe a Social Media consultant should help a company plan policies and plan their social media campaign as long as help define their ROI and manage the campaign rather that take over the whole Social Media for the company.

So if you are looking into getting on the social media bandwagon, make sure you choose a competent social media strategist.

-- Robin Low