Why I Love Social Media

Jan 1, 2010

NYE @ Arab Street Tweetup was amazing, and I think it epitomized everything I love about social media. It had everything – spontaneity, great conversations, new friendships – it was just awesome. And before I go on, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who made last night happen. Jerrick, Ivy, Justin Lee, Justin Ng, Hisham, Michael Cheng, Nicole, DK, Shawn, Jean, and everyone else who stopped by. I had a great time.

Here’s what happened. A few days ago, Jerrick and I were talking on Twitter. He’s back in Singapore for the holidays, and we were saying that we needed to catch up before he left again. Off the top of my head, I threw out the idea of doing something for New Years Eve with the other local social media people. Jerrick then retweeted the idea, and Ivy came across his retweet, and said it was a “great idea”. The three of us then started discussing what we should do, and by the next day, we decided (Ivy’s idea) to go hang out at Arab street for dinner, drinks and the like.

So, we created a twtvite and sent it out. People responded, and two days or so later, at the event, we had about 10 people show up. After dinner and some drinks, we decided to head to Hackerspace Singapore, for more conversations. And let me say, Hackerspace is awesome. They have a great idea, great beliefs and ideals, and I really hope they do well. But more on that another day.

Back to last night. We went to Hackerspace, and just hung out and talked. For something like 8 hours. In between that time, more people joined us, some left at various points in the night. But all in all, a group of us were there until 7 in the morning. We did a countdown, we talked about everything. From what social media meant to us individually, to our thoughts on how Singapore is like at the moment, to random conversations about toilets.

But it was great. Just hanging out, and having a great time with friends, filled with great conversation and discussion. I can’t think of a better way to start the new decade. Before yesterday, I had not met half of the people who were there before. By the end of the night (well, the morning, to be specific), I had made new friends, and I had had a night filled with great conversations, with really smart people.

So yes, that, in a nutshell, is why I love social media, and what I think it should be about. It’s what I’ve missed the most while I was on hiatus. Conversations, community and friendships, with a dash of spontaneity. We get so caught up sometimes worrying about how to monetize our blogs, how to build a reputation, how to further our personal brands, etc (and yes, don’t get me wrong, those things are important, in context), that we forget the social aspect of social media. And I think we need to always remember that.

At the end of the day, social media is about people. At least, that’s what I think.

What do you think? What is social media to you – and what do you like, or not like, about it?

Photo by mhisham

Community vs Association

Jan 21, 2009

Ok I’m not really back yet. But I thought that this news is big enough for my to break my hiatus. So apparently, an official “Association of Bloggers (Singapore)” has been formed.

For the record, I have nothing against the individual bloggers who have started the Association. I respect them and applaud the effort.

But when it comes down to it, I think this is a horribly misguided attempt. I like the idea of trying to bring together the community of bloggers. But I don’t agree with this at all.

I think it’s pointless and unnecessary, bordering on egotistical. DK, one of the commitee members, blogged that “I feel that as more and more companies and government bodies start to engage the new media, there is a need for an official association to accredit bloggers”. I could not disagree more with him this time. There is absolutely no need for this. The whole fundamental point of blogging, in my opinion, is the openness, the fact that it’s the voice of the individual, the amateur. A blog does not need an “official association to accredit” it.

And to think that they can represent all the local bloggers? I’m sorry, I have to say that’s just plain egotistical. And there’s nothing much for me to add about the whole “legal entity” aspect of it.

It’s a nice attempt, and I know their hearts are in the right place. But this time, I have to say that plain and simple, I think this is ridiculous and unnecessary.

What we need is to build the community. Not establish an association.

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WordPress Direct Misses The Point

Nov 26, 2008

Mashable tells us about WordPress Direct, which has apparently reached ten thousand users.

What do I think of this? I think it’s really sad – the number of people who don’t get it.

Yes, you can probably make a blog with decent content using a plugin like that (albeit by stealing it from others). And yes, you probably can earn money from it, because it’s optimized and all. And it doesn’t take that much work.

But in my opinion, in doing so, you miss the whole point of blogging. Blogging shouldn’t be about making money. Far from it. It shouldn’t even be about the content per se.

More than anything, in my opinion, blogging is about the community.

It’s about who you’re reaching, who you’re interacting with. It’s about the connections you make, and the people you can influence or inspire. It’s about connecting with like-minded, intelligent people and improving each other.

That’s the value of blogging, in my opinion. It’s about the people, the community.

Why do you blog?

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What Matters the Most

Nov 24, 2008

Over the past week, I’ve been attending a lot of events, as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008 Singapore.

Thinking back on the week, though, one thing struck me. The session that I enjoyed the most, and gained the most out of, in my opinion, wasn’t the talks. It wasn’t listening to experts, etc. It was the networking session – just interacting with other people who are passionate about the subject.

At the end of it all, that’s what I think matters the most – the people. Not “experts” or concepts or anything. Yes, those are important. But what’s the most important is the people (to me, at least).

What matters the most to you?

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