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

I’m in a book!

Oct 30, 2008

So, I’ve been in the army for most part of the last 3 weeks. I do have things that I want to write about and share with you guys, but I’m not going to do that just yet.

Today, though, there’s huge news to announce. The Age of Conversation 2 has now been launched. You can (and really should) get a copy – hardback, paperback and digital copies are all available.

I’m really honored to be a part of it and to have a page in the book. It’s really brilliant how the web opens up opportunities. I would never have imagined being able to be a part of a project like this.

But don’t buy it just because of me. Lots of bright, intelligent minds have contributed as well – many who are brighter and more intelligent than me. It’s amazing to be able to a part of this group, and have my name together with the following:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Amazing people, all contributing to what is definitely an amazing project. And all the profits go to charity.

You can get the book here.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Press

Sep 26, 2008

Brad Shorr from Word Sell, Inc shares six reasons why business blogs should welcome negative comments.

All are really good reasons, but here’s one that I want to point out specially.

clipped from www.wordsellinc.com

Fifth, negative comments in and of themselves are unlikely in and of themselves to drive business away. Other readers are more interested in your response to a negative comment than the comment itself. For example, the comment “How come your sales rep never calls on me?!$*” by itself doesn’t look good. However, if you respond with, “We are extremely sorry about that. It is never our intention to ignore any customer. You will be hearing from your rep this afternoon, and we hope it’s not too late to rebuild our relationship,” you may find yourself actually attracting new business and turning indifferent customers into evangelists. Of, you could choose not to blog, and risk having customer tell twenty of his friends how unresponsive you are.

blog it

Bad comments are not just bad comments – they are opportunities for you to respond and build new relationships.

In today’s world, you can monitor and track whatever is said anywhere. And as such, I think that Brad’s point can be applied to anything that’s said about you, not just comments on your blog.

As long as people are talking about you, it can work in your favor. Even if it’s bad, it’s a chance for you to jump in and contribute to the conversation. It’s a chance for you to correct any mistakes – be it on the report’s end or on your end. It’s a chance for you to build new connections.

There’s no such thing as bad press, just opportunities to respond.

How do you respond to the negative things that are said about you?

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Thinking About the Blog Experience

Sep 22, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole experience of blogging and reading blogs. In general, I would think that most people just read blogs, maybe leave a comment, then move on. We’ve all heard that blogs are a conversation, but are they really? Yes, conversation can happen on blogs, but is the platform really the best for conversation? I have my doubts.

So, here’s what’s been on my mind. How would you make your blog more interactive? Not gimmick-interactive, but really interactive, the kind of interaction that builds relationships and community and dialog. I’d say it goes all the way into the fundamental blog experience, and redefining (or tweaking) that experience slightly.

One thing that’s on my mind, for example, is comments. Currently, comments are practically always on the bottom of a post. It’s almost like a footnote/appendix. Why not have comments more as “notes in the margin” instead? Maybe have a side margin (like another sidebar, that can be toggled on/off), where the comments run alongside the post, so that comments can be more ‘in context’ – you can comment specifically on a certain paragraph, for example, and people can see that comment at the same time as while they read the paragraph. There are probably technical details to consider, but that’s just one idea that’s been on my mind, and I think it could help provide more flow to conversations on a blog.

Or why not have an easy way for other bloggers to embed your post or part of it? Something sort of like Clipmarks, but a functionality provided by the blog itself, so that people without the Firefox plugin can also embed it.

What do you think? Are there ways which we can redefine the fundamental blog experience to really make it more interactive and easier for conversation? Or ways to make it more of an experience, something more immersive, rather than just something people read for a minute and leave?

Or do you think that it doesn’t matter and that blogs are fine as they are? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your opinions.

*note: This post is cross-posted (with slight modifications) from the discussion I started on Seth Godin’s Triiibes Network

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