Who"s davidlian?

My photo
davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can't fight Gravity

Do you know why an apple fell on Isaac Newton's head?

Because he was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Okay, lame joke aside, this post is about Gravity, that long awaited twitter client for S60 (3rd ed or 5th ed) that was just released yesterday. The news is, I've just gone out and bought it. Yup, probably the best RM 38.23 I've paid for a mobile app.

Gravity - Share on OviGravity - Share on Ovi

What I liked about Gravity:
- It's very, very fast to load and start-up
- but still maintains a swish-looking yet clean interface
- easy access to pictures and instant twitpicking (yes! now pictures from my N96 straight to twitter!)
- 'Kinetic' scrolling (the one where scrolling gets faster and faster as you hold on to the key or tap the screen)
- Big tabs for Search, Contacts etc. and little tabs you can scroll sideways for other menus.

What I would like to add to Gravity:
- How do I post my GPS data from Gravity? It should be there...but I'm not getting how to do it.
- Font-size changes
- More integration with S60 OS (e.g. add an option to the context menu of the camera app to twitpick a just-taken photo).

Gravity - Share on OviGravity - Share on Ovi

That said, I think Gravity in its first iteration has already covered all the basics and got them exceedingly right. Well done! I can foresee myself tweeting a lot more from my mobile now.

On a side-note on twitter, I was at #KLTweetup last Friday. It was a pretty good meetup and especially fantastic to finally put faces to all those random KL tweeters I follow. Pictures can be found here.

In fact, it was so successful, the folks behind it have started planning for a second one. Sign up here.

If you go, we may bump into each other.

Monday, March 30, 2009

PR people and bloggers: why engage in the first place?

First off, I'd like to remind you that I've got a disclaimer somewhere on this blog that anything and everything posted here is solely my opinion. This isn't work related, and does not reflect my employer's opinion. It doesn't even reflect my fellow PR colleagues opinion. Any similarities in opinion is purely coincidental.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I wanted to latch on to a timely post by Shaolintiger last week to put forward some thoughts on the matter of PR people engaging bloggers in Malaysia. And problems that subsequently ensue.

I believe the crux of the issue is that there is still largely misunderstanding on both sides to this core question: "What's the point of engagement?"

To the PR person:

It's no big secret that more and more clients today are asking agencies about engaging the blogosphere, twit-o-sphere or whatever "-sphere" you can think of.

Most clients don't understand social media, and I can't help but think the responsibility falls squarely on the agency to educate them. Both PR people and clients need to understand what social / peer media can and cannot do. Expectations, goals and objectives of any kind of engagement needs to be set right.

What's your goal in engaging the blogger? So that they can write a positive "write-up" about your client's products / services? If so, I'd say paying for the advertorial is probably the best way to go.

Let me give you an alternative viewpoint: what if your engagement with the social / peer media isn't so you can see positive blogposts, but so you can involve yourself and your brand in the conversation that's going all around you regardless of whether you take part or not, and add value?

What if the objective of holding a blogger event is to listen to what bloggers have to say about your product rather than having them go home and re-printing your press release?

Social media is about the conversation. Companies can participate, or they can pay some money and take an ad. Like what an editor once told me.

My humble advice is don't think the blogger owes you anything just because they attended your event. The onus is on you, the company and the PR person advising the company, to make sure what you've got to tell the blogger is worth the blogger re-telling, if coverage is your goal.

To the blogger:

Here's what PR people can do: pre-release scoops, direct contact with some top people (CEOs?), connect you to in-depth discussions with experts from client companies, get you product samples, previews of upcoming products, and ensure your feedback gets listened to and acted upon.

Here's what PR people don't do (generally): place advertorials or do advertising. This function is the media-buying agency, whom the client pays to insert advertisements / advertorials in the right places.

PR people shouldn't be out there to get free publicity. Many are (I won't deny that). But they shouldn't be. Bang them on their head if they try that stunt on you.

PR people are not out there to con you so that you write good things on your blogs about their clients, for free. If their goal is deception, they should be hung out to dry and rightly so.

PR people are there to facilitate conversations between a company and its interested audiences.

If you're a blogger who's heard about the upcoming cool new phone and think its worth your time and space to blog about it, the PR person is your best bet to get you that hands-on with the device before its even launched.

If you have a grouse against a certain company, the PR person is the person that should be listening and taking the feedback back to the company and making sure there's follow-up. Even if its to tell you they can't do anything about it.

If you're not interested, tell them and the PR person should go away.

This doesn't mean clients shouldn't advertise on your blogs and pay PR people to get free publicity. Advertising still exists and will continue to exist. It just isn't the purview of the PR agency. Rather, the right people who should be placing advertisements on your blogs are media buying agencies who might work for the same client as the PR person. Of course, this doesn't stop you from proposing an advertising package to the PR person you're working with if you think its something that will add value to the client.

So what's the root of the problem?

I can't help but think its the PR community's fault for bringing this onto ourselves in the first place by setting expectations wrongly when working with the blogosphere.

ShaolinTiger is right when he says:

...the sooner YOU poorly informed PR hacks educate yourselves the sooner you will reap real benefits from engaging bloggers and forming relationships with them.
The key word is understand. Social media is not as simple as the one event = 8 write-ups formula many 'PR' agencies peddle to clients. On second thought, even your traditional media isn't as simple as that. We could all do with a little more thinking, research, and just asking ourselves: "Would I do this to myself if I was on the other end of the stick?"

Please feel free to discuss if you've something to add. Comments welcome.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's Twitter? Why is it so great?

I've become resigned to the fact that only a few people will ever get Twitter. But what I'd really like is for all my friends to be on Twitter.

So here's Ewan Williams, co-founder of Twitter explaining Twitter to the masses at TED. He does a great job too, and if you're a social media person - you should keep a copy of this somewhere on your hard drive.