Who"s davidlian?

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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.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Was that your "publishing" voice or "conversation" voice?

Perhaps plugging nicely to the post just below, Mashable posted a story about a woman getting sued for $50,000 for a tweet. The Twitterer was Abonnen and she had 22 followers.

The offense? She was tweeting to a friend:

"@JessB123 You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay."

Sounds like a tweet you could have written? Yeah, me too. Apparently, though, Horizon Realty thinks this was tantamount to defamation. Is it? That depends on the context of the word "moldy" and what Abonnen meant by saying "Horizon realty thinks it's okay."

It's like me telling my colleague: "You sure you want my moldy old sandwich in the fridge?" when factually, there really isn't any mold on the sandwich and "old" refers to the sandwich having been in existence for the past 5 hours.

What I'm alluding to is the tone and manner by which we converse on Twitter. Do we think of what we write in a "publishing" voice (the same way we might in a blog or an article) or do we write in a "conversational" voice, like how we'd talk to a friend and insert contextual quips.

You don't talk to your friends the same way you would write a press release. And often, sarcasm and exaggeration comes into play too. Twitter, being the social network it is, means people are often talking in their "conversation" voice. We're talking to like-minded people who understand the things we say and the way we speak.

Should we now carefully vet every 140 characters we post to ensure in no way can it be taken out of context and be construed as libelous? I wonder how this suit will change the face of tweeting.

Should we be afraid, very afraid, of #streamyxsucks?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can you purchase conversation?

So Nuffnang's launched a new service called - appropriately - ChurpChurp. The proposition is simple: create a way for advertisers to easily propogate "word-of-mouth" campaigns whilst allowing top tweeters (not twitterers ok?) to make a pretty penny. But the question is: "will it work?"

I'm not the first to analyse this (heavy work day and all), so you should check out these posts by Shaolintiger's and Bytebot's for additional viewpoints. What I'm really interested in is the dynamic of introducing in-stream advertising into a medium such as Twitter.

Advertising on the web isn't new and it isn't bad. Websites and blogs cost money to host. And let's face it, a good blogger deserves to make some money from his content. But I've always maintained that there's a right way to advertise and then there's the wrong way. Google's probably the best example: Adsense is genius! And Nuffnang themselves are quite the revelation in our Malaysian market (You'll notice the Nuffnang banner ad at the top of my blog.)

But banner advertising, large-rectangle advertising, text advertising have always been tolerable because they are clear and distinct from the actual content of the blog / website. And the best kind are non-intrusive - large enough that you'll notice it, but small enough that you aren't irritated by it.

Then there's the other kind of advertising. Paid for advertorials, not unlike the kind you'd find in print. The modus operandi is simple: the blogger is paid a certain sum for writing an article. And the article is added to the site's content stream (blogposts, stories whatever). Properly disclosed, the occasional advertorial can be informative, and even useful. But here's the twist: Twitter isn't a blog.

Imagine: if half your friends whom you've been having awesome conversations with on Twitter suddenly joined ChurpChurp. Then suddenly, an advertiser purchases an ad campaign where half of them get included in the automated tweet list. And your Twitter stream gets filled with 20 of the exact same tweet from 20 of your pals.

The ideal situation (for the company that paid for the ad, at least) is you get all excited about these "tweets" you're seeing and you go and do whatever the tweets tell you. Or start a conversation.

The reality, I suspect, is much uglier. You'll get irritated, annoyed by the in-flux of ads and seriously have your respect for the offending tweeter damaged.

"Just unfollow them!" I heard you say?

Well, I've thought about it. But I still love having conversations and being connected to those friends.

"Use another platform? What about Facebook?"

Well, those 20 friends don't often chat on Facebook. The action takes place on Twitter.

"Well, why don't you just tell them you don't like that their allowing in-stream advertising?"

That's probably the most sane approach. But as I hope you'll start to see, it isn't about to be so cut and dried. And if they simply refuse, well... it's become a tough decision for you.

How would you feel about the advertiser that got 20 of your friends to post tweets about their latest products or upcoming event? I doubt there'd be much positivity. Not only do those tweet-ads irritate you, they also push you to making the tough decision to follow/unfollow some of those people you may have been enjoying a great deal of interaction with. Which makes me really question the value of advertising thru these means.

If you're a brand that's looking to reach out, Twitter seems to be the perfect place to facilitate two-way conversation between brands and customers or other interested parties. It's a great place to get a great story (or a quirky one) spread around thru re-tweets too. But instead of just buying tweet-ads, these tactics call for investing into a long-term plan to maintain a company / brand presence on Twitter. Dell's a great success story. And locally, there's MAS, AirAsia and P1WiMax too.

Conversations can't be purchased. Getting 20, 100 or even 10,000 people to re-tweet your ad isn't going to generate the kind of good-will, interaction and stickiness (marketeers love this word) that creating your own free Twitter account and actually interacting with people will.

Monday, July 20, 2009

NASA's Apollo 11 Highlight reel

The wonders of digital technology today. It's been a week since this has posted, and if you've been living under a rock, you've come to the right place. I'm late too (blame it on work)!

The folks at Hollywood have teamed up with the geeks at NASA to restore the original footage of the first every landing on the moon. You can apparently now see the reflection of the earth on Neil Armstrong's helmet. I simply love space, don't you?