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.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Social media is just another channel"

Okay guys, tell me, how many times have you heard PR consultants tell you this? Or seen this statement in a slide? Deep down inside - somewhere - I cringe everytime I hear a PR consultant waving off social media saying: "Social media is just another channel."

Social media is the channel - right. The message is still what matters - right. But wait a minute - don't you think it lends a bit of credence to say that the way you deliver your message (or even your message itself!) changes when your channel changes?

Just a couple of random thoughts I had when I was sulking in the corner and thinking a bit more on the subject:

Does a change in "channel" represent a societal change?
Someone needs to help me back this up with historical data, but we've often credited the Reformation to the invention of the printing press. Also, not too few civil revolutions. The written form of languages have evolved thanks to the printed press (Simplified Chinese anyone?) You also don't have to be too much of a sociologist or historian to observe major changes in the values and acceptable norms in our society over these couple of years.

So, if society is changing, shouldn't messages change also to resonate more / be more relevant to the audience? The channel is just indicative of a wider societal change. If anything, internet culture is a good indicator of how society is changing / modernising.

Just another stray thought here: it's really difficult to say if technology is impacting the way society evolves or if society is evolving independent of technology, but is being made much more apparent thanks to technology. It is, however, clear that both are closely-linked; as-if con-joined at the hip.

I'll just close off this post with three key things I think communicators need to note about their audience:

Your audience wants things straight.Cut the willy-nilly small talk and get right to the point. Positioning should happen in five words or don't bother. Too many tagged-on adjectives and superlatives spoil the broth. Sadly, this is easy to observe and say, but very hard to practice.

Your audience wants more than you can give. I think since the advent of the internet, companies have started getting more questions than they care to answer. There's never a product announcement from a major tech company that doesn't attract open questions / discussion on the internet. Which GPS chipset do you use? What are your margins? Do you plan to support this product the next 5 years? It's the age of the specialist-highly-detailed question. Do you have an answer?

Your audience wants to talk back, so listen! This was one of the first lessons I learned about using today's "channel". Feedback is an incredibly component. More so, oftentimes, than "messaging". The fact you listen is an incredible message in itself. Today's audience pay attention to those who listen first. Useful thought, no?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Slowly slipping to communism totalitarianism

I'm reading with concern the The Malaysian Insider's report on plans for a "Malaysian Green Dam". Apparently, there are plans to implement an internet filter in Malaysia. Tender documents seen by The Malaysian Insider say tenders are:

  • to evaluate the readiness and feasibility for the implementation of Internet filter at Internet gateway level, through assessments on the existing infrastructure and existing products in the market.
  • to evaluate and estimate costs for the implementation.
  • to study the existing legal framework in addressing content filtering and no censorship issue, including the impacts that are caused by the implementation to Internet users and the Malaysian economy.
Sounds like gibberish? Here's the Cliff's Notes version: The Malaysian government is planning how it can best censor the internet.

As @derekw points out, this is in direct contradiction with the MSC's Bill of Guarantees which promise "no internet censorship."

Now, the discussion can easily devolve into politics and speculation on what the government is actually trying to block. But even before that, the fundamental questions is: "should censorship come from our government?"

Sure, the excuse could be to "block undesirable elements" from our society. But the government should govern, not play the parent. The key difference being parents are given the uni-lateral right to decide what's right for their children while the government decides according to the people's will.

And I hardly see any people's will decrying the "harmful elements" of the internet. And if there are, isn't it the responsibility of the parents to block it? Isn't it your responsibility to surf only to the clean sites? Isn't it your responsibility to sift thru the lies and get the truth?

If the government dictates what we can or cannot see, are we slowly slipping to communism totalitarianism? Are the communists totalitarians winning after all, after all these years?

*Note: Edits made to this post after useful and sound feedback from StefStefStef and Jia-Yi. See the comments for more info. Thanks guys.