Tag Archives: Twitter

She’s everywhere

On September 4, 2010, my org, the Junior Marketing Association – University of the Philippines Manila (JMAUPM), held a seminar on various online marketing strategies. The guest speakers for the afternoon were Zack Bulatao of CreatiVoices, freelancer Tricia Gosingtian, Camille Co of Coexist, and Beam Mariano of Artwine. Each of them shared their experiences as well as tips on how to market one’s brand. Miss Gosingtian in particular elicited much excitement and anticipation from the audience as she is the most prominent figure among the four.

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosintian)

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosingtian)

Tricia, despite the fact that she is not involved with any particular company unlike the other speakers, is arguably better-known because of her internet popularity. Since she uses a plethora of platforms to promote “Tricia Gosingtian, Inc.”, it is really no surprise that most of the audience members know her or have at least heard about her. It is her knack for for projecting such an appealing public persona that made her a fixture in the Philippine social scene and blogosphere.

Surprisingly though, Tricia shared that her celebrity status came by accident and insisted that she did not expect this kind of attention from people. She said that her so-called success stemmed from her “hobby of being self-centered” and everything else snowballed from that. What began as her simple outlet for her creativity (she is a professional photographer after all) has catapulted her to internet fame, so much so that she has approximately 19,000 followers on Tumblr (it is is ranked second in Topblogs.com.ph in the Fashion and Beauty category), 13,000 likes on Facebook, 9,000 followers on Twitter, and and 5,000 fans on LOOKBOOK.nu. She’s also in YouTube, deviantART, Flickr, Chictopia, and has her own food blog. One might ask how does a typical 20-year-old girl achieve this kind of feat (in less than two years’ time, mind you)? Her secret is remarkably simple: by being everywhere.

Tricia’s meteoric rise to the cyber-stratosphere is a well-thought-of and carefully-orchestrated effort on her part. By capitalizing on her initial popularity on Tumblr, she was able to redirect her readers to other web platforms in which she is also using. It is a product of a domino effect of sorts. When people see different links, especially to social networking sites, on her blog, the tendency is for them to click on them and eventually follow, like, or become a fan of her account on that site.

Organizations and brands can learn a thing or two from Tricia’s marketing strategy, specifically in tapping online communities and promoting online. In order to achieve online visibility, one must learn how to catch the attention of one’s target audience or primary stakeholders and have them tuning in for more. In Tricia’s case, she gave people something nice to look at in the form of her well-taken photographs and her insights on fashion. Brands should be able to captivate their target market by providing content that is both relevant to their cause and in line with the interests of their audience. Some actually commit the very common mistake of relying solely on the existence of a Facebook fan page in the belief that the mere presence of such would already suffice for visibility effort. In order to establish oneself in the internet, consistency and more importantly, active participation (responsiveness) of the brand is necessary to effectively achieve their cause.

Certainly, successful online marketing does not stop at existence for existence’s sake. To be a front-runner on the realm of internet promotions means that one should grab every opportunity (seize whatever popular web platform at the time) for marketing oneself. Only through that could one reach popularity of Tricia Gosingtian levels.


Social media geography

We all know how much new social media has pretty much changed the way how we view the world. Before its advent, everyone seemed so far away, so disconnected. We were all limited to our relatively small networks. “Networking” seemed to be something a privilege that only the truly personable (or those who work in Public Relations) enjoy. Ever since social networking sites (SNS) took flight, everyone was given the chance to connect with people and the best part was that it’s free.

During the early years leading to the social media boom of today, there weren’t a lot of things to do: just plain blogging and social networking per se. Nowadays you have a plethora of choices ranging from video-blogging to micro-blogging, from SNS catering to professionals to SNS catering to consenting adults (you know what I mean by this). There’s really something for everyone. Given that, competition between like web services only made the reach of social media even more vast. In effect, there’s more than one site offering the same kind of service.

The 2010 Social Networking Map

The 2010 Social Networking Map

Just like how the world today churned out superpowers like the USA and the UK, the digital realm also has website equivalents who lead the pack. But unlike the global political landscape, the number of users of a particular social media site is directly proportional to the power that it wields on society as a whole. In fact, if we were to create an alternate map of the world according to the number of users of such websites, we’d find Facebook as the most populated with Habbo and Twitter coming in second and third respectively. It’s also interesting to note that there are some sites which have somehow lost their power in maintaining their netizens within their borders (yes, exoduses do happen and is best exemplified by the emigration from Friendster and MySpace over to Facebook). We can also see from the map some sites which are slowly gaining some foothold in the global social media environment. It won’t be long when they will eventually surpass existing SNS giants. Who knows how long the golden age of Facebook will last. We, the netizens, dictate what’s hot and what’s not, after all.

It’s amazing how many people are already wired but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not everyone has access to the internet and thus what this represents is only a fraction of the entire human population. Just imagine how much bigger these redefined continents would be should everyone pick their social media ponies. An interesting paradox, however, is that no matter how big those continents could get, the power of the internet can make it feel just the opposite.


Tumblr and then split (My case against excessive reblogging)

Each website has a unique way of obtaining its fair share of regular users and subscribers: be it through an innovative platform, a clever marketing strategy, or simply a fresh take on an old idea. We all know how Facebook suddenly took the Philippines by storm and in effect forced tech-savvy social butterflies (read: the middle class) to flee from the much maligned Friendster to migrate to their site. Most former users cite the overcrowding and the “lowering of standards” because of the prevalence of the so-called “jejemon” crowd. Facebook somehow gave the promise of an egalitarian society (free from outrageous custom HTML/CSS and a plethora of embedded YouTube videos and glitter graphics) that caters to those who believe that social networking should be done in a clean, streamlined, and user-friendly interface.

Lately it seems, that mass indeed followed class. Soon enough the everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, with the people whom the digital elite have ditched for Facebook slowly making their presence felt in the new “netizen” stronghold. And then came Tumblr. Tumblr was in many ways like Facebook except only a few people in the Philippines knew about. Once again, the upper classes came running to Tumblr, thinking “Sanctuary!” Whilst Facebook has yet to have its foundations crumble like Friendster and MySpace before it, Tumblr continues to be somewhat of an seemingly exclusive online community, despite the fact that it is very much open for all.

Why use Tumblr anyway? For one thing, Tumblr has the sharing features of Facebook (e.g. photos, links, videos, audio, etc.) minus the restrictive attitude it has regarding who can see what you post, much like unprotected Tweets are on Twitter. It is, for the most part, a great marriage between the two other sites I’ve mentioned but is actually a blog host site. Like Twitter, you can easily follow anyone you think is interesting enough so you can keep up with them. It takes away the awkwardness of having to ask permission to be someone’s friend, as with Facebook. Since it is a blogging platform in the first place, it is much like WordPress and Blogger in the sense that you can post whatever you want, when you want. In sum, Tumblr makes use of each website mentioned’s individual strength and condensing it into one.

An example of some people's cynical attitude towards the typical Tumblr post and aesthetic.

An example of some people's cynical attitude towards the typical Tumblr post and aesthetic

But if it’s all good, then why am I even writing this entry? As an old-school blogger, it somehow disappoints me that Tumblr is just being used to rehash other people’s general statements instead of actually bothering to write an actual entry on it. Since it is immensely popular nowadays in the country (which, I may add, has a relatively poor educational system), more Filipinos are opting for the easy way to blog. It basically has little or no effort required to convey an idea. One simply reblogs and reblogs without actually divulging anything substantial from their life experiences, which of course is the very core purpose of a blog. I, for one, believe that any blog, micro or not, should be an avenue wherein people can practice their communication skills. Tumblr, I think, is a fad that cultivates the disease of laziness that was inherited by Filipinos.

I really have nothing against people who use Tumblr but for those who just join for the sake of reblogging everything that they see, it really bothers me. It has somehow become a popularity contest wherein people share information not because they want other people to see it, but for them to be credited and be followed. I feel that if one has to reblog, one must also provide some insight as to why he or she decided to reblog it. I must admit that it is somewhat hypocritical of me because I am sometimes guilty of being an active over-sharer of things I find interesting but there should be some substance to the person behind all the things that he or she shares. I understand completely that not everyone will agree with me but I simply want blogs to be like blogs again. It’s either that or consider Tumblr as an altogether different kind of service. The whole concept of a blog is somehow lost since what one re-blogs is not necessarily one’s own thoughts but the thoughts (or photo representing said thought) of another person.

I must confess that it is hard to rationalize my jaded attitude towards Tumblr and put it into words. Maybe it is because of my preference for “traditional” blogging (which is based more on writing) or maybe it is because I haven’t tried it yet. Who knows? I might try it later on so I can finally put to rest my dissonant cognitions regarding this issue. However, probably by the time that I do decide to register an account, everyone else might have already tumbled and split to a new social networking site.


Tweeting is the new black

Twitter, it seems, is making quite a splash in the Philippine shores. Although it is a relatively new phenomenon here in the country, people around the world have already been very much acquainted with this micro-blog service. First thing’s first, what on earth is a micro-blog anyway? This reminds me of the time when people back in the early 2000s were very much baffled with the term “blog,” which by the way is short for “web log.” Of course, we all found out later on that it was simply a digital medium in which we can freely share our thoughts with the rest of the globe (or not, depending on your privacy settings) and comment on the musings of others as well. Micro-blogging is just that, only made simpler.

Blogger

As I've mentioned in my first post here, I used to write in Blogger.com.

Neologisms aside, I remember back when Blogger.com (that’s “Blogspot” for you old-school bloggers out there) was the de rigueur blogging service that our adolescent versions of ourselves signed up for. LiveJournal and Xanga were popular too but most teens favored Blogger because of the more user-friendly interface and of course, the option to customize its appearance. What’s funny was that back then, people were very much concerned with having really long blog entries (I am guilty of this) with the hope that some random classmate or friend (who happens to have a blog of his or her own) would be intrigued and thus comment on it. Also, if you post regularly and more intriguingly, that person might add you to his or her blogroll. There also came a time when photo-blogs were the “in” thing and had people migrating to Multiply (which has now been dominated by online merchants). Again, the personal branding bug has bitten us hard and the itch that came with it (to publicize part if not all of our personal lives, no less) is insatiable. Nowadays, however, times have indeed changed.

Twitter

Follow me, @zidvicious, on Twitter!

The creation of Twitter (as well as Plurk) has changed the way people blog forever. With the addition of the suffix micro-, it meant that blogging is now made easier (in the same way micro-miniskirts made the women who wore them seem “easier”). It is easier in the sense that you don’t have to compete with yourself or fellow bloggers with who has the longer post. The challenge with Twitter is how do you compress your thoughts into 140 characters or less. It becomes even more challenging if, like me, one prefers to spell out everything. I have always been a staunch believer that if you have the leisure of typing out words in full (read: if you’re using a keyboard), you should.  The only time I deem it acceptable to shorten words is when you’re SMS-ing someone. Add to that the fact that I have a lot of thoughts running though my head at any given time. It makes for quite a debate with myself as to what words to use and what phrases to contract to fit into the limit.

I think that the reason why most people sign up for Twitter is the ability to “follow” celebrities (or in my case, fashion blogs and modeling agencies) for real-time updates on what they’re doing at the moment. It’s the feeling of being somewhat of a fly-on-the-wall (especially if said celebrity uses TwitPic or TweetPhoto) that makes fans seem closer to the people they idolize. It must be noted also that Plurk does not have the kind of prominence that Twitter has, mainly because the latter capitalized on the already established popularity of its famous users. The “verified account” badge makes it more credible. However, some use Twitter to make themselves feel like celebrities in their own right, in terms of “Tweeting” every excruciating detail of their relatively boring everyday lives.

"Fail Whale"

It takes more than one click of the Refresh button to make the "Fail Whale" go away.

On the other hand, some people are more sensible by following media institutions like GMA, ABS-CBN, BBC, CNN, and the like to get news updates from all over the world. It amazes me how much traffic goes on in Twitter especially when big news breaks. Sometimes, it cannot accommodate everyone and thus prompts the “Fail Whale” graphic to appear. During functional hours, however, Twitter can also be used as a platform in which organizations can make announcements or maybe press releases; with the message more easy to understand and direct to the point. An organization can somehow gauge the number of its target audiences by the number of followers they have or by how issues related to them are trending in the Twitter-verse.

Profile of a Twitter User

Companies are starting to use Twitter in promoting their brands.

Even though Twitter has somehow convinced people to start micro-blogging, it hasn’t stopped people from using conventional blogs like Blogger and WordPress. This comes as a relief to people who think that writing for more than one paragraph is dead. At first, I was rather skeptical in signing up for a micro-blog because I was convinced that writing should be done in its most traditional sense (length and depth being the primary factors that I judge upon). I have come to realize eventually that you can indeed be both insightful and meaningful in less than 140 characters; it really depends on how you construct your thoughts in order to convey a complete idea. Communication may be more compact nowadays but it’s the quality of it that counts at the end of the day.

NOTE: You may have notice that I did not include Tumblr in this post. Much as I want to talk further about the Tumblr phenomenon here, I shall do so in my next entry since it demands a more in-depth discussion.


Fashion goes digital

If there’s something that I’m very thankful to the internet, it’s for fueling my interests to a fever pitch. As anyone with eyes could deduce, I’m quite the fashion enthusiast. I (or Bill Gates, rather) have mentioned in my earlier post that the internet has made the world smaller for us and thus making people with shared interests feel close together. Before the internet became mainstream, the fashion industry was something that only people in its inner sanctum enjoyed. It was an interest that was limited to people who can easily access the world of glitz and glamor (read: rich). What the internet did was somehow democratize fashion and opened its usually locked backstage doors to a broader style-savvy audience.

The early 2000s was the transitional period wherein fashion slowly made itself more accessible to the public. Among the pioneers of digitalizing the industry, I believe, is Style.com. Style.com, launched in September of 2000, was the springboard of this fashion revolution. It is essentially an extension of Vogue magazine’s editorial authority, providing an all-around experience of the industry through news, trend reports,  and extensive runway coverage; this time in a digital format. The site would later on branch out in 2005 to now-defunct Men.Style.com (merged with GQ.com) in an attempt to appeal to the male demographic. Similar sites followed, like Elle.com and Fashionista.com for instance, with the same promise of a peek into the world of La Mode. However, it was only until October 2008 that a Philippine-based website of the same format was launched. Like its predecessors, StyleBible.ph aims to give women (and certainly some men) a site that caters to their sartorial needs.

Style.com

Style.com

GQ.com (formerly Men.Style.com)

GQ.com (formerly Men.Style.com)

With this newfound accessibility to all things fashion, enthusiasts are now given the chance to be insiders. With the internet being an avenue for free hosting of social commentary, fashion forums and fashion blogging soon became popular. In line with this, online communities dedicated to dressing well (read: LOOKBOOK.nu and The Fashion Spot) flourished. Blogs like The Fashionisto, Fashion Gone Rogue, Design Scene, Fashionologie, and Coutorture too became the go-to sites for more industry scoop. Aside from these, street style blogging (scouting and photographing “fashionable” people out and about in public) also took flight. Sites like Face HunterStreet Etiquette, and The Sartorialist give a different perspective of fashion, showing that everyday people can pull off great style.

What’s great about this sudden boom of fashion-related websites is that the typical fashionista’s desire to know more about trends and how the industry works is somehow satisfied. It also exposes him or her to the wide world of opportunities within the microcosm that is fashion. It is not unusual nowadays for ordinary people to somehow interact with industry members and insiders, primarily because of Twitter as well as Facebook.

TheFashionSpot.com

TheFashionSpot.com

TheFashionisto.com

TheFashionisto.com

Certainly, the playing field has been spread out evenly. As I’ve said, the web certainly made fashion more democratic. Anyone who has a blog can easily be part of the posse. It seems every detail of the industry (from the designers, models, publications, photographers, etc.) has at least one site that is dedicated to it. Of course, this isn’t limited to just blogs; YouTube is quickly becoming a suitable platform in which the fashion-conscious can share their interests (I will go further into detail with that aspect soon in another entry). With the internet it seems, fashion goes beyond the realm of plain aspiration; to some, living the dream just became a whole lot easier.