Tag Archives: YouTube

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.

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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.


Real-time? For real?

Milan Men’s Fashion Week starts today and I’m pretty sure that some designers would once again use the internet to their advantage. How, you ask? Before the internet’s heyday, broadcasting various events was a task that was usually designated to a camera crew, a satellite dish, and of course, a television (yes, I might be oversimplifying this but you do get my point). People would rely on these as their way of witnessing different happenings across the globe as they occur.

Of course, much has changed ever since the so-called Age of the Internet began. With the internet, you get to watch whatever major event in real-time with more ease than you do with a conventional TV set. For one, there are less commercials. We all know how incredibly annoying it is for those 15-second-or-more clips to interrupt a live broadcast. Another reason is that you get to watch programs without having to pay extra to your cable TV provider; it also saves them the trouble of having to launch a new channel just for you. In the Philippines, pay-per-view is something that we have yet to experience after all. The internet somehow gives you more freedom to choose what you want to watch.

Going back to the subject of (the business of) fashion, labels have found a new way of engaging people to appreciate their brand. It is by livestreaming. By broadcasting fashion shows over the internet as it happens somehow generates more hype among fans of the brand. Among the pioneers of this phenomenon was Victoria’s Secret. In 1999, the lingerie giant announced a 72-hour countdown to the live webcast of their annual fashion show, which resulted in over 2 million internet viewers. Despite the attempt having some trouble due to the unexpected viewer turnout (the now-defunct web host Broadcast.com famously crashed), it worked well for the brand since the publicity that was created was tremendous. For any company or business, the public’s intensified interest over their merchandise would put them a step ahead of their competitors. It is truly advertising and marketing at its finest (not to mention, dirtiest).

Lately, it seems a lot of designers have jumped on the livestream fashion show bandwagon, namely: Burberry (they will be streaming their men’s Spring-Summer 2011 show live for the third time later tonight in 3-D), Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, among others. Some have even gone the extra mile in providing a live-chat box beneath their video players so as fans can interact with each other during the course of the show. It must be noted that McQueen’s last women’s runway show prior to his suicide in February of this year, entitled “Plato’s Atlantis,” was livestreamed on SHOWstudio.com. This was to coincide with the premiere of Lady Gaga’s single “Bad Romance.” Like what happened to Broadcast.com ten years ago, the site crashed because of the sheer number of fans of both Gaga and McQueen rushing to the site. It hasn’t stopped others from following suit though.

Nowadays, more and more showss are being aired live on the internet; everything from Oprah to internet porn are streamed live via the web. However, it has yet to provide hi-def quality images that cable TV manages to show. Also, servers still need to work on how to handle so much internet traffic going into their broadcast. Nevertheless, we should be happy of how the internet is slowly championing the idiot box as our source of visual entertainment. It means that the television experience is no longer exclusive to just television sets. That is, of course,  good news for the person whose eyes never move away from his computer screen. In short, “Yay for me!”


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.


Google is your best friend

It really comes as no surprise that a lot of people would agree (most of them students) that the internet is one of man’s greatest inventions.  Why wouldn’t it be? It practically has everything one needs to know. And with just a click of a mouse, you are able to access so much information in so little time. Who would’ve thought that something that started out as the US government’s way of sharing information within its own network blew up to something of a cultural phenomenon that is not limited to just its 50 states.

The way the internet has made life easier for most people means that all other resources for information are becoming obsolete. During the first half of the 20th Century, print and radio communication was the primary media sources. Later on, television replaced radio and now the internet is replacing television. And even more amazing is that the innovation process has only just begun. As Bill Gates mentioned in his essay Shaping the Internet Age, the internet is just in the infancy stage. There is so much that the internet has revolutionized (particularly in the field of communications) and has yet to make so. Just how big is the impact of the internet? This video that I found not so long ago showed the numbers that back up the internet’s influence over us.

Gates stressed a number of reasons behind its tremendous impact on the world, namely: making the world smaller, bringing people closer together, and making the world simpler. I would have to agree on all points, particularly the third. It seems as if an internet connection is the single most important thing to have these days if you want to survive in this era. In all honesty, I could do without television (YouTube), radio (Last.fm), or newspapers (Yahoo! News) as long as I have a desktop or laptop on hand and a router. I can’t tell you how much I get really pissed off when my internet service provider gets a glitch. The internet’s promise of having something to look forward to every time I open my browser makes it such a necessity. The fact that I am able to learn via the internet makes the Php999-a-month subscription fee to BayanDSL worthwhile.

However, not everything is all fine and dandy about the internet. It is the proverbial double-edged sword. It may have had a huge role in making everything a whole lot easier for us, but it’s that very reason that makes it potentially harmful (especially when we talk about privacy). Some people have the internet to thank for for the current success that they are enjoying (read: Justin Bieber) but it is also the same thing to blame for ruining them (basically anyone who’s had a sex tape or any incriminating document that has been passed around the web). Virtually anything that goes viral on the web has the potential to destroy one’s reputation. Cyber-bullying is also a problem and has led some people to commit suicide. Just imagine if Hitler had access to the internet during World War II and had Twitter account! Tsk tsk.

And of course there’s always the issue of intellectual property. It has, for the most part, almost killed the music industry (and to a certain extent, the film and television industries) for being the medium people use for downloading mp3s and videos. Also, it has served as the lazy student’s go-to “person.” Wikipedia is helpful and all but some push the envelope by copying and pasting whatever it is that is posted there and submits it as homework. What bothers me more is that some take pride in the Ctrl+C+Ctrl+V+Ctrl+S activity (yes, there’s a fan page on Facebook). It has led people to say that Google is your best friend because you can look up almost anything with it, and you’re bound to find it at one point or another.

Certainly, I could go on and on with the numerous pros and cons of the internet but that would be reiterating everything that Gates has mentioned in his essay. I have to give it to him for being very meticulous with the points that he raised. Surely enough there are a whole bunch of bloggers out there who have said these as well. For now, however, the challenge for us users (and occasionally abusers) of the internet is to be more responsible and a lot more careful. The least we can do now is use the power of the internet for good (particularly with bridging the gap between the “digital divide”) than use it for our own selfish needs.