Author Archive for Jinny Wong


Time to vote!

Now that the Royal Wedding is out of the way, we can focus on somehting a little closer to home.

It can’t be stress enough that it is a tremendous privilege to be able vote and that we should take this opportunity to have our voice heard!

To anyone who usually says:  ”Ah, it doesn’t matter, what’s one vote.”  Please remember that it only takes a straw to break a camel’s back and you could be that straw that tips an election one way or another.

To anyone who says:  ”Ah, I don’t like either one of the leading candidates, so voting for the party I really want won’t matter, it’ll be like throwing my vote away anyway.”  I implore you not to think this way.  We are not the politicians, and we should not be playing “politics”.  We want to show the parties, whether they have the most seats, or the least, what we really think is important.

And, to anyone who says:  ”Ah, I don’t really know enough about the parties to vote.”  Simple–just Google it.  It is easier than ever to get information on party platforms and you can even take quizzes that will tell you which party you agree with most.

So, take the 15 minutes to drive to your local voting station today, on your lunch, or after work, (they’re open till 9:30pm so you can even stroll over after dinner) and just go vote.


developing nations spend more time on social networks

“We’ve seen that in mature markets where people have been online for years and where access is ubiquitous, the internet has already become a commoditised item that consumers take for granted.” says TNS chief development officer Matthew Froggatt.

A recent survey conducted by the British market research firm TNS has concluded that less digitally developed countries such as Malaysia have the most buddies in online social networks, the Japanese have the fewest.  This project conducted 50,000 interviews spanning 46 countries.

Froggatt adds that “In rapid growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact, and online consumers in these markets are leaving those in the developed world behind in terms of being active online and engaging in new forms of communications.”

TNS found that countries such as Egypt and China  have over 50 percent of digital engagement than more mature markets such as Japan (20 percent), Denmark (25 percent) or Finland (26 percent), despite the latter having the more advanced internet infrastructure.

Social networking has skyrocketed in Latin America, the Middle East and China, but most in more established digital markets still spend more time on e-mail.

The study reveals Malaysians have the most friends on social networks, with an average of 233 friends, and also spend the most time using social media — an average of nine hours a week. Brazilians are also digitally popular, with an average of 231 friends.

The Japanese had the smallest average circle of friends at 29, and Tanzanians had an average of 38. But the study’s findings noted that some might embrace fewer — but closer — friendships.

Researchers also concluded that “emerging” digital markets have shot past more mature online markets in terms of blogging and social networking.

“The research shows four out of five online users in China (88 percent) and over half of those in Brazil (51 percent have written their own blog or forum entry, compared to only 32 percent in the US,” TNS said.

The heaviest users of social networking are in Malaysia, where they rack up nine hours per week, Russia, with 8.1 hours per week and Turkey with 7.7 hours per week.

The study also indicates those who have online access most often go to the Internet for media consumption; 61 percent of online users go to the Internet daily, compared to 54 percent for TV, 36 percent for radio and 32 percent for newspapers.

“The Internet is a huge part of life in the 21st century but how it affects our lives varies depending upon where in the world you live,” said TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt said in a statement.


When it comes to ROI, do you want fans, or followers?

Since companies and organizations began embracing social media, the debate has been on.  Who is more valuable: Facebook fans, or Twitter followers?

While it’s hard to put a hard qualifying number on either, a recent study by Forrester Research finds that Twitter followers have the potential of being more valuable in the future.  The study confirms that Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands they follow (37% vs. 21%), and recommend brands to friends (33% vs. 21%). These two factors are the yardsticks by which many social media branding campaigns are measured.

But it’s hard to ignore the immense advertising opportunities of Facebook.  With an audience of 550 million, Facebook offers powerful connectivity where friends can share reviews of their favourite products.  Word of mouth has long been touted as the most potent form of advertising, and right now there is no other platform that allows people to share brand sentiment as quickly as Facebook.

A major difference between the two social media site comes down to marketing theory.  While both sites are interactive–Facebook involves more “push” marketing, offering fans incentives and rewards for interaction.  Companies use third-party offers to obtain fans.  For example, Bing used the social gaming network Zynga to build a Facebook fan base for its launch.  Zynga offered “Farm Cash” rewards to entice Farmville players to become fans.  While the launch was a success, that success can be short-lived since the brand is disconnected from the offer.

But used appropriately, Facebook can get the attention of a massive audience.  Nike did just that by utilizing the multimedia platform of the social networking site.  By posting videos and commercials directly on the page, Nike has attracted more that three million fans, thousands of which comment and “like” regularly.



Homeland security uses Facebook to debunk “green card marriages”

The U.S. government is embracing Facebook and may be looking to be your friend.

The Department of Homeland Security is turning to the popular social media site to determine whether applicants for citizenship are guilty of entering into “green card marriages.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documents reveal how immigration agents are instructed on how to “friend” applicants for citizenship on social networking sites to observe their lives and determine if their marriages are actually valid.

The advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation uncovered these documents that base their success on the theory that “Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of ‘friends’ link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know…This provides an excellent vantage point for [the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security] to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.”

Although the government’s action are legal, the EFF argue that this form of validation should be cautioned.  Apart from characterizing those with a large friend network as having ‘narcissistic tendencies’, this method relies on the fact that online profiles accurately reflect offline lives.
And since the agents are not required to reveal their identities or jobs when “friending” users, it is possible for agents to monitor more users than just the applicants.

EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch says that “Unfortunately, this memo suggests there’s nothing to prevent an exaggerated, harmless or even out-of-date off-hand comment in a status update from quickly becoming the subject of a full citizenship investigation.”


Shopping, as good as porn!

“I get such a rush when I find a deal!”

Shopaholic everywhere can relate to that statement–but do you know what that “rush” is equivalent to?  A recent study at the University of Westminster finds that special offers ignite the same level of emotional excitement that someone experiences from sexual arousal.

The study says that bargains make people so happy that it fires off the same neurotransmitters as when watching erotic films.

Researchers measured brain activity in the emotional parts of the mind of 50 volunteers.   By studying their emotional responses in the body including eye movements, they were able to determine which of several activities evoked the most excitement.

They found that giving participants a coupon or free gift with a loaf of bread or a jar of the delicious British spread Marmite induced the same level of excitement as being exposed to porn.

Well, we always knew sex sells–but who knew coupons had the same effect?


keeping an eye on Sitetalk

Myspace, Facebook, Twitter–the huge community these social media sites offer make it evident that we are in embracing social media.

According to Microsoft we have passed a significant watershed: now for the first time people are spending more time online than they spend watching television.

Now, there is a new social media site to watch out for–Sitetalk.

The creator of this site is Unaico (United Nordic Alliance Investment Company), who falls under a larger corporation The Enigro Group.  They claim that Sitetalk will not only will connect you to other individuals so you can enjoy the networking, communication and sharing opportunities, but that you can also make money by investing in the company.  All you need is desire–the rest is up to their “state-of-the-art site platform”.

Sounds great, but the problem is–they are still very unclear as to how.

They compare the money-making capabilities of the site to that of the microwave, the cellphone, and the internet.  But there is no real business model available on the site that actually explain just how a social media site can accomplish this.

On top of that–I recently signed up to see what the site was all about.  From my research, the site was originally launched in February, but the first message I got when I logged in was that the site is not finished yet.  How can a social media site that claims to be as successful at Facebook, with huge money-making possibilities launch the site before it was complete?  And then, still be “working” on the foundations six months later.

On June 12th, front-page headlines of Norwegian financial newspaper “Dagens Næringsliv” wrote a revealing story about Unaico/Enigro titled The Norwegian Man behind Giant Pyramid Scheme.

The Gaming Board of Norway has made a preliminary assessment of the networking company and released a statement on their website saying that “Enigro has clear similarities to illegal pyramid schemes”–where the main form of return of investment (ROI) comes from recruiting more investors.  They are requesting anyone with more information about the originators to contact authorities.

In April, Slovenia financial authorities released a warning to all it’s citizens when they discovered that Unaico was trying to recruit members in Slovenia.  They said that Unaico did this without the authorization from the Slovenian government, and that “customers should exercise the greatest possible care if they want to do business with this company.”

Despite these claims, if you look around the internet, you will indeed find supporters and people who claim to be making a profit already from Sitetalk.  They have given many meetings and presentations to thousands, and no doubt have a steady growing number of investors already.  But if you are seriously considering becoming a part of Sitetalks stockholders–then I would recommend doing some serious research.

(Translated from Norwegian newspaper DN


How embracing social media can save your business

A big, established corporation doesn’t need social media–it’s just for the small, new companies, right?

Unfortunately, the recent “wheelchair incident” with our nation’s most popular airline proves just the opposite.

Air Canada suffered a huge lashing via Twitter the other day because of a disabled boy’s broken wheel chair.  The boy’s aunt had tweeted:  “So. @aircanada killed Tanner’s wheelchair. We’re now stuck at La Guardia. #tutusfortanner”.

What followed was a community of tweeters appalled at the lack of action @aircanada was taking to right the wrong.

But Air Canada had taken action–almost immediately.  They had sent out the wheelchair to be fixed at an open-all-night repair shop.  Within 24 hours, the wheel chair was in working order, delivered to the boy at his hotel–and a bonus dream trip to Disney World for him and his cousins.

So why does Air Canada still seem like the bad guy?

Because for 24 hours, while thousands of micro-messages were floating around on Twitter about how terribly insensitive Air Canada was–there wasn’t one single positive comment assuring his customer (and their community) that appropriate actions were already underway.  Not on Twitter, not on their website, and not on Facebook.

This is an important message to Air Canada that times are changing, and to keep up with  younger, hipper competitors such Westjet and Porter, you must embrace social media.

So what should they have done?

For one thing–they should have listened.  They should have been aware that customers were concerned about what happened.  There are many tools out there that can help with listening.  One example is Google Alert.  Once the alert is set up to notify the company of mentions–it can be used to track any negative or positive comments.  This not only allows a company to quell any notions of bad service, but appreciation can also be shown for those customers that express satisfaction for the service.

What can still be done?

Well, first things–stay on top of your social media!  Make sure the sites are being monitored at all times to respond to feedback and promote any special events.   Information and “news” about the company should be current and highlight any affirmative actions.  Post pictures, videos, interviews, press releases:  Include board members, employees, and happy customers.   This provides a way to develop a relationship with patrons.

In this specific case–Air Canada should concentrate on the outcome.  This story had a happy ending–show that.  Post the pictures of the smiling customer–a video of Air Canada presenting the wheel chair and plane ticket to the boy and his cousins.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem like this particular incident will set off any boycotts–but going forward, companies of all sizes should pay more attention to social media sites and recognize the power of a community.

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January 2020
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