The Digital Vibes


Un-Cuil PR: Launch falls flat
July 31, 2008, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Web apps | Tags: , , ,

This is every public relations professional’s greatest nightmare I think – a launch that goes wrong. The worst time to fall is when all eyes are on you.

Cuil was touted to be a Google killer in the search world, which are really enormous shoes to fill, as anyone sane will think. Unfortunately Cuil overpromised and underdelivered, and now it’s making waves on the web for all the wrong reasons.

The worst parts of a web launch?

No. 1 – Your mistakes are told to the world, via multiple outlets, almost immediately. Check out the scathing reviews of Cuil’s launch here.

No.2 – Data persistency (in techie terms) or legacy (in layman terms). Reviews, both good and bad, stay on for a long time on the web, making it hard for people to forget your mistakes.

It’s not true that Cuil is doomed forever, and I think many people out there are secretly rooting for an underdog to overtake Google’s dominance. But I think Cuil has some PR issues it needs to work on right now, to build trust in its service hereon.

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Let’s Talk Trends
July 25, 2008, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Crowd powered, Social Media, Social networks | Tags: , ,

Some years ago, a lady from Hong Kong described to me how flat sandals were really “on trend” in Hong Kong. Apparently “on trend” was this big buzzword in Hong Kong then, to describe what were the trendiest things in town. I thought it was yet another quirky trait of a Hong Konger and quelled the bells ringing in my head to correct that grammar.

According to Techcrunch in its introduction of Edopter, “social trendcasting” is a concept that attempts to combine crowd-sourcing with internet buzz to predict new trends, which is precisely what Edopter aims to do. Edopter is similar to another website that I’ve bookmarked sometime back – Trendhunter magazine.

As competitive beings I guess we all want to be at the forefront of the latest and greatest, to be an evangelist leading legions to the next big thing. It is, after all, always gratifying to say “I was there first”.

Watch out as social trendcasting, in itself, emerges a trend. Don’t say I didn’t tell you *wink*



The Pepsi Challenge
July 24, 2008, 12:14 am
Filed under: Random | Tags: ,

The most brilliant global PR stunt ever, in my humble opinion. Presenting the Pepsi Challenge circa 1985. 



Citizen journalism
July 23, 2008, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Crowd powered, Social Media | Tags: , , , , ,

Citizen journalism has been around for a long time, but the Internet together with mobile phone technologies, have definitely aided its growth.  It’s so easy be a citizen reporter today, capturing videos and photos with one’s mobile phone and uploading them onto blogs, forums and websites with your personal commentary.

OhmyNews, a South Korean online newspaper with the motto “Every Citizen is a Reporter”, is the world pioneer in open source news with most of its articles written by citizen contributors.

A Vancouver-based website with a similar vision, is garnering strong attention and traffic, and not to mention venture funding. NowPublic prefers to call itself “crowd-powered” and has ambitious plans to change the way news is made and distributed. With more than 100,000 “very active” contributors in more than 6,000 cities and 160 countries, NowPublic has also recently acquired Guy Kawasaki’s brainchild Truemors, a site that aims to spread “true rumors”.

With the crowd realizing its power and making every effort to be heard, the news ecosystem is forced to change to accommodate the readers and viewers who want to participate in newsmaking today. The question for PR practitioners, is how to keep up with the changes, and maintain our ethics and professionalism in the process.



A Tweet about Twitter
July 22, 2008, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Web apps | Tags: , ,

For those who have yet to see the point in Twitter, USA Today wrote a very good article on how you can milk the app for what it’s worth.

Frankly, it is very difficult to see the use of telling the world “what are you doing?”, which is the central question posed by Twitter to “Twitterers”, who answer in a text message under 140 words. I’m not so sure my friends want to know my every move, and if that indeed will connect me with them.

But Twitter’s uses are plentiful when you think outside of the box, or its question for that matter. The article cited how Zappos (which by the way is now my favorite online retailer) recently tested a new site zeta.zappos.com on Twitter, and made some improvements based on the comments received.

Twitter can be a useful communication channel with your target audience, or at least a free broadcast channel to reach them not unlike Youtube. The trick is to think of Twitter as a tool, and not solely as a social network.



User-generated online news stand
July 21, 2008, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Online publishing, Web apps | Tags: , ,

There’s a new and interesting user-generated magazine archive site called Mygazines, where you can “browse, share, archive and customize unlimited magazine articles uploaded by you, the Mygazines community”.  

I’m not sure how many copyright infringements this Napster-like portal has committed, nor how many loafer-clad toes of old-world publishing executives this site has stepped on, but the fact that one can browse and read magazines for free, surely appeals to many.

The magazines open in an e-book format, which means you can’t skip the ads, and it is better suited for pages with lots of pictures (ditto fashion magazines) as it is rather tedious to read wordy articles this way. But then again it’s free, so I’m not complaining too much.

I don’t really see much social networking happening on the site yet, but I think it’s a matter of time and traffic.

The biggest question for Mygazines I suspect, is how to handle the backlash from the publishing industry? I wonder if publishers have learnt from their counterparts in the music industry, that going to court to fight file swopping will simply win the battle but lose the war, since the sands of the industry landscape have already shifted.

Again, only time and traffic will tell.



Thank goodness for ZOHO
July 17, 2008, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Random, Web apps | Tags: , ,

My laptop fruit of a computer crashed last night, less than 7 months into its first-year warranty. I knew the fruit turned rotten when it started up with a flashing question mark that refused to turn into anything else.

I’m particularly mad because my entire hard disk is gone. Kaput. Just like that with no prior warning, a sudden unexplained death. All my work for the past 7 months have gone out of Eden along with Adam and Eve,  all thanks to that fruit of a laptop.

If there’s one saving grace, it is ZOHO and I have to say amen to that. I’ve been using the ZOHO projects portal for my project, and have diligently uploaded my files since it’s free to do so even with a basic account (ZOHO, for this, is one up against Basecamp). I’m so thankful for the backup I have on ZOHO I’m going to send an email of thanks right after this post in fact.

Now, if only I had been as diligent with my Flickr account… Sigh.