Category Archives: Internet

Hong Kong, come Study in Holland!

With the slogan “Where talents grow.” The Dutch Consulate in Hong Kong started a campaign last week to raise awareness among Hong Kong students about studying in Holland.

Watch the video here.

In a very student-like way, the video tells about all the advantages that studying in Holland offers: the high average score of Dutch universities, good price quality and the fact that nearly all international programmes in Holland are entirely taught in English. Of course it also shows typical elements of Dutch culture, like bikes, chocolate sprinkles and the flat countryside.

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Facebook’s next challenge

With a simple and brilliant idea Mark Zuckerberg (and the others) turned social network Facebook into the most successfull venture of our generation with over 750 million users. Magazine Time was fully right when they elected him Person of the Year 2010. Facebook did and is changing the world.

But what’s next? Recently, Facebook launched integrated business network BranchOut in an attempt to get a piece of the pie that LinkedIn is baking really fast. But is it wise to add a business platform to a social network? Do these two go together? Can you shift your positioning just like that? I’m not sure.

Then there is Google+. Can somebody please tell me what the pros and cons of this platform are? For techsavvy persons like my brother it’s probably very clear. But I bet 99% of the people don’t know what Google wants or what the features exactly are. What I do know, is that I get the idea they’re trying to tap into both the social and business networks. (Check out this poll on Campaign Asia about FB vs. Google+. Guess who I voted for?;-)

My point is: social and business networks are still early cycle. With a huge members base as Facebook and Google have, you might think they just launch anything they like and try if it works. But at the same time, you do have a brand that you’re building. You don’t want to confuse visitors. And brands need a lot of attention, especially when markets grow up.

And that’s the phase online networks are in now. The pie has to be shared with more hungry competitors and positioning becomes key. There are so many others around already. I just mentioned the big three, but for the smaller ones it’s at least as important. Branding and marketing will be on top of the list. What’s the competitive edge? How do you distinct yourself? Facebook didn’t need a slogan so far. But they might in two years time from now.

Facebook will probably stand out, because of its ridicilously huge members base. On the other hand, they grew big, because they focussed on social network alone. Will adding a business network confuse their members?

Just look me up on Facebook, Mark. I’m happy to discuss.

Be orginal and you’ll be found!

Yesterday, Google announced it launched a big improvement to its ranking system. The change will impact about 12% of all searches (queries). High-quality sites will be ranked higher, low-quality sites will be placed lower.

High quality is being defined as websites with original content, research, analysis, in-depth reports, etc.  Like Hot Curry 😉

I think it’s a good development that web or blog owners who focus on the originality of their site are being rewarded for that.

From a more philosophical point of view (if you allow me;-), it again shows that although the world is getting more electronic, it doesn’t mean we should stop thinking and creating. Creativity and original thoughts will always add value and will therefore survive. And not just because Google sais so.

So be original and be found!

The Daily: one small step according to criticasters, one giant leap for mankind

Yesterday, Apple launched The Daily. It’s a daily digital paper, developed exclusively for the iPad. Apple developed it together with Rupert Muroch’s News Corporation.

Again, Apple is the innovator.

I heard some criticasters say this is no serious competition for printed daily’s. One of the reasons would be the small editorial team working for The Daily. Uhm, with one of the biggest media network behind it?? Murdoch claims there are 100 journalists working for his new digital baby. And I believe him. If a media tycoon like Murdoch launches a new product, he doesn’t do it just for fun.  And Apple won’t neither. The Daily and upcoming competing digital papers will not make printed versions disappear, but they will be a fierce competitor. This is just the beginning.

Conservative criticasters and media, you better move!

WikiLeaks symbolizes the rise of a new world

The world is changing and the WikiLeaks case probably is the best proof for that. Top down becomes bottom up. The world is turning upside down. Governments, big corporations or other global or national institutions do not longer tell what has to happen. In the new world, it’s the people that speak and governments and companies have to adjust their policies to that. If they don’t, (reputational) risks are high. And that, as we have seen in many caes already, might lead to serious financial damage or even more.

The ethical question in the WikiLeaks case of course is: what’s allowed? Can you just put anything on the Net and communicate about any topic you’d like? If you deliberately put countries, companies or individuals in danger by sharing information that’s not meant for the big public, it’s not a surprise that you encounter resistance. A country doesn’t want to have their secret diplomatic intelligence on the web. And an individual probably doesn’t want to read on the web that he is cheating on his wife or calles his boss an asshole. Some things you just don’t want to share.

In the development of the internet, including social media, rules and regulations will have to be developed over time to limit information sharing.

So, the WikiLeaks issue is a showcase. I’m really curious where this is going to. One thing is for sure: the outcome means a next step in the development of the worldwide web.

If Google is God, LinkedIn is His little nephew

I have to be honest. Only two years ago, I thought LinkedIn was a business network that -although clearly out there and growing- wouldn’t make the difference. Now I think LinkedIn is the most powerful online business network in the world with great value.

Why did I change my mind? Until 2008, in Western-Europe and Asia LinkedIn was merely used by members as a showcase for the size of your business network. People were proud to say they had over 300 or 500 connections. So apparantly there was a certain brand preference with the people. But since I was highly convinced that networks don’t survive without good usability and concrete added value to the members, I had my doubts.

These doubts were even so strong that in 2007 I started Bizzies (first in the Netherlands, a little later global), a global business network with social elements which main focus was to increase interaction of its members by high usability and features with real added value to the members. But making such an initiative successfull takes a lot of time, which I didn’t have, so after a year I stopped the initiative late 2008.

In the meantime we have seen LinkedIn becoming one of the most used networks -which didn’t motivate me growing Bizzies as well, I have to admit-, at least in Western Europe. The secrets are some very useful features, like sharing blog posts on your profile, receiving regular LinkedIn updates to stimulate site traffic, more add-on features with a more soft character like hobbys and travel etc. The number of members has grown to 52,000,000 now according to Guy Kawasaki (referring to LinkedIn’s advertising page).

LinkedIn became social media’s God and I think its influence will grow bigger and bigger (as I also stated in my reaction to Guy Kawasaki’s post). I’m really curious how they will capitalize on the immense database of members’ information they possess now.

One thing is for sure: I won’t even even dare competing with a developed network like that! 😉

PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge

Last Thursday I attended an event (presentation/networking) organized by social media PR-agency Coopr (owned by agency Bijl). Deirdre Breakenridge‘s presentation on PR 2.0 was what we all came for, apart of course from having some drinks and do some LIVE networking with PR-colleagues.

As we may expect from Americans, Deirdre did a great presentation. She spoke for 1,5 hour in a row without any uh’s or ah’s and I wasn’t bored for a single minute. The only thing that made me a bit nervous was the small chair I was sitting on, but that has to do with being rather tall.

What I liked about her story was that she managed to keep it pragmatic for all 70 PR-professionals in De Unie in Rotterdam. Key points to me were:

  • Track the key influencers (bloggers, twitterers, website owners) and see if you can become part of their discussions;
  • Don’t try to change the mind of people who just hate your company: they won’t;
  • Social media are not restricted to B2C at all. A lot of B2B companies (in the US) do have a proactive PR-policy for social media (and then Friday I saw a research paper stating more B2B than B2C companies are on social media…If anyone has some data on this, I would be more than interested);
  • Some suggestions of useful international blogs, like Alltop.com.

I thank Coopr for organizing this. No doubt that many Dutch PR-professionals want and need to know more about using social media as a PR channel, so a 2nd PR 2.0 event would be a logical next step to me.