Monday, October 02, 2006

Tell me the future for a piece of toast

The “future of communications in a connected world” that was the intriguing tag line that got me to attend Text 100’s recent breakfast briefing, the other reason I went? Free breakfast of course.

The talk happened about a week ago and leading the discussion was Georg Kolb, EVP for Text 100 New York and member of its executive leadership team. It was at a cosy little venue and so I went there at 8.45am optimistic about breakfast and actually very keen to hear what the “future of communications” was going to be; my mind still buzzing from the short video Text 100 sent us as part of the invite: ( ).

If you have the time (it’s about five minutes long) watch it. It will get your taste buds set for the topic especially for those of you involved in a print publication which has online ambitions.
Back at the Text 100 briefing, I met a handful of people but I also managed to meet Georg Kolb and we started chatting about the topic and I tried to steer it towards a more Singapore or at least Asian perspective.

Off the top of my head I remember him saying the future of communications is about peer to peer platforms and he wished Singaporeans would think of peer to peer platforms beyond just blogs because they are so many other forms out there.

In fairness to those of us who do think this way, blogs are an obvious peer to peer platform to mention, for example if you took the time to view the short video which I recommended, well then that says a little something about the potential power of this peer to peer platform. Below are some links to blogs which were successful in using this peer to peer platform in the corporate world.

(IBM Corporate Blogging Programme)

(Stonyfield Farm)

An example of a blog which was unsuccessful and has since been shut was one by Mazda. To enlighten yourself Google terms like Mazda Viral Marketing or Mazda Kid Halloween to find out more.

Kolb said in the briefing, “It’s about building peer referrals, people are empowered to find their peers and talk to them. People will no longer listen to a brand spokesperson who is always looking to push the brand; instead they are looking for a two way communication which will allow them to tell you what they think of the brand”.

Examples of the peer to peer platforms Kolb talks about include social networks (like MySpace), search engines and virtual life platforms, specifically Second Life. For those of you unfamiliar with Second Life, it is a virtual world on the internet where users, who are represented by 3D figures or avatars, can do everything from running businesses to having sexual liaisons.

At the briefing the importance of Second Life was debated and I got the impression not all were convinced the platform offered anything new, other than 3D imagery. Personally I think from the point of view of an internet user who sometimes struggles to keep up with the early adopters of today, it looks fantastic but how does it rate as a peer to peer platform? What is its Unique Selling Proposition to advertisers?

So as we come to the end of my blog entry, we are left with more questions than answers. I want to know, what my peers think the future of communications in a connected world is?
Hopefully not all of you will have read this entry and thought “what a load of crap I can’t believe I just wasted ten minutes of my life reading this, ten minutes which I will never get back, I hate you The Pitch and I hate you cruel connected world!”

That’s fine if you do though because we totally appreciate the way online works, and are prepared to get the criticism and praise which can come with a blog.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

With the advent of consumer generated content and the ever changing ways in which we are communicating, convergence is happening fast. Leo Burnett, CNET have by setting up shop in Second Life, shown how the lines are blurring much faster than we can imagine. That being said, in Asia, we are still trying out the waters. The whole two-way feedback idea goes against our Asian culture. Maybe that’s why I think companies here have been rather slow to adopt blogs as a mode of communications – it’s a jump way beyond the traditional PR model.