On Conversations With Stakeholders

In my line of work, I sometimes have to explain why I use Facebook and Twitter for my media platform.

A, an editor of a print publication, asked me: “What’s the use of Facebook or Twitter?”

I hemmed and hawed. Finally I said:

“We don’t really know how such social media platforms will turn out in the future so we’re just staking our presence there.”

B, the managing director of a firm, said over lunch that he is interested in entering the Facebook platform but not Twitter.

If I recall correctly, he dismissed Twitter as something of a fad.

Such dismissals are quite common in Singapore, which largely stems from a couple of reasons.

  1. Newsmakers’ clients are largely conservative and not tech-savy. Based on anecdotal evidence, this sample ranges from 40+ to 50+ years of age, which puts them in the silvering generation. Ipso facto, the majority of the spending power also lies with this group. They are the ones who buy Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Jaguars. And they are probably Mandarin-speaking, consume traditional media and have traditional family values. 
  2. Online media is not as advanced in Singapore as it is in the US. We have the daily broadsheet, The Straits Times, here, which is consumed massively in terms of circulation. Print media is still deeply entrenched in the mindsets of the population.
  3. Online ad units are regressive. Perhaps my biggest pet peeve is that even as technology advances with HTML5, Javascript, Flash, Flex and what-nots (I’m just throwing out names here), online ad units are still so backward and intrusive. They seemingly love to pop out of nowhere and fill up my screen. No wonder people use adblockers to kill off all the ads.

All these reasons, I realised, can be subsumed under one giant set: Compared to print, there is no money to be made on the Internet.

But

What’s the ROI from Twitter? A very difficult question to answer, yet you’ll find the solution if you can also measure: “Whats the ROI of a conversation in real life”. Since many brands have an objective (return profit to shareholders or owners) ensuring this is a high priority task will be difficult for many corporations.

Jeremiah Owyang, “Why Brands Are Unsuccessful In Twitter“, Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang

There are no answers right now. But having conversations with your stakeholders cannot be that bad. It’s called networking.

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3 thoughts on “On Conversations With Stakeholders

  1. “this sample ranges from 40+ to 50+ years of age”

    You may have found a big difference between Singapore – or even all Asia – and the West. Here in New Zealand Twitter is mainly used by people in that age range. My children, for example, aged 18 and 20 are not interested in Twitter.

  2. Agreed, I am in america and neither of my kids(aged 14-18 yrs. old) have any use for twitter. I,however, am in the age group you mention and use it dialy for a daily thought type of thing that posts to my blog and facebook.

    Maybe, it is more dependant on what is used for, rather than age. I do not think twitter was really designed for advertising and that is why it fails at that.

  3. @billbennettnz: Yes, there’s a fundamental difference between the Singapore market and elsewhere. That’s why social media is taking off slowly here.

    @axewielderx: True. Twitter was designed for social conversations, which is what I’m trying to use the tool for.

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