#5 – It is all about making learning fun

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Education have evolved over the years. It is no longer just learning from the teacher and taking notes. In the past, we learn through paper, audio from radio/stereo, visuals from projector and many more. Today, how we learn differs greatly from the past. Aside from using computer, another important emphasis is interactivity. This has caused e-learning to be on the rage in this millennium, as we can utilize technology and make learning a 2-way communication process instead of 1.

One such tool that we can use is the Microsoft Surface. Also known as tabletop technology, it is the newest gadget to join the list of touch screen devices. The key feature of the tool – interactivity and information at the tip of the finger. Don’t believe it? See it for yourself!

According to Microsoft, there are 6 features of Microsoft surface that makes it unique.

For those who thought that the idea was developed to rival Apple’s iPhone or iPad, think again. According to Anderson’s interview with Microsoft here, “… this is not a one-off project intended to steal any thunder from the multitouch goodness of the iPhone. Surface has actually been in development at Microsoft for years. A team was formed in October 2001 to pursue surface computing, and the idea got the go-ahead from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in 2003. A prototype, called T1, was up and running a month later, crafted from an IKEA table with a hole chopped in the center and a piece of vellum serving as a diffuser.”

So how does Surface really works? What is underneath that table top machine? The video here will explain some of the coolest feature of the machine, one of which is how you can transfer pictures from camera over to cellphone by merely placing them on the Surface, and use your fingers to move it over!

Aside from the entertainment features, this device can be used today for education too. With its interactivity as the key feature, learning is more interactive and everyone can participate together. One school in UK have invested in using Surface as part of their teaching/learning methods. The video below will give you an idea on how this device have been integrated into the teaching plan.

There is no doubt that the advancement of technology has revolutionized our lives. Something that used to be so mundane have been given a newer approach and made fun, further stimulating our minds. In years to come, education might change and be even better than today. What do you think about Microsoft Surface? Is e-learning really effective? Are there any more ways in which learning can be improved aside from it being interactive?

#4 – The fall of pets.com

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Above was the advertisement for Pets.com, a company that sold accessories for pets to consumers directly though the World Wide Web from 1998 to 2000. As observed, the company had a mascot of a dog-like sock puppet holding on to a microphone. The company’s aim was to sell items your pets might need…“because pets can’t drive.”

Despite its 2 year run, the company was able to grab the public’s attention amidst the abundance of dot-com company appearing all over the web (also known as the dot-com bubble). They had a strong presence in advertising due to their memorable mascot. The puppet appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, Nightline, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and even had a balloon made in its image for the 1999 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The video below will show a snippet from the parade (fast-forward to 3:37).

Just like many others, the company was in a rush to get big during the dot-com bubble. Being quick to take actions is fine, but not having a plan could lead them closer to their pitfall. So why or what factors that contributed towards the company’s flop despite all the seemingly appropriate marketing strategies?

Firstly, the company had no sustainable business model. They spent too much on marketing, specifically beyond what was earned on business. As mentioned in the video below, for every dollar earned in revenue, $20 was spent on marketing. Aside from big marketing budget, the company was selling products at low prices eventually causing them to operate at a loss.

Secondly, the company failed due to lack of appeal in terms of benefits that consumers can gain from shopping with them. The only competitive edge that pets.com had was convenience in terms of elimination of travel time to grocery store. However cons such as delivery period and shipping or product cost outweigh the main advantage.

Lastly, the company failed to plan for the long-term as they did for short-term. Specifically, they failed to improve to create better services, information that could be collected from customers. Yes, the marketing campaigns were effective in getting the word out about the company but it did nothing that is essential to sustain a business such as customer’s satisfaction, product loyalty etc.

The main lesson here is that one should not start a business merely catching on the hype. Pets.com learned it the hard way when it jumped onto the bandwagon, without strengthening its business model and having a strong product positioning to give it a competitive edge. Eventually, the company was liquidated like many other dot-coms doing that time period within 9 months of their initial IPO. Maybe if America decided to ask for bailout (pets.com bailout?), things would be different today huh?

#3 – Is it possible to run a successful campaign on Twitter?

February 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Many people use Facebook or Twiter as a way to connect with friends or family about their lives. However, that is no longer the case today. Now, large organizations and corporations are using social media to connect with the consumers and see it as a way to manage their brand. One noticeable change that can be observed is how these organizations and big brands are using social media as part of their marketing strategy aside from the traditional form of advertising.

One such company who did a great job utilizing Twitter as part of their campaign was the automobile brand Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Twitter Zoom campaign was exclusive to Sao Paolo, Brazil and was based on a real-time treasure hunt concept. To promote Volkswagen’s new car Fox to the youths, the company sponsored Planeta Terra Festival which is a major music festival in Brazil. In order to win tickets, music lovers would have to find the tickets that were hidden all over the city. For the location of the tickets to be revealed on Google maps, people would have to tweet #foxatplanetaterra hash tag. When more people tweet with the hashtag, the map of ticket would zoom further in revealing the exact location, and the first person to be on location wins.

So the public’s reaction to the campaign?

To pull-off a successful campaign on social media is not an easy feat. Many companies have failed to do so. Why then was Volkswagen successful? Here are some factors that played a part to its success.

As seen from the 4 factors, Volkswagen was able to identify their target audience well and even used the proper medium to connect with the youths. Next, the campaign embraced Twitter’s main strength as part of their campaign, using the hashtag. When this hashtag started to trend, more people would be curious about it and eventually act as a catalyst to spread the word. With the treasure hunt concept, the campaign was able to connect fun with its target audience. Lastly, with an incentive which is tickets to the event of the year in Brazil, interest was generated thus expanding the buzz.

With social media, advertising today is made fun, interesting and interactive. More creative ideas can be generated with websites such as Twitter and Facebook. However, companies should be careful when embarking on an unconventional way of advertising as the plan could backfire and ultimately affect its branding. So what did you think about Volkswagen’s campaign? Do you remember any other campaigns/advertisements that used social media? Was it a successful one?

#2 – Asia’s version of twitter?

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Social media is taking over the world and Asia is not excluded. One of the famous social media site is Twitter, which was launched in 2006. As many of us would know, Twitter is a microblogging site that enables us to send and read posts of maximum 140 characters, better known as tweets. In case you are not sure what twitter is about, the video below OR this video would be helpful.

Not impressed with the international success that twitter has? Let the figures below blow you away.

           

With its international success, there are bound to be clones of the original. As the saying goes, “imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” In Asia, two microblogging sites that have been garnering attention in its country and slowly worldwide are me2day (South Korea) and Weibo (China).

According to Wikipedia, me2day is “a microblogging and social networking service in South Korea acquired and owned by NHN Corporation. It allows users to send and receive up to 150 characters to each other”. In an essence, me2day works the same way as twitter, updating and sharing content with your friends.

Unlike twitter, me2day did not receive instant popularity when it was released in 2007. However, numerous Korean celebrities are joining the micro-blogging blogosphere today. With many creating their own me2day account, more people (particularly fans) are creating an account just to feel a connection with their favorite celebrity. Ultimately, this helped in the growth of the number of me2day users. To date, there are 8 million accounts registered on me2day.

China too decided to join on the micro-blogging bandwagon with Weibo. Launched in 2009, the number of users has since reached 300 million users in just 2 years. According to Guardian, “The most commonly shared content on Weibo is jokes, images and video, most of which are retweets. The effect is less comment on shared comment, but there is also less sharing of news stories.”

Today, many of us use social media in our daily lifes in various forms such as blogs, social networking sites or microblogs such as those mentioned above. Although the interface and features of the microblogs differs from one another, its main use of sharing bits and pieces of information about our lives to friends through the use of Internet is still the same. Maybe the reason why microblogging is so popular today is that one can share information about their life without being too explicit. So what do you think about the 2 clones of twitter mentioned above?

#1 – All about intranet

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Intranet…

Internet…

Nope, I did not misspelled Internet as Intranet. Rather, intranet has been defined by Wikipedia as “a computer network that uses Internet Protocol technology to securely share any part of an organization’s information or network operating system within that organization”. Intra, a greek word for within, is a network that is confined within the organization.

On the other hand, the Internet is defined as, “a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.”

From the two definitions above, the main difference between the two is that sharing of information is limited to a certain group of people as compared to the mass for the Internet. As such, the intranet is a great way of protecting privacy for organizations. With intranet, information sharing and collaboration in an organization can be improved.

Today, many enterprises set up an intranet to facilitate communication which each other regardless of the size of the company. One of the commonly used in organizations is SharePoint, which is a web application developed by Microsoft. The 2 videos below will give you an explanation on how SharePoint works.

As mentioned from both video, the intranet also acts as a place to connect among the employees, aside from a place to provide and store information for the organization. Features of social networking are now integrated in the intranet. According to Intranetblog, Social media tools on the corporate intranet has became popular in 2009, thus creating the term social intranet. Also with social media tools as an added feature, the intranet has been upgraded to intranet 2.0. A short video below will provide a general idea of how intranet 2.0 works.

Just like the Internet, the Intranet has evolved over the years from merely a place to store and share documents to one that allow and facilitates discussion, collaboration and association among employees. It is amazing how technology, specifically internet is constantly changing. So how much more do you know about the intranet now? What other aspect of the Internet do you observe a change in? 🙂

Hiatus no more!

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Back from hiatus! This blog will be used once again for a communication class. All entries from January 2012 onwards are specially created for a class on Introduction to the Internet (COM125). Comments are appreciated! 🙂

#7 – Still doubting the power of Internet?

March 26, 2011 15 comments

The release of the above video had since became viral and caught the attention of netizen as well as the media. The ‘UCLA girl’ controversy had caused Alexandra Wallace to become an overnight sensation. Various news agencies covered the controversy and reported the story. However, I observed the 2 major opinions of the press based on the tone of media coverage – free speech versus the negative effects of Internet.

First, The New York Times gave coverage to this controversy with the underlying point that the content should be taken purely into the context of free speech, despite it degrading to the Asian group that she was talking about.

On the other hand, The Huffington Post covered it highlighting the repercussions of Internet fame and how youths are now more reckless with Internet (uploading pictures, sharing thoughts without even censoring and thinking about the outcome etc).

Based on this controversy and the media coverage observed, I believe agenda setting function was adopted to raise the issue. Aside from reporting the news, the difference in several of the media’s tone of coverage shows the difference in agenda the news agency is adopting. In the case of New York Times, they supported the stand of free speech, and that curbing it would only be a threat to education. For The Huffington Post, as much as they disagree with the content of the video, they highlighted what Internet has done to the youth of this generation. Based on the coverage, I agree with Huffington’s Post stand on the creation of reckless youths with Internet.

Based on the definition above, the Internet is a new communication technology, with facilitating communication as its aim. People seem to lack the grasp of the power Internet has with its ability to reach people across geographical location. Even though the purpose of the video was for Wallace to rant, her action showed her lack of judgment. Sure she is unhappy, but ranting on the Internet specifically uploading her video on Youtube is a dumb action. Did she really not anticipate her video going viral considering the content?

Since the video gone viral, Wallace had received death threats causing her to leave school (not expelled though). However, one of the thing that struck me was how is she going to move on from here. Is it possible for her to be accepted into a new school or even getting a job as she is widely known as racist? The Internet is a medium that can affect your future; people can look up information on you on the Internet and it might not be flattering. You can ultimately limit your opportunities in life based on the information and pictures uploaded on the Internet.

I still think Internet is the greatest invention. However, when you act recklessly thinking that you are too small to make an impact in this world, think again.

So what do you think about the controversy? Has the Internet created a reckless generation?