Ma.gnolia, the beautiful del.icio.us

Some weeks back, I came across Ma.gnolia, a beautiful social bookmarking site. I have been happily adding and tagging my favourite sites in del.icio.us for a while now and I was not sure if I should sign up and add on to my long list of social network sites and tools. Today, I finally gave in and decided to just try it out.

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del.icio.us is a more popular social bookmarking tool around. It is functional, easy to use and it has badges that allow bloggers to display their del.icio.us bookmarks on their sites or even facebook. I am quite sure Ma.gnolia has that feature but at this point, I have yet to try.

Ma.gnolia, in a simplistic description, is a very pretty version of del.icio.us. Even the name sounds pretty. When I first registered and login to the site, I was (as usual, a little lost) but I quickly found that it as a FAQ section and even a wiki to help users. It also has lovely avatars and allow you to put up your profile and pic. The “contact” adding part enables you to see the bookmarks of your contacts, friends, groups (of course, all displayed in a beautiful format). I am also able to import all my del.icio.us’ links to Ma.gnolia.

I also came across a video tutorial on Ma.gnolia.

Although I have a feeling that I am going to stay happily with del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia is such a gorgeous looking and social tool. The power of pretty things!

Here’s a more detailed review and comparison on the two.

What I am reading and listening to

Sometimes, I marvel at how people connect via various social networks. As of now, I have signed myself up for various services, tried various beta products and stayed on a few great ones. Thanks to Melvin Yuan who first introduced me to Twitter, I am quite addicted to it now.

Facebook, as everyone knows is totally cool. I found ex-bosses, ex-colleagues, old classmates, media friends and even got to know some new ones. I’m also chatting with and learning from some great people at Mashable and finally,del.icio.us is a great tool that I’ve been using.

I tried Pownce but I am not quite sure I am having much fun with it. And since one of my clients, recently launched its social networking platform, VelvetPuffin, I am sharing it here.

While I am exploring the new media tools, I also came across some really great blogs and podcasts that I thought I should share with whoever is reading my blog.

So, here are some personal favourites:-


PODCAST:

The New Comm Road
I found Bryan Persons’ podcast after reading his blog that I found via Mitch Joel’s . The podcast focuses mostly on how new media tools are changing communication in business, in the media, and in our everyday lives. Bryan also interviews different experts in the media, marketing and technology fields to share their great insights with listeners.

I’ve been listening to Bryan’s podcast for a few weeks now. For those who are new to the new media and social media spaces, this is a great podcast to start. For those who are “experts”, check it out and share your views!

What is great about Bryan and his podcast – he takes the effort to put up great show notes to share with readers/ listeners. His show notes are very detailed and you’ll find all the links and materials mentioned in each episode.


BLOGS:

Well, since I am in public relations and currently exploring the new social networks and shifts in the media space, beside the “usual suspects’ blogs” that everyone is reading, I go to two great blogs quite often:-

The first one is David Meerman Scott’s blog at Web Ink Now.

I’ve read David’s book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, which I mentioned in my last blog post . His blog has interesting topics on new media, social networking, business and marketing tips, recommended books etc.

The next blog that I really enjoy is Brian Solis’ PR 2.0 – Silicon Valley. Brian is the principal of an award-winning PR agency in Silicon Valley. Great topics and great insights on everything PR and media.

Finally, the last 5 days, I’ve been listening to Mitch Joel’s podcast on Six Pixels of Separation. Believe Mitch is writing a book on the same topic. I got to know Mitch when he was last down in Singapore, as speaker at a New Media Conference. I was really impressed with his presentation and have been “following” him on twitter and reading his blog.

So, there you go! Please feel free to share any good blogs and podcasts you know of on similar topics.

Gimme my glossy mags

One of my recent favourite topics is to explore how PR professionals can create maximum impact and achieving great results, for campaigns using a blend of social media tools and good PR strategies and tactics. While I am exploring the new media space and social networks, trying out new tools and platforms for communications, I actually disagree that PR folks should drop everything and flock over and go ga-ga about everything 2.0.

It is true that public relations work has changed. With new technology and tools, we are able to make public relations more public again. It is no longer just reaching out to few exclusive target media. The Web 2.0 tools allow companies direct access to consumers and users. In David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules Of Marketing & PR, he wrote that traditional, mainstream and trade media are still important to a PR campaign.

I do agree with that point. While I am spending alot of my time online, as a consumer, I still love my glossy magazines. I am one of those who would flip Elle magazine and look at all the advertisements and read all the editorial features, simply because I am the target audience of that mag. I want to know the latest Fall/Winter bag and shoes and read about the Spring/ Summer 08 hairstyle trends. So, beauty products and fashion companies whose target audience fall under similar demo/psychographics as me will be able to reach us quite effectively through the mag. Sure, I can read about the new Prada bag online and even read reviews from bloggers but I still want to flip the mag and look at the beautifully shot images, printed on nice, glossy prints.

So, while everyone is rushing into the Web/ PR/ Business 2.0 spaces, I am trying to take a step back and consider again. One of my clients, dealing with jewellery commented last week that while he understands that there is a need to pay attention to the online space or other activities, he believes that good, positive articles about the company and product in targeted female magazines is more important and he thinks that this helps to achieve his marketing objectives and reaching his target audiences more effectively because of the nature of the product.

Again, I have mixed views on this but shall save the thoughts for later..

Many may argue that there are alot more to all these shifts in media and PR, which I am sure I am going to agree mostly. Afterall, I am the geeky girl who’s spending 80% of my waking hours online – blogging, updating Facebook, adding stuff to del.icio.us etc etc. But what I am trying to say here is, the traditional media still is, important in PR (2.0). The thing to remember is, tools and technologies, movements and trends change all the time, the basic PR skill sets of understanding your brand and product, the skill to engage target audience (off or online), the skill to strategise and integrate a campaign to get your key messages across to your consumers, understanding and know your key media (on and offline) are all still critical and required in the profession, before we move on to playing with the tools and exploring the shifts.

It’s Live – Intrigued by Ustream

Television has alway been considered as one of the most effective medium for companies and even the government to get messages out to the masses.

Live TV is not a new concept. We watched the recent National Day Parade Live as well as the the various talent shows or sports events Live. Audience often hungers for THE REAL THING, without the censors, the edited or the rehearsed.

Recently, I was introduced to Ustream.tv that allows anyone with a PC, an internet connection and a webcam to broadcast themselves or anything they wish to show the world. Basically, Ustream allows you to create your own real-time video, almost anywhere.

As I watched a couple of people who put together video broadcasts, like the popular Justin.tv, I can’t help but remember one of my favourite films, The Truman Show whereby Truman’s every move (almost) is watched by millions of viewers around the world.

While Truman was not aware of hundreds of cameras planted around him in a “make-believe” world, what people like Justin do is to deliberatey make their lives exposed to the global audience.

I honestly am highly intrigued. Closer to home, my close friend Kevin Lim has been putting his life up on boardcast, 24/7. He is currently based in US, Buffalo, completing his PHD. If you log on to his blog, towards the right, you’ll find his Ustream feed. Right now, as I am typing this, my other PC is playing LIVE feed of Kevin staring at his computer screen. Another few more hours, the world can see Kevin sleep.

Kevin also brought his video cam outdoor to show the world, his life and his world in US.

In an informal chat session I had with Kevin, I asked him why does he and the others who are showing the world their lives see a need for that. Kevin sees this as an experiment and cited reasons such as “if i happen to have heart attack here, at least someone knows.” He also thinks that this is a way of him connecting with the world since he’s mostly alone, trying to finish his papers. The need to constantly knowing that others are around, watching him and being “there” is a great comfort.

We did a video on the short Q&A. See Viddler Blog on the video chat

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I read this interesting piece written by Allen Stern questioning if there really is a need to be constantly connected and here’s his interesting quote:

Maybe I am right and all of these live shows are just a fad and people will remember that not everything needs to be televised. Or maybe I am wrong and this is the new TV

For me, now I am just highly intrigued and will continue watching those who wants to be seen. The one obvious benefit for me is to “see” people I am close to, who are far away 24/7.

Social Networking Book Sites

While I am in process of setting up my new blog, I tried out different social networking book sites that allow users to catalog their books, share reviews and share book lists.

Out of the few sites I tried, I am giving my votes to Shelfari and Library Thing.

Shelfari is voted by Mashable as one of the top 10 most beautiful social networking sites and it truly is great looking and easy to use.

LibraryThing ‘s free account allows up to 200 books with a premium service if you want to add more and it has a great tagging feature. Shelfari, on the other hand seems to allow you to add as many books as you like (a great plus for me who have more than 200 books for sure).

I’ve read several comparisons and reviews of both and many seems to like Shelfari more, for its aesthetically pleasing look and more interesting “groups” while serious book lovers seem to prefer Library Thing.

For me, I like both for different features. I really like one of LibraryThing’s features that allow me to see how many books I have in common with another user/ friend. For Shelfari, I like the colorful pages and the easy one-click function whenever I add on new books.

My final vote between the two goes to Library Thing but I might change my mind as I go along.

Meantime, here’re my ever growing lists in both.

1) My Shelfari Book List
2) My LibraryThing Book List

The Affair with Bloggers

While many PR agencies in countries like the US have been including bloggers outreach in their Marketing and Communications plans. (The Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations Programme is a good example). I’ve noticed that not many agencies in Singapore are doing that. There are some who do and do it really well but there are many others who do not seem to realise the shift in media.

Brian Solis wrote that PR 2.0 is defined by the evolution of industry practices forced by the shift, and the process, of influence …

One interesting thing I noticed from my recent discussions with several local bloggers about a particular client is that there is a significant difference between talking to a journalist and a blogger. Typically, PR consultants send pitch notes and explore story angles with a particular media, the media either agree to include a write-up (or not) in his/ her column, they seldom invest time to DISCUSS topics and issues with you.

With bloggers, you are often talking to a thought/opinion leader who is often quite open to ideas and willing to provide feedback and discuss industry issues, especially when you are able to single out one who blogs about topics relevant to what your client or company does. 

Bloggers, like traditional media are also often looking for interesting content for their blogs. I believe bloggers should start talking to more PR folks, we are the people with alot of content as we usually have many different clients and PR professionals should get out and start listening, talking and engaging this group of influencers.

I am not saying here that PR professionals should forget about traditional media and get all excited about the new. I am saying, the ability to combine our skills and expertise with the help of new tools to reach out to more and targeted audience should be one of the key aim of a good PR professional in this PR/ Web 2.0 age.

(original entry and comments found here) 

New Books

There are a couple of good (some new and some not so new) books that a few friends like Kevin , Bjorn and Bernard  recommended on new/ social media, cultural and economic shifts etc.

Kinokuniya was having 20% storewide sale for members right now and I went to get:-
Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble & Shel Israel
The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Wikinomics- How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

Now, all I need to do is READ and digest…

A few friends have agreed that since we are all reading the same few books, we should buy different ones and exchange with one another. Do feel free to drop me a note if you want to do any exchange.

 (Original entry and comments found here)