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Social Media in Asia 101

February 27, 2012 | Filed under Digital & Tech Trends, Digital Marketing Tips, E-commerce & Fashion Trends, Social Networking Tips

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a project in Asia and during my travels I’ve learned a few interesting things about the Social Media landscape in Asia.  For starters, the Social Media consumption in Asia is greater in some markets than it is in the US.  Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines widely use Facebook, and the mobile internet market share is also much larger in these countries than the global average.

Countries like China, Japan and Vietnam use different but similar platforms such as Weibo and Renren (in China), Mixi (in Japan) and Zing (in Vietnam), and Google+ is also slowly gaining popularity.  It doesn’t have as much penetration as the larger more established platforms, but brands like Cathay Pacific and Uniqlo are among the first to create their own Google+ pages.

Overall, the Social Media behaviors vary in these countries because of their inherent cultural differences.  One of the main reasons is because Asian culture is more shy and reserved, and it’s usually considered rude to promote yourself directly.  Some of the main ways Social Media in Asia is utilized is through pop culture re-mashing, sharing photos of yourself out socializing with friends, learning about products online, and sharing tips instead of self-promotion and touting how great you are, which is definitely more common with Social Media in the US.

Even though there are some similarities, each country has its own specific behavior and Internet content usage patterns; here are some of the highlights of the Asian Social Media market:

  1. Photo sharing – Photo sharing is HUGE in Asia; literally any occasion deserves photo sharing. The general audience doesn’t use tools like Instagram as much we do in the US, but instead they directly upload them into their Facebook pages.  Although Instagram is slowly making strides in the Asian market.  A great example is Candy Mafia, a Thai pop group, who avidly use Instagram, and pop groups in general have a huge Social Media presence. Beauty and Fashion sharing is also extremely popular online; I’ve seen users taking pictures of their new possessions from Louis Vuitton to their North Face collection. There are also entire Tumblr sites dedicated to sharing picture collages of pop stars and TV shows, along with a variety of different gifs.
  2. Social Media Games – Social media games are used as stimuli to drive new users and gain reach within existing users, while actual content sharing is more popular among the more experienced users.
  3. Bulletin board systems underpin popular Social Media behavior in China; more than 80% of their Social Media content is based on bulletin board systems.
  4. Product Reviews – Online product reviews are increasing their influence on purchases in India, particularly for consumer electronics.  55% of Indians that read online product reviews have purchased products based on feedback. Consumer durables / electronics are the most common products that are purchased based on reviews (64% of purchases).
  5. Tweeting: Among the Asian market, Japanese Internet users are the most avid bloggers globally, posting more than one million blogs per month, which is significantly more than any other country in the region. Japan’s adoption of Twitter also continues to grow, with unique visitor numbers increasing in the last year from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million. 16% of Japanese Internet users now use Twitter, compared to only 10% in the U.S.

Google Plus Launches For Teens

February 23, 2012 | Filed under Digital & Tech Trends, E-commerce & Fashion Trends, Social Networking Tips

Google Plus is now welcoming an entirely new teen audience with its recent lowering of its age restriction from 18 to 13.  When it initially launched in June of 2010 it was an only 18 and over service during the initial beta stage until they were able to tailor a new teen-centric version of the defaults and content sharing functions.  It’s basically the same exact service that’s available for adults, with just a few minor changes to the default settings for sharing and privacy options.

The defaults for teens protect more of their privacy online and give them more options as far as controlling who they share content with.  The main sharing portion of Google Plus is within its Circles feature, and a teen’s profile is more restrictive on sharing content outside of their Circles.  The same goes with a teen’s posts; only people within their circle can comment on their posts, but for adults anyone who can see their posts is able to comment.  Another interesting aspect which has proven to be one of the most popular parts of Google Plus is their Hang-Out Video Conferencing feature; the only difference for a teen’s default is when someone from outside their Circle joins the Video Conference, it pauses their feed and asks them if they want to continue the conversation.

It’s definitely commendable of Google to put these few but important safeguards in place to make teens feel like they have more control over their Google Plus content, and of course parents always benefit from any extra online safety measures.  The important thing also to remember is these are only differences in the basic defaults of the service, which can be changed at any time to resemble the conventional settings for those who are 18 and over.  Defaults exist more as guidelines for how a company thinks a service best works for certain users, and more often then not, people tend to stick with whatever the original settings are.  Another interesting aspect of Google Plus is how Google intends it to be utilized by the teen audience.  They want it to be more of an extension of their real life, instead of a venue for them to create a persona or misrepresent themselves, which is often what happens with more freeform Social Media like Facebook.

What will be interesting to see in the future is if the proportion of teens embracing Google Plus will rival the enormous market share Facebook currently has in younger demographics.  There are definitely features available on Google Plus that Facebook lacks, especially the popular Hang-Out Video Conferencing feature, which Facebook users usually leave the service for to utilize in Tinychat rooms for video socializing and even curated online DJ nights.  Google Plus definitely offers a structure and features that teens will find as an interesting contrast to Facebook, and with their specifically tailored defaults and sharing options, it may eventually become a solid competitor for the massive Social Media teen market share.

This is a great article from the Huffington Post that outlines the Google Plus rollout for the teen market.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-magid/google-plus-safety-_b_1235552.html

Is Google’s New Privacy Policy Really Beneficial?

February 17, 2012 | Filed under Digital & Tech Trends, Social Networking Tips

 

Several weeks ago, Google announced their new privacy policy, and on March 1st, they’ll begin to consolidate the policies of their separate entities, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Plus, Blogspot, etc…  What this means is that Google will now be able to use data it collects from users in one area across all of its platforms.

So why is this happening? Google is getting ready to amp up its data mining to compete with its main rival Facebook, which has become a massive marketing and sociological goldmine for companies interested in exactly how to sell or launch their new product. A major proportion of Google’s income comes from advertising and these new policies will allow them to diversify their portfolio and really go head to head with Facebook in the Web 2.0 data wars.

As soon as the announcement came so did the immediate backlash. The main argument people have against this new policy is that there’s no way they can opt out of it. Although Facebook also utilizes a myriad of confusing jargon concerning user data, there is usually some sort of method or box to be checked that allows you to at least somewhat control your flow of information. Another aspect of Google’s new policies that also left users up in arms was their inclusion of your Google + information within their search results. That would be the equivalent of everything you post on your Facebook wall immediately becoming visible to anyone who happened to know or search your username.

The benefits of Google’s new policies will definitely create a more seamless and integrated experience across their multiple platforms, and for someone who isn’t that concerned with privacy policies, it could actually make their Web experience easier and more streamlined.  More importantly, one of the main negative aspects is do you really want your personal and business worlds to collide? You might have a 9-5 corporate job, but do you want your boss to see your Heavy Metal blog?  Is it really beneficial for all of your business contacts to see what you were watching till 3 A.M. on YouTube?  Once these changes go into effect it’s going to become harder and harder to create an online separation between your personal and your professional life.  Not to mention, what about when your personality changes? The online ephemera of your 13-year-old self is completely different and worlds away from whom you are now as a 30-something.

Although Google announced that you can still opt out by logging out from YouTube, etc…but will that really work or will it limit your potential online opportunities?  You can use Hotmail instead of Gmail, but then you would lose the networking capabilities of Google +. You could use Vimeo to upload and share videos, but compared to the daily 4 billion video views on YouTube, you would be missing out on the largest video market share on the web.

What Google has accomplished, as many feared as their size has grown exponentially, is that although their technology has created an all immersive easy to use experience, once you’re not completely satisfied with it, the options you’re left with are very often inferior. It’ll be really interesting to see as the months and years go on after this new privacy policy is put into effect whether or not people will start drifting away from their services, or if they’ll realize that no matter what you use online, at least some of your privacy is compromised, and that’s just become the norm in a world where so many aspects of our personal and business lives are increasingly conducted online.

This is a great article from the Washington Post that explains the ins and outs of the new Google Privacy Policy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/faq-googles-new-privacy-policy/2012/01/24/gIQArw8GOQ_story.html

My Interview on WeAreNYTech.com

November 1, 2011 | Filed under Videos

I’m so excited to be featured in an interview for WeAreNYTech.  It’s a really informative and comprehensive website that showcases some of the best people working in the technology industry in New York City.  I was happy to talk about my background in digital marketing and the different projects I’m currently working on.  There’s a transcript from the interview and a link below.

http://wearenytech.com/262-luna-vega-digital-marketing-consultant

You mention in your bio that at one point you just decided to make your childhood dream come true and start your own business.  How did you come to the decision that it was the right time?

I have always been a perfectionist. It was important for me to get plenty of professional experience under my belt before starting my own business. I took me several years to work up the courage to take the leap.

I vividly remember the day I launched an extensive project for company I was working for at the time. If I had successfully managed and survived this project, I could undertake anything that came my way, I knew I was ready. I had earned the confidence needed to be an entrepreneur. A huge weight also lifted the day I finally quit my job, as if I was finally allowing myself to be me and go for what made me happy deep down.

Is there any particular reason that you choose projects aimed at Gen Y, Hispanic, and Tween target audiences?

When I started my business, I quickly realized I needed to specialize. I dug and wrote down what came to me naturally. I had an affinity for pop culture, fashion, music combined with an internal flair because of my up-bringing (french/hispanic). Indisputably, my strengths rely in pop culture trend forecasting, and understanding the youth demographic. So I decided to apply this knowledge to the work I provide my client. A digital strategy is vacuous if you don’t understand demographic you are reaching out to. You can tweet and blog all you want but if no one cares about what you have to say than it’s a lost cause.

PluggedIn is a new project that you started that is a new web series where you invite your colleagues to debate digital platforms, relevant issues and new technologies affecting the New Media landscape.  Where did the idea for this project come from and what were some of the challenges that you faced when putting the web series together?

My goal in 2011 was to create a video blog educating folks about the power of social media. It was hard at first as,  everything had already been done. After going through a series of ideas, I decided to collaborate with my friend Trevz founder of  thenewpop.com and create a debate show where our colleagues would size up issues in the Social Media landscape. I felt there was little constructive criticism out there about new technology especially from “real users”. It was time we gave a voice to the non techies and for them to provide their insight about which tool they like or dislike. It was important for Trevz and I to create a specific aesthetic for the show while making it entertaining.

Google + hangout launched not to long after we came up with concept, as a logical progression we decided to use the chat technology to host our debates. Producing this show has been one of biggest logistical challenges we have ever faced. It hasn’t been done before so we are literally making it up as we go along. We are constantly testing new video screen grabbing technology, accessing which browsers are better for streaming etc..

 

Pluggedin TV: The New Interactive Video Debate

October 5, 2011 | Filed under Digital & Tech Trends, Videos

I’m so happy to share with you my new project Pluggedin!  Pluggedin is a new web series where we invite our colleagues to debate digital platforms, relevant issues and new technologies affecting the New Media landscape.  The audience decides the winner, and the winner gets a 30 second video plugging anyone or anything they like courtesy of thenewpop.com.  Pluggedin is shot entirely on laptop cameras using Google + Hangouts.  It definitely looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

In this week’s pilot episode we’re debating WordPress vs. Tumblr and which is the better blogging platform.  Everyone has their own reasons for liking one platform over the other and our guests make great cases for each, and your vote determines the winner.

Which platform do you prefer?  Tweet your comments @pluggedin_tv – The person with the most @ tweets will appear as a guest on an upcoming episode.  This week’s featured panel of debaters include:

Igor Smith – http://drivenbyboredom.com

Kristina Marino – http://thedowntowndiaries.com

Sara Martinez – musingsinfemininity.tumblr.com

Nasa Hadizedah – http://culturedproductions.tumblr.com

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