the grass is greener on the internet

Life as the World’s Coolest Intern 1
March 20, 2011, 11:16 pm
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A few people have pointed out that for a social media intern I have hardly been blogging at all. Well, there’s a few reasons.

  1. I moved countries, and stuff. Apart from the challenge of which pairs of shoes to bring, there’s other things like finding a place to live and getting the hang of Singlish. Can lah.
  2. I’ve been learning a hell of a lot. It started with 3 days drinking coffee with the lovely ladies of Goodstuph (aka sitting in from brief to pitch on a very cool new account), a whirlwind day at Edelman that began with talking to Armano and ended with trying out for a black belt on their social media training program, several sessions at Qais Consulting getting to grips with all things new media and interactive, and of course getting down and dirty with data for a week at JamiQ.
  3. Oh, and then there’s my day job. So I get paid to tweet at work, but there’s plenty of other things to be done too; getting addicted to Google Analytics, negotiating the hazards of what can and cannot be communicated and planning campaigns for upcoming launches. Most recently, that means working with frog design on a design competition called inmode, which is almost a WCI for designers.

I’d love to go into more detail on these later, but in the spirit of talking about learning, I have two people to credit:

Shin Wee – my first line manager and an incredibly intelligent guy. He was a big part of running WCI and he clearly cared a lot about making it a great learning experience. In the short time we worked together he gave me a lot of great advice that I’ll remember for the rest of my career – so congratulations to him on moving to China to become the head of Remote Banking for Standard Chartered there.

Gaurav – my second line manager and the other driving force behind WCI. When we first met we filmed a case study with one shot where we pretended he was teaching me to meditate. The footage was cut but I feel that it’s quite accurate. He freely shares a wealth of experience in digital marketing, agency life and life in general. He’s a bit like a zen master, but a zen master that wields a Darth Maul light sabre. I’m not sure if I can reveal his next move but he’s going on to a very exciting position which will suit him very well.


You got Poken.
January 16, 2011, 8:37 pm
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An intriguing concept came up in my email – what if you could have a social media business card?

We’ve already had the social media resumé, courtesy of Brazen Careerist. And it’s not unheard of to have a QR code on your business card for easy reference (nice work Lee Hopkins).

But how about being able to electronically zap someone all of your social media profiles when you meet?

Well lookie here…

Poken tokens like this little fellow can store all that info – then transmit it when touched with another Poken.

It could definitely be the new higher-tech way of getting connected. But will they get enough of a membership for the service to be valuable?

Well…check out Poken and let me know what you think!

Just for the record
December 27, 2010, 12:51 pm
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Prediction: for the next decade the trend for companies will be towards expanding up the supply chain or to complementary goods/services.

Your next social media intern
November 26, 2010, 1:32 pm
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So I feel incredibly lucky right now…because Standard Chartered has selected me to be the World’s Coolest Intern!

It’s an honour I wasn’t really expecting to receive, because the calibre of other candidates in the Top Ten was so high!

If you’re a smart company looking to get into social media…you’ll snap up one of these kids right now.

Just by the fact that all of these people have gotten to the Top Ten, you know that:

  1. They love social media
  2. They’re willing to go the extra mile
  3. They can execute a social media campaign and do it well

Need further convincing?

Here they are…

First runner-up…Farah!

You’ve already seen my post on Farah – the more I talk to her, the more I’m impressed by the class with which she handles communications. Some would put it down to that Masters in Comms, but she has a professional attitude that can’t be taught.

Why you should hire her: She’s shown from day one that she’s a strong communicator. She’s fun but also dedicated to her work, with flawless execution.

Since the competition she’s already landed herself a couple of gigs to propel herself to social media expert status, including Penn Olson and ITChannel.

Campaign highlight: It’s tough to pick from such a consistent campaign, but her solid following on Facebook (800+) deserves a mention. She also managed to churn out a tweet an hour for the banner ad!

Second runner-up…Sarah!

Sarah was a competition favourite from the moment she entered, with some very impressive stats and of course status as co-founder of Penn Olson.

Why you should hire her: Well, how many other students do you know that have started an incredibly successful tech + business news site and now advise companies?

Campaign highlight: Flattening everyone else to the ground with a reference from a Mashable editor…who is just one of the people in her 1.6mill Twitter reach!

And in a different order to usual (see if you can figure out what order I used)


Jen’s bubbly personality bowls you over even when you’re viewing it over the internet. And it’s not just her – all of her supporters were tripping over each other to show more enthusiasm.

Why you should hire her: she’s fun, enthusiastic, creative and comes with a load of experience and a loyal following.

Campaign highlight: To demonstrate her creativity and addiction to social media, Jen took a series of photos showing what it would look like if we used social media actions in real life. Double points for daring.


She was one of the few to create a blog exclusively to enter the competition – not that it would have been very difficult for her, if you look at the slew of other websites she owns.

Why you should hire her: Ask yourself how many female engineers you know. With first class honours. And…who are strong enough communicators that they can work in marketing. Yep, that should give you an idea of how rare she is. She’s got a great eye for web dev, though you’ll have to whisk her away from being the ‘resident nerd’ for Peek.

Campaign highlight: When SCB asked us to whip up a top 10 video within 3 days, she rose to the challenge beautifully. Colour me very impressed.


Duane was also hotly-tipped, with an entire microsite devoted to his campaign. He was always pushing the bar, with a campaign team, plenty of ideas and even a hunt for a secret page!

Why you should hire him: activating other people to go all-out to support you shows a personal quality that not many people have. Add that to the ideas this guy has and you have a fairly potent combination.

[But you might have to fight Qais Consulting for him right now ;)]

Campaign highlight: I hear that one supporter was so enthusiastic in promoting him that they were nearly banned from Facebook… It’s one thing to be able to promote yourself, but to be able to activate other people to promote you and have strangers across the world photographing themselves with your name is an incredible skill!


So her real name’s Stephanie, but she’ll somehow always be Stooffi in my head – from the moment I saw her campaign I knew she’s make Top Ten. Stooffi brought all of the applicants together, both online and offline!

Why you should hire her: she’s a Twitter MACHINE. She’s absolutely dedicated to social media at all hours and occasions…and also advises on it at Penn Olson. She’s also shown that she can learn quickly – she’s only been on social media for less than a year!

Campaign highlight: Another unshakeable image is the exploding marshmallows promised by one of Stooffi’s many supporters if she didn’t get the position. I think her mobilisation of Twitter followers was one of the best, with 170+ of them adding a badge to their profile pictures!


She’s incredibly sweet but there’s more to Jonha than that – she puts social into social media and promotes herself with ease and efficiency.

Why you should hire her: Jonha’s a natural networker, with a whole string of happy clients and loyal followers. If you need to engage with your customers, she’s your girl.

Campaign highlight: 7 blog posts popped up in support of her campaign within 24 hours of her asking, from clients to friends to strangers.


When I think Gaufire, I think entrepreneur. Every time I’ve spoken to him, he’s suggested new ways to push the business agenda forward.

Why you should hire him: every company needs people to drive their new projects, seek out new opportunities and make the most of those opportunities.

Campaign highlight: Gaurav was the first entry I discovered using Google and stayed in the first few pages fairly consistently, which is not an easy task!


She’s been dubbed the enigma of the competition, but only in a good way – Alicia was the only person to use haikus and graphs with such devastating communication accuracy.

Why you should hire her: she’s a concise communicator, strong writer and uber creative. Her offbeat personality may not suit all companies BUT she would be perfect for some niche markets where others wouldn’t survive.

Campaign highlight: Convincing SCB to put her in the top 10 without ever showing a photo…how did she do it??

Farah Sidek
November 19, 2010, 1:07 am
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The World’s Coolest Intern will be announced tomorrow – that is, Saturday Nov 20!

It’s been an amazing ride and the experience of applying for it was almost an internship in itself. Even if I don’t win, I’m still learnt a lot and met some great people along the way!

One of those people is the lovely Farah:

Even if our universities are competing for fourth place in Australia, we agreed to interview each other about the competition and why we should be the World’s Coolest Intern!

What was your main reason for entering the World’s Coolest Intern?

The main reason was that I was attracted to the competition was the social media training that would be given to the winner. Receiving coaching and training from the top social media gurus in Singapore is extremely invaluable (something you can’t sign up or just pay for) and would go a long way in coaching me to great social media marketer in the future.

Give us three reasons why you should be the World’s Coolest Intern…

(1) I am always curious and willing to learn. (2) I believe I can create content that attracts and engages the audience. It helps that I have a strong foundation in writing and communicating which is essential for the job. (3) I’ve got some great ideas that I could bring to the team. Essentially, Willingness, Content and Ideas = WCI.

What’s the craziest thing you’d do to get the job?

The craziest thing I would do to get WCI is to dance my signature Single Ladies dance for the job. Though my moves are likely to horrify Beyonce, the laughs that it usually gets would be priceless?

[Ed note: I’ve gotta see this.]

What’s one thing you’ve learnt from social media that you would never have learnt otherwise?

Well, from the top of my mind, with Breeze having over 2000 followers, it shows that even banks can break out of the traditional view of being stereotyped as being too corporate, and actually be fun and engaging.

What would be your first action as the World’s Coolest Intern?

My first action as WCI would be to get to know the Breeze team well since they would be the ones I’m working together with. I believe it would be important to build rapport with them, learn their expectations from the intern, and set achievable objectives for the short time frame of six months.

One idea, Ninety seconds
November 4, 2010, 11:47 am
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They’re elusive.

They’re powerful.

Ideas are what make us human.

Ideas are what make us successful.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that ideas can change the world – maybe not on their own, but they’re the spark that makes it happen.

Here’s just one of the ideas I have for Standard Chartered’s mobile banking app, Breeze.

I have many other ideas on many other things, but all I’ll say is this:

I have the ideas to create change, the drive to make it happen and the knowledge to do it well.

Applying the Four Ps to social media strategy
November 3, 2010, 3:00 pm
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Marketers are always trying to come up with new models – and I know, there are better models that apply when creating social media strategy.

But here’s a thought on applying the old ones…

Product = Content

Far be it for me to say that content is king, but at the end of the day your content is the product that your customers get by signing up to you or engaging with you. You might take a luxury approach with the best content in the market. Or maybe a mass-market strategy, or a niche. Whatever it is, it will affect…

Promotion = Relationships

Like traditional marketing, this is usually what people think of first in social media marketing. Like traditional marketing, you can do a lot with amazing promotion – the Apples of this world, for examplebut too much of it can kill a strategy. We’ve all seen the ‘please RT me please share me please like me’ promotion. That might work for you, but promotion really includes building relationships, getting to know people and (to use the buzzword) engaging.

Price = Inconvenience

Other attempts to apply the traditional model usually fall down at price. But I propose that the price paid is the inconvenience of reaching content. Do I have to navigate your entire site to find it? Are there lots of flashing ads? Is there just a huge block of text? [Ed note: Oops.] That’s the price.

Placement = Platforms

Some platforms are better than others. Don’t write it as a blog if it should be a website. Don’t write it as a website if it should be video. Are you targeting Google when your target market is on Yahoo?

That’s my 2c…what do you think?