Web 3.0 Asia?

I have mentioned the decreasing popularity of the term “Web 2.0”, this brief speech by google CEO Eric Schmidt in Seoul Digital Forum might provide us with a more concrete evidence.

 According to him, Web 3.0 is “applications that are pieced together. They are relatively small…very fast and customizable, and distributed virally…” I looked up for some other definitions about Web 3.0, it has been frequently referred as a form of “semantic web”, with applications that tailored to the specific individual’s needs. It is not necessarily restricted to specific web sites or services, but is more invisible and embedded in our everyday life.

 

What I’m concerned about is how such new form of web construction might influence the Asian web system, as it is based on highly customizable feature and rapid communication, would it make people more connected to each other, or further separate them as distinctive individuals? With its penetration into everyday life, would it bring about more freely expressed content, or actually be applied as a new system of censorship? And as for its feature of viral distribution, would it become a network that is truly global or actually generates networks that are more locally focused? Anyway, looking forward to the spread of this new wave of technical revolution.

 

Just Plane Thoughts by Malaysian Brand AirAsia

I found this interesting site while navigating through the Malaysian AirAsia website. The company innovatively embedded this blog called Just Plane Thoughts into its customer service website.


 (Source: AirAsia)

It is like a digital version of those magazines offered by airplane company for you to read while sit on the plane. In this blog, the readers (not just AirAsia customers) can submit blog posts related to their travel experiences. They feature a wide range of topics like shopping and dining accounts as well as experiences in airports around the world. Some posts also include personal photos and videos. The blog also provide information about the company’s latest offer and services, and encourage people to comment on it and provides recommendations for their future improvement (See here). Besides, the blog is also a platform for the company to handle some of their public crisis, as it has posts showing how the corporate deal with people’s complaints and respond to issues related to the damage of corporate’s public image (like this post). 

I think the function of this blog involves a mix of public relation and advertising. It plays an important role in presenting the corporate’s respect and responsibility to its current and potential customers. So it can be seen as a good example which incorporates digital social media into corporate business.

For extra example of using digital media for promotion of corporate culture, see my previous posting here. Besides, I found here is also an excellent posting regrading Lipton.

Singapore: Tweet for Treasure

One friend invited me to this very interesting Twitter activity started by StarHub, the second largest broadband company in Singapore. The activity is called ‘Great Singapore treasure hunt’. Although the participation of this activity involves both getting clues online and “hunting for treasure” offline in the city of Singapore, I found this activity a very successful case for the broadband company to engage its current and potential customers via social media.

 

Basically the website releases a new round of task every one or two days via Twitter, the task includes the hunting for “treasure” within CBD of Singapore, and  the details of the instructions and clues will be only tweeted to people who joined the twitter group. It usually requires the participants to solve the riddles online with the help of tools such as Google, Flickr, YouTube and Windows Live Messenger. The first person who solve the riddles (by tweeting the answer back) and get to the location where treasure is placed can win a cheque for S$10,000. The “treasure hunt” actually emphasizes the importance of the speed, which is an important part of the brand image of StarHub broadband.

 

The fans of the activity also have a Facebook group, which is said to have amassing over 25,000 fans in a three-week period and became Singapore’s largest Facebook fan group.

(Pic Source:tweet a treasure in Twitter)

YouTube Korea: Social Responsibility or User Right?

On April 1st, 2009, South Korea’s telecommunication authority deployed an act which obligates the Internet user to publish his/her real name when uploading a video or leaving a comment on large social networking sites as in Korea, increasing rate of crimes and suicide cases have been caused by slanderous messages posted on social websites. YouTube was also specified as one of the websites to which the act should be applied. However, after discussing with Google World Headquarters, Google Korea (who owns YouTube Korea) refused the authority’s request on the grounds that anonymity is essential to guarantee freedom of expression on YouTube, and the company disabled any video uploading and commenting instead. YouTube customers in South Korea can only use these features by changing the current region in their personal settings into country other than South Korea.


(Source: Asiajin/Korea)

It was highly anticipated that users would eventually leave YouTube in favor of local competitors Like Pandora.tv after YouTube’s decision. Surprisingly, it was not the case. According to a survey by Korean Times in June 2009, for the first time since its launch in Korea in 2008, YouTube became the number one video portal in terms of overall usage time with a 42.79% market share. It shows that Google’s move of disabling the uploading and commenting system does not influence people’s use of the YouTube website. People believe that YouTube’s features like quick registration process, the possibility to embed videos on Cyworld (first social network in Korea), as well as the amount and diversity of content made available from its worldwide user base are all reasons they decide to stick to YouTube.

It was commonly known that it is important for global websites such as YouTube to tailor to the specific local market so as to localize its brand image, this involves operating with respect for local morals and ethics. The response by YouTube Korea here seems to strike a balance between its social responsibility and the protection of its users’ right. It is obvious an excellent way of building a strong position in the Korean market and at the same time casts no negative effect on the corporate’s business.

The death of “Web 2.0” and Why Asia

The impact of term Web 2.0 is shrinking? According to this article, the author drew this conclusion based on the Google trend analysis retrieved early this year, which shows a significant decrease in the search for term Web 2.0 since 2007.

In my mind, Web 2.0 equals interactive web media based on user-generated content. However, with the stabilization and maturation of the technology related to Web 2.0, various forms of Web 2.0 services tend to generate very distinct user experiences and it seems that people don’t normally treat them as the same things. For instance, Google’s search engine and people’s personal blogs are all interactive media based on “Web 2.0” technology that surpasses web 1.0’s passively viewing experience and non-interactive homepage, but rarely do people consider these two things as the same thing simply because the experience associated with these two platforms are so different. It is same with Wikipedia and Facebook. As a result, people are more willing to consider these Web 2.0 services separately as search engines, blogs, wikipedia sites and social-networking sites instead of broadly referring them as Web 2.0 sites. So I guess maybe that’s one of the factors that contribute to the fading impact of the term Web 2.0.

Another interesting thing noted in the article is that when looking at the geographic regions that have generated the highest volumes of worldwide search traffic for the term over the years – it’s Asia, with the top 5 regions being India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia (in that order). This piece of fact demonstrates the particular significance of Web 2.0 for Asia. I think this is largely related to the great opportunities and business potentials brought about by Web 2.0 framework to Asia. Take Facebook for an example: in many other Capitalist market of the world such as Europe and America, Facebook takes a very significant share of the market as a social networking website. While in Asia, Facebook is more a type of inspiration, and a basic model for many local reconstructed or “clone” sites such as CyWorld (Korea), and Fropper (India), Renren (China), Mixi (Japan). These localized versions all occupy more share of the market than Facebook in their specific regions. So maybe it explains the popularity of terms of Web 2.0 in Asia, as the term signifies undeveloped potential for localization and endless space for innovation.

(Pic Source: Google Trend)