As mentioned in a previous blog post, I was invited to speak at the All In! Young Writers Media Festival 2012, organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and supported by the National Arts Council (NAC).
I spoke on the topic of “Using New Media to Reach & Engage the Community”, together with two politicians, Nicole Seah from the National Solidarity Party and Yee Jenn Jong from the Workers’ Party. The session was moderated byEric Alagan, a business consultant and book author.
Below are some of the topics raised by Eric and my answers in blue:
1. Social media is a very wide and fast evolving arena – we have Facebook, Blogs and Twitter just to name a few. Which is your preferred platform and why?
Blog. This is because it serves as a container for all my content which I use to share onto Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media platforms. With a central nodal point, this is effective for my personal branding and leaves my content platform agnostic with a archival system.
2. You mention blog is your preferred platform, can you take us through when and how you started. Your expectations when you first started, Summarise your experience to date – met/exceeded/fell short of expectations
I started blogging on Alvinology.com after leaving my job at Youth.SG as portal manager. I was hired to grow the traffic for the site, which I tripled in less than a year. I started this blog as a social experiment to see if I can grow it’s traffic with just one person fueling the content. Alvinology.com currently enjoys over 10,000 readers a day, a remarkable feat, even triumphing the traffic of Youth.SG, maintained by a team of writers.
One of the first post on this blog is on a porn comic book, “How To Make Money Like A Porn Star” by Neil Strauss and Bernard Chang, being openly sold in the children’s section of the book fair with no shrink wrap. When I got hold of this story, I shared it with the mainstream media, while at the same time, releasing it on my blog, with it being the first and only source of pictures and information on the Internet. This will become a characteristic trait of Alvinology.com, always being among the first to report on interesting Singapore news that viral very well on the Internet (hence the tagline “Yes, You Saw It Here First).
3. After the initial peak, how do you sustain and grow readership/following – what are the challenges and how do you manage these –any tips for our audience
The easiest way to grow blog traffic is to pick quarrels with other bloggers, organisations or simply anyone under the sun so as to fan reactions from multiple parties. Whether they are your supporters or haters, by visiting your site, they are still contributing to your overall blog hits. Xiaxue did it many times, so do many other famous female bloggers in Singapore.
This approach is not suitable for a non-confrontation, peace-loving person like me.
I grow my traffic via consistency in updates and making my content Internet-friendly. I try my very best to update my blog at least once a day. Recently, I have cut down to five days a week after my baby son came along. I usually write many of the blog posts over the weekend and schedule them for release through the week. I keep my sentences short, breaking my writing into many paragraphs for easier reading. Language is kept simple and I make it a point to use at least one photo or video for each entry to break the monotone of a text only entry.
4. Social etiquette in the anonymous world that is blogosphere – share with us some really nice and nasty experiences and how you handle these. Could you suggest some norms in blogosphere interactions – with regards to language/respect/decorum
Four words – Don’t feed the trolls. Often time, the most critical and nastiest comments come from troll accounts whose aim is to incite a certain response from you. Do not give them the response they want and these trolls will feel helpless.
Eg. When someone calls me stupid, I will just reply with a polite “Yes I am stupid, thank you”, instead of getting angry.
However, for comments that are written by genuine individuals who are truly upset, I sometime respond to them via email. Some of these people became my friends after that.