Third up was PR 2.0 by two ladies from Text100, namely Su Min and Liyi. They talked about the new media ecology as popularly cited in the U.S., then leaned towards how they didn’t see this happening in Singapore. I don’t know about you, but I found it pretty upsetting that they didn’t see enough evidence that the grassroots media was actually taking hold in Singapore.
Coleman Yee gave the example of his friend’s establishment called “Pitstop Cafe” which has a blog that customers could feedback to (Borat sez “very nice!”). I cited examples of the Singapore Elections in 2006 where political bloggers became overnight sensations, at times hoarding more attention than traditional news media outlets such as the Straits Times (i.e. Yawning Bread’s Hougang Field Rally Photo). A fellow instructor (Ang Moh guy; didn’t catch his name) behind me mentioned how unhappy bank customers might complain via blogs, but they don’t really have a choice since there’s the “locked-in” effect where customers can’t switch banks as readily as businesses like cafes. As such, the Ang Moh guy argues that banks are less threatened to respond to blogs.
They later asked how PR agencies needed to redefine their role. I gave some ideas and so did the others, but at this point I was really wondering if they were really sharing anything with participants, or if they were just soliciting for ideas. Unconferences are about creating opportunities for ideas to emerge, and though these ladies tried to get some genuine conversation going, I don’t think any of us learnt anything substantially new. Given such a fun topic, it could have really brought us places. All is not lost though, as the lady in white dress did look cute squinting whenever I yakked (probably thought I was sprouting nonsense).