Original photo by Jude Yew
Update: You can now follow us via Twitter crowdstatus
Possibly the most overdue plug I ever had to make, I’d like to introduce you to a consortium of bloggers which I’ve had pleasure of being part of. Birds of a feather to flock together, and in this case, it’s the meetups, conferences and online conversations we’ve shared through our blogs that has brought us here. Together, we aim to help our various Singaporean agencies participate in social media, both in the cultural and technical sense. This is all in hopes of building active citizenry, highly responsive organizations and ultimately, a socially responsible and transparent way of life in Singapore.
From left to right of the photo above, I’ll introduce each personality to you, each unique in his or her own way:
Technological ethnographer & educator
With a blog called betterdays, you’d know he always has something good to share. I’d call him an online ethnographer, but he seems to travel to all parts of Asia for his weekend, checking out how different cultures use technology in different ways (i.e. affordances). He’s been sharing observations on popular culture and tells travel stories for his classes and talks. For instance, he’d be able to tell you “Seven reasons why SL is not popular in Japan” and he especially wows the crowds with his cultural knowledge of Web 2.0 in Asia (which I have a video of).
Information design consultant & educator
Currently a Information Design Consultant at PebbleRoad, Coleman was previously an Educational Technologist at the Teaching & Learning Centre of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore). Since I’ve worked at the ETC @ UB, and am an alumni of Ngee Ann, there are many things we share in common. Coleman’s work dealt with the intersection of technology and education, as he conducted classes appropriating technology for specific pedagogical needs. I tend to agree with his maxim that new technology isn’t always appropriate for effective education (e.g. teaching in Second Life). For a taste of what he tends to offer, check out his three-parter on “The Future of Internet Is Virtual Worlds. Or Is It?“. From there, you’ll find a link to a conference video which inspired this entire discussion.
Corporate Comms Director for National Heritage Board (Singapore)
As an experienced marketer and publicist in the lifestyle and heritage sector, Walter relishes in using new ideas, refreshing approaches, and unconventional solutions to age-old problems. He’s involved with helping NHB promote “Singapore Heritage” and has been trying to get people to contribute personal stories, especially the senior citizens. On his blog, you’ll find various anecdotes about life in Singapore from a marketer’s perspective, such as “Why Bosses Should Blog” and “Staying Afloat in a Shopper’s Paradise” where he explores the mechanics of how successful shopping malls work. Finally, here’s a blogger’s interview with Walter.
Ivan Chew (aka RamblingLibrarian)
Prominent Librarian Blogger
Ivan has been working for the National Library Board since 1996, pursuing his passion in Public Librarianship. Besides developing Adults & Young People services at the library, he is also serving a 4-year term (2005 – 2009) in the IFLA Standing Committee for Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section. The real kicker came in June of 2004, when he started his blog as an experiment. This came after a blogger took issue with his remarks that blogs were platforms for verbal diarrhea. Since then, he’s taken it all back and has realized the blog’s potential to advance librarianship. Now he uses his blog as a way of showing the inner workings of a library and what life as a librarian is really about. He recently started the “Librarians In Singapore” Google Group, which he encourages librarians (and non-librarians) around the globe to join in to talk about using social media as part of librarianship. You can join in here.
Kenneth Pinto (aka Acroamatic)
Educational Technologist & Heritage Guide
Kenneth is an arts & social sciences graduate, who works in an educational technology department and guides heritage walks in Singapore. He also contributes to yesterday.sg which covers the yesteryears of Singapore, and manages the NUS community blog service where instructors can run academic blogs. To keep up with developments in educational technology, he shares a few of the blogs and news sites he frequents here.
Web Standards Guru
Lucian’s blog is called Tribolum (short for triboluminescence) and he shares a heartfelt story how that came to be. He works on the web at The Ministry of Education in Singapore and notes that it’s his job to make that site work for you. Outside of work, he started Websg.org, a site dedicated to covering news on the web scene in Singapore, which also serves as the launching pad for a web standards group in Singapore. I recently attended their 2nd meetup at the National Library and discovered that magic happens when you put a bunch of geeks in the same room. You can read about this in its entirety here.
Social Media Academic
Jude Yew found me while searching for information relating to the closure of the UB School of Informatics. There’s a striking similarity between us, in that he’s also pursuing a PhD in the School of Information, but at University of Michigan instead of UB. We share similar research interests, such as the social affordances of technology and collaborative forms of learning. Heck, he’s even published interesting papers such as one titled “Learning by Tagging: The Role of Social Tagging in Group Knowledge Formation” as well as “From Shared Databases to Communities of Practice: A Taxonomy of Collaboratories“. He’s happily married to his cheerful wife Serene, and they share the blog documenting their lives together in the States. I met up with Jude and Serene earlier this year and you can read all about it here.
Public Relations Blogger
Ben works at Hill & Knowlton in Singapore as a PR consultant in the technology practice, as well as the company’s new media specialist where he experiments with cocktails of PR and social media. Previously a journalist for tech trade journals, he later co-founded and built Scoopasia, a free web resource for the PR and marketing industry in Asia, which eventually lead to his job at H&K. He found me through my del.icio.us bookmarks, and realized how we shared similar interests (social recommendation engine for del.icio.us anyone?). He’s started blogging recently but has proven to be quite a natural at it, and dare I say he could even give Steve Rubel a run for his money, at least in Asia. If you’re interested, you can read my face-to-face chat with Ben.
Finally, there are two more personalities who aren’t in the photo, but are of equal importance…
Siva (aka Otterman)
Biologist Blogger & Mac Evangelist
With Siva’s blog call “Otterman speaks“, he also contributes widely to the Habitatnews, Raffles Museum News, The Biology Refugia, as well as Yesterday.sg. You’ll find Siva wading through swamp water to check on the health of the local plants and animals, thus his attire being mostly in bermudas. Siva is also part of the local Mac user community and organizes regular meetups for Mac users to exchange tips and help one another out.
Public Health & Web Design Blogger
The earlier part of her life involved studying law from the University of Bristol. Now firmly back in Singapore, Vanessa Tan worked as a web designer and has now situated herself at the Health Promotion Board working on online campaigns. Besides her work, she produces her own music, sings and tries to keep her bands going. Van applies her web design interests to websg.org and has more recently been attending the SXSW festival in Austin Texas. I don’t know how she finds the energy, but she’s been flooding her blog with reviews of every SXSW panel she’s attended, which includes: How to rawk SXSW, The real story behind Snakes on a Plane, Emerging Social and Technology Trends, Under 18: Blogs, Wikis and Online Social Networks for Youth, TV: The Next Generation and Ghost in the Machine: Spirituality Online (first religious SXSW panel!). It’s still going on so stay tuned to her blog, or better still, subscribe to her RSS feed to give her positive readership karma.