Infographics, Opinions, Vanessa Tai

5 Social Media Resolutions For 2014 – Vanessa Tai

Social media usage in Singapore is intense. Just take a look at the infographic below:


So, even as we make resolutions to lose weight, spend more time with our family, quit that gross habit … we should also consider making some changes to our online life. Because most of us are plugged in almost around-the-clock, it’s worthwhile examining how we can be better participants on social media. Here are some suggestions (please feel free to add your own in the Comments section below):

1. Be vigilant about your privacy settings

Yes, it can be tricky keeping on top of your many social media accounts. However, as we post more and more content online, it’s important that we regularly check our privacy settings. Not being on the ball with your privacy settings could lead to relatively innocuous situations like everyone on your Facebook knowing you have a penchant for listening to ’90s boyband hits on Spotify, to full-blown social media disasters (as exemplified by PR executive Justine Sacco). Which brings me to my next point …

2. Be more positive

While we may be tempted to fire off a string of passive-aggressive tweets about our co-workers, or rant on Facebook about the driver who cut our lane this morning, we should think about who’s going to see our posts. Everyone has their own battles to fight, and the world is angsty enough as it is. Do we really want to clog other people’s news feeds with our #firstworldproblems?

material world_social media

3. Be less hung up about numbers

Speaking of #firstworldproblems, is it really worth getting anxious over why that totally adorable picture of your pet/baby/boyfriend on Instagram isn’t getting as many Likes as it should? I know I’m not alone when it comes to incessantly refreshing my feed to see if anyone has Liked my post yet. If you do this too, please stop. One Like does not a validation make.

4. Be less of an armchair activist

Just as people Liking our posts does not equate with us being Ms. Popular, Liking a Facebook page for a social cause does not equate with social change. If we truly feel strongly about a cause, we should get off our computer chair and onto the ground to see how we can help. [Relevant: How you can keep the spirit of giving alive]

5. Be mindful that you’re talking to people, not robots

In an era where online debates are de rigueur, always remember that the person you’re arguing with is also a human being. Just like in real life, we should always aim to fight clean – that means no name-calling or personal attacks of any kind. And as much as possible, let’s avoid getting drawn into arguments with: (in this order) Internet trolls, people who are needlessly rude, and people who refuse to see another side of the argument.

What other social media resolutions should we adhere to? Tell me in the Comments section below!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She uses Hootsuite to manage her many social media accounts. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Deborah Tan, Opinions

The Overreaching Media & Why It’s Doing More Harm Than Good – Deborah Tan

Picture this: You are driving to work and you’re tuned in to the radio. An ad comes on, promoting the latest issue of a magazine. The voice tantalises you with a couple of lines about what the issue is about and then … it launches into a whole series of “extras” that the magazine also has.

Staying connected is the only thing on our minds these days

Staying connected is the only thing on our minds these days

“Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for your exclusive invitations to our fashion events!”

“Go to our website to check out exciting behind-the-scene videos of our photoshoots!”

“Be sure to read the blogs of our editors and writers!”

“Tweet us your favourite catwalk pictures from this season’s fall/winter shows!”

WOW. Do you feel tired for the magazine? Because more and more, I am like, “Woah … stop for a minute. Go back and tell me more about the magazine.”

Of course, it isn’t just magazines that are reaching out to its readers using more than one platform. These days, radio DJs are blogging, celebrities are tweeting, magazine editors are Instagramming, bloggers are also YouTube stars … everyone is doing everything.

And it’s kinda killing the magic for those of us on the receiving end.

You see, I miss the days when if I wanted to read a magazine, I’d just buy a copy and flip through 180 pages of great reading material about relationships, shopping, food, movies, TV, etc. If I wanted to catch my favourite celebrity in action, I’d go watch his latest movie or buy his newest album. If I wanted to read a blog, I’d just go read a blog.

Every form of media I consumed stayed in their nice little circle. As a consumer, I appreciated where one form of media began and where it ended. Each form of media had its own function in my life and I was able to choose when to switch off to a magazine and tune in to a radio. I liked that my radio DJ remained a voice (I never quite cared how Simon Lim, Captain Of Your Heart, looked like) and that I won’t be seeing him monkeying up as a YouTube star when I logged on to the Internet.

Old fashion? Unsavvy with the way media these days work? I don’t think so.

Is it time to jump off the social media bandwagon?

Is it time to jump off the social media bandwagon?

1. People Need To Switch Off
It is really for marketing purpose that your DJs and writers are reaching out to you via social media and anything that pops up as a feed on your Facebook Wall. I don’t know when this began but suddenly, someone decided that no, they don’t want people switching off. They want you to, when you close the magazine, to check out its app on your phone. They want you to, when you switch off the TV, be able to still watch your favourite shows online. They want you to, when you turn off the radio, meet your favourite DJs at an event by the local community club.

Allowing the reader/viewer/listener to switch off is important. Because we need to miss you. I remember a time when I looked forward to the appearance of each new issue of my favourite magazines. That was before Facebook, that was before Twitter … the anticipation made the product exciting. The excitement made me want to buy it. Now, all I do is, “What? So soon? Didn’t I just read the last issue?” It’s not that I just read the last issue, I just simply saw a update on my Wall by the magazine’s Facebook Page.

The constant connection is tiring and it dulls our anticipation for whatever new offerings our magazine or favourite TV shows have. With binge-watching, people don’t watch TV anymore. They download an entire season and watch it all at one go on their iPad. Satisfying in some ways but the magic that comes with the wait is somewhat lost.

2. Overreaching Promotes Mediocrity
We are always told to focus on one product and making sure it becomes a great product. When a media – whatever its form – overreaches, it is in effect building a domino formation. You just need one aspect (say, your website) to be lame and it basically undoes the good work you’ve been putting into your main product.

Increasingly, media owners are showing that they are suffering from FOMO (the fear of missing out). They see their competitors launch an app, and they want one too. They see their competitors go on Pinterest, and they want one too. They see their competitors blogging, and suddenly the whole company has to blog.

If you have the resources, fine. If you don’t, you are simply stretching yourself thin and, instead of being good in one thing, you now just mediocre in everything. And once the consumer becomes accustomed to mediocrity, standards everywhere just fall.

3. The Connection Paradox
And when all messages and all marketing strategies start to resemble one and another, the consumer obviously is going to get a bit overwhelmed and bored. She starts disconnecting.

The more connections a media makes with a consumer, the more likely she is going to want to start distancing herself. If she distances herself from your Facebook Page or unfollows you on Twitter, that’s not very good for your marketing team. If she distances herself from your main product, that’s even worse.

I think we are failing when it comes to understanding why people connect with us because we are only concerned with how many people we can be a nuisance to, and then hoping that these people would never be irritated enough to click the Unlike button. It’s not going to keep on working like this. A shutdown seems inevitable and that’s just bad news for everyone in the media.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and wants to know why cat pictures attract so many Likes on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.