High Net Worth (2015) and DesignTaxi (2003).
When we first started our blog The Artist and his Model (2005) eleven years ago, in the creative local digital footprints, there was only notably DesignTaxi (2003) around while Culturepush (2007), FiveFootWay (2007) founded by Adib Jalal and Jia-Jun back in their days of schooling at NUS Architecture came into the scene a few years later.
Those were also the years whereby we have bloggers like Xiaxue (2003) and Mr Brown (1997), Yawning Bread (1996), Alvinology (2007) and Forums serving respective communities notably ClubSNAP, Hardwarezone, Frontallabs, Cozycot and SOFT.
Those were probably the years that Blogger (1999), WordPress (2003) and Tumblr (2007) has overtaken Xanga, Livejournal and the defunct Geocities (1995). And also see the rise of Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006) that has overtaken the hype in Friendster (2002) and MySpace (2003).
Curation or in this context, curated content, like hipster, has recently become a damn word
Today we see contents being more diversified and a go at independence in digital authorship—taking a pie of what probably used to be solely SPH’s or Mediacorp’s.
We have street photography in Shentonisa (2011), music in Bangwagon (2011) and Othersounds (2012), Food in ieatishootipost (2006) by Dr. Leslie Tay, Ladyironchef (2007), DanielFoodDiary (2008), GastroNOMmy (2009) by Victoria Cheng, Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow (2010), Burrple (2012) and Seth Lui (2013) and for lifestyle notably ones includes Bloesem Living (2006) founded by Dutch-born, Singapore based Irene Hoofs where the whole thing blossemed probably because of their physical store which doubles up as a studio to organise creative classes, a showroom for the online room at Tiong Bahru in 2014.
The Honeycombers (2008) designed for women in Southeast Asia, aged 25-45, is founded by Christine Edwards. They has since expanded to Honeycombers Kids and Honeycombers Brides, and Poskod (2011) founded by Huzir Sulaiman and Dan Koh.
TheSmartLocal (2012) sees close to a million unique visitors each month is founded by Bryan Choo, a web developer by profession where his passion for travel, food, writing and film making has evolved into a company with close to twenty over staffs.
Little Red Dot Folks (2013) where it’s founded by photographer Franz & Vincent Martin where we see a diverse range of profiles from Jerry Goh of co founder Hjgher, Zi Xi of Messymsxi to Jia En Teo & Federico Folcia of Roomorama. Franz is now involves in Ubersnap.
And there’s also Lifestyle Asia (2006), plussixfive (2008), NookMag (2009), VaultMag (2010), FeverAvenue (2010), InvisiblePhotographerAsia (2010), DesignSojourn (2010), styleXstyle (2014), Obscured (2011), Popspoken (2011), PoachedMag (2012), with recently new players namely HighNetWorth (2015) which I am loving every bits, SolidSpace (2015), and Buro 24/7 (2015), The15thDistrict (2015) where Daniel Boey is part of.
On a side note, are food reviews still relevant? We often lament there’s a lack of serious critic here as we never know when are the reviews authentic and not advertised or how can we trust Michellin Guide? Can we, just on the matter of fact he is made up of stacked up tires which has a resemblance of “tummy” in layers?
Power has shifted from one to the many
Ten years ago, online advertisements, electronic mailer aside, used to be either on Google or blogs with their ad banners—static or moving (Adobe Flash). Where then advertisers believe in the ‘Spray-and-pray’ tactic—publicise your logo or campaign anywhere and everywhere with the hope that people will notice you, praying your hard work pays off. This method, however, is not sustainable unless you are big players who can hog the media for a long period of time and be in everywhere in the market. This is why brands like Adidas or NIKE or such would spend on sponsoring World Cup, Champions League, Super Bowl or why SingTel would spend on F1 for example, just to flaunt their wealth, showing the smaller brands and their fans, they are the authority and leader in the market.
Brands of today are starting a shift on how they spent their marketing and advertising dollars—moving away from traditional avenues like online banners and blogs and investing in online personalities with a loyal, engaged and large following. But dare we ask, are their followers the spenders they are looking for? Or are they largely the millennial generation who could be still studying or fresh in the working industrial with not the best spending power? Or are they targeting them because they either don’t save up much or have the power to beg their parents for what they want?
And in current context’s, what makes a digital authorship? What makes a influencer marketing and a brand influencer? Malcolm Gladwell termed influencers as movens—people who have a lot of knowledge about a topic.
With the rise of digital platforms like Instagram and YouTube, we see a rise in a new generation of authorship where we see pioneers of short non artistic videos in Clicknetwork.tv (2007) to founding generation of YouTubers like Night Owl Cinematics (2011), championing Singlish, humour and local narratives from short films, music videos, comedy skit boasting 430 000 subscribers, JianHao Tan (2010), Eden Ang (2010), Trevmonki (2011), WahBanana (2012), TreePotatoes (2013), CheokBoardStudios (2013).
Till date, blogger Xiaxue (@xiaxue) and food blogger Brad Lau (@ladyironchef) are boasting the most followings at 611 000 and 668 000 respectively. And for me personally, I still would call an advertised Instagram post an online banner but it’s squarish and with instant response and instantaneous delivery.
For the record and with figures rounded off, Soh Pei Shi (@speishi) at 251 000, Tosh Zhang (@toshrock) at 260 000, Naomi Neo (@naomineo_) at 257 000, Fann Wong (@fannaiaiwong) at 242 000, Andrea Chong (@dreachong) at 236 000, PM Lee Hsien Loong (@leehsienloong) at 198 000, Velda Tan (@belluspuera) at 132 000, Yoyo Cao (@yoyokulala) at 126 000, Chloe Choo at 60 000, Teresa Lim (@teeteeheehee) at 49 000, Linda Hao (@lindahaoliyuan) at 33 000, Nguan (@_nguan_) at 30 000.
Can a $500 to $5,000 per post yield hundreds or even thousands of sales? The Internet of now has probably upended how consumers engage with brands. With Snapchat (2011) coming into the play to join Pinterest (2010), Instagram (2010), Bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and Pinteresters are influencing purchasing decisions and setting trends and it’s no brainer to see media agencies like Nuffnang (2007), The Influencer Network (2011) and Gushcloud (2012) who is part of InfluencersAsia (2015) forming and monopolising the market.
Nuffnang sees the likes of 60,000 bloggers while Gushcloud and TheInfluencerNetwork has about 200 influencers.
On a other side of the observation, there’s a trending curve that sees a rise in sociapolitical websites. Was it Singaporeans really into politics or they are just more interested in scandals or gossips like affairs, money laundering, tax invasion.
We see sociapolicial sites like The Online Citizen (2006), Wayang Party (2004)—renamed as Temasek Review then became the current TR Emeritus in 2011 after a dispute with Temasek Holdings over its name, the now-defunct The Real Singapore (2012) who was founded by couple Ai Takagi (left) and Yang Kaiheng.
Then we have Mothership (2013) which boasts the like of 82000 on facebook, has contributors with the likes of original social media advocate George Yeo and consisting of ex-Ministry men such as Jonathan Lim (MICA) and former PMO civil servant Martino Tan (who is the managing editor and is also the one who set up PM Lee’s Facebook page) and is funded by two private businessmen who are on the board of directors at Project Fisher-men Ltd. Mothership.sg is helmed by founding editor Belmont Lay where he also co-founded New Nation (2011).
And The Middle Ground (2013) co-founded by former associate editor of The Straits Times, Bertha Henson. Six-Six (2014) where they have published exclusive interviews with the likes of Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, and MustShareNews (2014) has been said to be linked to social-media marketing firm Gushcloud.
We also see former Today editor-in-chief P. N. Balji is the consulting editor of TheIndependentSingapore (2013) whose team includes Mr Kumaran Pillai, former chief editor at The Online Citizen, and journalism veteran Edmund Wee, formerly of The Straits Times while InconvenientQuestions (2015) founded by former TV producer Viswa Sadasivan where he was the presenter and producer of a number of current affairs television programmes including Talking Point, a Senior Manager for Coporate Planning and Business Development at SPH and amongst others, has also served on MDA’s board a Nominated Member of Parliament in 2009.
It’s interesting to see the younger generation creating their own job like Blogger, YouTuber, ‘Social Influencer’ and it’s also interesting to note most of the websites are not aesthetically pleasing for a designer’s standard. Whatever it is, pardon for the research, grammars or even lifting off. I am not a writer to begin with.