Social Media engagement on Facebook: Fan Page is the better channel

By , February 19, 2009 3:10 pm

Facebook Profile

Creating a Profile is not the right way.

  1. Relationship: People make friends with people, not with an entity (brand, object, product, institute…)
  2. There is the limit in the maximum number of people a profile can make friends with: 5000. If they have hit the limit, they won’t make friend with the profile you create
  3. When people have too many connections, it becomes sluggish for them to perform actions that require the friend list to load:
    1. Tag photos
    2. Tag videos
    3. Suggest friends
    4. Search friends

Facebook Group

Creating a Group is not the optimal way either.

  1. There is the limit in the maximum number of groups a profile can join: 200. If they have hit the limit, they won’t join the group you create
  2. Relationship: people form groups to get to know one another who share the same interest

UNSW Facebook Fan Page

Creating a Fan Page is the right way.

  1. Relationship: It clearly defines the relationship between the entity (brand, object, product, institute…) with its fans/supporters
  2. There is no limit in the maximum number of pages a profile can become fan for, or at least I haven’t hit that cap

In Sum

  1. Create real profiles for real staff
  2. People love to interact with real people
  3. Separate the people-people and subject-fans relationships
  4. Be professional on the subject, be slightly personal on the profiles (of real staff)


Tag people in Facebook

Tagging people in the marketing pitch is a smart move, but don’t overdo it.

Twitter – from Cloning to Localizing for Vietnam Market: A Visual Step-by-step Guide

By , February 14, 2009 1:35 am

Ambiances to take into accounts

By , February 10, 2009 3:31 am

The three stories that trigger this post

I’ve been occupied with some thoughts resulting from some articles I read or discussions I joined for some time. Here are three of them:

Story 1: focus

AnhHung and I had a discussion in our three blog posts on whether companies would want to pick a direction and fully focus or experiment with their ideas.

Just a quick note: I explicitly express my support for neither, in my post I pointed out where experiment is sensible.

Story 2: the registration form

Here is the story of how changing a button brings $300 million revenues.

I didn’t get it. That was not a small change in “only a button”. That was a major change in flow + database + architecture + graphic design, and it resulted from an R&D result.

With a change at that level, the Product Manager, Business Analyst (if any), System Designer (if any), Project Manager, DBA, Developer should be involved. Why does the article only highlight the designer?

Story 3: prototyping

Today I read about how great products like Gmail and AdSense were born from experiments and thought about where innovation should be placed. Before Paul had done what he did, AdSense had been a laugh, and because he did his experiment, Google had a billions-worth business.

However, some Gmail’s siblings from Labs didn’t make it.

So should they continue their experiments or should they focus?

The points we missed

Comparing different ambiances where the stories took place helped me realize the points we did not take into accounts which could somehow relieve the thoughts in my mind.

1. Type of product

1a. The reason why I put the flow from story 2 on the table was that we once had an issue when a developer changed a flow to make it more convenient for users and changed a form design to make it more attractive without going through the Business Analyst. When I saw the changes I freaked out as the they violated some regulations of the industry and we had to quickly revert the system before releasing to clients. It is not to blame anyone, it is to clearly state that there are might be reasons why something so inconvenient stays in the system.

However, for products that come from new & creative ideas, innovation deserves its space and time. If changes and new features suggestions must go through a lengthy process, two things could arise: the product does not move fast enough and the idea initiators might get frustrated and gradually lose their passion.

1b. Another aspect is whether the product is commercial or customized. Commercial products are offered to a large number of clients, and customized products are usually ordered by specific clients for their use only. For commercial products, the product team to brainstorm improvements and clients’ input take the form of feed backs. For customized products, users’ response can be obtained by taking the product directly to the client.

2. Software methodology

If the team employs Rational Unified Process, changes must go through change management process. If the team goes Agile, changes can be implemented quicker with more clients involvements. Smaller teams might be even more flexible.

If RUP is used then it’s valid to question where the Business Analyst is in a change, but if the process is different, it’s perfectly okay for the web designer to initiate a usability improvement.

3. Corporate type: established or startup

A good example to take is Google itself. There are tales about how open it was and how data was easily accessible and how anti-corporate the team was when the company was still a startup. But now Google is a mature enterprise with corporate hierarchy and naturally enough management practices are in place.

How large the companies are is a big factor in their choosing strategies.

And it’s funny if we compare a public company with 20 thousands employees to a startup with ten people.

4. Era

The time when Gmail took of and the time 6 of her siblings were axed are not the same. 2004 was a good year to start a new service and 2009 is when companies need to cut costs.

5. Position

Lastly, the arguments people brings to a discussion of one topic vary depending on their perspective and position.

For example, the product builder might want to try out with different intiatives, the analyst might want to draw the patterns, the marketer might want to emphasize the position of the brand, the venture capitalist might want to see a business model out of an idea.

It’s fascinating how we have different people with different interests joining together and personally this reminds me that sometimes we can never reach a consensus from a debate.


This entry is meant to organize some fighting thoughts inside my mind and that’s all it should do.

I don’t intend to make a point here, but I hope you enjoyed the articles that I quoted. Here they are again for your convenience:

Jared M. Spool, The $300 Million Button

Paul Buchheit, Communicating with code

RMIT Vietnam Alumni System public version V2

By , February 9, 2009 2:47 pm

I dePlurked myself and why

By , February 9, 2009 1:06 am

Plurk Logo

I have deactivated my Plurk account 5 months ago but this item has been of lower priority I can only find time for it now.

Here are some reasons why I deactivated my account from this very interesting service.

Just a quick note: maybe it’s unfair to compare Plurk with Twitter  all the time but I can’t help it.

1. Audience

Some social media power users are active on Twitter, but not on Plurk or FriendFeed. Spending time on Plurk rather than Twitter means my information gathering is not as efficient.

2. Twitter ecology

Twitter grew 400% last year, and so did its ecology: all the applications built around Twitter.

Plurk doesn’t have this.

3. Cross-platform issue

When I want to plurk, I want the plurk tweeted too. This can be solved by using a third-party service such as

However, is unstable some time.

(1), (2) and (3) above are not Plurk’s faults. It’s just unfair that Plurk was born much later than Twitter.

Now, here are some issues I was having directly involving Plurk.

4. Weird mascots

Twitter uses bird, owl and whale for their design. Kinda cute the bird is.

Plurk pushes this further by introducing fish, lizards, ancient animals, beholders, alien-like creatures… It’s too much to endure. I would not want any of my profile appeared to my colleagues or grad school administrative or potential employers as unprofessional.

5. Too slow, compared to Twitter

The whole idea of micro-blogging / public timeline is to broadcast your message fast. Plurk interface is definitely more interesting than that of Twitter but it’s much slower to load.

6. Privacy option

Maybe it’s just me but I have the need to, at certain points of time, hide all my statuses from public view. Plurk doesn’t provide this while Twitter does.

7. Reward system and penalties

Plurkers receive Karma for plurking, and they receive penalties (Karma reduction) for not plurking.

Sadly, but I don’t feed my family on social media, let alone Plurk. I can’t spend my time with Plurk everyday to reach Nirvana and maintain my position there.

A reward system is pretty, especially for ones who want to become power users, but the penalty is ugly, drives me away from the service.


So there, I stopped at 60+ Karma and reset my entire account.

I’m not commenting on Plurk’s possibility of success. I was just telling my experience with this service.

Good luck anyway, Plurk team. All the best. TaiTran

About facing life and orientation

By , February 8, 2009 2:06 am

I came across an article on some young people on the edge of building a career.

The article highlights students’ fear of entering corporate environment without an education at at least bachelor level, with a theme of criticizing this way of thinking.

What intrigues me about these students is that, as reported, they were aware of corporate environment challenges while still at school.

With cautious nature, these persons might be effective in identifying risks, thus make them suitable for jobs related to Risk Advisory or Personal Financial Advisory dealing with clients who don’t expect to take big risks in their investments.

Look, I’m no counselor and I might be wrong, but here I am giving examples of how different individuals can fit themselves in positions that brings the best out of them, instead of criticizing them.

With the rising worries of the economic recession, it is not necessary to put more pressure on these students. I believe career orientation should be done in a more empathic way. Showing them the skills they need to train themselves on, for example.

And is it high time we started embracing more diversity?


To be a Power User

By , February 7, 2009 3:13 pm

A Power User on the social media sphere is different from the term PowerUser in enterprise systems.

Power User or Influencer is one with high reputation in a community or in using a product.

There are some reasons why one would want to be a Power User

1. It’s easier to get your messages/ideas across

Your reputation makes people listen/react to your messages.

2. A Power User helps improve the product

A Power User really understands how the systems work and how to improve them. Most of the time, the product teams reaches out to power users to get their feedbacks. Being a Power User makes you closer to the product itself.

3. Business opportunities

Getting your name “out there” brings you lots of business opportunities from people from different industries.

4. Monetize your contents

Obviously, you can make money from your contents, mostly from blogging. The reputation drives traffic to your sites and so do income.


Some resources to the points I made above

Blogging Professionally: Darren Rowse’s problogger

10 Habits of Highly Efficient Social Media Power Users

User-driven characteristic of web services makes product categorization less important

By , February 5, 2009 3:57 am

YouTube is supposed to be a video-sharing site.

It has become a place for sharing music taste, including pseudo-video with only audio and pictures/lyrics on the front.

Facebook is defined to be a social utility for real connections.

Look, Facebook is going to lift the 5000 cap for maximum number of friends. Who has more than 5000 real friends?

And it has become world’s largest photo-sharing site.

And kindly take a look at how I have been using Facebook.

Twitter is built to let users update their statuses.

Then micro-blogging is born.

Tumblr is meant to be a tumblelog.

But reverse-chronicle visual bookmarking fosters it growth.


Because they are user-driven.


Don’t stuff your vision into tight boxes.

Personal growth of social media users – invoking an underrated discussion

By , February 5, 2009 12:30 am

I’m quite surprised personal growth of users seems to be underrated in discussions, if any, on Vietnamese web services.

Thoughts on personal growth answer the question “What to do with users as they grow”.


There are different aspects in the growth of a person.


A person grows up over time and be more mature. As they grow mature, these may change:

  • Buying power
  • Needs
  • Perception
  • Defense against advertisements

Career development

A high school student can find part-time job. A college student becomes a professional after graduation.

Young users don’t remain young forever.

There will be new generations.

Case study: Facebook. Many first Facebook users from Ivy then became professionals and they continue to invite their colleagues to use the service. Facebook grew to satisfy college students, working people and then high school students as well.

Technology expertise

Users will be more adept in their technology knowledge and skills over time. Here is one example.

Language capability

Users will be more proficient in command of foreign language(s).


As a person grows, her relationship changes: single to in a relationship then married then expected then with children.

Their procurement needs, time and attention change accordingly.

Briefly, what to do with it

  1. Consider this in any product plan and business model
  2. Does your product satisfy users from different ranges of age? Do you want your product to?
  3. Offer your products in integrated packages. Establish partnership and outsource

What You Need To Know About Raising Venture Capital (By Mark Davis, DFJ Gotham)

By , February 2, 2009 3:40 pm

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