Category: Communication

Vietnamese user behavior on forums

By , November 4, 2012 10:51 am

This is a repost from a discussion with my friends on Facebook.

  1. Forums still account for 65% online activities in Vietnam. Sources: two internet market research teams and their figures seem to match.
  2. Forum allows or even promotes anonymity which many East Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese) users prefer.
  3. Forum is content-focused so posters on forums feel they can blend in the crowd, a behavior collectivistic Vietnamese prefer.
  4. Some vertical forums are very deep: WebTreTho.com on mon & baby care, Otofun on vehicles, vOz on IT and gossip… Deep: quality of content, online ad inventory, and engagement of respective communities.

Herding the meme crowd

By , January 21, 2012 8:14 pm

Blogging, micro-blogging, social news and top social networks (Facebook & Google+) have one prominent feature: followship. Followship is the key to extend our influence and authority on the Internet, namely, the more followers you have, the more widespread your information gets.

The rising power of memes has a different perspective. On the most notorious [I'm trollin', problemo?] meme-sharing site 9gag.com and its Vietnamese clone cab.vn, follow is not a celebrated feature. As far as my best guess goes, the weight of followship in the trending algorithm is neglectable. What determines the hotness is content that is good and more importantly, framed to match the community’s culture and expectation.

In this case, followship is only mental. Influence not tied to one specific piece of content is only extended to those who remember the poster’s ID. I would ex;pect this mental capability and attention to be limited in quantity.

So, instead of spending time and efforts to build followship on these sites, one can simply post one sensational story and rally the crowd to her own scheme. Template? Nescafé!

At least that’s the mechanical side. @goldscors makes a compelling statement: you can actually mobilize the attentive group (who appreciate your influence) into extending the influence. I would imagine the case as multi-tiered viral: get the elite to spark discussions favorable to you then fuel group-thinking among the rest. Of course, this is of significantly less power than followship and sharing (retweet in Twitter, reblog in Tumblr, submit in Digg).

Even this picture of mine is a meme attempt. Implying we regress is, for all practical purpose, an act of trolling.

Scams plaguing, from MSN messenger to Facebook

By , January 10, 2012 7:39 pm

Messages in the format "every time someone sends the message, an [organization] will donate [amount] cents to [the cause]", accompanied by sympathetic (and disturbing) pictures, are almost always a scam.

Why

  1. You won’t find the information on the official communication channel of the organizations (UNICEF, WWF, NGOs…)
  2. The chain mail / chain messages have been a disease on email and MSN messenger. Technically, it’s impossible for the creator of the content to track how many email/message have been sent.
  3. It is possible to track on Facebook, but if the campaign were real the owner would have used more effective methods e.g. ad
  4. You won’t find the story on credible sources when you search

Why would anyone do that?

  1. On websites: to attract pageviews
  2. On Facebook: to attract likes
  3. Or just for other malicious purposes

Please, my friends, be mindful what you share. Be wise not to annoy your friends with these hoaxes.

Examples

The cancer baby hoax and demystifying the hoax

Evolution of Content-Centric Networks

By , January 2, 2012 7:54 am

Icon source

Why I was banned from Twitter search and hashtag and how I resolved it

By , December 17, 2011 3:09 am

twitter account issue issues problem ban

Sometime in 2008 I was having issue with my Twitter account.

  1. A search of keyword "taitran" did not display my tweets
  2. My tweets were not displayed in hashtag aggregation, for example #barcampSaigon

I DM @support and received no response.

On 1 December 2011 I DM @support again and received a reply

Please file a support ticket http://t.co/AqfAUZF so that our agents can check out your account. Mention that you’re not in search. Thanks!

I filed two support tickets. The cases are resolved after two weeks. Here is the response from Twitter:

Thanks for letting us know that your updates were not appearing in Twitter search results. In order to provide the best search experience for users, Twitter automatically filters search results for quality. To understand what might have caused your Tweets to jeopardize search quality, please review this page:

http://support.twitter.com/entries/42646

It looks like at some point a third-party website was posting duplicate Tweets to your account. We’ve now updated your account settings so that your Tweets will appear in the search results. Please note that it may take at least 24 hours for recent Tweets to be indexed, and due to the dynamic nature of Twitter’s search algorithm, you may not find every recent Tweet in Twitter search.

So the issues resulted from third-party apps messing with my account. I unauthorized all suspicious programs.

So now my Twitter account is back, full-pledged and healthy.

Hello searches and hashtags, so long!

Have we been sleeping with the enemy COD for so long?

By , December 14, 2011 4:34 am

GOOD is the enemy of GREAT.

Jim Collins

cash on delivery 1. I hate COD (cash on delivery). My job requires me to travel frequently I’m not in my office for COD. Asking my colleague in the office to collect the items for me is very inconvenient because of the high frequency my purchases.

2. I’m flabbergasted and frustrated that when I expressed my personal desire that e-Commerce sites should support e-Payment to make my life easier, what I received was resistance from many e-Commerce service providers!

A common response was "you’re not in 90% of our customers".

I’m showing why this is a bad response.

3. BaoKim.vn is 100% free for merchants, and it shouldn’t be too difficult and time-consuming to integrate. I can use BaoKim. Instead of resisting (and showing the superiority of strategy to customers), why wouldn’t they just try integrating the service?

4. e-Payment is what (I believe) we aim to. However, since Vietnamese users have not developed the habit of online payment, e-Commerce service providers have learned to adapt with COD. COD, as we know it, is costly, inefficient, and risky (fraud orders) to merchants & service providers.

Do we want COD permanent here? I think no.

Have we learned to live (and suffer) with COD for so long that we take COD for granted, tend to guard COD as if it is the ultimate standard and resist e-Payment? Many e-Commerce practitioners give me the impression Yes.

We may agree that COD is good, at least for now. GOOD is the enemy of BETTER.

5. This is a minor point. Being an e-Commerce advocate, I understand how resistant Vietnamese buyers are, and I empathize with e-Commerce service providers. Please, my e-Commerce friends, don’t resist to even me.

6. Fortunately, I can prepay using e-Payment from my favorite e-Commerce service providers: eBay.vn / ChoDienTu.vn (NganLuong), tiki.vn (BaoKim / OnePay), WebSieuThi.vn (NganLuong), MuaChung.vn (Soha Pay aka MuaChungPay).

7. I am comfortable with OnePay, Soha Pay (running on top of OnePay), NganLuong, BaoKim. Sadly, Payoo, vnMart, vCash don’t directly support my bank.

8. I specifically wish the following merchants would support one of the 4 e-Payment services I’m comfortable with: NhomMua, Hotdeal, Vinabooks, CungMua. Disclosure: I’ve been buying over 3 million worth of vouchers from NhomMua in 2011.

cash on delivery cod

Book reviews: The Effective Executive; It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be; Liar’s Poker

By , December 10, 2011 3:02 am
The Effective Executive - Peter F. Drucker

The Effective Executive – Peter F. Drucker

★★★★★

A classic work by the father of modern management science, this book is the first to distinguish effectiveness from efficiency, and identify principles of management.

While named "The Effective Executive", the book does not only discuss management of subordinates, but also management and enhancing effectiveness of one’s self.

This book is pragmatic, authoritative, definitive, and compelling. The author gets to the points without unnecessary narration and defensive techniques usually found in management texts.

Despite being completed in 1966, the wisdom from the book is still relevant today, free of fads and jargons. This timeless book is to last. I give the book a full five star.

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be - Paul Arden

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be – Paul Arden

★★★★★

A powerful book, "It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be" tells different stories from the experience of the author as a manager from his creative firm.

Each chapter starts with a short and acute mantra, accompanying stories, and morals behind the stories.

The language used in the book is heart-touching and persuasive. The stories are kept short and straight-forward while not any less inspiring.

The book is very well crafted with art works, illustration, brilliant use of colors, typography choice, and white spaces.

Overall, this is a good read for everyone, not only restricted in the creative industry. I give the book five star.

Liar's Poker - Michael Lewis

Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis

★★★★★

Writing a review for "Liar’s Poker" was not an easy job for me due to the complexity of attitude and emotions I was going through during and after reading the book.

The book reflects an important stage in history of Wall Street – the road to glorious domination and subsequent demise of Salomon Brothers. The saga sets off two entities: the financial instrument (mortgage-backed securities) and its creators.

The complexity of emotions I mentioned arose from enjoying being entertained by the sharp wit of the author, mixed with a drive on a solemn quest to deduce applicable lessons from the experience. It’s easy to be entertained and then sneer about the jokes, but it’s tough how to move things forward post-illumination.

I’m curious what you will personally share after reading this book.

Book reviews: The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, Leadership is an Art

By , December 6, 2011 10:14 am
The Black Swan - Nassim N. Taleb

The Black Swan – Nassim N. Taleb

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

Rome wasn’t built in a day. But, gasp, it can be destroyed in a day. One disaster can eradicate a growing civilization. One pandemic disease can wipe out a developing continent. One adverse move in the market can destroy your accumulated wealth. Those are examples of Black Swans, rare events that possess tremendous effects on people’s lives.

This book looks deep into such narrow topic, relevant stories surrounding the topic and the thinking behind it. It opens the mind of the readers to issues our brains are not naturally wired to process.

While the author is a financial trader, this book is more about thinking and handling information than about trading techniques. In fact, the only portfolio recommendation is one with highly speculative instruments in combination with hyper-conservative bonds. Nevertheless, an awareness of Black Swans assists one in forming his or her trading strategies.

After reading the book I am more comfortable and, as I hope I am, tolerant to sudden disruptions (e.g. Black Swans) in this turbulent environment we are going through.

I give this book a full five-star.

Fooled by Randomness – Nassim N. Taleb

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

Conjure in your head the image of a glorious, victorious, succeeding person. We usually attribute one’s success to skills, traits, behaviors. We like stories about success.

Now. What if it comes from luck ergo luck plays more important role in events than we think?

What we are today are consequences of googols of particles in the universe and, is it impartial to attribute realization of events to a few explanations each?

What if we are mistaken about our understanding of relationship and consequences?

This book swamps me with that many questions about the world.

Written in dry humorous, autobiographical, and poetic while no less pragmatic style, the book delivers one of the most thought-provoking challenges to the mind.

This skepticism piece of work is not an easy read, especially for those determined in different school of thought. But as for me, I enjoy the experience of going through the mind-changing stories, scenarios and arguments from the book.

Leadership is an Art - Max DePree

Leadership is an Art – Max DePree

Amazon Kindle link

Tiki link

This is one of the most inspirational and original book on leadership.

The small book consists of chapters. Each chapter is short and precise, and tells the stories of different aspects of leadership during the time the author led his firm. The language employed is simple, straight-forward, honest and yet powerful.

This is one of the cases where we don’t see advices on quick fixes to problems, or irrelevant buzzwords and jargons. We see the mind and heart of the leader.

The chapter I happen to like most is “Pink ice in the urinals”. It is both authoritative and entertaining.

This is the book for anyone who seeks inspiration, and/or to be inspired.

How social networking in Vietnam is different from other countries in the region

By , November 20, 2011 4:12 pm

10 years ago the first thing Vietnamese learn about communicating through the Internet is chatting. There were some services targeting Vietnam market before Yahoo! Messenger came to dominate all communication channels.

Yahoo! Messenger’s domination in Vietnam opened up the way for Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! 360. In recent years, the email market share is largely chipped by Gmail. Yahoo! Messenger, while the top IM client, faces competition from Skype. Hotmail, Live Messenger and Gtalk are not widely popular in the country.

A growing trend is, however, that people start to learn about social networking and Facebook. Many sign up for the Internet to, first thing first, communicating via social networks. The same is happening in other South East Asian countries.

The social network battle in Vietnam in 2011 boils down to the dual-horse race between the two leaders Zing Me and Facebook. While Twitter and Plurk gain traction in other countries in the region, micro-blogging in Vietnam has never taken off. Even technology-enthusiasts use Facebook for live reporting (which Twitter is logically most suitable for) and viralling current events.

Why? My attempt to answer the question:

  1. Vietnamese language comes with diacritics thus requires a lot more than 140 characters to express a full sentence
  2. Vietnamese users are more familiar with “Add Friend” relationship than “Follow” mechanism
  3. Most importantly, Twitter doesn’t satisfy the gamification demand crazed by Vietnamese users. Vietnamese teenagers go on Zing Me mostly to play webgames. Many also go on Facebook sheerly for games rather than for connecting. Foursquare has received lots of attention probably thanks to the rewards and Mayor competition.

The next question pops into my mind: if gamification is so important, why hasn’t Plurk known in Vietnam while it is very popular in Taiwan and the Philippines? Again, my attempt

  1. Plurk hasn’t been covered by local media which is crucial in the growth of services. Facebook received local media coverage.
  2. Many influencers don’t know what Plurk is. As for me, I deactivated my Plurk account after collecting many medals.

Thanks @salsabeela and @kounila for sharing the information on social networking in your countries.

Addendum

Tumblr is growing rapidly in Vietnam.

Ngoc Hieu has an explanation on the adaption Twitter: Vietnamese users like colors and emotions, neither of which Twitter offers.

Assassin in pustular Skin by teens & Phong Ronin and the nation-wide debate of evolution of language

By , October 30, 2011 4:00 pm

“Sát thủ đầu mưng mủ”, a 15+ comic book comprising of 150 illustrated young people’s idioms are invoking much debate among Vietnamese communities on language.

The idioms, mostly attributed to anonymous authors, have been viralled through online communities and forums, notably vOz (vozforums.com), for some time. Thanh Phong (Phong Ronin Nguyen), an acclaimed cartoonist was approached by Nha Nam publishing house to illustrate most popular idioms. His blog can be found here.

These idioms are meant to be entertaining, and were composed solely as such. Many are satiristic, others simply rhyme without intentional semantic arrangement.

Much controversy arose from the satire part. The debate is heated when Fineart Publishing House chooses to withdraw copies in circulation at retailers.

Nonetheless, attention to the book has hit mainstream media, where TV shows and linguists participate in the debate. Supporters empathize with the evolution of language which reflects changes in culture and acceptance of the less-mainstream. Critics cite orthodoxy of language, traditional values and concern of the impact of satirism on younger readers.

The best scenario for the book, and more subtle, the hope for acceptance of youngster culture in the society, would probably be continued publication with modifications from inputs of empathic communication and linguistic experts.

Good luck, Phong and his supporters.

The title “Assassin in pustular Skin” is my own attempt at translating the original title to English, aiming at retaining the meaningless-but-harmlessly-fun rhyme of the phrase. Word-by-word breakdown: sát – to kill/assassinate, thủ – a person who does something, đầu – head, mưng – abscess, mủ – pustule.

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