Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Digital Trends for 2010

This article by Brian Morissey taken from Adweek.com

2. The End of the Digital Agency.

There won't be a moment when the invisible line dividing digital and traditional agencies is completely erased. But 2010 will see the distinction blur to the point of being meaningless. The Great Race, as Forrester Research calls it, pits digital shops looking to hone their branding chops against traditional agencies adding tech skills. More digital agencies will compete for (and sometimes win) through-the-line assignments, and more clients will be willing to choose a lead agency based on which of its roster shops comes to the table with the best idea.

Continue with the article here.

I particularly chose #2 on the list since this was discussed in one of our meetings that we need to be able to provide the complete servicing needs for our clients. I am very confident that our company can address this issue locally

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010: the year SEO isn’t important anymore?


The writing is on the wall. Small business marketing is moving away from focusing on SEO. Why do I say that? Because, well, Google and Bing are changing the rules so often and are getting so good at figuring out the real businesses that deserve to be on pages. Search Half Moon Bay Sushi and you get real answers from sites that didn’t focus on SEO. Yeah, there are exceptions, but they are increasingly getting rare.

With other searches, like one for Tiger Woods, you’ll get a page filled with stuff that SEO just doesn’t affect much anymore. In the middle of that page is a real time box that brings items from Twitter and Google News. It no longer is good enough to be just an SEO expert to get items onto pages like these. You’ve gotta be great at creating content that gets Google’s algorithms to trust it enough to shove it onto these new hybrid pages.

See full article here.

Technology and online marketing techniques change constantly and we really have to cope with the trends. Since the Philippines is not yet as sophisticated as the US I think traditional SEO and SEM techniques would still benefit both small and big business locally. But we must ensure consumers like the content we place on these sites.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One-Third of Online Americans Use Social Media for Health

Here's an article taken from Marketingcharts.com which reinforces one of my projects in the office. We hope that this behavior pattern would be the same here in the Philippines. This is actually one of our objectives for the site being built to support the Philippine Heart Association - here's our beta version for PinoyHighBlood.com.

While medical professionals remain a keystone of the US healthcare delivery system, patients and caregivers are empowering themselves in record numbers when it comes to managing their own health and the health of their families, according to new data from Manhattan Research, which revealed that the internet surpassed physicians as the most popular health resource for the first time last year.

Manhattan’s research’s Cybercitizen Health v9.0 study found that the average patient in the US now relies on a variety of media and resources to research disease, treatment, and health maintenance information. Key in this mix is the online access to information, communications and resources found on the internet, which Manhattan Research collectively calls ‘e-Health.’

Growth of Digital, e-Health

The study found that the e-Health consumer market has grown significantly in the past five years, from 90 million consumers online for health in 2004 to nearly 160 million in 2009.

Increasing access, improving technologies, and the expansion of health content online will continue to cement the internet as a critical resource patients’ lives, the firm said.

Top Factors Shaping e-Health

In the past, consumers primarily used the internet to research new symptoms or disease information. However, over the past seven years, consumers have started to evolve past just going online to look up health information sporadically. Now, a growing segment of patients is using digital resources for education and support at multiple points throughout the disease management continuum.

Specific findings about eHealth behaviors:
When it comes to researching heath information online, the majority of consumers do so when symptoms occur and about two in five consumers go online after being diagnosed with an illness.
102.3 million US patients now go online to research prescription drugs and to learn how to manage their conditions.
About one in five consumers is now using online content and tools to compare prices of health or medical products.
More than 80 million US adults use social media for health-related issues, creating or using content on health blogs, message boards, chat rooms, health social networks and health communities, and patient testimonials. Social media has become a convenient channel for patients and caregivers to compare treatment experiences, share advice, and lend support.

Some types of patients, including those with mental health conditions, ADD/ADHD, and fibromyalgia, rely on user-generated content more than others.
After consumers view direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements, they are more likely to seek out additional information from the internet than any other source, including doctors, family and friends, and 1-800 numbers. Post-DTC online information sources used by consumers include general health sites, search engines, product sites, pharmaceutical company sites, social networking sites, and blogs/messageboards/chat rooms.
The population of consumers visiting pharmaceutical or biotechnology corporate or product websites doubled between 2006 and 2009. Consumers who use pharmaceutical product websites report this source highly influences their healthcare decisions.

Physician-Patient Relationship Goes Digital

The study also found that patients are also using eHealth resources to improve conversations and decisions at the doctor’s office. Virtually all US physicians report that at least some of their patients bring health information they found online to an appointment, and more than two-thirds of physicians believe that this trend is a good thing. Additionally, about four in 10 physicians communicate with patients through email, instant messages, or secure messaging services.

“There’s a sizeable market of consumers who are interested in connecting with their doctors online, so physician acceptance will go a long way in pushing this type of communication forward,” Manhattan Research said in a press release. “Marketers should be aware that online health information is playing an increasingly bigger role in the doctor’s office, so providing online patient education tools and resources, such as a doctor discussion guide, can help brands become part of the treatment decision process.”

Despite this growth in the use of the internet for research, communications and sharing, however, the study found that the vast majority of US adults remain on the sidelines for advanced e-Health applications and connectivity. For example, number of consumers interested in using personal health records and email with physicians far outweighs the population actually doing so.

In related news, Manhattan Research also reported that the physician smartphone adoption rate is expected to reach 81% in 2012, and that 85% of online Europeans use the web for health information.

About the study: Cybercitizen Health v9.0 was fielded in Q309 among 8,600 US adults (ages 18+). Manhattan Research’s consumer market research and strategic advisory service focuses on how consumers use new media and technology for health and its impact on treatment and product decisions.

How long before Facebook becomes old?

This was the title of an article made by Yugatech a few days ago and he predicts that Facebook will be old in 2 - 3 years. A few hours ago when I was thinking about it I was disagreeing with this since the popularity of the other social networking sites was just overtaken by Facebook. In the Philippines, Friendster became dry because there is nothing to do there and FB then came to the rescue. Multiply now is just there and is probably slipping as well.

My question is after Facebook, then what? Will the hoards in Facebook simply transfer to a new and better social networking site. I actually got turned off with FB when they changed the format for the news feeds but I still am stuck on it. At this point I just don't have a choice. I've already built a network bigger than my Friendster and Multiply accounts and I've already 'built' a relationship with my said network.

That being said, I feel the dynamism and networks established on FB may make it last much longer (unless the site owners screw up big time). FB has evolved into a place where you not only get to socialize online but it is also a place where you throw-out and get information. A case I'd like to point out is the Ondoy tragedy where FB was used to disseminate information. So aside from it being a medium to see what your network of friends are doing, it is also a venue to voice an opinion and show information about what is happening around you and the community in general.

Given that it has its social and practical uses, I feel it will give people value for a much longer period of time. It has to evolve though and learn from the demise of its predecessors. What happens to the world wide web is hard to predict but FB must always be at pace or at least a step behind on how the dynamics of the digital age moves forward.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Twitter 101

Article taken from Twitter.com.

Every day, millions of people use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas with others. Now, people are turning to Twitter as an effective way to reach out to businesses, too. From local stores to big brands, and from brick-and-mortar to internet-based or service sector, people are finding great value in the connections they make with businesses on Twitter.

When people working in the Empire State Building twittered that they were craving ice cream delivery, New York local chain Tasti D Lite was there to listen and meet their need. When electronics buyers look for good deals, the Dell Outlet Twitter account helps them save money with exclusive coupons. When Houston's coffee drinkers decide where to get their daily dose, many choose Coffee Groundz, which lets them order via Twitter. Read on to learn what Twitter is and to get detailed examples of how companies are using it. On these pages, we’ll also reveal how Twitter can help your business right now.

So what does Twitter do for businesses?
Twitter is a communication platform that helps businesses stay connected to their customers. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you've had a great—or disappointing—experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.

So how does it work?
Twitter lets you write and read messages of up to 140 characters, or the very length of this sentence, including all punctuation and spaces. The messages are public and you decide what sort of messages you want to receive—Twitter being a recipient driven information network. In addition, you can send and receive Twitter messages, or tweets, equally well from your desktop or your mobile phone.

When you combine messages that are quick to write, easy to read, public, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere, you’ve got a powerful, real-time way to communicate. And real-time communication is turning out to be ground-breaking for users and businesses alike.

Tip: To listen in on the conversations happening right now, search Twitter for the name of your company, product or brand. If you have a Twitter account already, your home page has a handy search box on the right side. If you don’t yet have an account, try typing in the box below or go to search.twitter.com.

e.g: Starbucks

So how do businesses use Twitter?
Twitter connects you to your customers right now, in a way that was never before possible. For example, let’s say you work for a custom bike company. If you run a search for your brand, you may find people posting messages about how happy they are riding your bikes in the French Alps—giving you a chance to share tips about cyclist-friendly cafes along their route.

Others may post minor equipment complaints or desired features that they would never bother to contact you about—providing you with invaluable customer feedback that you can respond to right away or use for future planning. Still others may twitter about serious problems with your bikes—letting you offer customer service that can turn around a bad situation.

You don’t have to run a bike shop or a relatively small company to get good stuff out of Twitter. Businesses of all kinds, including major brands, increasingly find that listening and engaging on the service leads to happier customers, passionate advocates, key product improvements and, in many cases, more sales.

A key benefit
One of Twitter’s key benefits is that it gives you the chance to communicate casually with customers on their terms, creating friendly relationships along the way—tough for corporations to do in most other mediums.

But Twitter isn’t just about useful immediacy. The conversational nature of the medium lets you build relationships with customers, partners and other people important to your business. Beyond transactions, Twitter gives your constituents direct access to employees and a way to contribute to your company; as marketers say, it shrinks the emotional distance between your company and your customers. Plus, the platform lends itself to integration with your existing communication channels and strategies. In combination, those factors can make Twitter a critical piece of your company’s bigger digital footprint.

For instance, let’s say you run a big retail website. In addition to learning more about what your customers want, you can provide exclusive Twitter coupon codes, link to key posts on your blog, share tips for shopping online, and announce specials at store locations. And you can take things a step further by occasionally posting messages about fun, quirky events at your HQ, giving others a small but valuable connection with the people in your company.

Why 140 characters?
SMS (i.e., texting on your phone) limits each message to 160 characters. Twitter takes that limit and reserves 20 characters for your username, leaving you 140 characters to play with. That’s how it started and we’ve stuck with it!

Tip: Twitter can be "ground-breaking” for businesses—a big claim. We truly believe it because we’ve seen lots of examples, many of which we share here. But if you’re new to Twitter and still wondering what all the fuss is about, hang around the site (or a good third-party client) for a week or two and give it a few minutes a day. Twitter almost always delivers “Aha!” moments for people, but it can take some getting used to before you have your moment of enlightenment.

Go deeper
These are just a few of the ways Twitter is helping businesses serve customers; you’ll discover more. If you’re new to Twitter, head over to Getting started for tips on twittering successfully. If you’re already on board, check out Best Practices and Case studies for ideas to get the most out of Twitter.

A brief history of Twitter
Initially inspired by the concept of an 'away-message' merged with the freedom and mobility of SMS, Twitter began as an experiment in 2006. When value as an instant communication network during shared events like earthquakes, conferences, and festivals emerged, Twitter began to grow—Twitter, Inc. was founded in 2007. Today, Twitter is a privately funded company based in San Francisco, CA.

What’s up with the name?
Twittering is the sound birds make when they communicate with each other—an apt description of the conversations here. As it turns out, because Twitter provides people with real-time public information, it also helps groups of people mimic the effortless way a flock of birds move in unison. On these pages, we’ll show you a few examples of that powerful Twitter characteristic.

If you wish to see the actual article, click here.

List of Best and Worst practices for designing a high traffic website

Here's a link to an SEO check list. SEO seems easy to implement but it really takes a lot of time to implement and execute a fully optimized website. But you really have to look at and evaluate your total marketing mix to see how extensive your SEO efforts will be. Part of Rogue Digital's web package is on-page SEO which helps the site be read easily by the search engines. Depending on the budget we can do link building, search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing to help our client's website rank.

The 15 Minute SEO List.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why Digital Agencies Are Indeed Ready to Lead

Posted by Jacques-Herve Roubert (Taken from AdAge.com)

Over the past 18 months, a great debate has consumed our industry: Are digital agencies poised to sit at the head of the advertising table? Depending on whom you ask and what you read, the answer seems to flip flop -- with a majority of people still having reservations and making claims that digital agencies aren't ready to lead.

So why does the debate continue? Does offline or online really matter to an oblivious consumer who's only interested in "no-line" communications? Are we spending too much time focusing on who should lead and not enough asking: What's next?

Ana Andjelic's DigitalNext post, provocatively titled "Why Digital Agencies Aren't Ready to Lead," mentions several reasons why digital agencies aren't ready to lead, one of which was their lack of experience in the business (as compared with the "decades of experience" that traditional agencies are known for). I'm sure there are instances where decades of experience can directly translate into success, but there are certainly instances (uh, Lehman Brothers?) where deep roots had no bearing on their ability to produce -- and produce well. Furthermore, a certain percentage of the individuals now working and thriving in digital agencies came from traditional agencies.

Additionally, most of the world's most ingenious inventions were not created overnight, but took years of hard work, research, observation, trial and error, and collaboration to fine tune. The digital ecosystem has required much of the same exploration -- and, in most cases, into technologies that are new to all of us. As James March himself said, "Exploration involves being an amateur for a while, but only as a step on the way to being a professional."

And while the structure of an interactive agency may often mimic "one big crazy family" (by the way: Whose family isn't crazy?), how could making sure everyone's opinion is heard be a bad thing? Most interactive agencies subscribe to the notion that you never know where the big idea or concept will come from. Sometimes the big idea can come from the exploration of a new technology or method that enhances consumer connection.

Here's why:

That was then, this is now. Like it or not, the days of the ingenious, 30-second TV spot are over. Today's creative ingenuity lies within the idea, the technology, the concept, the innovation and, perhaps most important, the Holy Grail: consumer connection. Word of mouth is more prevalent than ever and interactive communities have an increasingly louder and more influential voice and are stronger (and sometimes the only) sources of breaking news stories. No one understands this better -- nor is better equipped to handle the swift demands required -- than the digital agency.

Teaching an old dog new tricks. The "new trick" is immediacy. It's about faster response times and the concept of immediacy. E-mail, IM, Twitter, Facebook, cellphones -- all of these technologies set the stage for consumers wanting and expecting immediate responses, not to mention, immediate access to products and services. Traditional advertising agencies are not adapting to this mentality because they are still working with processes and organizational structures that were developed in a time when the internet and the concept of immediacy simply did not exist.

Digital agencies understand that brands are being held to higher-than-ever consumer expectations. The plethora of data we can garner from a $50,000 media buy can leave traditional agencies' heads spinning with insight and analysis. The truth of the matter is: Interactive agencies are forcing traditional agencies to integrate with digital media to better track and measure campaign results through custom URLs, short codes, etc.

Kickin' it old school. Not only are the days of the 30-second TV spot gone, so too are the traditional advertising agency gurus like David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach. Today, those figures have been replaced, instead, by financially backed entities. Rather than exploration and exploitation, digital agencies need their own gurus and legends that can lead by example.

Five or 10 years ago, I might agree with the argument that digital agencies weren't ready to lead, but after sitting at the table with other agencies for the past decade -- traditional, branding, public relations, marketing -- it's clear that digital agencies have proven their value, not to mention their ability to innovate, inspire, and create the big idea.

Perhaps the synergy and balance between exploitation and exploration is off kilter for digital agencies, but more and more we're starting to see the agency structure itself change with new hires in technology and social media. And marketers are noticing:

- According to Media magazine, AKQA was named the lead agency for Nike India earlier this year.

- Precor named Ascentium its agency of record in October 2009. According to Forrester's Q2 2009 Interactive Agency Wave, Ascentium "received the highest client satisfaction scores in this year's review." The assignment with Precor includes strategic planning and execution of all offline and online campaigns.

- McAfee hiring Tribal DDB as its agency of record in 2008. This assignment included all TV, print, outdoor, and digital.

The balance may not be there today, tomorrow or next month. The truth of the matter is digital agencies have earned their right to sit at the head of the table because they've brought what consumers and marketers are looking for: new innovations in measurement; flexibility and nimbleness; and, most importantly, ideas that bring what a magazine spread or 30-second TV spot cannot.

Now president-CEO of Nurun, a global interactive marketing agency, Jacques-Hervé Roubert began his career in advertising at Havas Conseil and subsequently held senior executive positions with BDDP and Young & Rubicam.

Six of the best… Mobile handset ads

Check the ads here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Social Online Ads Are Good For Consumers

Taken from SocialMedia.com from an article by Katie Smillie

It’s easy to make the case that social online ads are good for brands. At SocialMedia.com we’ve seen that social ads enjoy a significant lift in CTR, brand awareness, and purchase intent — compared to their non-social counterparts.

But what is it about social ads that leads to higher performance? We believe the reason that social ads are better for brands is because they are better for consumers. And, social ads are better for consumers because they provide relevant connections with real people whose opinions consumers care about.

Performics and ROI Research just released a joint survey study of over 3,000 US consumers, with some compelling data showing that many consumers are actively using their social networks to recommend and to learn about brands*:

46% of respondents say they would talk about or recommend a product on Facebook
44% of Twitter users have recommended a product
Michael Kahn, SVP of Marketing at Performics, presented more of the survey findings this morning at ad:tech in NY, including the slide below:

© 2009. All rights reserved. Performics Inc. and ROI Research Inc.
The implications are clear: advertising on social networks can be powerful. At SocialMedia.com we are taking this idea to the next level by extending the power of social advertising beyond social networks and into the broader social web. We hope you’ll join us.

You may see the full article here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010

Here's an article I picked up from www.readwriteweb.com. If you wish to view the the actual article I will paste the link below.

This time last year, I wrote about the 10 ways social media will change 2009, and while all predictions have materialized or are on their way, it has only become clear in recent months how significant of a change we've seen this year. 2009 will go down as the year in which the shroud of uncertainty was lifted off of social media and mainstream adoption began at the speed of light. Barack Obama's campaign proved that social media can mobilize millions into action, and Iran's election protests demonstrated its importance to the freedom of speech.

This guest post was written by Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist at Ustrategy.com - a boutique consultancy focusing on helping companies succeed. Ravit authors a blog at www.ravitlichtenberg.com.

Today, it is impossible to separate social media from the online world. Facebook reached 350 million users last month -- 70% of whom are outside the US -- and it accounts for 25% of the Web's traffic, nearly one in five people on the web use Twitter, and 94% of enterprises plan to maintain or increase their investment in enterprise social media tools. The social media conversation is no longer considered a Web 2.0 fad -- it is taking place in homes, small businesses and corporate boardrooms, and extending its reach into the nonprofit, education and health sectors. From feeling excitement, novelty, bewilderment, and overwhelmed, a growing number of people now speak of social media as simply another channel or tactic.

So what will social Web bring next? What will "being connected" mean? What will the next experience be for the 2 two billion people who are connected to the Internet? Here are 10 ways what we've called social media will evolve in 2010.
Social Media Will Become a Single, Cohesive Experience Embedded In Our Activities and Technologies

By this time next year, social media will no longer be "social media" -- it will be an integrated, unquestionable component of your online and offline experience. Last year we spoke of cross-platform integration across media sites. Open APIs and OpenID made that possible, and even LinkedIn announced last month that it too will finally open its APIs. 2010 will be about integration and a single, cohesive experience across platforms as well as across products and devices -- Web, mobile, TV, and video -- will become near-inseparable experiences.

Users will access content from any device or platform, co-create and mashup their photos, videos and text with traditional content while interacting with each other. Publishers will create new kinds of content for the connected world, and the last years' lull in good entertainment will finally be lifted. This trend will cut across all of our activities -- from playing games to shopping to emailing and texting -- nothing will be lost; everything we do will be gathered and streamed together, allowing people to view their world of activities as if it were projected in front of them, open to change, review and input at any point in time from any device or online tool.

Social Media Innovation Will No Longer Be Limited By Technology

With Web technology maturing and the near-elimination of previous barriers such closed platforms and discrete logins, companies will now look to innovate the way they use existing technology, rather than focus on technology enhancements themselves. We will see a move to leverage existing assets -- content and capabilities -- in new ways, turning information to wisdom and insight to action. Whereas once user research required focus groups and usability tests, companies will utilize the Web's capabilities to achieve the same. Naturally occurring conversations will be utilized in product innovation and design, and companies will create incentives for people's attention and engagement while repurposing and analyzing content and engagement in new ways that will deliver valuable input.

Mobile Will Take Center Stage

Worldwide, the iPhone alone accounts for about 33% of mobile web traffic and IDC predicts the number of mobile web users will hit one billion by 2010. As the technological barriers come down, people will increasingly use their phones on-the-go to access social networks, search, read content and find location-based information. Our phones will be used as a central hub and beacon -- enabling a slew of new capabilities and experiences.

Expect an Intense Battle As People and Companies Look To Own Their Own Content

2009 marked the year of open Web, and divergence of content, making content available anywhere, anytime, by anyone and to everyone; it was the year content exploded across the web, platforms and devices. The issue Google solved so magically -- content find-ability -- will become all but moot in the coming years. Instead, content relevance and quality will become the key focus. In 2010 we will start to see convergence as companies take measures to own their own content, its location and its cost. Last month, Rupert Murdoch announced he may opt News Corp out of Google, instructing it to de-index its publications from the search engine and giving exclusive rights to Bing for a fee. This means that content publishers will be able to determine where they make their content available and at what cost.

With the growth of user generated content and the dwindling relevance of search results, people will gradually shift their trust from large aggregators like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and move to searching and finding content at specific locations and, eventually, creating and integrating their own content hub into the rest of their personal digital experience. "People don't realize that everything they do -- on Facebook, Ning, Google and with their credit cards -- is being collected, tracked, analyzed, owned and monetized by these companies who provide (so-called) free services. It's not a healthy model." Says John Faber, COO of af83, a Drupal development house and co-founder of the upcoming DrupalCon.
Enterprises Will Shape the Next Generation of What We've Called "Social Media"

It was easy to forget that enterprises and large institutions are the originators of some of social media's pillars: listservs, forums, intranets and collaboration tools. As social media became a public domain, enterprises have been cautious participants, predominantly in the product space, with few visionary leaders like Zappos, IBM and Dell. But cautionary they are no more. With a reported average of 25% increase in funds allocation toward social media activities, in 2010 we will see a surge in adoption of social media across product, services and solutions companies.

Having the need and the funds, enterprises will determine the next generation of social experiences. They will push enhancements that meet their needs, specifically around monitoring, automation, alignment with the sales cycle and integration with existing systems, expanding social "media" to encompass the ecosystem of social computing across solutions, and making them actionable for the company. Jive, blueKiwi, Remindo and Sharepoint support companies internally. Most recently, Salesforce.com released Chatter, designed to turn the corporation, and CRM, social. With its APIs opening later this year, "Chatter can become a new layer over its Force platform, already being used by 68,000 customers, enabling companies and developers to leverage the Salesforce infrastructure in a secure environment," said Bruce Francis, VP corporate strategy Salesforce.com.

ROI Will Be Measured -- and It Will Matter

Return on investment on social media activities has been challenging to most companies this year. Surveys show only 18% of companies say they saw meaningful return on investment from their social media activities while the other 72% report modest, no return or inability to measure the return on their investment in social media. While the definition of ROI is evolving to better fit the world of relationships and networks, the ability to demonstrate ROI in hard numbers -- not in followers or fans -- will become a baseline business requirement in 2010. Already, both traditional firms and startups are working feverishly to demonstrate they can turn hype into science. But, only those companies who will be able to analyze and predict hard returns on investments will last.

Finally: Real, Cool and Very Bizarre Online-Offline Integration

Virtual worlds, games and avatars were just the beginning of the online-offline integration. In 2010 we'll see a greater push on this front as distance and physical walls will matter even less. Augmented reality -- already integrated into Yelp's latest geo-tagging enabled application -- will allow users to find relevant information and people depending on their location; Twitter360 will help people find each other, connect and see updates by location all while on the go through their mobile device. People will be able to scan products on shelves but process the sale online; you'll never need to ask for a business card again at events -- and you may actually get promotions and discounts that match your interests.

Many "Old" Skills Will Be Needed Again

An economic downturn coupled with the surge of social media eliminated many traditional marketing and PR roles. But this year, we'll see the return of professionals to the field. Enterprises will turn back to marketers who specialize in understanding customer psychology and who are experienced in addressing these both offline and online. Research and development divisions will turn to customer experience professionals to draw on user needs and ideation as part of their product improvement and innovation process, and sales and support will continue to deliver services online. Expect to see job postings for social media managers, social media psychologists and social media executive administrators to help manage the infinite tasks involved with communities and social media campaigns.

Women Will Rule Social Media

2009 revealed the growing role women play online. Women make 75% of all buying decisions for the home, and 85% of all consumer purchases. Social networks have at least 50% female members, and it is women ages 35-55 who make up the fastest-growing population on Facebook -- not the expected Gen-Y population as previously anticipated. Previously limited by organizational hierarchies and job demands, women today are free to create, express and promote themselves using social media channels. Innately excelling at communication, relationship building and multi-level attention, women will take the reins on their careers and network becoming both a sought-after consumer segment as well as driving business strategies for social-media-connected companies.

Social Media Will Move Into New Domains

As social media becomes integrated into our experiences online, it will have an impact on verticals such as nonprofit, job training, education, and health care. University of the People -- a UN-backed initiative to offer free education in emerging markets -- is using the power of distance learning and virtual collaboration. Obama's campaign for job training also highly relies on the power of online interaction. "The top 10 companies to work for are going to become learning companies. Instead of having 10% of time to philanthropic activities, they'll spend 10% of time on learning or teaching," says Chris Heuer, founder of Social Media Club and director at iStrategyLabs. "Sites like I'm Too Young For This, and Know Cancer Community prove that no topic is too complex for social collaboration."

"These site help people connect and share information previously only available to their doctors," says Jennifer Benz of Benz Communications, a consultancy that works with companies to introduce social media capabilities into employee benefits and health care communication. "Companies who integrate social collaboration and conversation into health care find they have more knowledgeable employees and patients who can make smarter choices and improve the quality of their care."

Social Media as we knew it even 6 months ago has changed. By this time next year, it will have become fully integrated into everything we do online and offline. By the end of this year we'll see a move toward greater control over content and companies will fight over social media land grabs in preparation for the future.

By next year, we will no longer speak about social media technology but about what we've been able to do with it. We will discuss power of ownership and only accept quality, relevant content. As we move to automatically accept a narrowed selection of the mass content online, we will begin to crave larger reach again and the natural process of chaos and order -- constriction and expansion, convergence and divergence -- will repeat itself in an ever-accelerating pace.

Whether you are an individual, a startup, small business or a large corporation, an online presence and an ongoing conversation with your constituents is a baseline requirement -- and will take time and expertise. Companies are diverting resources and rethinking their traditional outreach strategies. "Whether you're recruiting, looking for investment, trying to get buzz -- you need to be visible," says John Nogrady, director, emerging business at Microsoft bizpark, and serial entrepreneur. Brian Zisk, founder of SFMusicTech, which is taking place in San Francisco this week, says "If you're out there as a genuine contributor in the community you can reach out to many people. Take the FooFighters' free Facebook concert, or Zoe Keating -- a local artist with over 1.2 million fans online. Their ability to connect with their fans was made possible because of the Internet."

As you read this, it may seem far reaching but so did a presidency won through the power of online community not too long ago. Whether you are a novice finally giving in to the pressures to "get on social media," someone who is highly experienced, or a visionary already looking for the next big thing, you will play a role in social media in the coming year even through your simple, daily actions. And as the social media wave dissipates into the vast ocean of connected experiences, the term itself will become an entry in dictionaries and encyclopedias and we will embark on a new era of knowledge, accessibility and experiences unbound by distance, time or physical walls.

Here's the link the the actual article.

Google and Yahoo Philippines Released Top Search Terms for 2009

Here's the article from Janet Toral about top searches here in the Philippines.

It's just interesting to note that the searches are mostly on showbiz personalities then sport covers the other searches. Only Ondoy was the non-showbiz search. Now I'd like to know what other countries search.

Rogue Digital Video

Yes, we really work for a living...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The secret to successful Facebook fan pages: pre-existing popularity

What's the secret to success on Facebook? Having a pre-existing fan base. It also helps if you're a Fortune 500 company. At least that seems to be the conclusion of new research on the social network.

While brands have helped increase their reach and engagement, research from both Slate and social media monitoring and analytics firm Sysomos show that it's big brands that get the most out of Facebook — not upstarts that get the word out through their Facebook pages.

According to Slate's The Big Money, massive brands that combine their own content with user uploads have seen the best results on Facebook.

Twitter may let small companies add extra heft to their marketing plans, but The Big Money found that brands that get the most bang for their buck on Facebook are the same ones that have been around for years.

Some quirky brands, who already had strong followings — Chick-fil-A, Dippin’ Dots, Pop Tarts and Dr. Pepper — also did well. But that gets back to the point that brands who were already popular with consumers are the ones that do best on the social net.

The Facebook 50 study posted by The Big Money lists big brands — the top five are Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Disney, Victoria’s Secret and Apple iTunes.

Criteria for the list included Facebook profiles with at least 200,000 fans, The Big Money then evaluated them based on the frequency of their status updates, growth rates, and creativity according to a panel of outside judges.

Meanwhile, Sysomos analyzed 600,000 fan pages on Facebook and came up with the following distribution curve:

Sysomos found that the vast bulk of fan pages have between 10 and 1,000 fans. Only 4% of fan pages have more than 10,000 fans, and less than 1/20th of a percent have more than a million fans. Meanwhile, celebrities only make up 7% of all fan pages. But they have the bulk of fans on the network.

And once you have achieved a large base of users, they will help perpetuate popularity. According to Sysomos, pages with more than one million fans have nearly three times the owner-generated content as the average Facebook page. But pages with that amount of fans have the benefit of active users as well — bringing in nearly 60 times as much fan-generated content as the average Facebook page.

And frequent posting doesn't do much to help a page's popularity. On an average Facebook Page, administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. On pages with more than one million fans, a wall post is created for every 16.1 days.

According to Razorfish, 40% of Facebook users "friend" brands on Facebook. That's compared to 25% who follow brands on Twitter. But there's a big difference between what friends and followers do.

From TechCrunch:

"Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days. And that’s really the big difference between Facebook fans and Twitter followers. On Twitter, you follow someone because you want to hear what they have to say. On Facebook, you fan them just to show your support of affinity. Too often, it’s a throwaway gesture. But then, fame is fleeting."

Of course fan pages are not the only way to reach consumers on Facebook. But spending resources — even if they are just resources of time — on updating fan pages may not be the best use of your time.

Article by Meghan Keane from Econsultancy Digital Marketers United Blog.
Here's the actual article.

Social media measurement: a 10-step guide

Social media measurement is a tricky subject, not least because not everything can or should be measured, and in some ways social measurement is a bit like measuring the impact of TV ads on brand awareness: it's a slightly softer area than, say, paid search.

But there are lots of things that can be accurately measured, which - when seen through a wide-angled lens - can really help you make sense of what social media can do for your business.

That said, you might want to implement a social strategy but perhaps you haven't yet won the necessary budget? And it's getting harder, right? It has been a difficult year for many firms and a focus on ROI may now be mandatory.

So how can you prove that an investment into social media is going to be worth it? How can you persuade the boss to make some budget available? How can you convince your colleagues that the cultural shift required is a smart idea? And how - and what - will you measure, should you be given some resources?

The following pointers on social media measurement and social media metrics should help you prove that there are lots of things to measure, and can help you outline what the likely effects on the business are likely to be. Good luck!

See the full article here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 5 Ways To Screw Up When Using Social Media To Build Your Business

by Alyssa Gregory

Almost everyone is using social media in some capacity to promote themselves and their businesses because the various forums offer an immense opportunity to network. However, there are some things to avoid when using social media for business purposes.

1. Telling All

One undeniable facet of social media is that we all get to know each other a little bit more. We talk more, we share more and we have the ability to forge more personal relationships, even with business colleagues. This can do amazing things for any professional, provided there are limits on what is shared in a public setting. The key to using social media successfully is being genuine, sincere and real with your communication, but that doesn’t mean you should give it all away. There’s a definite line between a tweet that you’re spending time with family and a tweet that you just got out of the bathroom.

2. Being Overly Vocal

There are several schools of thought when it comes to social media and how much is too much, but there are some basic guidelines that can apply to any professional, regardless of how you use social media sites. Being consistently argumentative or combative is probably not going to gain the type of attention necessary to promote a business in a positive way. It’s good to have opinions, but not so good to publicly battle others, even competitors. My own personal rule of thumb is to save comments on hot-button issues (like politics and religion) for off-line conversations.

3. YouTube-ing Your Vacation

You would think this is an obvious one, but I think we sometimes get caught up in all of the fun things we can do with social media, and we forget that we may not really want to share some things with everyone. Record your vacation, but keep it off YouTube. Some things (like that video of you running down the beach in your new Speedo) are best kept private.

4. Commenting Without Restraint

Commenting on other people’s blog posts is a great way to participate, share your vast knowledge and get your name known. But posting rude, vulgar, confrontational and mean comments does nothing but make you look foolish, even if you think you’re right. The last thing you want is a potential client Googling you, finding your less-than-professional comments, and deciding not to work with you.

5. Reliving The Glory Days

Facebook is great for reconnecting with old friends, expanding your professional network and sharing a personal side of yourself. The biggest conflict is when you use Facebook for business and personal use without thinking about the impact it may have. It’s almost like having split personalities when you share a link to your latest post on your web design blog, and it’s followed by a wall-to-wall conversation with an old buddy about one really fun but very questionable night 15 years ago. It’s possible to merge business and personal in social media, but you need to keep in mind who is reading your updates and what impact your comments might have on your professional life.

While some of this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, all of these examples are similar to real-life situations I’ve seen in my social media travels. Adding networking through social media to your marketing and promotional activities is a smart move, just keep in mind the who, what and when of your activity to avoid something coming back to bite you.

What screw-ups would you add to this list?

Here's the source of the article.

Christmas Factoids from Around the World

Here's some cool trivia about Christmas from the same people who did the 'Did You Know' presentations. Let's all have a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

50 Best Websites for 2009 (According to Time Magazine)

The Top 50 Sites

1. Flickr
2. California Coastline
3. Delicious
4. Metafilter
5. popurls
6. Twitter
7. Skype
8. Boing Boing
9. Academic Earth
10. OpenTable
11. Google
12. YouTube
13. Wolfram|Alpha
14. Hulu
15. Vimeo
16. Fora TV
17. Craiglook
18. Shop Goodwill
19. Amazon
20. Kayak
21. Netflix
22. Etsy
23. PropertyShark.com
24. Redfin
25. Wikipedia
26. Internet Archive
27. Kiva
28. Consumer Search
29. Metacritic
30. Pollster
31. Facebook
32. Pandora and Last.fm
33. Musicovery
34. Spotify
35. Supercook
36. Yelp
37. Visuwords
38. CouchSurfing
39. BabyNameWizard.com's NameVoyager
40. Mint
41. TripIt
42. Aardvark
43. drop.io
44. Issuu
45. Photosynth
47. WorldWideTelescope
48. Fonolo
49. Get High Now
50. Know Your Meme

I suggest you read the actual article from Time to get a nice summary of each of the sites.

In Business, Early Birds Twitter Most Effectively

Companies can work wonders before Twitter's vast interactive audience of consumers, but it's best to start slowly and build credibility

By Shel Israel

Like so many others, Lionel Menchaca, Dell Computer's chief blogger, thought Twitter was "fairly worthless for business" when he first looked at it in March 2007, but trying new social media tools was part of his job. Menchaca opened an account and started posting links whenever he posted on Direct2Dell, the company's oft-praised corporate blog, where he serves as principal author.

The results exceeded his expectations. When he posted a link on Twitter, people clicked on the URL in minutes. They commented often—and at Twitter, rather than on the blog. They were the first viewers to spread word of his new blog posts. Twitter moved fast and sent his words further than any medium he had previously encountered.

But that turned out to be less than half the story. Listening to others turned out to be even more valuable than distributing what he wrote. Menchaca discovered that by using the Twitter Search feature, he could monitor and sometimes join conversations about PCs. "Tweeters," as they call themselves, regularly posted links to relevant content he might otherwise have missed.

Menchaca's experience is far from unique. Businesses, ranging from the largest multinationals to home-office practitioners, often come for one reason and are surprised to find greater value in some other aspect they hadn't considered. The surprise plus can bring help in marketing, sales, recruiting, feedback, support, sales or just getting closer to geographically scattered networks (as has been the case with IBM.)

Business uses for Twitter are proving to be as diverse as those for the telephone or e-mail. They generally break into two categories: ways to follow customers and ways to increase efficiency.

Recruit clients and soothe consumers

Companies are joining Twitter for the same reason politicians attend the funerals of famous people: It's where they can find their constituents and hold close, informal conversations with them. For example, CrowdSPRING, a tiny Chicago-based startup, uses Twitter to find buyers and sellers for its online professional graphics marketplace. (Business buyers declare what they want to see in a new logo or website and then, on average, 70 designers bid on each project.)

Conversations start in Twitter and then spread beyond the platform's seamless boundaries, rapidly reaching customers, vendors, recruits, and partners in a wide variety of markets. You can find potential customers on Twitter and perhaps snag a sale. You can also find conversations with consumers who are unhappy with your products and assuage them quickly and publicly.

Twitter may owe its blastoff to the dive the economy took. Microblogging became a much-discusssed option just as businesses began axing marketing, advertising, and public relations budgets and reducing their participation at conferences and social networking events. Because of those cuts, companies understood they still needed to reach out to customers. Twitter turned out to be a less-expensive and more efficient way to achieve this.

Twitter works well with other social media platforms, such as blogs, video, and audio podcasts, creating a whole new kind of interactive integrated communications solution. It is proving not just faster and cheaper—but more credible. Surveys consistently report that people tend to trust their Twitter friends more than formulated company messages. Users increasingly rely on one another for tips on what to buy, watch, read, or listen to.

While Twitter shares similarities with phones and e-mail, there's a major difference: It works best in public. Anyone can see real people in a company trying hard to help.

Avoid one-way, targeted marketing

Comcast, North America's largest cable carrier, has a 10-member Twitter support team. Tens of thousands of tweeters witness employees trying—with customary success—to help customers. Conversely, consumers do not witness call-center conversations and the greatest failures among those interactions tend to make the most noise in the marketplace. Surveys show measurable improvements in Comcast's customer satisfaction ratings since the company began using Twitter for customer service.

Of course, Twitter is no elixir. Companies who try to use the tool as yet another marketing arrow in their quiver—one that mostly carries targeted, one-way messages—usually fail.

While Twitter has had remarkable results in times of crisis, companies that jump in just when an emergency is breaking have joined too late. Their customers don't know they are there. It takes time to establish your credibility in Twitterville and you need to understand how it works before that credibility gets tested.

It also takes time to understand how this deceptively simple-looking tool works. Nearly everyone I interviewed in my recent book mentioned how confused and disoriented they once felt. According to Twitter founder-CEO Ev Williams: "People are pretty much clueless when they first try Twitter."

A smart business will start early. Nearly every company cited in the accompanying slide show stumbled and fumbled for a while before they discovered how Twitter could help business in many ways.

Shel Israel is author of TWITTERVILLE: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods (Portfolio 2009).

See the original article here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Software for Writers

For those hardcore writers and writer wanna be's here's a software which they say may be helpful to you. I guess it sets the mood for you when you write on your laptop or PC. Unfortunately they only have it for Mac right now. Check out their site for more information. They call it the Ommwriter...I guess it puts you on a meditative state thus the 'ommmmmmm'

If you use it I guess you have to cut and paste it to your blog though.

Imagine Leadership

Here's a good presentation that will inspire you to lead. We can change the world in our own small way ...slowly changing it in a big way. It's time to lead.

10 Big Marketing Predictions for 2010

If you want to see the whole article now simply click: The Rise to the Top.

1. Big Brands Will Learn From Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses and Niche Brands.
2. Digital Schmoozing: Networking Online
3. Death Of The One-Way Website
4. Content Marketing: Brands As Media Sources And Publishers
5. Online Video: Forget Viral Focus On Function
6. Death Of The 30-Second Ad: Rise Of Creative Paid Content
7. Reputation Marketing: Customer Service And Caring
8. Event Marketing
9. Social Media: No Longer A Buzzword In Marketing
10. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

To preview the whole article click here.

I think this is very relevant here in the Philippine context as Rogue Digital has actually implemented some campaigns based on what has been mentioned in the article. Big name clients has opted for more efficient pay-per-click (PPC) campiagns versus traditional print advertising and they were very happy with the results. As such, we have actually implemented several PPC campaigns and they have proven a good draw for potential clients.

My current favorite case study for event and relationship marketing is our Century Corned Tuna event where our bloggers really enjoyed the event and gave rave reviews on their blogs. We are thinking of other events to make the experience more enjoyable for the bloggers and readers alike.

We have also started doing Social Media Marketing and in fact we have been looking and observing at how other local Philippine companies are utilizing the social media networks. SmartCares Twitter account is another favorite of mine since they really answer you rants on Twitter. As a customer I felt assured that someone over there was doing something about my complaint - which was actually not thier fault (I loaded the wrong account).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Real Business Geniuses Don't Pretend To Know Everything

I got this article from Harvard Business Publishing written by Bill Taylor.

The Economist owes much of its popularity to its knack for challenging conventional wisdom. In a recent column, it applied its contrarian mindset to the question of what kinds of leaders make the best CEOs, making the case that what the world needs now are more "raging egomaniacs" and "tightly wound empire-builders" rather than the "faceless" and "anonymous" bosses running so many companies today — "bland and boring men and women who can hardly get themselves noticed at cocktail parties."

The crux of The Economist's argument relies on what's known as the Great Man Theory of History. After trumpeting the virtues of business geniuses such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Lou Gerstner, and Jack Welch, it then generalizes from this handful of larger-than-life moguls: "The best ambassadors for business are the outsize figures who have changed the world and who feel no need to apologise for themselves or their calling."

It's an intriguing essay and a good read. It's also a false choice — and a bad reading of history. For one thing, when it comes to larger-than-life CEOs, I can name as many scoundrels and failures as I can geniuses and world-changers. There's a reason Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind titled their bestseller on the Enron disaster The Smartest Guys in the Room, and it goes beyond the criminality those deeply flawed executives displayed. That familiar phrase captures the mindset too many of us expect even our most honest leaders to display — the assumption that being "in charge" means having all the answers. In simpler times, fierce personal confidence, a sense of infallibility as a leader, might have been be a calling card of success. Today it is a warning sign of failure, whether from bad judgment, low morale among disillusioned colleagues, or sheer burnout from the pressures of always having to be right.

That's not a case (and here's the false choice) for aiming low or being dull. The best executives I've met understand that there is a vast difference between advancing big, exciting, important goals — aspiring to change the game in your field — and assuming that you know best how to achieve those goals. Sure, great leaders champion new ideas and disruptive points of view — they have vision. But that doesn't mean they have to see the future on their own.

Just because you're in charge doesn't mean you have to have all the answers. Real business geniuses don't pretend they know everything.

To be sure, it's easier to divide leaders into either-or categories: risk-takers vs. bureaucrats, those with ambition vs. those with humility. Fortune just named Steve Jobs its CEO of the Decade — and while it's hard to argue with the choice, it's even harder to reproduce his talents. The problem with trumpeting the virtues of one-of-a-kind geniuses like Steve Jobs is that — duh — there is only one of them! Memo to The Economist: It's not a good idea to urge CEOs to emulate leaders whose success is, almost by definition, impossible to copy.

Keith Sawyer, a creativity guru at Washington University in St. Louis, has literally written the book on where good ideas come from. In Group Genius, he explains how few leaders are prepared to recognize the messy and hard-to-manage truth about the real logic of business success. Many (perhaps most) executives subscribe to what Sawyer calls script-think — "the tendency to think that events are more predictable than they really are." In fact, he says, "Innovation emerges from the bottom up, unpredictably and improvisationally, and it's often only after the innovation has occurred that everyone realizes what's happened. The paradox is that innovation can't be planned, it can't be predicted; it has to be allowed to emerge."

Harriet Rubin, one of the great innovators in business-book publishing, and an accomplished author in her own right, uses different language to make a similar point about leadership and innovation. "Freedom is actually a bigger game than power," she reminds executives who are eager to make their mark in the world. "Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash."

The most effective leaders no longer want the job of solving their organization's biggest problems or identifying its best opportunities on their own. Instead, they recognize that the most powerful ideas can come from the most unexpected places: the quiet genius buried deep inside the organization, the collective genius that surrounds the organization, the hidden genius of customers, suppliers, and other constituencies who would be eager to share what they know if only they were asked. For companies, and the CEOs at their helms, those are the smartest (and most sustainable) sources of greatness.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Branded Mobile Applications

Here's an effective way to use branded mobile applications. The guys behind this campaign used something very practical which consumers can actually use - how to remove different kinds of stains. Well people won't use this everyday but it did give a brand something to do on the mobile phone.

Adverblog: Housekeeping goes social (and mobile)

The challenge now is to create an application which would actually give value to the consumers at the same time relate it to your brand or product.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lyceum Cavite

Here's the newest campus of the Lyceum system located at Gen Trias, Cavite. You can't miss this because of it's modern architecture. This easily stands out as one of the best campuses I've seen here in the country.

Lyceum Batangas

Here's the pictures from the Lyceum Batangas shoot...

Lyceum Laguna Pictures 2

Here are more pictures from our photo shoot at Lyceum Laguna.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Manny Pacquiao makes web history?

Manny Pacquiao was in 5 of the 10 hottest terms in Google Trends during his historic fight Miguel Cotto. If people still question the power of the internet and still ask how many Filipinos are online maybe this is proof of that. I think it is safe to assume that it is his fellow Pinoys that are following his fight. I can say that I was one of those trying to get free streaming video of the fight.

Click on the Huffington Post article here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Carbon Economy

"The argument that the dangers of climate change is great and that the world should act strongly and urgently, is or should be, over.

We should now be working on policy and strategic response" - Lord Nicolas Stern, London Business School

Did you know 4.0 re-post

I am re-posting this since the window on my first post last month was quite small. Anyway, here's a glimpse on how fast technology changes. I'll post the earlier versions as well...even in with these videos change happens really fast...

Reviewing is the New Advertising | ReveNews

With Web 2.0 word of mouth marketing is really gaining ground and marketers should take notice. This is especially true for high ticket items but the recent corned tuna wars seems to be changing this. There is now this gap between awareness and purchase which marketers should worry about and which they should address. This article tells us about the 'reviews' which they call the new advertising.

Reviewing is the New Advertising | ReveNews

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Aunt's advice to his nephew...

A friend of mine wrote this article for a newspaper a few months back. I felt her advice is relevant to all ages and genders looking for love or a partner in life...

About your psychotic girlfriend

By Gang Badoy
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 17:51:00 01/23/2009

MY dearest nephew,

You are now a man and have been going through your share of demented relationships while I just silently watch from the sides of the ring.

I wish I had more time with you so I can tell you what I’ve learned about the psychosis of girlfriends, having been one a few times myself. I’m not sure I qualify as psychotic though, as I fight fair more often than not. I do not employ the pouting mouth tactics nor the breathy Marilyn-Monroe-cleavage-state move. I have neither the voice nor the chest to do so.

I’m afraid I have to be brutally frank with you, my boy, as it seems like your Mom will never be able to do this with you because she is your parent. That’s how it goes. As I did not give birth to you, nor do I feel any obligation to society or any Jesuit alma mater to produce “Men for Others,” I will tell it to you straight. You will “fall in love” with someone very wrong at some point in your life. Hopefully it will be a passing fancy and that after a while you will dump that nymphet and proceed to the higher level of woman partners. Always level up, like the video game moguls say. Incidentally, I say, “fall in love” because after much scrutiny you will realize it’s just hormones and availability and proximity talking. Ouch, I know.

A lot like love

Yes, you will always mistake sexual attraction for love because they look a lot alike and you will also mistake love for acquisition or conquest—they release the same serotonin brain squirts and yes, if your Mom or Dad raised you to worry about society and image, you will also mistake being “socially-acceptably-coupled” as love, too. These things are not totally wrong, but none of them are exactly right either. Sexual attraction is great, a feeling of conquest and achievement is good for character, and societal norms are good to follow but they are not the absolute lines we follow when choosing a life partner.

Believe me, habit and the feeling of financial security can look a lot like love, too—so be wary. And be smarter than the rules. Hell, even be smarter than this set of words I’m stringing for you now.

I’m Auntie Gang and I will never want anything bad to happen to you, I assure you. But for your demented girlfriend, I will wish her all ill if she ever does anything sociopathic like embarrass you in public, freak out on your friends, bash your male pride online or emotionally cheat on you by whatever means. (We talked about this before, remember? And there are many ways for a moodswinging egocentric harlot to cheat on you sans sleeping with another man. So again, keep those lenses focused on your sanity—not hers. That’s her parents’ responsibility, not yours.)

Next, don’t ever feel guilty about anything that happened to her in the past. Especially if you weren’t the one who inflicted her pain. She cannot throw those misfortunes at you and emotionally blackmail you into thinking that you ought to be her protector. This also doesn’t mean that you should allow her leeway and give her exemptions from bad behavior because she was once hurt. Well, don’t let her throw that sh* on you. Hurt, my tush, aren’t we all? So, no. That won’t fly. That is not healthy. You don’t want to be there. If I were you, leave her alone, pick a shade and watch her undo herself on her own. It won’t take too long.

Emotional blackmail

If it’s a sturdy partnership you want, something that can possibly produce offsprings that will become pillars of society—Do. Not. Stay. With. Someone. Who. Emotionally. Blackmails. You. Do. Not. Just. Don’t.

Jesus, you’re a smart guy, stay with someone who will not only support you but also expand your universe by having a world of her own to introduce to you. You cannot (and I will not allow your mind to shrink so small) wrap yourself around her world and neither can you make her wrap her world around yours either. You have to have two separate galaxies so when you are together you have two galaxies’ worth of conversation, adventure, learning and laughter. No shrinking allowed.

Do not adjust what you hold important just to keep your sniveling little princess who rebonds her hair like it was federally required.

You’re still aching, I know. You’re still checking your phone if she sent an SMS. If it had a smiling face. If it had your name on it. If it had those squiggly stuff that comes with pressing a bit more on one letter so that the letters look like they’re wearing scarves. Stop. I know. Believe me, I see it. You miss her and God knows no one can make you stop feeling that.

So okay, if you want to see if you can still fix it, if you think that despite her staging psychotic meltdowns for relaxation you want to stay then I shall just equip you with what I have learned about dealing with young romance.

I feel for you, my nephew, because women are not the most direct beings on the planet.

The World’s Mysteries are as follows:

1. Young women
2. Those big rock slabs arranged on Salisbury Plain
3. How Filipino politicians and greedy landlords sleep at night

PhD-level Math problems are easier to understand than some of the things my friends have said to their boyfriends. I know because I’ve done it too.

He: What’s the matter?
Me: Nothing.

When it comes to certain emotionally-charged issues, women prefer to use indirect communication because we can find out a lot more about men with a few misleading statements.

You see, the way a guy reacts to each mysterious thing she says is a test to see if her boyfriend is a mind reader. She wants to know if you can read her mind.

That, to a woman, is the truest measure of love. No, it’s not enough that you remember to leave the toilet seat down. If you could just master the mind-reading thing, you can get away with leaving the seat up forever.

No. I am not betraying my sex by clueing you in on this, I am doing this out of charity. Because the faster you know what your girlfriend means, the faster she gets what she wants. That’s a lot better than waiting for you to figure it out.

She says: “Nothing’s wrong.” (And it’s followed by any or all of the following: silence, tears, the sound of your iPod or a guitar being smashed to pieces, looking away theatrically or the sound of your door locking.)

She means: “Something you did a minute/an hour/three years ago upset me, and if you really loved me you’d know what it was.”

What you should do: Say something like, “Level with me here. Tell me what’s bothering you so we can talk about it and fix it.”

What you should NOT do: Say, “Fine!” just so you can watch TV uninterrupted while she texts another guy friend to pick her up from your place.

When she says: “I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

She means: “Sit down, have a beer, read ‘Noli Me Tangere’ if you like...”

What you should do: Look for the TV remote, you’re not going anywhere for at least an hour.

This is all I have for now. Tell me if you want more. If not, just break up with her. Lots of fish out there, believe me—and not all are as demented as her. Everybody prunes up when they get older. You might as well be with a nice, funny, stable prune.

Love Always,

Auntie Gang