While I am unable to attend the event, I am excited to write about Social Media Week in Hong Kong. That’s because I seldom see a opportunities like this in the city, in addition to the social media’s growing influence in the realm of digital marketing. Hong Kong is ripe for such kind of gathering of thoughts. Wireless access is ubiquitous, domestic broadband and mobile phone penetration is at all-time high, such elements vital in propagation of social media in the city. Facebook and YouTube occupy two of the first three spots in Web applications according to Hitwise.
Source: Social Media Hong Kong Week Facebook page
In practice, social media has sort of gone mainstream. For example, it has been used by “post 80s” youth group to protest government plans of constructing high-speed railway network. The generation has been dubbed as active social media participants. “Social media is the natural habitat for the Post 80s,” says Susanna Lam, Research Director of Synovate in Hong Kong.
A 2006 video about a quarrel in a bus between a middle-aged man and a younger passenger posted in YouTube generated enough interest that parodies of the scene were produced in a drama episode of a local TV channel, had a rap version of the famous lines “You have pressure, I have pressure” and being used in a promotion for FIFA World Cup event that year. When the Edison Chen photo scandal surfaced in 2008, blogs helped spread sexually compromising photos of the actor and several other women. The activity was widespread that the police had to issue a warning that posting links to photos in blogs and online forums are punishable by up to 15 days in jail. And in 2009, a hotel shut down its online promotion after the public expressed outrage through social media over videos that depict Hong Kong in a negative way. It seems — at least in the details I described above — social media can backfire if misused and abused. We have learned our lessons, or so we thought. Hence, this social media event simultaneously held in New York, London and seven other cities is one shot of positive vibe.
The timing couldn’t be more uncanny with Facebook’s announcement to open a sales office in Hong Kong and the city’s fresh resolution in the year of the rabbit coincided with the Social Media Week Hong Kong. Ironically, the hotel I mentioned above is the official hotel partner of the event; a gracious move and an optimistic sign that while we all can make mistakes in social media sphere, we are also entitled at making a shot for redemption.
Follow the schedule at Hong Kong Social Media Week.