Tasmania’s repute as a leading award-winning natural destination led to it being lauded as one of the World’s top two islands (the other was Bali) by Travel + Leisure in 2002. More than 20 per cent of Tasmania’s area is listed with UNESCO as World Heritage Areas.
Today is going to be different. Somehow I can feel it in the air.
This morning, as I gazed out of the window, I saw a little glimmer of light amidst the hazy overcast skies. That little ray of sunshine beamed down through my window panes, casting an amber coloured hue on the bedroom. As I looked out of the window, I saw members of the silver-haired brigade doing their morning qi gong. The birds were also singing sweetly and cheerfully, welcoming the slight respite from days enshrouded in thick, choking haze.
Deep in my heart, there is a gentle stirring – a tiny nudge that somehow I need to get out there. While the fragrant scent of pure fresh air isn’t going to come for a while, there is still no reason to hold back on carrying on life as normal. This prompted me to re-ignite my engine and re-start my regular morning jogs which have been KIV-ed in fear of the rising PSI levels. After stopping for a few days, getting back the momentum was initially a little tough, but once I started pounding the pavement, I knew that I am back on the road to religious fanatic road warrior-ism.
The running man is back. Watch out world, here I come!
I am in a whimsical mood tonight so decided to do something irreverent (and maybe irrelevant). What I shall call the 10 commandments of gahmen blogging.
1) Thou shalt not flame, troll nor comment spammeth thy fellow blogger, no matter how tempting. Instead, thou shalt seek to use tactful and civil ways to engage thy fellow citizen.
2) Thou shalt abide by the Official Secrets Act and Instruction Manuals at all times. Thy livelihood dependeth on this.
OK, I realise that I am not exactly the kind of sentimental and emotional person, so this may come as a surprise to some. Usually, I prefer to take on a more dispassionate and professional demeanour, letting the work do the talking so to speak.
However, I felt a certain stirring in my heart tonight to pen something down that is closer to the heart than the head.
Being in the field of marketing and communications, I just realise that there are many parallels between branding and blogging. How does branding relate to blogging? Let me distil it into the following points:
1) A successful brand has a unique selling proposition that differentiates itself from the others. Similarly, a successful blog will be different from your run-of-the-mill indulgent online diaries. There will be something unusual which drives hordes of fans to your online space every day (or night).
2) Pioneering brands get the biggest bite of the cherry and occupy the biggest market share. Similarly, blogs which have moved into the game early tend to attract the largest following.
3) A brand will only be remembered if it has a distinctive and memorable personality. For example, Harley Davidson will always be associated with a rebellious image, while Volvo will be remembered for being safe. Likewise, blogs which are successful (at least measured in terms of visitorship and page views) tend to have strong personalities and are often an embodiment of what their creators are like (whether explicitly or implicitly).
4) Brands, like blogs, need constant investment and nurturing to keep them going. In the case of brands, it includes advertising, publicity, events, and other tools in the marketing bag. For blogs, you will need refreshing content, links, posts to blog aggregators, and peer-to-peer communication to keep it alive.
5) Branding is an art. You need to have creative juices of your best designers to inspire and leave a deep impression. Similarly, blogs which have captured the imagination usually have either poetry in words, beautiful pictures and a nice overall aesthetic.
6) Branding is a science. After creating a strong brand identity, you need to look at disseminating it through the most productive channels. Likewise, hardcore bloggers know that some of the technical bits help generate traffic – number of pics, length of posts, RSS feeds, links, trackbacks, etc.
7) Good brands engender loyalty. You don’t just buy a Prada bag or a Mac computer because of design or quality (though that certainly helps). After some time, a certain fanaticism kicks in. Similarly, blogs which have big followings have an X-factor that draws people to tune-in on a regular basis. They have that resonance with their readers on a long-term basis.
Another favourite hobby of my son is to visit Hay’s Goat Farm which is located far away near the Lim Chu Kang area. The funny thing is that while he loves to go there, he always seems pensive and afraid to be too close to the bearded herbivores, for fear that they will eat him. Here’s a video of him with my wife in the background recently taken using a Dopod 818 Pro.
While IM-ing with Ivan Chew (of Rambling Librarian fame), I came to the conclusion that blogging can actually have a therapeutic effect. In that hour or so while you are penning down your thoughts or sharing that little bit of your life with the rest of cyberspace, you can actually can unwind a little and release the pent up stresses and frustrations inside you. Its a little like a tightly coiled spring – the more you write, the more you loosen the coils and release the tension. I believe this is similar to how diaries or journals worked in the past.
This brings me to the next question, is blogging a form of escapism? In the minutes (or hours) when you are tapping away on the keyboard, recording a podcast, or uploading a video, do you feel a sense of being in control of your own little world?
I believe so, and perhaps this is the allure and attractiveness of blogging (or podcasting, youtubing, flickring…etc). With the power of social media in your trembling and excited little hands, you become a creator of your own little universe, doing whatever pleases your self indulgent little heart. For once, you can pretend that you are an armchair movie critic, rock musician, columnist, food expert, politician, television producer…. The sky’s the limit!
What are your experiences in blogging? What makes you do it?
We all know the age old saying “no man is an island” which alludes to the fact that we need each other. Be it in social and family settings, at work, with friends, at a club, or other settings. If you isolate yourself from the rest of the world, you will find increasingly that you will lose touch and lose your relevance in the various social spheres where you operate in. This is why it is especially sad to see people who live alone in their homes and carry on their daily lives without anybody to share them with.
However, the other thing to bear in mind in relationships is chemistry. This is an intangible factor which is hard to define, but you know it when you see it or feel it. There are some folks whom you can immediately hit it off with, chatting like long lost friends from the word “go” and feel totally comfortable with each other. Naturally, those whom you can generate the best chemistry with would end up as either your life partner or “blood” relatives.
On the other hand, there may be people whom you find difficult to approach even with a 10 metre pole. For some reason or other, their interests, body language, tone of voice and values seem alien to you. The way they speak, the manner in which they behave, and their approach to life seem foreign, weird, and maybe even repugnant.
The gurus tell us that if you want to succeed – in life, love and career – you need to bridge that affinity gap and generate chemistry with people from all walks of life. The fancy name for this is emotional intelligence or EQ. As a Christian, I believe this was what Jesus Christ had done when he came to Earth more than 2,000 years ago. He mingled with and befriended sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and other then riff raff of society. He showed by example what it meant to be a great leader of people, and had many followers. This philosophy has in fact been marketed in modern day age (Jesus as CEO).
This has been a lifelong challenge for me. How does one generate “electricity” and magnetism with the people that I meet at work or at play? How does one relate to others sincerely and honestly without fear of any negative retribution? Is it really possible to befriend everybody that you meet? More importantly, do you have to “sleep with the enemy” to achieve your goals in life?