The word-of-mouth effect â€“ only far more effective
When Tan Pin Pin’s documentary, Singapore Gaga (singaporegaga.com), was shown at a “press screening” for a select few in the media, several of us bloggers were a little surprised we were on the invite list.
We didn’t ask too many questions at the Q&A that followed, and were generally well-behaved, save for one mr brown (www.mrbrown.com) who decided it’d be a good thing to record the session with his phone camera, and while doing so, managed to noisily drop all his coins onto the wooden floor of the screening room at the Arts House.
While I don’t think the “real” journalists and reporters really minded our presence, the film-makers did themselves a favour by showing the film to bloggers. And as the slew of positive reviews are starting to show on the blogosphere, it’s always going to be a good thing to depend on more than the usual local newspapers (this one included).
There was also a blogger-only screening, which blogger Tym (toomanythoughts.org) attended: “I saw Singapore GaGa on Monday night in a blogger-only private screening (first time in Singapore media history!). However, it’s not like they’re paying me to say nice things or anything. I liked the film and I’m going to bring my parents to see it. You should too.”
Blogger “Charles”, one of the contributors to the blog Singabloodypore (singabloodypore.blogspot.com) describes the film in a way that I doubt would appear in any newspaper film review.
“A heartfelt Singapore documentary that can either pass off as a tribute to the unsung heroes who entertain us with their sounds or music in some of the most inconspicuous places; or a thinly veiled sarcastic dig at the socio-political climate of an authoritarian contemporary society, Singapore GaGa succeeds by being a palate of sound clips that speaks to everyone,” he states.
The blog “eye2eye” (e2e.sg) is a little more straightforward, and perhaps, even a little more persuasive.
“Please watch Singapore Gaga. You won’t look at our homeland the same way again,” the author writes.
I think it is apt that bloggers, the “alternative”, and sometimes sidelined “media”, are increasingly being engaged to increase publicity for organisations, commercial or otherwise.
In the past half year, a handful of bloggers (myself included) have been invited to product launches, club openings and some fashion events as well.
But of course, inviting bloggers or even paying bloggers to talk about your product or organisation doesn’t necessarily guarantee positive results â€” you have to have a good product to begin with.
From the way bloggers/viewers have described it, Singapore Gaga is a good film, and something that people will talk about the moment they’ve watched it.
So if you’ve made a bad film and invited bloggers to watch it, you might get a handful talking about it, but in such a negative way that you’d never get the kind of positive “viral” effect â€” where talk by one blogger will lead several others to discuss it.
Put simply, what you’re seeing is just good old fashioned “word of mouth”, something which has been used since before the Internet was invented. Bloggers have simply made it a lot easier and faster.
Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over a year, and has been said to be so keen as to even attend the opening of an MRT door.
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