Author Archives: Fang

Comment on be my eyes – volunteering with social media by Fang

Hey Luke!

This is a great find! Thanks for introducing it through your blog. I think this is a fantastic idea among all the hundreds of ‘dumb apps’ churned out everyday. I don’t think it’s that well-publicized yet and the organization’s Facebook group only has 7000+ likes, so I wonder how big a community there is right now. Also, it’d be interesting for them to match the supply and demand wouldn’t it? What if there are way more requests from blind people than there are sighted people to help, or vice versa? At one glance I can see so many issues that can arise from this, even though I still think it’s a great idea. Would’ve tested out the app except I don’t own an iPhone =( Have you tried this yourself? How is it like?

Social Media Strategy: An Update

Last quarter I blogged about my personal social media strategy. Since then I have made some changes and my habits have changed as well. I thought I’d take this opportunity to describe some of the changes that had taken place as a way to kick start the quarter. A lot of the changes or new habits I have adapted were discoveries made during the Social Media course quarter, or decisions I made after being inspired something in class (such as my determination to find the best RSS Reader for my own purposes).

On the whole, I would make the observation I have actually become less social on social media as I participate less and consume more now, instead channeling my production and creation towards personal/private purposes as well as for, well, monetary compensation.


  • Facebook: Recently I’ve used Facebook Groups more as my office now has a private Facebook Group to share funny updates. This keeps the global team together and I find it fairly effective. I have also been using mostly the Messenger app and very occasionally browse the timeline for interesting news simply because Facebook hasn’t been working well on Chrome and I can’t get it to load.
  • Twitter: I almost don’t use Twitter anymore except for the occasional scroll. I know a lot of my Japanese friends still read Twitter so I do publish my blog to it, but that’s about it. And the reason for this is because:
  • gReader: I am so in love with reading from RSS feeds that I don’t really need any other apps for news anymore!
  • Delicious: Forget Diigo! Ever since it moved to the new weird Premium model, I’ve stuck by Delicious. It’s pretty intuitive and the mobile app works quite seamlessly with gReader as well.
  • LinkedIn: Ever since I landed a job, I am barely on LinkedIn anymore either, but I do think it is important. I’ll most likely be still updating my resume regularly when there are changes.
  • Tumblr: I still flip through Tumblr regularly, although I no longer post on them because I have resolved to only translate when I am paid simply because I need my time to translate into money. I am still translating the same things, except now I do it through a platform where I can get much wider readership and compensation, so why not? Tumblr is still great for browsing and for wasting time. I have also updated my personal projects blog hosted on Tumblr and still convinced that it’s the most effective CMS for the layman. In fact, I like it so much that I have taken to make Tumblr a hub connecting all my other social media properties. I have also opened several private Tumblrs for different journaling purposes (e.g. health and fitness, reading, self-study) 
  • Instagram: Ihave connected Tumblr to Instagram so that should I wish to, I can post pictures and keep them connected because like I mentioned above, I’m using my Tumblr as hub.

Somewhere In Between

  • Soundcloud: Soundcloud does have social capabilities, but in the end I use it like Dropbox for my music works.
  • Ameba: This is a Japanese blogging platform. I blog almost every other day for personal satisfaction. This is linked to my Twitter account, since I have a very limited audience on both Twitter and Ameba, it sort of feels private even though I know I’m still being heard and read.
  • Messaging Apps (LINE and WeChat): Although these have social feed capabilities, I use them purely for messaging.
  • Goodreads: When I actually get around to reading for leisure, I record it in Goodreads just so I know where I am and how much I’ve read. I don’t use the social functions much, but it’s fun to see what my friends are reading and perhaps find new reads through it.
  • Duolingo: Again, this is a social app in nature, but I only follow a handful of people on it and am mostly just doing my own thing. The gamification nature of it makes it very appealing for revising languages (in my case French). I use a similar app developed by a Chinese company to revise Japanese and Korean.
  • Cafetalk: More of a service than a social network, but it does have social elements to it. I am using it to study Japanese and Korean with native speakers through Skype. It has a very vibrant and global community.


  • WordPress: I have quit WordPress to free up my domain to use as a sandbox for other programming projects. Also because I blog mostly on Tumblr now when I do blog.


Hi everyone! I am Fang and I am super excited to be back in Professor Rheingold’s class this quarter after COMM283 last quarter. After last quarter, I became even more attuned to developments in social media tools and technologies, and let me just take a moment to gush about the new WordPress features rolled out (e.g. distraction-free writing mode). I love new features (when they are not, you know, like Windows 8…)! Anyway, looking forward to an awesome quarter of co-learning ahead!

Keeping in Touch

After Julie’s Learner Lecture on Dunbar’s number, the subject has been on my mind for quite a bit. In particular the part about how people are replaced by others when ties are weakened. As a person who takes friendship very seriously and prefers small, extremely tight friend groups to meeting a lot of acquaintances, it pains me to think that every time I talk to a friend, I am possibly compromising the time and relationship I have with another person. As a graduating senior, I have heard from friends that have graduated about the loneliness of being an introvert working adult fresh out of school. It’s true – when you don’t see your friends every day like you do in school, ties weaken and relationships change.

Unconsciously, I have been reacting to Dunbar’s number all this while. At the end of summer, I told myself that for the next year, I will only keep relationships that count. I will only meet new people and make new friends if they are introduced by close friends and have the potential to develop into long lasting relationships, knowing subconsciously that I do not have the social capacity to ‘deal with that many people’. So far, I believe my techniques have been fairly successful. I see the friends I truly care about at school nearly everyday, and have made a handful of new friends whom I consider to have entered my ‘close circle’ (probably in the process displacing some others). Even though as someone who has been working for years and who will be entering the workforce full time soon, I am always told that I need to network, but I think my time in a Japanese company has taught me one very important thing about relationships: it takes time.

Whether it’s a professional relationship or friendship, in order for it to become a close tie, it takes time. And we are talking about years. I once worked for a Bay Area start-up that wanted me to liason with an ancient big-name Japanese company for them. I spoke to the Japanese company which was amicable and told the start-up that if we continued the friendly relationship between the two companies and in time prove that the start-up is trustworthy and profitable, we would be able to move towards the next step. The start-up refused because ‘start-ups have no time for such things’. I eventually left the start-up and found out that their deal with the Japanese company fell through and now they have retracted completely from the Japanese market despite a hopeful start.

It also takes regular maintenance, as Dunbar’s number has pointed out (although not in the sense of a physical interaction). That’s the reason why all Japanese companies send out New Year cards to their partners, VIP customers and investors annually – not to appeal to them in case they come in useful in the future, but to thank them for keeping a relationship and in some cases, to show that ‘they care’. (This is probably also the case with Christmas cards here/in UK, even though I don’t know how many people still religiously keep up the practice)

In a very similar sense, I believe that managing social media is the same thing. Everyone has a ‘Dunbar’s number’ for how many social media sources or how much online information they can consume. This is why successful social media accounts not only post regularly, but also post good content, because you have to maintain the relationship with your followers, or you will eventually get replaced by another source.

I digress. As I gear up to leave school, I will always remind myself of the kind of friend and person that I want to be. I want to value quality over quantity, and I want to be a person that truly treasures each of my relationships, instead of having many that can ‘advance my career’. I don’t believe in aggressively seeking forging relationships for the sake of moving upwards. This is perhaps a difference in mindset with many people, but I think of it as analogical to a newbie blogger – if you keep at what you do, and value that people that follow you and read your blog, eventually something good will come out of it. So far, this has proven to be a good mantra for me, and I think I will bookmark this post so that I can always go back to it if I ever do lose myself.

Give and Take: Personal Learning Networks

Here is a mindmap of my PLN.


After some examination, I realized that most of the time I am a Taker. Liking, commenting, purchasing, donating to a Kickstarter project are all forms of inactive participation that I have carried out previously. However, I am very seldom a Giver in the sense of giving by ‘creation’ in which my output would be new or curated material that would be useful to others. As a heavy content consumer and content curator for private enterprise, I believe that my way of cultivating and returning to the social capital of the internet would be through the creation and curation of content and knowledge.

Unfortunately, creation is something that takes a lot of time and effort, and is not something you can do without passion, dedication and well, time to put into it. Many thoughts have crossed my mind before – ‘When I have time, I am going to make a Wikia for this band so people can learn more about them’, ‘Next I shall upload a YouTube tutorial on how to…’, and the list goes on. However, needless to say, I have never actually carried out any of those things. On top of the time factor, there is also an audience factor – even if I do put up stuff, it is likely that nobody will ever read, find or care about what I had created. Contributing to collective intelligence as a form of manifesting social capitalism is tough.

However, I have found my way of dealing with this dilemma by joining a media outlet. As a staff writer, I am able to curate and contribute to a pool of knowledge that would benefit and entertain my readers. On top of that, as a member of a larger media outlet, I have an audience ready to hear what I have to say. For example, I was able to get a fair amount of awareness and discussion among netizens by publishing an article on Julien Blanc recently. On the other hand, even though I am still keeping up my personal curation/translation blog and Twitter account, the growth and reach are much smaller and less gratifying. Nevertheless, I will continue to both with the belief that I am contributing to a global collective knowledge pool in my own little way.

Interview: Stephanie Parker

For the ‘interview someone’ part of this week’s learning activity, I reached out to Stephanie Parker (who is also a former student of Professor Rheingold’s) who previously worked at Viki as a community manager. As her title implies, she had to work with fans of the community everyday as part of her job. Viki is a primarily Asian pop culture subtitling platform where fans subtitle the TV shows they want to watch into multiple languages (crowdsourcing!) in a legal and moderated environment. The company was purchased by Japanese conglomerate Rakuten a few years back and is based both in San Francisco as well as in Singapore.

Stephanie said that she had enjoyed her time at Viki and that it had been a ‘valuable learning experience”.

As a community manager, the bulk of her work involved:

1) Communicating directly with community members, hearing their concerns, solving their technical issues

2) Creating social/marketing material for the community, such as blogs about Korean dramas, contests or giveaways

3) Meeting internally with other teams (like product/engineering) to make sure new features are coming along, and bugs are fixed

She is a big fan of K-Pop, so her job at Viki allowed her to work in communication and social media, while at the same time still be involved in K-Pop regularly. She has attended events such as K-Pop conventions as part of her job as well.

For Stephanie, the most challenging part of managing a community online was maintaining a distinction between being a ‘manager’ of the community, and a ‘member’ of the community.

Being a K-Pop fan, Stephanie also considers herself to be a member of the community she is in, so when conflict arises she has to remind herself to stay professional as a manager and follow ‘an established procedure for conflict resolution’. There are also social dilemmas as your relationship as a manager morphs over time when you become closer to the other members of the community. Furthermore, sometimes there might be a conflict of interest between the desires/wishes of the community vs the direction of the company. In these cases, the community manager might be sandwiched between both sides.

As a community manager myself, I find that my concerns are very similar to Stephanie’s but on a smaller scale. Viki is known to have a very active fan community so it is interesting to hear from an insider on the workings of the job. It also reminds me a lot about this article. It’s great how Professor Rheingold’s advice stays true and valid after more than 15 years.

Review: Content Curator vs Content Marketer

I was wandering about Robin Good’s website and came across this article he wrote fairly recently on the difference between content curation and content marketing. Since I function as a little of both on a day-to-day basis, I was interested in what he had to say. To summarize the article, Good is basically saying that content curators curate with thought and care while content marketers market with the intention of selling/creating virality speedily. He also implies in the article that in the long run, however, content curators will prevail because of the effort they put into what they do.

While I do agree with his points to a certain extent, I think that the lines between content curation and content marketing are blurring. A lot of companies see the value in investing in quality content, and the people they hire to produce or curate the content do actually care for and love the content they are curating. On the other hand, many content curators (for example bloggers) tend to cross over into marketing once they decide to use content curation as a extra (or even primary) source of income. In fact, as a content marketing, I find his description of a content curator particularly useful in that I think it’s a good idea to always bear the traits of a good content curator in mind so that whether we are just curating for leisure or passion or to market, we are always pushing out useful, well-curated and thoughtful content. This is an ideal situation and it’s of course not always feasible but while I do not agree fully with Good’s arguments, I think there are many useful takeaways in this piece.


Chances are if you are into some sort of video game, anime/manga or TV show, you’ve been on a Wikia community before. Originally a spin-off of Wikipedia, Wikia now functions as an independent company and is a formidable growing community platform for fandoms that influence decision-making within each of the industries that Wikia engages with – which is a lot.

The front page has some stats on the website. Well, talk about impressive!


My encounters with Wikia previously were mostly restricted to landing on one of the Wikia communities after Googling the name of some obscure character in some TV show whose back story I had forgotten after abandoning the show for a few months. I knew that the content was generated by fans, so they were most likely accurate. What I didn’t know was the scale and the business model that Wikia runs on.

At the 2014 New Context Conference in San Francisco, I learned about Wikia during a pitch by CEO Craig Palmer, and it made so much sense that I became a fan of the company right there (even though I still don’t use Wikia as a contributor). It became as just a Wikipedia-like platform for fans to organize and curate information about their favorite things. However, over time, Wikia had developed strong communities that have even become ‘official communities’ recognized or endorsed by the companies that produce some of these ‘things’ that people are crazy about including games and dramas. What I liked best was how Wikia involves its Superfans (the tribal leaders within this collaborative intelligence ecosystem)

They have selected (or accepted applications in some cases) for Wikia stars who get to be the ‘leader’ of their respective Wikia communities. It is like the equivalent of earning a recognition or certification of ‘I’m your Number 1 Fan’. Wikia basically harnesses the power and potential of fandom.


Superfans are not just leaders in creating and curating content on the site. Sometimes they are even involved in the planning stages for the next big thing from the companies whose products they are fans of. With Wikia, the gap between industry and fandom has been brought closer together.

According to Palmer, Wikia believes that in order for a company to successfully interact and engage with superfans, they have to let go and give the fans:

– acknowledgement
– honesty
– trust
– attention
– authencity
– swag
– somehow create an ‘insider feeling’

The fact that something like Wikia even exists and runs on such an interesting business model is just absolutely fascinating for me (so fascinating that I’m doing a Learner Lecture on it even though I just wrote this). Thanks to this talk I saw a lot of new possibilities within my own line of work as well. Wikia rocks!