Posts tagged ‘Hyves’

Local social network expanding: Telegraaf buys Hyves

Last week, the popular Dutch social network site Hyves was bought by one of the largest Dutch media groups Telegraaf Media Group (TMG). TMG is particularly known for its daily mainstream newspaper De Telegraaf but also owns other publications, websites and radio stations. Hyves and several parts of TMG already collaborated on projects in the past. Whilst looking for new cross media marketing options, TMG emphasises that “Hyves will remain Hyves”, not changing its character or identity.

In the Netherlands, Hyves is more popular than Facebook. It recently launched Hyves Mobile, allowing Hyves Mobile Friends to call and text each other for free. The transaction by TMG has started discussions on whether such coexistence is sustainable for the long run in a country as small as the Netherlands. The CEO of Hyves sees Facebook and Hyves as complementary due to the latter’s local relevance.

It is said that the total online network of TMG will now cover 62% of the Dutch population.

Esther

November 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

First Ever Digital Election Debate

In the run up to the 9th June parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, the first ever election debates took place through Hyves and Twitter – on the same day. Hyves for breakfast and Twitter for dinner. The 30 minute debate on the Dutch social network Hyves (see earlier blog post on Dutch social media) was considered quite ‘relaxed’ and friendly, whereas its Twitter counterpart was perceived as rather stressed and direct. On Hyves the 50,000 viewers could not actively participate in the debate. Twitter did allow this in its 90 minute session, which subsequently led to mass chaos.

The jury is still out on both digital debates. On the one hand, the large interest of the public to participate in or follow the debate demonstrates an increasing interest of the people in politics in general. On the other hand, the efficacy and legitimacy of these communication channels for this specific purpose are, ironically, up for debate themselves.

As there were no webcams involved, how does one know whether the candidates are actually behind the computer and typing themselves? It may well be that the entire campaign team is gathered behind the keyboard. Some argue that these online platforms can only result in superficial debates as succinctness and speed are of the essence. Furthermore, while the perception was created that the public would truly be able to interact with the politicians it actually turned out to be a one-on-one between the candidates. On Twitter, the responses of the public sort of got lost in the crowd, whereas the candidates maintained visibility. People also complained about the limited time available for the debates.

Therefore, this first digital exercise should teach Dutch politicians to be careful in considering social media as merely a marketing tool. It is not a one-way street. Particularly, as its constituents increasingly consider it part of their right to democratic participation.

As to the effectiveness of these Dutch debates, I can only say: have a look at the number and length of responses shown in the Dutch news bulletin and see whether you find this dazzling. If so, it could mean several things; either these platforms are just not suitable for such debates, or the debate was not set up properly. Another possibility could be that maybe you are not as accustomed yet to these high speed digital channels as you thought you were. Or maybe, just maybe, your Dutch needs some work…

Esther

June 4, 2010 at 11:54 am 1 comment

Dutch Disease

Have you ever heard of a condition called infobesitas? It is an addiction to information due to the many drugs out there: internet, mobile phones, television and radio. According to youth trend watching/communications company YoungWorks in the Netherlands they are not addicted out of boredom or out of sincere interest to know things. Teenagers/youngsters/adolescents (or how do we call them these days? People like me who are wondering are definitely no longer in that category) are actually afraid to miss out on any news or information updates and are thus overwhelmed with information. Some sort of peer pressure to be aware and be able to chat about it – both in person and online (many parents probably won’t oppose to a kind of need-to-know peer pressure for their kids throughout high school and university). Symptoms? It negatively influences their ability to concentrate and to sleep. Whilst they are very active in retrieving news and at social network sites, they now appear to be less able to multitask when compared to adults. These general conclusions on the state of mind of our youth are all very nice, but what do the addicts think themselves? YoungWorks has a short video in its March 2010 Alert (sorry folks, it’s in Dutch) containing some nice Dutch architecture. And just for the record, while the Dutch media picked up on this new phenomenon from YoungWorks, the agency admits that the term originates from a US blogger… According to its YoungWorks Trendport Top 10, Infobesitas is said to become the 2010 buzzword (If we are indeed faced with an epidemic this year just imagine politicians and policymakers arguing on labelling and GDA levels (Guideline Daily Amounts)…

However, this latest Dutch disease could actually help cure another condition; the lack of registered donors to save lives. How? Well, this urge to ‘be out there’ connecting and communicating to people and absorbing information has, amongst other issues, led to the success of national social network sites such as Hyves. Hyves is derived from ‘hive’, a bee’s nest and “a place swarming with activity.”’ To hive is to store and collect. In a relatively small and densely populated country as the Netherlands, with just around 16.6 million inhabitants, there are over 10 million Hyves accounts.

Again, how can it help save lives? Earlier this month, the Dutch national news picked up on the possibility to become a registered organ donor through Hyves. There is a severe lack of registered donors in the Netherlands, resulting in long waiting lists and people dying in absence of a suitable donor. Since 12 April, all users of Hyves have seen a question popping up on their Hyves page: ‘If you could save a life, would you? Yes or No?’ Through this action, Hyves is supporting the Yes/No campaign of the Dutch transplant foundation (Nederlandse Transplantatie Stichting). If one decides to become a registered donor, this will appear on your Hyves profile page. This is said to be the first time Hyves changes the standard user profile for a good cause since it was founded in 2004.

Such a positive spin on the potential of social media networks even makes its sceptics soft. For instance, it convinced the blogging virgin that I am to share these trends and developments through the World Wide Web and with people I do not necessarily know. The next step is considering registering as a potential donor. Mmmmh…mission accomplished?

Esther (for those of you who wondered, yes, I am a Dutch citizen of the world)

April 22, 2010 at 11:19 am 2 comments


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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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