Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 25, 2007 3:30 PM

Boliao - A New Movement In Digital Marketing

Prior to putting fingers on the keyboard, I had one huge fear about this Blog posting: that this would be that moment in time where I feel old and out of the loop.

Let's see how it goes.

While I was attending PodCamp Singapore, one of the speakers, Jorg Dietzel, talked briefly about a new segment rolling out of Asia based on Boliao.

I had never heard that word before.

Boliao had been defined to me by a PodCamp attendee as "no substance" and I've had a hard time finding other definitions for Boliao beyond this one from the Urban Dictionary: Boliao - "Hokkien term. Meaning very bored and without anything better to do. Usually used with a negative connotation." With this example: "She's so boliao, wasting her time singing nursery songs."

My nascent understanding is that there are tons of people spending tons of time watching and creating content that is now called Boliao. Just random, with no substance, but it grabs tons of traffic and is highly viral. And, with everything the youth latches on to, they've taken a negative term and turned it into a positive.

Again, my understanding is that Boliao is now a good thing.

I have even seen some comments that this well-known viral video is considered one of the sparks in the Boliao movement:

Jorg posed a serious Marketing question at PodCamp Singapore: "how do we, as Marketers, connect with a group of people who are, literally, watching (and creating) nonsense?" How do we, as Agency people, pitch this to clients, and how can we explain (with sincerity) that Boliao is the kind of content people want?

It's not supposed to have meaning or anything like it.

I'm also even more intrigued by Boliao because I'm simply not finding enough content tagged this way. This leads me to believe that I'm either: a) not spelling it right, b) I'm really ahead of the curve on this next generation in viral video, or c) the people into it care so little about anything that they would never bother to tag it or categorize it as I am doing.

The question becomes: what are Marketers supposed to do? If Boliao is something that millions of people are engaged with, and it has no substance_ where will this lead us?

We're already struggling to explain to clients that you can't buy or create something viral - it has to have elements of raw emotion that piques people to spread it. Now, we're faced with the next generation, and it's actually based on creating content that has no substance, value or true meaning beyond just enabling the consumer to waste their time.

I guess my big itch with this Blog posting is that I can't even find enough sources talking about Boliao to know if this is actually something to look out for_ or ignore.

By Mitch Joel