The Wild Wild West Of Social Media

Tham Khai Meng, worldwide CCO & chairman, WW Creative Council, Ogilvy & Mather introduced Monica Lewinsky to the Grand Audi stage on Thursday at the Ogilvy & Inspire session to explore the Wild West of social media with special focus on the escalating and destructive power of outrage circles and cyber mobs.

“We have all been dimly aware that cyberbullying is an issue we need to address,” Khai Meng said.

“Bullying or shaming has been with us ever since we stepped out of caves. In Europe, we mercilessly pilloried people – we put heads in stocks and threw tomatoes at them. The punishment of wrongdoing was turned into a public spectacle – it was entertainment.”


Self-professed ‘Patient Zero’ of cyberbullying, Lewinsky is now campaigning against the great renaissance of public shaming sweeping our globe.

Is the consideration of social media as something ‘good or bad’ fundamentally a study of whether humans are intrinsically good or bad?

“People do wonderful things and people do terrible things. Consumers now have more power now in their click finger than Emperor Nero had in his thumb,” Khai Meng said.

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“On a personal level, I like the immediacy of social media – I now don’t have to sit in front of a big box to hear the news. But I’m not enslaved to it.”

In this age of individualism, Khai Meng continues to inculcate ‘pervasive creativity’ throughout Ogilvy, a concept he originated in 2009 where everyone in the organisation, regardless of title, has the individual responsibility to be creative.

“Creativity must not be kept in a walled garden with flowers only watered by a special priesthood,” Khai Meng said. “We want to break down walls and let creativity flow through the agency, our clients and network. Pervasive creativity is like water; it’s in our blood.”

In terms of business, Tham Khai Meng said the industry is experiencing a transformation but is still very conservative. He said the use of video is still in its infancy as we all struggle to understand popular content and what makes social networks tick.

“Storytelling is still fundamental but our stories must become more cogent, immersive and emotional as we travel deeper into the realms of user experience.”

First appeared on Cannes Lions Daily News.

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