people you meet on public transport

The most eclectic bunch of people can be found on public transport. They don’t differ too much from day to day. Here’s my take on the seven types of people we meet on public transport…

1. The ‘body-laundry’ man
There’s always this guy who will grab the furthest handle from him possible to play ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ with everyone else. He secretly wishes to air his under-arms to keep them fresh and odourless. His counterpart is the guy who sits with his legs wide open (I don’t want to know what he is airing…) such that it crosses two seats and nobody else can sit beside him.

2. ‘My belongings are worth a million’ woman
Her plastic bag of groceries is worth more than you can imagine. It demands a seat on the chair next to her; when there is only one seat, she will rest her bag on that seat rather than sitting down and putting it on her lap. She frowns at you when you ask for her to give up the seat that her bag comfortably rests upon. I’m sorry, folks – I guess you’re just not worth that million dollars of groceries she is carrying…

3. ‘Koala boy/girl’
They love the Koala so much that they can’t help imitating it! They wrap themselves around any holding poles, lean against any arm-rests, and somehow are deaf to your “please excuse me” remarks. They update their social media statuses and laugh at funny videos online. It doesn’t quite matter what you say about the lack of standing space or safety precautions for commuters to hold on to something. Nobody can hinder their lifelong ambition to be the Koala that knows how to use Facebook…

4. ‘I am the centre of the world’ man/woman
That’s the one who believes that the sun, moon or the entire planetary system revolves around him/her. They busy themselves with their smartphone, post updates on social media and show off their latest technological gadgets, all the time remaining oblivious to the rest of the commuters. They will never move to the rear of a bus because there must be evil forces ready to pounce on them. They will crowd at the exit/entrance such that if the evil forces leap, they will be able to escape first. Forget about the rest of you trying to board or alight, you’re not the centre of the world.

5. ‘Check out my heels’ lady
Her shoes dangle off her feet as she crosses her leg. If you dare take a step forward, her shoes will risk flying to the other end of the carriage. Why don’t you stop where you are and check out her heels?

6. ‘C’mon show me what you’re doing!’ guy
It’s ok that we’re not friends, come on! Show me what’s that you’re reading! Who are you typing a message to? Is that your Twitter account? Are all those your friends on Facebook? Hey, it’s cool, there’s nothing to hide from your fellow passenger. That’s the ‘peer-er’. He looks at everything you’re doing and has no understanding of privacy. By the end of the trip, I think he knows who you love to text and half your friends on social media networks.

7. ‘I hate this and everything else’ observer
That’s us. That’s just the rest of us – observing everything that goes on during commute, with that ‘peer-er’ watching as I type about ‘koala girl’, frowning at ‘centre of the world’ and risking an unimaginable attack by the ‘heels’ lady swinging her feet back and forth. That’s just another day on public transport!

What are some other ‘types’ you’ve met? Maybe the ‘loudspeaker’ that tells us all about his evenings? Or the ‘man who has not evolved’ swinging from one handlebar to the next? Tell me about it! 🙂

why the customer experience matters

I’ve veered off my blogging schedule for way too long – it’s irregular, I’m writing on diverse topics that pop like wild mushrooms from the ground and I’m now back with more randomness.

I came across a very interesting write-up on Mashable today about marketing vodka – Is This What it Takes to Market Vodka? Pitchmen Pose as Window Washers  – the video can also be found on YouTube.

This isn’t a plug for the brand and I’m not promoting alcoholism or anything of that sort. I’m marvelling at the creativity of the approach Ultimat Vodka has taken.

Sometimes it isn’t only about the product; it’s about appealing to what really matters. I saw the video and smiled. We all get lost clocking endless hours at work and it soon becomes a norm. Then someone comes by your window and reminds you to take a break, one that you deserve! A simple message like such can bring cheers to an office. This was followed by the opportunity to grab a drink with the same guy by your window after work! What an experience for a day!

Unquestionably this simple activity, put on Youtube, becomes viral and a two-hour affair is spread globally. In terms of marketing ROI, this is probably a good shot.

What matters though, is the unparalleled memory you would’ve created for your potential consumers – I for one, remember the brands that brought smiles to my days, and I would be happy to recommend them anytime.  

now social media can kill our self esteem too?

Here comes a very short post about an article I read: Social Media Fuels Low Self-Esteem, Anxiety [Study]

I have been wondering about Social Media and its effects on us for some time. I argued that social media is a tool for communication – at times a hindrance to real communications. Regardless, a good tool to leverage upon for businesses to reach out, connect & engage. The article above suggests that social media can fuel low self-esteem & anxiety.

We see our friend’s Facebook timeline and wonder why their lives are so fulfilling while we’re not doing much with ours. We see millions of tweets & instagrams, everything appears so fiendishly tempting but we haven’t anything to share. We panic when we fail to access our social networks, emails and online sources (speaking of which, I do get worried when I heard about the DNSchanger issue).

I feel that Social Media and online platforms give an avenue to learn more than I could possibly have sitting at my desk; I get to connect with acquaintances whom I would never have felt comfortable calling or texting. But with all its merits, does it kill my self-esteem? I wouldn’t deny it – it probably gives it a hit every now and then.

We see the good things on social media and tend to shelf the negative aspects we see online. Or, the vast amount of “happiness” floods your walls and feeds drowns out the occasional unhappiness. And it’s occasional not due to low frequency of occurrence – it’s less prominent only because we’re often advised against spreading the pessimism. We then compare this imagined bliss with our status and start to gather our defeats. I guess this isn’t so much about social media – it’s a lot more to do with the human mind and its tendency to make comparisons.

What do you think? Does social media kill our self-esteem?

does social media make us unsociable?

Something must have happened again. It might be the terrible weather – the stifling heat, warm and uncomfortable – that saps away all the energy for any forms of creative writing.

Having put these off for a few days, I’ve decided to gather my thoughts on some issues I’ve been pondering about and address them briefly over the next few days.

Does social media makes us less sociable? 
Some days I stare at my Hootsuite and the vast amount of information shared across multiple platforms. I think about the articles posted via Twitter, numerous connections on LinkedIn and my close friends on Facebook. Needless to mention, the various email accounts I maintain for work and personal reasons. Seems like I’ve covered all grounds in forging ties, haven’t I? But something’s lacking, right?

Right. I believe that phone conversations are valuable every so often, but I also appreciate face-to-face interactions. The convenience of a re-tweet or “like” has encouraged greater inertia in writing full replies and sometimes, even creating the impression that we have interacted sufficiently to avoid a meet-up. Our habitual screen-facing routine has resulted in less sociable individuals. Calling to check on your availability for dinner can be replaced by a text message or email. Meetings might be replaced by Facebook chats, IMing/PMing and other means that allows for conversational text chats.

I like social media in all its ways that has made our life more invariably intertwined. I see the value of social media in business, and in personal interactions just as WordPress allowed me to meet all of you. Social media helps to transcend borders for greater interaction; it bridges time differences across the globe and keeps the ball rolling in most conversations; it generates buzz with a relatively small investment that encourages start-ups and more. But we really shouldn’t neglect the good ol’ traditional means that have brought us as far as we have come today. Sometimes a snail mail, phone call or knock on the door might bring a pleasant surprise amidst the sea of social interactions.

It is up to the user to draw the line differentiating effective engagement and over-reliance. It cannot go wrong to call up a friend, colleague or even acquaintance to catch up over coffee. A good conversation can inspire greater ideas for work or hobbies – which you can then share as a status update or photo on your favourite social media site too! 🙂

what can Pinterest do for you?

Yet another social site after Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many others – Pinterest. Pinning things that are of interest to you. Nice name, I like it, and I like the concept. For those who aren’t already aware of it, Pinterest is like an online pinboard. Get a little “Pin It” button and you can pin pictures you like onto your virtual pinboard. Upload pictures of your garden and house, pin your favourite travel destinations from the Internet, whatever you wish – legally. Organise your pictures into any categories you’ll like. Tagging friends still work and you can even link it to your Twitter/Facebook account.

So what can it do for you that all these other networks cannot?
From a marketing perspective there’s still quite a lot of debates going on. I see it as a great eWOM tool – people pass on pictures of travel destinations, wedding gowns, home furniture etc really quickly due to its ease of use, and for those who are more interested, they can find the origin of the picture i.e. click on the actual url where the picture came from, to learn more.

From a personal point of view, I like Pinterest. I put up various boards (eg. Favourite Travels, Food & Drinks etc) and categorise the beautiful pictures I see online. Visiting a board is like visiting a world of happiness – basically you get to see all the things you like across your screen at once! Of course the sad part of me rings a bell that there are so many things I wish to have/visit but have yet to be able to do so. But the joy of looking at all things pleasant far outweighs the sadness. It lets you live in a dream, even if for a short while. This is what it does best, that other social networking sites have yet to provide.

I have recently invited a friend to join Pinterest and observed how she used it – when things got bad or unpleasant, she turned to Pinterest. It soon became a hobby – She put up pictures on her pinboards, tagged friends, and most of the time laughed after a brief “pinning routine”. It is easy to use, hassle-free and you get to write short comments beneath the pictures. I am an advocate of writing meaningful comments below each picture – afterall, a picture can speak a thousand words but it doesn’t tell us what you think of it. Don’t just put a heart, don’t just put a smile. Tell us where/what the picture is, and what you think of it. Share a good thought, with a good picture, for what it deserves.

Pinterest hasn’t been excessively flooded with ads yet, and this further enhances its “out-of-reality” image – I almost feel liberated from the ads that bombard me online and that gives so much peace of mind when the days are bad. Hopefully Pinterest will continue to be unpolluted for a little longer. And if you haven’t already hopped into this, I think this is a worthy try!

rethinking social media – use it right

I’ve had this dormant twitter account for ages and recently I’ve taken another shot at trying it out. Not too bad. Anyway, point of this post really is to talk about a great article I chanced upon today – everyone out there should read this: 9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every Day 

It’s time all of us consider how we’ve been using social media and whether it has been effective. We don’t need to be on every platform – we need to know how to use each platform to our advantage. I hear from another write-up that it’s more important to start somewhere, not somewhereS. Read the article I’ve referenced above – it shares key points that we all forget along the way. Reach out to a group of people and have meaningful interaction, not endless remarks over and over again without purpose.

Stop asking for “tried & tested” examples – give it a shot on your own! The article tells us the real purpose of “case-studies” – so please stop obsessing over it and get down to creating your own! If you don’t own your own business, that’s perfectly fine too – learn it for your own personal advancements…

I’m no expert in social media but I do see its benefits & disadvantages … share some with me along the way if you could – always happy to learn more! And if you’re still not on any of these, time to get started!