Another dot in the blogosphere?

Train of thought

Posted on: December 19, 2011

The recent breakdowns in Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system illustrated how the press and SMRT as a corporation do not understand Twitter.

The Straits Times [archived article] acknowledged that:

Media and crisis management experts said Thursday’s episode illustrated how much faster news travels now – through the sharing and re-posting of information on the Internet – compared with five years ago.

By the time SMRT finally made an official announcement at 9.15pm, thousands of tweets and re-tweets of the incident on Twitter already made SMRT one of the top trending Singapore topics.

But the same article called the Twitter-based postings, SMRTRuinsLives, a channel instead of a hashtag. I am guessing that an editor did not understand what “hashtag” meant and decided that a TV channel was something more could relate to.

This could have been an opportunity to create a side panel explaining what Twitter and hashtags are. If our newspapers were apps or online only, the term could have been hyperlinked so that users could find out more. Sadly, most people would still rather get carbon on their fingers and kill trees.

The saddest (lack of) response was SMRT’s. It has a Twitter account now, but as mrbrown reported, it has limited operating hours.

You would expect a brick-and-motar-based business to have operating hours. But some businesses like select McDonald’s outlets, NTUC Fairprice Extra stores, and Challenger at Funan operate 24 hours a day. Amazon operates all year and all day. The Internet does not shut down, not on purpose anyway.

The traditional culture and practice of a public relations arm should not transfer to the social media world. SMRT and others like them will learn the hard way that they cannot do this. The feedback will be immediate and their reputations are on the line online.

Now if only educators could learn from this…

2 Responses to "Train of thought"

The operating hours on the twitter profile is super hilarious! This is like fitting an old person’s head onto a young person’s body!


Ha, I like that analogy!

This reminds me of a poster that we had in NIE of a new brain on an old body:

That poster featured an iPad housed in an old desktop computer.


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