Friday, 16 September 2011

Twitter - a game of two halves

Many congratulations to @LondonMidland who scooped possibly the most important gong at last night's National Rail Awards.

Sponsored by Passenger Focus the award was for 'Putting Passengers First' and was given in recognition of how the go-ahead TOC (geddit!!!) had transformed customer service through the use of social media.

In the words of @PassengerFocus:

Passenger Focus sponsored National Rail Award won by @LondonMidland great use of social media during disruption, no jargon, quick and useful.

Hopefully other TOCs will take note and consider offering a similar interactive service to their customers?

Meanwhile Eye is pleased to see that even the Infrastructure Controller has embraced social media, with @NetworkRail dealing with the concerns of the railway's neighbours in real time.

Of course not all railway companies are so foresighted and this can lead to problems. Social Media (whether facebook, blogs or twitter) is very much like nature - in that it abhors a vacuum.

So where there is no effective official presence lots of others will rush-in to fill the gap.

Some who occupy the space are just plain malicious, but others are loyal and enthusiatic members of staff who give of themselves and their time at no cost.
Sadly this is not always appreciated when public and private personas overlap..

The Fact Compiler was sad to see that the Apostle of the 3rd Rail has decided to hang up his keyboard.

He/she (?) along with myriad other railway employees can be found on twitter performing an invaluable service answering passengers' questions, defending their company from the usual on-line calumny and representing the railway in the public forum.

Oh if only enlightened employers would harness, focus and reward the undoubted enthusiasm of these brave souls who unlike so many in the industry are actually prepared to put their head above the parapet!

No matter!

Meanwhile to those industry colleagues who selflessly plough the lonely on-line furrow on behalf of our industry - Eye salutes you, and respectfully offers the following gentle observation....

The identity of The Fact Compiler is of course a closely guarded secret known to only two people in the entire universe. However your humble author remains acutely aware that, despite this all pervading cloak of anonymity, he too wears a 'company uniform' (Shurely several? Ed).

So whilst his tweets are 'whispered in the dark' they will almost inevitably be 'shouted from the rooftops' - and seldom in context.

Perhaps something all those on-line may wish to reflect on?

'Nuff said?