Posts Tagged ‘response’

I change my Facebook Display Picture, also known as the DP, every once in a while.

There is no system, no pattern, no specific period. Just when I feel like it. Perhaps when some new photos have been taken, and I find one of those interesting enough, to make it my DP.

Most times when a new DP is chosen and the update goes out, there are a few likes, a few comments, on that post.

A very typical reaction, that one.

However this time, it was different.

Few days after the Social Wavelength party recently, I put up one of my photos taken then, as my DP. This was the photo that I used:

The responses I got on putting this photo as my DP, were truly surprising.

While there were the usual likes and “nice pic” kind of comments, there were other stronger reactions.

One of my friends wrote: “Hate”

Another said “it was a bad ass photo”

I was told via a comment that “a person of my stature should not be endorsing smoking..”

Again, another said, “Bad message, Sir..”.

Besides the few comments on FB, there were three direct messages on FB suggesting that I should remove this pic.

And TWO SMS messages too!

And finally since Diwali was just following, there was a card that I got, where a dear relative also added her wish, that “may I give up smoking this year”.


Yes, I do smoke the cigar, perhaps 3-4 times a year. Okay, at most 6 times a year. But that’s it.

I don’t smoke cigarettes. And I smoke nothing else, the whole of the rest of the year.

So the reaction, on Facebook, via SMSes, and that card, were all surprising, to say the least.

It was not the first time that I have used a pic with a cigar on Facebook. There have been other photos in the past such as:

At no time in the past, have I got anywhere close to the kind of reactions that I got this time.

So I wondered about the possible reasons. What’s changed this time?

  1. Is it really about some kind of stature thing, and giving some kind of message?
  2. Is the anti-tobacco consciousness grown a lot more, and people are just a lot more verbal with their strong views, which they express now?
  3. To my smoking the odd cigar or to my putting up some kind of photos, I had always got reactions from my very close family in the past. But this time, it was beyond the close family. So I wonder if the regular exchange that we have on this medium, on various topics, makes a lot of us “feel” closer in terms of our relationships? Do we feel it to be okay to make some suggestions / comments to our friends, which earlier might have been a little more ‘personal’ type, in nature?
  4. Do these people just care for me a lot? All of those who said that the pic was not good, are very dear friends. And they are my well-wishers too. So it could easily have been their genuine caring for me, to want me to not indulge in habits of this kind.

I am not sure what was or were the reason(s) for the responses that I got.

I considered changing the DP quickly, on reading those responses. But I did not change it.

At one level, I do want to be free of the ‘responsibility’ that my actions need to be a “message” for others. I certainly want to live life on my terms, as much as possible. If I had taken off the pic immediately on seeing those reactions, I would have placed myself in the position of having to keep a certain appearance. Which is largely acceptable to others. But which I may NOT be.

I did not want to go there.

Just because social media makes us a little more visible (of course, to the extent that one desires oneself to become) does not mean that one’s every move needs to be subject to scrutiny.

For the record, I do NOT smoke all year / all day round, as I have clearly mentioned.

I do NOT believe smoking does any good to people. I am concerned about the number of people in our office who smoke a fair number of cigarettes daily. I am concerned for them, for their healths, for their future. I wish they’d start giving up the habit.

For now, I still retain the desire to have an occasional cigar, and indulge to that extent. I may choose to give it up some day. That day hasn’t arrived just yet..

Oh, and by the way, I HAVE changed the display picture now.. much after the reactions came!

Yes, I run a Social Media business, and to an extent, I understand the dynamics of the space.

But that does not mean that at the smallest provocation of a personal problem, I run to Social Media, to complain about brands. In fact, quite the contrary.

I’d rather wait for the normal course of service, to get problems resolved, if they can get resolved. And perhaps wait a little more after that.

It is only when the patience totally runs out, after a long wait, that I actually vent it out, on Social Media.

But I have unfortunately seen, in 3-4 cases over the last few months, that the service urgency, at the service provider’s end, only started, after I vented out my frustrations, on Social Media!

And which is sad.

By the time, I am out there, screaming and shouting, on Facebook and Twitter and the occasional blog post, the brand has already got badly hurt. Even if I were to go back later, and give a confirmation of matters getting sorted out, the damage would have got done.

Why are brands not responding well, in the normal run? Why does it take that embarrassment on social media, to wake them up?

Back in September, 2010, I ranted about the terrible service experience with Lenovo. After the blog post and my cribs on Facebook, and thanks to a couple of friends taking the story to Lenovo’s management, the matter got addresses promptly. And a quick resolve happened. The problem was clearly not unsurmountable, but it needed this push, for them to give me the solution. By that time, enough of #LenovoSucks had already happened, and perhaps many retweeted also!!

It was the same experience with Citibank. After the blog and the tweets and what not, Citibank “heard”, and matter was resolved quickly. Why did they not resolve it earlier? Why did they test my patience and wait for me to scream and shout, albeit virtually, before resolving the case??

More recently, I went to town after waiting for THREE WEEKS for the Tata Photon Wi-fi unit to be repaired. After having my person run from one service center to another, and not getting service anywhere, I was finally fed up, and cribbed on Twitter. Instantly, there were a lot of people who sympathized with my cause, as they had gone through similar challenges. The tweets got momentum. Finally in the course of a few hours, I got a response on Twitter, that they are escalating my problem.

Ok, so why does it take them 3 weeks to “escalate”??

Or more precisely, why does it take them, this embarrassment on Twitter, to THEN escalate??

But they did escalate.

So far, when we called their customer service, they had refused to do anything except ask us to go to their service centers. And perhaps, this product has a fundamental problem. As NONE of the service centers were willing to repair it. Perhaps they KNOW that this is irreparable. Yet, the customer service call center would only direct us to their service centers.

Now, with the Twitter push, suddenly, they found someone to come to our office to look at it. And after spending some time on the unit, and not being able to do anything with it, he replaced it! But there was still some hitch of authorizing the unit or something. So it still did not work.

So I got a call from a senior person, who profusely apologized and requested me to bear with them till Monday, by when they will get the unit replaced.

Just like I had got a call from Lenovo Bangalore, when I had complained on Social Media, about their pathetic service.

WHY do they wake up only after the ruckus? Are they fundamentally NOT equipped to service all the calls they get? Do they all believe that “if you ignore the customer long enough, in most cases, he will just go away”??

I feel sorry for the Lenovos and the Citibanks and the Tata Photons, as they all want to get a public spectacle made of themselves, before they will take action. Well, if it harms their reputation, I guess they are getting what they deserve, considering their service policies and priorities..