Feb 9, 2012

When Twitter Came to the Rescue

I have a Twitter account for almost 3 years. Apart from some usual musings and rants, it served no profound or ambitious purpose, although I abused it to get an extra 3 days' validity when I found out I won a MAS ticket to Johannesburg. Read here.
What I like about Twitter is the swift response time and open platform. It's a far cry from emails and gone are the days of "Dear sir."
During a recent trip on MAS back to Taipei, I couldn't check-in online. I knew from past experience this might be caused by a date change I made after I cashed my ticket. Knowing it's the peak of Chinese New Year holidays and a very early flight the following day, the stubbornness inside me wouldn't give up. I called MAS but the lady on the other end couldn't do anything but advised me to check-in at the airport.
On a normal day I wouldn't mind choosing my seat at the check-in desk. But in a full aircraft I don't want to end up right next to the lavatory or wedged in a middle seat. While I was composing my goodbyes on Facebook, it occurred to me I could bring this up to the MAS Twitter team.

I got a reply the following working day.
For those unfamiliar, you use a @ tag to communicate directly to your subject in Twitter, regardless if he's the UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) or Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin).

I promptly sent an email of my ticket details to the aforementioned email. And got no reply. That's the problem with emails. It is still easily overwhelmed and your mails lost in a sea of "Dear sirs".

However, the proactive Twitter people asked for my details, which I promptly gave via personal messaging. Then I went out for my last day of Penang this year.

By the time I return, the MAS Twitter people had solved my problem. I did my check-in smoothly, chose a window seat a mile away from the lavatory, and thanked them profusely for the amazing work.

Older people like my Mum and Dad balk at social media - too little privacy, identity theft, too intrusive, too attention-deficit - which I believed is true up to a certain extent. However, the right application of technology do actually make the world a better place for all. Like when I end up sitting beside a gorgeous passenger instead of listening to toilet swooshings throughout the flight.