In this first entry to our new blog, I wanted to share with you this article that the Argus published last year.
Here it goes – as was on the newspaper, including some comments I am not 100% sure I actually made… no matter though; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I first saw it.
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
by Tim Ridgway
Disgruntled passenger creates a Twitter page
SPOOF RAIL WEBSITE DEALS WITH MOANS
A HACKED-OFF commuter has taken matters into his own hands – by tackling fellow passengers’ complaints himself online.
The unnamed traveller has created a spoof social networking account where he poses as a Southern rail boss to deal with genuine complaints about poor services.
Scores of commuters have now begun using the Twitter page, titled @southern_trains, as a way to sound off about their issues with the firm.
A spoof logo has even been added with the motto Simpre Siesta, which roughly translates as “always snoozing”.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Argus he had the idea as he returned home to Lewes from London on what he described as a “very slow, terribly smelling and overcrowded” service.
He said: “I picked up my phone to write something unkind to them directly on Twitter, only to find that actually they didn’t have any obvious touch-point for their customers.
“I did a search on Twitter, and found an absolutely shocking number of people from all over the country talking about their very bad experiences with the company.
“Sometimes people think it is a Southern account – usually for the first couple of exchanges.
“But if i see someone getting serious or upside about the whole thing, I always let them know.”
The account, which was established in July, now has almost 200 followers.
The impersonator said many people approved of his honesty.
One suggestion was that the train’s air-conditioning units have three settings: “boil”, “freeze” and “off”.
A recent tweet stated: “Trains to Frankfurt £49. Rush hour train Eastbourne to London £49@ Well, at least nobody can accuse us of complicated pricing any more!”.
The impersonator said: “The most interesting thing for me has been how nice and patient people actually are.
“It is the old British think I guess, but it is both great to see people’s kinds and patience in dealing with a company, and rather upsetting to see the company taking them for a ride.”
A spokesman for Southern said: “It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to seek to remove the account as it is a free country and people can say what they like as long as what they say isn’t unlawful.
“We don’t propose to launch our own Twitter page. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to manage this or any social media page.”
It is funny to read this now.. after Southern launched their awesome
@SouthernRailUK account… and after I had some interesting discussions last month with “the folks at twitter” who mentioned that they had complaints that I am impersonating a company… Always nice to see some solid character and direction there guys… always nice!
With lots of love,