When humanity meets social media like a sloppy wet kiss: A book review on Return on Relationship by Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose

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Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from Collective Bias.

I have always said that “simplicity is complexity in disguise.” I didn’t find a new trick or a promotion for some crazy awesome social media tool that would solve everything in the book. It would’ve been an easier sell to others. Buy this and your world will change. Get this and you will get a thousand followers. Instead, it talked about a word that money cannot buy and people cannot manufacture: relationships. The beautiful thing about relationships is that it is dynamic, ever-changing from one state to another, and in a certain way, chaotic. It is unpredictable. It is fickle by nature. And the people who know how to have good relationships are the ones who take these things into consideration. They are not static, monolithic beings. They are lithe. They are agile. They are problem-solvers. They are able to maneuver and navigate the murky waters of uncertainty. They know when they have to be assertive and know when they have to relax and be laid back. They know when to jump into the situation to fix it and know when they just have to ride out the storm. This very thing, this thing called relationship, is the foundation on which every company and individual must stand.

This book reminds us that abstract things like emotions can bring money to the bank. When people feel like the company listens to them and goes out of their way to give excellent customer service, they are more likely to come back and tell others about your company. In essence, you get a free promoter (aka brand advocate). They don’t pay these people to advertise their products but they do so willingly and fervently. I remember when I used to be a Nokia fan boy and tried to make everyone buy a Nokia phone because they were awesome! And then, I decided that they did not value the things I valued like innovation and excellence (this was back in their Symbian days and before they went with Windows). I switched to Blackberry because of their reputation of excellence and solid performance. As the years went by, I felt that they also failed in being innovative and market leaders in their field. Ultimately, this led me to go to Samsung. The funny thing was I used to be a Samsung hater. But because of their desire to lead and produce amazing products, I chose to go with them. Now, I tell everyone that they should buy a Samsung phone. Their social media presence also helped me stay with them. When I tweeted about my complaint about my battery life, they listened. They didn’t pretend that it wasn’t out there. Instead, they responded quickly and efficiently. Within minutes, I received a response from them. Even though the information they told me were things I already knew, I appreciated the fact that they were eager to reach out and maintain a good relationship with their customer. This type of a relationship strengthens my brand loyalty, which in turn, will make it more likely that I purchase yet another Samsung phone in the immediate future. The company’s ability to be humble in their response certainly helped!

I found that the book was written in a concise and user-friendly manner. They were able to provide a good theoretical framework for their arguments and back that up with practical solutions. The only critique I would have of this book pertains to the editing aspect. I found multiple instances of bad grammar and words that should have been taken out that weren’t but eventually stayed in the published draft.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book (I finished it in two hours!) and would heartily recommend it to anyone who is involved or wants to be involved in being a business or social media leader. Well done!

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And now the end is near…

This Easter Sunday, my fasting from meat and social media will finally be over. It has been a challenging experience, to say the least. As much as I am looking forward to it, I must say that it was a really good experience. I think the reason why I like fasting from different things in my life is because somehow I need to prove to myself that I can live without all the things that I think are “necessary”. I didn’t die from not being connected to social media 24/7. I didn’t die from not eating meat. Sure, it was inconvenient at times, but it was not as dire as I thought it would be. It’s amazing how “normal” things can be even if I wasn’t on FB and Twitter every second. I didn’t really feel like I super missed out on things. And I’m sure that my battery life also lasted longer because I wasn’t using my data all the time lolz.

Life goes on. The things that we thought we could NEVER live without isn’t as true as we thought it would be. We move on. We discover a new normal. We discover a new way of going through the journey. I really needed to remember that and remind myself of that. Not everything is all good or all bad. At times,  I find myself constantly trying to straddle that middle ground between idealism and pessimism. My boss called me to let me know that the store I’m currently employed at will be closing by the end of the month. The next day, I got a call saying I got accepted in the Ph.D. program. And that’s life. Sometimes you’re on an incredible low, and then the next, on an incredible high. It’s important not to lose sight out of the bigger picture. However, I know it’s really easy to get stuck looking at the individual pixels, which by themselves mean nothing, but when seen from afar, you start seeing the pattern of an image. You can get stuck just looking at the finest detail and miss out on the fact that you’re looking at a gorgeous picture.

Fasting during this Lenten season reminds me that each thread leads to a great pattern. Each thread weaves itself into the grander picture. I need to stop examining each thread as if it would yield answers all by itself. Each thread will only mean something when seen properly. And it can only be seen properly when we see the pattern through heaven’s eyes.

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Day 14 – The Lenten Journey of Sid

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I’m still sick but I think I’m starting to feel better. I was chatting with a friend and she recommended watching this 2 part mini-series called “Marry Me” on YouTube. I must say that I really enjoyed it. The dialogue was very witty and I really liked the characters. Watching it in my state may not be the best thing… I feel like I love torturing myself sometimes. But, it was really funny and I enjoyed it a lot.

It’s so hard not having access to social media. Maybe, it’s for the best. Especially yesterday, and I think even today, I wished I could send an emo status update or some “woe is me” tweet. There was no venting, only turning in to myself. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but right now, that’s what I have. Sigh. It’s so much easier to send a message into the world wide web than tell people personally. Somehow, it just feels realer if I have to physically voice out my thoughts. I really miss social media.

Join me on this journey.

A New Beginning

I made the leap. It’s a scary leap for me. I’ve had a number of blogs in the past but this is the first time that I have a blog that has my name in it. It absolutely scares me. I know how the Internet can get and that’s why I have stuck close to the shadows. I like to compartmentalize. My personal and professional life were two things that should NOT mix.

But really, who am I kidding? Nothing is secret in the Internet age anymore. Plus, I’m a big fan of personal branding and who better to tell you about me than me. After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided that I should take control. In a world where image is everything, I want people to know that image can also be an illusion. It would be nice if we can categorize people in 2D, but humans aren’t. Humans are multi-faceted and complicated. They’re so 3D! This website can only show you brief snapshots of laughter, of pain, of joy, of confusion, of hope, of despair. I am not just one of those emotions. I am all of that and more. I am constantly changing. I am not static. Every single day, the people around me change me.

So this website will be a reflection of my diverse tastes on life. I love theology, philosophy, pop culture, the arts, humanities… the list goes on. I refuse to be pigeonholed into one thing.

I love discussions and I love learning from other people. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please feel free to contact me.

Above all, my hope is that through everything I write in this blog, that you, dear reader, can have the Hope that drives me to wake up every morning, to go through this thing called life, and to keep on going when sometimes I really don’t feel like going anymore.

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