Has the world lost its ability to wait for anything?

I have always prided myself on my level of patience in anything I do. I personally do not mind waiting for another person, be it at work or at home. But in comparison the thought that I am late for another person or someone is waiting for me just fills me with all kinds of negative feelings of guilt, concern and almost panic. I detest being late! It makes me feel physically ill!

But recently I have found my need for immediate responses on things has begun to border on the excessive. I started to wonder why after sending an email my inbox fails to immediately pop up with a response. The time I face during the sending and receiving has become quite a stressful time. But why is this?

I still remember writing letters to pen pals where days would turn to weeks and then the letter would arrive, as it should. But now in a world of immediate responses to every action we make is beginning to border on excessive compulsive disorder. We send a tweet and ten people re-tweet and a few ask you a question or comment on what you tweeted. We post an update on Facebook and immediately, although everyone is supposedly at work, it’s liked, disliked or commented on from all corners of the globe. God forbid a Google plus update takes more than a few seconds to be +1’d or shared again!

Instant communication the world has brought to our fingertips is a joy to behold. Where news stories are discussed amongst real people before the headlines hit CNN or the BBC, I personally think this is a positive thing. It’s away from corporate judgment and political sway so that real people can discuss the facts of a case first, before they are told how they should think.

Social media has created a window of honesty in the world and needs to be protected, but we, and I say that hoping I am not alone, need to hold on to the values of patience and let things take their natural course. Not everything should be immediate and we have all responded a little too quickly sometimes and wished we had paused for that one moment more.

So try and take your time on what you are doing today, after you LIKE and comment on this post this second that is! 😉

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Social media has a way of bringing out the stars of our world

How fast is the world going to spin before we take stock of the important things in life? I am a huge passionate fan of technology, a real geek when it comes to new products and gadgets. From the very first day on social media I realized that it was something interesting, something different and something powerful.

Obviously current history is proof of one side of this power. From the Middle East revolutions to the outpouring of sympathy and support for both New Zealand and Japan has delivered a timely reminder of the good things we are capable of in this world.

No matter how fast our lives move in this day and age nothing is more awe inspiring, more endearing and powerful than seeing people reach out across the world and show they care. In a world that can sometimes appear cold and greedy, social media is becoming a platform that can, if you filter through it, really does bring wonderful people rising to the surface.

I find it incredible that of the nearly six thousand people I follow on Twitter there are around two hundred people that are just incredible people. So giving, so warm and they are so generous that it makes all the selling, shouting and ego’s that can appear simply fade away.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the other people are wonderful as well, but there are some serious stars that just sparkle in our world and I feel proud to have met them. During the current disasters their generosity and care seems to know no bounds.

Twitter is the internet on crack!

The internet has been most of the most technological pivotal moments in our history. From the very first moment that Tim Berners-Lee laid down his ‘information management’ white paper, which most consider this to be the birth of the world wide web, we have been salivating every day at the constantly growing wealth of information at the touch of a button. The changes and other inventions like DSL, MP3, cell phones and so much more (that list is really endless!) have all added to the access and demand for more. We have become like millions of Oliver Twists with a browser every day saying in unison, “Can we have some more please!”

Then came Myspace and the explosion of the term social media became the hot topic on everyones lips. Facebooks legendary rise to god like status on the internet seems to know no bounds. The recent film ‘Social network’ simply underlining a billion dollar idea. regardless ‘whose’ idea I would just like to say, “bravo! Mark Zuckerburg!” good luck to you! But wait a minute, These and hundreds of others sites like them such as glue, ning, hi5, LinkedIn, XING and the endless list goes on and on!

But then there is Twitter.

Now for anyone who doesn’t understand Twitter imagine searching on google for something you are interested in, say design. Then every single search in that list that comes back is from a person, thousands if not millions of people all with different sites, tips, tricks, lessons, professionals, colleges, companies from every corner of the world! Still not impressed? Ok now imagine if you did have the chance to see the bountiful mix of things coming your way but there is something not quite the way you thought it should be, you can ask, discuss, learn and debate with every single person in the area that you love.

That is why Twitter is so incredible and also why it is growing at a phenomenal rate. Twitter is the internet no longer sat waiting for you to search through the billions of pages. It is coming into your home, knocking the door down and literally transforming your learning process about any kind of subject you can imagine. There is more information about one subject than any single human being can handle, but we do take a huge armful every single day. It is the internet on the strongest, most concentrated delivery system you could imagine. And yes, if you are like me and love to learn new things every day, it is addictive!

See you on Twitter @afirmin

A campaign to make a real difference

Advertising gets criticism sometimes for the way it acts by people who see the business in one perspective. But for me the industry is one I love and enjoy every day I go into the office. Every day is different and the challenge of competition that comes from within the agency but also against yourself is one that makes it extremely exciting for me. I work for Y&R in the Middle East, and have nothing personally to do with this idea, but feel passionate enough about it to do what I can to help. The idea is that they created a #hastag (# a hashtag is a way of creating a single topic, or trend as it’s called on Twitter, and allowing people to insert this # symbol to group all the comments about that topic) The # was called #warmupcamden. They have created a website where you see a few warm hearted folk knitting scarves.

These are not just ordinary scarves though. The scarves are created by selecting the best phrases on Twitter that are written with #warmupcamden. These scarves will be given away to the people on the streets who are facing the toughest winter in England for some time. A wonderful idea to help homeless people in a small way. The website where you can see the live cam of people making the scarves and a constant stream of twitter phrases is called Twitter Knitter. Please have a look and if you are on Twitter do all you can to help, who knows maybe your message will appear on a scarf.

Giving social media a run for it’s money

When it comes to Social Media I have to admit I was a late bloomer. But since my initial hesitancy I have dived in and become quite the advocate. I have been a speaker at global social media conferences like the Global Twitter conferences as well as helping a few small agencies in the Middle East find their feet on the platform. I am currently living in Dubai where a few major companies have really tried exploring the platform to some success. A fellow speaker at the Global Twitter conference who launched his brand WILD PEETA (A local shawarma restaurant with a twist, very funky and friendly, oh! and great food!) on Twitter and Facebook six months before they opened the doors to their restaurants had a huge success within the first few months which showed the way for many of the larger organizations.

Etisalat, the major telecom company in the UAE and beyond as well as RAK Bank have joined the social media bandwagon. Both have suffered a negative perception in the past but I have to say have really done a great job in using social media. Both have really used Twitter especially to help this negative perception which mainly was regarding feedback on questions and upcoming services or events. Both do not just send out the latest offers or products. They have looked at the media and truly understood that it is a one to one conversation with a consumer, with a sprinkling of self promotion as well which is fine if the first is done properly. Both are very active and are really making a difference to the perceived image of these stiff corporate companies. There is a long way to go for both but you have to applaud both for their efforts so far. They both answer questions immediately and are actively engaging with consumers to help with their banking and telecommunication questions.

We see many global brands online now but we rarely see behind the scenes and how the major corporations are dealing with this new phenomenon of social media. This video about gatorade and how their full service digital marketing agency, VML have turned social media into a full research and development industry that will hopefully reduce focus groups and testing of campaigns to the archives of advertising history, well you can’t blame me for hoping! Anyway have a look at the video and please let me know your thoughts on, what I believe, is a wonderful case study of what happens when a major brand embraces technology. Good luck to VML and Gatorade on this project, the race is on and now everyone is playing catch up to them. Can other brands put their money where social media is? Only time will tell. Enjoy.