Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"For !*^# sake, Do something"

I was at Mall of the Emirates running some errands last evening when I received a call. Knowing it was one that demanded concentration, I stood on the side next to a wall and away from the human traffic.

In front of me was an escalator. I noticed a young lady, standing at the bottom of the escalator and it seemed that her Abaya got caught in the mechanical steps.

I kept looking at her as she stood there for almost good minute and I was thinking "OK, she will free herself any moment now.... any moment."

That didn't happen and she started struggling between trying to pull the end of her Abaya out of the escalator teeth-like edge and holding on to it so that it doesn't fall off her body or pull her down to the ground.

I was thinking: "okay, any minute now.... someone will help her.. someone should notice by now.." By then, I completely lost focus on the ongoing phone call.

Then I noticed that people were casually passing by from behind her, seeing that she is stuck, basically doing nothing to help and walking away.

A couple of guys slowed down but kept their distance with no one attempting to break her free. I think the fact that she was wearing a Abaya intimated them.

I looked up and spotted a security guard standing at the upper end. He obviously did not notice all the action downstairs.

I yelled: "Hey security! Security!"

When you yell like that, in a rather echo-y mall, a lot will pay attention and a lot did. Except the security guy who was basically about 10 feet away from me.

It took 2 or 3 loud yells to grab his attention.

"STOP the escalator!", I said when he looked in my direction.

He gave me a brief "WTF" look and looked the other way. I assumed he either didn't hear or understand me. I presumed the latter.


He looked again, saw me pointing to the lady who's Abaya is now starting to shred, but still stuck. He slammed the big red emergency stop button and rushed down to help the damsel in distress and cut her loose.

I got back to my phone call.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

While you were sleeping

So, I wasn't sure what to write about this week. And though I do form an opinion about almost anything, I rarely speak that opinion - not after getting married at least.

However, this piece got my attention.

It was a light read that basically narrates a few twitter experiences and how, according to author, twitter is bridging gaps and making folks talk to each other, politicians, businesses, communities and individuals.

Yeah, sure... why not.

But I'd be careful not to totally credit twitter for that so called recent collaboration, because people have been congregating, meeting and collaborating online for quite sometime and WAY before there was any Tweeting.

Internet forums and message boards were the first form of social media and community inter-collaboration. It was genre-driven and for those with common interests. Access is discretionary and you had to be active -and geeky- enough to be a member there.

Around the first half of 2000's, the blog became the center-stage of public engagement and interactivity. Blogs made people feel more at ease in talking about their "feelings" about anything .. emotions, brands, governments. It allowed us to back our "feelings" up with multimedia (photos, video ... etc). It was the big-bang that started an era pseudo-narcissistic self expression and publishing. Some people argue that blogging is dead, I personally don't think so.

The second half of 2000 was all about Facebook. Enough said.

And yes, people organised events, interacted with their leaders and favorite restaurants and talked amongst each other. Charity events [Gaza, earthquake reliefs ..etc], business activities [conferences, meetings ..etc], and even political [elections, campaigns..].

All of that was happening before Twitter. You just had to be part of the community and follow whats going on.

HOWEVER... with the enhancement of mobile Internet; its reach, access and affordable-ity; it became much easier for folks to have fast Internet, on capable devices [BBs, iPhones] with relatively affordable cost.. [if you live outside the Middle East, of course]

Then Twitter came along.. and unless you locked your twitter page, ANYONE can access the on-going conversations on Twitter. It was light on the web and the device, easy to setup/use and anyone can have one. Now, news follow you, not the other way around.

That was the novelty. Twitter was in the right place at the right time.

However, one must realize that Twitter is merely a distribution platform. People use it to spread the word. (some annoying ones use it as a chat site, but thats not the case here)

People have been using online platforms for a very long time, and the fact that people didn't hear or know about them, doesn't mean they didn't exists. It simply meant that some weren't in the picture.

When it comes to making and forming opinions, twitter is NOT the place, blogs are. You can definitely use twitter to inform folks about your opinion [thank you tinyURL!], you can send snippets of that opinion in oddly written, vowel-less 140 characters, but you'd always want to point to your blog - or opinion piece section in the newspaper.

And when it comes to collaboration and content sharing and generation, Facebook -whether you like it or not- will still lead the pack for the coming near future.

If we understand the difference between social media platforms, understand the thin red line that breaks them apart, perhaps we will end up with a world where politicians will tweet/collaborate a bit more themselves [I (heart) Queen Rania btw!], and restaurants that do better sandwiches than they do tweeting about them.

Now RT that if you like...


Saturday, July 03, 2010

CupCake Karma

Last night, the Mrs & I decided to pick up some cupcakes for the kids from the mall.

It turned out that the famous NY bakery ran out of my daughter's favorite flavor, as it was about 11:45 and the shop was about to close.

However, the chef said he is happy to prepare new ones if we could wait a few minutes. We were happy and asked if he can prepare 4 cupcakes.

While the chef went along doing what he does best, a window cleaner was cleaning the window that overlooked the chef's cupcakes frosting/prep station.

Don't think the chef noticed him, as I am sure he is used to the sight of people standing and watching him work behind the window.

While the cleaner's hands were moving involuntarily, his eyes were glued to magical cupcakes construction process like a 40yr old toddler.

My wife whispered to me: "Are you seeing that look?" Me: "yeah .. "
Wife: "Do you think he ever tried any of them?"
I whispered back: "At AED 18 a pop, probably not.."
Wife: "Lets give him one out of the four.."

I asked the baker if he can pack 1 cupcake in a separate box, 3 in another.

The chef turned around and said: "We only have box for 2 and box for 6 cupcakes... I will fill both boxes with extra cupcakes, on the house, for you to try out our collection."

So, the window cleaner ended up with 2 cupcakes, 1 more than we intended to give; and we ended up with 6 cupcakes, 3 more than we intended to have.