How social media saved me


Last week, I carelessly left my wallet at a client’s office and only realised it more than an hour later when I was about to take a train home.

It was already 6:50 p.m., and most people would be headed for home from their offices. I called up my client and a colleague who were both present during my last meeting with them. Both were already on their way home and unable to render help.

As there was no one else in the client’s office, I had to wait until the next day to get my wallet back.

Meanwhile, I was left stranded in town with no money, no train ticket and no means to buy an US$0.67 train ticket to get home.

I felt like an idiot, having landed myself in such an awkward situation.

Too embarrassed to ask strangers for loose change, I decided to turn to social media for help since I still had my trusty iPhone 4S with me.

I posted this onto my Facebook update: “Help!!!!! Anyone in orchard now? Lost my wallet. Desperately need some money to go home.... At the train station....”

In less than a minute, three friends responded. Many more later left messages, texted or called me.

Two were in the vicinity, while one offered to travel from a nearby station to render help. I was deeply touched!

I took up the offer from the one nearest to my location and we met up within five minutes of posting my Facebook message.

Social media just saved me (in a small way).

Mind you, I only posted the message on my private Facebook account. The impact would have been even more significant if I were to post it on my public blog, Facebook page, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts.

Last year, one of Singapore’s most famous bloggers, Lee Kin Mun — better known as Mr. Brown online — got separated from his 11-year-old autistic daughter, Faith, at a busy train station. A few tweets from the anxious father were all it took to spark a nationwide manhunt for Faith, triggered via social sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

The father was reunited with his daughter an hour later, thanks to all the Singaporeans glued to social media, posting updates when they thought they spotted Faith.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Social media has become a part of many of our lives, more so than we realise at times.

This is why I love my job advocating digital and social media in a traditional news media company, Singapore Press Holdings.

In my next post, I will blog about how social media has changed the game plan for newspaper publishers.

Let’s start with something light first to get acquainted.

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