|Image via CrunchBase|
The Emirates Identity Authority, or EIDA, has announced a new campaign to 'enhance interaction with customers'. This will no doubt be a source of some considerable glee to many 'customers' who have lacked in some way 'interaction', although I have to say as the whole process has bedded in over the past six years - yes, it has taken that long and yes, they did think it was all going to take six months - there are plenty of points of interaction already.
However, if they see the need to open up another, who am I to complain? After all, I have complained often enough in the past about one-way communications, wilfully obtuse communications and sheer blindingly, infuriatingly mendacious communications. What better than to be answerable to your customers 24x7 at Twitterspeed?
Gulf News carries the story, courtesy of national news agency WAM but labelled as a 'staff report', in which an EIDA official tells them, apparently, the initiative is "in line with Emirates ID’s keenness to consistently communicate with its customers and interact with them through their favourite channels, especially on smart phones and tablets in an innovative way through a cartoon character derived from the UAE heritage."
Hamad is that cartoon character. He comes, apparently, as part of the Emirates ID strategic plan 2010-2013 that aims to enhance customers' satisfaction. He has his own hashtag, #AskHamad, which at the time of writing consisted of two lonely tweets, both carrying a picture of the cartoon character and reading, "Can you guess why I'm here?"
No, Hamad. I have no idea why you're there.
The clincher for me was the fact that Hamad is only going to be there from 12-2pm every Thursday. That's it. You have a two hour window to use the world's biggest always-on real-time communications channel. That's why there are only two lonely tweets there - they haven't opened Hamad for business yet. You wait until Thursday - this baby's gonna trend! Or perhaps not.
Emirates ID already has a Twitter account, @emiratesID_help. Why it needs a two-hour account with a cartoon of a small boy splashed on it, I really don't know.
Anyway, they must know what they're doing. Gulf News tells us Emirates ID won two international awards in social media management last June (the Golden Award for “Best use of social media measurement” and the Sliver Award for “Best use of Communication Management- Public Sector”, says Gulf News.
I have no idea what a sliver award is, but can only assume it's a very small award.