On Oct 01, 2011, I tweeted:

What if all the public complaints in Brunei for the last 7 days could be compiled and we actually tried to do something about it? #Brunei

(Who would’ve thought that I’d ever <blockquote> my own words? Ahem.)

This turned out a lot longer than intended, so here’s a teeny Table of Contents for you:

BackgroundThe ListConclusionsNotes [Separate Page]

I have been on Twitter for a year now, and the volume of things people post on it still fascinates me. It amazes me even more (the inner information organizer in me bristles at this) that it’s still such a chaos of said things with no easily retrievable archive. You still need a significant amount of human intervention to make sense of the tweets.

I regularly follow up on the #brunei hashtag to find out what people are saying and sharing. Complaints are often one of those things people tweet about. What happens to these potentially valuable sources of feedback for our local banks, internet providers, restaurants, Government agencies? They get swept along the stream of tweets, forgotten in a few days’ time, unless you have some significantly loyal followers!

For those companies and organisations without an active Twitter presence, they won’t be aware of these comments and cannot respond to them. On one hand, yes, they themselves have missed out at this opportunity on improving their services and really exercising their public relations department. On the other hand, why do the complainers themselves settle for such passive-agressive measures? Why not channel those feelings of frustration into informing the organisations directly and giving their constructive suggestions on how they may be served better?

…Which is a whole different ballgame than what this post is about. If you’re interested in that, please, go and consult the interwebs and read about the nature of people’s posts on Twitter and their expectations from their interactions with corporate accounts. Or something like that. I’m sure there’s some blog post or study on it.

What you may want to know is, that I wondered next, “What do people complain about the most?” and “Can something useful come out of it?”

And hence, this mini-project:

#brunei Complaints

(I’m great with project names. The track record includes dir.proj.list and Brunei Bookswap.)

You can read my notes on definitions – what is a complaint? – and limitations – why the #brunei hashtag? – here: Notes on #brunei complaints (and other fun thoughts)

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There were almost 1400 tweets tagged with the #brunei hashtag over the time period 25th Sep 2011 – 1st Oct 2011.

I used The Archivist Desktop to download the tweets, and settled down to look over the results with good ol’ MS Excel.

Sifting through the “good morning #brunei” tweets and promotions and daily quotes, and ignoring 375 retweets, I finally got through to some complaints:

Food & Beverages

Tweets of dissatisfaction related to Brunei’s favourite past-time.

  • Servis express paling teruk di #brunei – Jakesoblivion – 28-Sep-11 1:19:12 PM
  • I wish Excapade Ada delivery #Brunei – MizaAz – 28-Sep-11 6:48:46 PM
  • Gotta remember to ask for a less sweet “frozen lemonade” next time I’m at Coffee Bean #Brunei. This cup’s way too sweet for my taste! – janshim – 30-Sep-11 12:11:28 PM

Traffic & Driving

Bruneians (including myself) still feel surprised when their smooth drives are interrupted by traffic.

  • @zulmaidy I think it’s Hari Jam Sedunia a.k.a Pay day. All roads lead to everywhere but the office! #Brunei – Farhanina – 27-Sep-11 8:27:09 AM
  • Sadang sadang jua ehh Brunei drivers! Please! Bnyk hal lain lagi kn di sibukkan! #brunei cemana kan maju mun brg nda pedah2 pun jadi issue!! – ElleShahri – 27-Sep-11 12:11:02 PM
  • jalan dua line jadi TIGA line…. #hebat orang #Brunei ane… – MikaSyakillah – 27-Sep-11 5:58:56 PM
  • What’s happening #brunei? Traffic here and there. Wait, is this normal? Uggghh http://t.co/biv9phEF – shhhel – 27-Sep-11 6:08:01 PM
  • Extra jam at jangsak. What’s happening #brunei? – anakbrunei – 27-Sep-11 6:40:17 PM
  • again…. jalan dua line jadi tiga line…. #hebat #Brunei – MikaSyakillah – 28-Sep-11 7:21:18 AM
  • OI WHAT HAPPENED IN KIULAP NEAR TO HUA HO?! SO STUCK! #Brunei – fareth – 28-Sep-11 9:46:51 AM

Internet Connection & Speed

The Number One complaint.

100 days left to download the other 99% yay!

  • Somehow I just don’t see Cloud computing in our practical horizon until we’ve confidently sorted out basic internet connectivity. #Brunei janshim 27-Sep-11 1:51:44 PM
  • Very frustrated with the rubbish internet in #Brunei … guess the storm might be making it worse?! C_Hayward 26-Sep-11 3:36:13 PM
  • I am still awaiting for a fast, reliable Internet service provider to arrive in #Brunei. This is just too frustrating! xgoodlife 27-Sep-11 8:36:28 PM
  • Not to sound like a broken record, but the only thing I don’t miss about #Brunei is the Internet :-\ http://t.co/kBiipNLk trylobyte 28-Sep-11 1:03:08 AM
  • after all THESE years, why can’t #brunei’s internet connection be stable? speed is acceptable, stability is an issue jaydensia 29-Sep-11 10:29:19 PM

Public Services & Professionalism

Complaints related to public services or facilities. Some other complaints filed under here as well.

How to annoy your customers, how may I count the ways: Unanswered phone, outdated websites, bored counter staff

  • @BIBD i call ur hotline several time with only 1 complaint, now got 2 complaints unresolved. Mana tia? call me asap pukul 3 sudah #brunei – minihat – 26-Sep-11 3:16:50 PM
  • #brunei fuck JPD!!!! Balum kul 3.30pm tutup counter tutup sudah!!! Pukul berapakan org office balik keraja!!!????? Babi! – AzerHamit – 28-Sep-11 3:17:03 PM
  • Feel free to use doesn’t mean that you can label it as if you own it. Where is your professionalism as a photographer? #Brunei – soulperk – 30-Sep-11 4:30:34 PM
  • Went to manggis mall just to pee! Keluar tah AYER di sg.Akar ani eh! #brunei >:/ I stink bah! – ErnyRoszafillah – 26-Sep-11 3:47:52 PM

I Want

Not all of these are complaints with existing services, but more of wishlists. These still give an insight into places where there are opportunities to be made, just by listening in to what people say.

  • Can someone please open one in #brunei already?? – August 11, 2011 – anakbrunei’s photo on picplz http://t.co/TwMSWdcZ – anakbrunei – 26-Sep-11 7:15:35 PM
  • DPMM FC! I want DPMM FC! #Brunei – masduqigotskill – 28-Sep-11 6:50:58 PM
  • #TheyNeedToBringBack the old Jerudong Park #Brunei – rinafaz – 01-Oct-11 5:30:52 PM

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What can be drawn from the above? There isn’t a lot really, so for now I can share a few humble thoughts (disclaimer: I am not an economist, or, whoever it is thinks up solutions to these things):

Internet speed & connection is an issue that the authorities should already be well aware of. Apart from magically improving infrastructure and reactive services, what else can be done to ease public frustrations? Make up for the poor speeds to current customers by offering them discounts on their bills or any other services or products? What should their priorities be at this point? More awareness and transparency to public, about plans for improvement and any limitations? Work on satisfying customers in areas with poor connectivity?

There is not much to say on food. Perhaps it would be a more fruitful exercise to carry out during the Ramadhan season with all the sungkai buffets 😀

In answer to the traffic problem: Build more roads! Okay, I kid. Is traffic increasing significantly in Brunei? Could this be due, again, to the high car ownership in Brunei and the low utilisation of public transport?

What are your thoughts?

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Where to go from here?

  • Larger sample: Compile tweets for a month
  • Spin-off: Questions or requests! What are the common areas that people ask about with the #brunei hashtag?
  • Spin-off: The opposite of complaints: Praise!

I feel divided on the first and second option, so for now, for the 3 weeks following this initial stage, I will be compiling more tweets so that I have a month’s stash to work with. I’m still not really sure what’s going to come out of it, I just think it would be interesting to see the results. 🙂

Note: Permalinks to tweets will be added in for reference in due time. Notes on definitions, justifications, etc can be found here.

Illustrations (mine!) added Oct & Nov 2011