It being 2016, every #brand has come to the conclusion it needs to have a personality. That strategy, whereby non-human entities hawking toilet paper and toothpaste adopt snappy online slang for the purposes of social media marketing, can feel real gross and bad! But in certain cases, the disconnect between a brand and its "voice" on Twitter or Facebook can be oddly refreshing. That phenomenon was observed by some in the tone of BART's official Twitter account, which broke from its usual note of apology to essentially plead a case for BART improvement, keeping it real by expressing its own sense of frustration at the status quo. That, it seemed, was something riders found all too relatable, and the tweets were widely circulated.
Meanwhile, as Caltrain riders with Twitter habits have likely been long aware, the real Twitter laughs have been @Caltrain. It was a Reddit thread that brought the account to media attention this week, with the Chronicle quickly taking note of the "snappy" Twitter campaign. Some of the best @Caltrain tweets are so good because they take on the very culture of Caltrain, a service that can feel, especially on weekdays, like the train equivalent of a Google bus.
I code, I code, it's off to work we go.— Caltrain (@Caltrain) August 23, 2016
I code, I code... #Caltrain
Other @Caltrain Tweets are so self-deprecating as to be charming, although some haters will surely point out that humor might serve as a distraction from real changes Caltrain ought to make.
Sophie? Who the heck is Sophie? Well, Happy Sweet 16th to you. We got you a delay for your birthday. Hope you liked it. @solm5sos— Caltrain (@Caltrain) September 15, 2016
Caltrain wants to perpetuate its style, or so it seems, further imbuing its brand with a personal touch by hiring another #socialmedia specialist. Do you have the chutzpah?
Finally, it should be said that not everyone is a fan of Caltrain — whether that's IRL or on Twitter. A particularly petulant disdain led someone to dedicate a whole account, @calrain_fail, which can often be seen feuding with Caltrain's official account. Though @caltrain_fail, a parody account of a sort, may be @caltrain's bête noir, perhaps the two accounts work better together: Contributing to a greater sense of accountability.