PHUKET: A few weeks back a friend of mine told me he’d seen a great band at Gig’s Jam Club in Nai Harn. It sounded like an amazing night and I was kicking myself that I missed it. Then I checked my calendar and it turned out I hadn’t been busy that night and was literally just up the road from Gig’s place twiddling my thumbs.
If only I’d known!
But I should have: when Gig set up the Facebook Page for her new music bar, I was one of the first few dozen to click the “Like” button. Why hadn’t I known about the gig at Gig’s?
After a bit of furkling around on the internet, I discovered the horrible truth: an awful lot of people spend an awful lot of time writing about Facebook on the net. But – after wading through some seriously warped conspiracy theories about Mark Zuckerberg and his plans to conquer Uranus – I finally discovered that Facebook has added a whole new level of “Like-ing” to the game.
A Get Notifications tab on the “Like” button dropdown menu has to be clicked on and, if you don’t click that tab, you may never hear from your favorite pub, band, eatery, spa, or whatever, ever again.
When you think about it, that’s kind of stupid. I can understand people not wanting to read hundreds of vacuous spam notices from corporate giants and over-zealous PR companies, but surely if you “Liked” the Page in the first place you probably want to know what they get up to every now and again. And, if you don’t, shouldn’t that be your choice, not Facebook’s?
But the extent of the problem didn’t really hit until I began digging into my “Likes” of the past year. Local band Black & Blue, “Liked” yonks back, Get Notifications turned off; Tommy Tank’s Tuk Tuk Diner, “Liked” since I first tasted his burgers, notifications off; Island6 Marina art gallery, notifications off; Les Diables, off; Krix Luther, off.
It’s not just business entities either; charities, community projects, I haven’t even been getting notifications from one of the Facebook Pages I manage!
A little more digging revealed a far more insidious plan afoot in FB-land. According to insidefacebook.com, last year Facebook started turning off notifications from recently “Liked” Pages that the Fan hasn’t visited in a while. So, even if you do click the Get Notifications tab, FB will happily turn them off again after an indeterminate period. The article failed to find out the time frame for disconnection, but it does report that Facebook will send us a notification (I know, ironic, eh?) when they do it.
I can’t ever remember FB telling me it was going to switch off any of my notifications, but it was probably one of those days when – shock-horror – I wasn’t paying attention to the little blue F.
Facebook, fairly or unfairly, lays the blame on poor overworked “developers”, because if we get too many notifications, we will stop reading them all, including those from the “developers” and then their life’s work will be ruined… or something like that. So – according to Facebook – notification fatigue is killing Social Media. And the cure? Switch off all the notifications.
As previously stated, that’s kind of stupid.
And I’m not buying it either. What about the unsolicited drivel that we constantly receive from FB games sent via our empire-building FB buddies. To stop getting annoying updates about someone’s conquests in Throne Rush or Farmville, you have to physically go to the game Page and block it. Those are the kind of notifications that are causing notification fatigue, not announcements from little local restaurants that we might very well have been interested to know about.
What can be seen among little mom and pop operations, community organizations, local bands, bars and restaurants is that they are all beginning to abandon posting news and events to their FB pages. The obvious reason for this is that it’s not worth the effort – they are not receiving enough feedback from their fans to make proper page management worthwhile. And if fans don’t supply feedback, the fans’ friends won’t know about it, and won’t be directed to “Like” the page, and so the pages cease to grow.
So, basically, it looks like Facebook is trying to kill off pages through this notification policy, which is ironic considering the noise they made a few years back about getting organizations to use pages rather than personal profiles to promote their stuff.
The overall consensus of the online analysts and commentators is that Facebook is on a money grab, that shutting off the page notifications will force people to buy “post boosts”. I can see how that would work for the Cokes and Pepsis, burger chains and pharmaceutical giants – they can afford to buy boosts and are stupid enough to think it might help them sell some more stuff.
But, in the search for profits from the global big boys, Facebook is endangering the very basis of its appeal – local community interaction. And the outcome of this forced failure to communicate, this disconnection between the people and the places they like to hang out, is that posts on personal profiles about events and happenings are increasing.
So what is Facebook doing to stop this move back to marketing through personal profiles? It’s turning off notifications from your friends as well.
And that’s the kind of stupid that doesn’t even have a financial angle, because you cannot pay for a personal post to be “promoted” to your friends. So, regardless of how close you are to your neighbors, your first love, your old school friends, your drinking buddies, doctor, dentist, even your wife and children, Facebook policy says that you will hear nothing from them at all, unless you click on Get Notifications.
It’s almost as if Facebook wants us to give up and move to Google+.
— Alexander Maycock
Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods
PHOTO: Cook’s Illustrated
Thailand’s Excise Department and Public Health Ministry is considering a levy on salty foods in an attempt to tackle the sodium-rich diets of Thai citizens, and the health consequences.
The director general of the Excise Department, Patchara Anuntasilpa says the tax would be calculated based on the amount of salt in a product, with the proposal being sent to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana by year end.
Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.:234 It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly south east Asia and Taiwan. Following widespread recognition of its ability to impart a savoury umami flavor to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.
“If the tax is approved, we will allow entrepreneurs one or two years to reduce the salt content and launch a less-salty version of their product.”
The World Health Organisation and the UN both recommend taxing foods with a high salt content, saying increased sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, cancer and kidney and heart disease.
The Nation reports however, that while the proposal is to levy the tax on frozen and canned foods, along with processed items such as instant noodles, seasoning such as fish sauce and snacks like potato chips would be excluded.
The Federation of Thai Industries has pledged to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the health of Thailand’s citizens, but its head Wisit Limluecha says he is not in favour of taxing popular seasonings, snacks, frozen or instant foods.
“Research has found that these foods represent only 20% of what we eat each day, and everyone has different eating habits, so the better solution would be to advise consumers on how to eat healthily.”
Wisit warns that the tax may damage the country’s competitiveness in the food sector both overseas and in Thailand, where imported products are easily available. He also voices concern that small businesses will suffer if unable to afford ingredient and packaging changes.
SOURCE: The Nation
500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies
Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.
Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.
A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.
Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.
“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.
The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.
The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President
“Thai Airways will have to modify its rehabilitation plans to survive in the face of tight competition.” This frank admission by the airline’s president Sumet Damrongchaith.
The national carrier is now carrying a total debt of over 2.45 billion baht and losses of more than 20 billion, despite being able to reduce its debts by 48 billion baht over the past five years.
Sumet says the first step will be to restructure the airline’s management and finances as well as reconsider its plan to spend 1.5 billion baht on 38 new aircraft. He admits the biggest problem is that Thai Airways has low capital but a high debt-to-equity ratio of eight times.
In order to maintain its competitiveness, the carrier will have to reduce its debts versus assets and boost its working capital with support from the ministries of Transport and Finance. Hence, it plans to borrow approximately 3.2 billion baht in fiscal 2020 in line with the budget limit set by the Office of Public Debt Management.
This loan will be taken to support the airline’s investments as well as for its working capital, to update equipment and maintain existing aircraft, but will not be used to repay old debts.
The Nation also reports that the airline is also concerned about maintaining its liquidity because at the end of June this year, its revolving credit line stood at 13.4% of the total revenue forecast for 2019.
Sumet admits that, though the original rehabilitation plan has a set framework, the situation has now changed due to the appreciation of the baht, so in order to achieve goals, the work method has to be redesigned, such as finding a way to procure more passengers.
“We are now in the process of analysing new markets.”
Meanwhile, Thai Aiways’ board chairman Aek-Niti Nitithan-Praphas says the board is reconsidering plans to procure a new fleet taking into consideration the state of the global and domestic economies as well as the US-China trade war.
“The growth of the tourism industry and the airlines’ financial status needs to be reviewed in line with strong competition and routes that are no longer popular. It’s better to carefully revise the plan instead of exposing the airline to greater risk. The target should be reduce expenses by 20%.”
Meanwhile, Thai Airways aims to boost the sale of tickets, find ways of increasing online shopping of duty-free goods and reducing unnecessary expenses by 10%without affecting the quality of service in the last three months of 2019.
The airline is also negotiating the option of cutting down overtime expenses and is looking into curbing losses incurred by it’s semi-budget offshoot Thai Smile by increasing its flying hours to 10.5 hours daily. These steps are expected to help the airline reach breakeven point in the short term.
The airline is also considering long-term goals such roping in more passengers by offering greater benefits to Royal Orchid Plus members, focusing on digital marketing, retiring non-performing assets as well as increasing revenue from related businesses such as kitchens and aircraft repair centres.
SOURCE: The Nation
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