Just the other week I experienced two occurrences where Twitter was used by business for product support, which I’d like to share, for those who still doubt the power of social media. These are web businesses (UserVoice and Google) but that shouldn’t make any difference. Any business should monitor the Internet for their brand and reputation. I wasn’t necessarily looking for answers from them, but they did answer.
It was a rather generalized question I put out there for the twitterverse. I wasn’t expecting a response at all. Less than two hours later I did get a response:
Google obviously cares about their reputation and seem keen to keep track of whatever’s being said about them. Unfortunatly they didn’t include a link to their report abuse system, which would have been nice if I had a problem (which I didn’t). They could have pointed to a particular blogpost addressing these concerns, or they could create one based on these concerns found around Twitter or the blogosphere in general.
Then last Thursday at a workshop I was demoing a couple of my little web apps where I noticed that one was crashing Firefox and the other had a weird Firefox rendering issue (in effect duplicating the content, though view source only showed the content once). I quickly dugg around and uncommented the UserVoice script loading in those page, which seem to resolve the issues. I posted my concerns on Twitter, to see if anyone else had the same problem.
Two minutes later someone (who I think/hope is involved in UserVoice which wasn’t obvious) replied:
Since I had the UserVoice code removed and was at a workshop (and it’s not really critical to me), I told him I had fixed it for now, and would look at it again later, to which he let me know that I could contact him if I needed any more help. I did not have to go to a UserVoice forum to get help (I wasn’t looking for help actually) , as it could well be an issue with one of the Firefox plugins I have installed. But UserVoice cares enough about their reputation that they try to keep all customers (even little old me, even free customers) happy.
Twitter has been useful for me before in resolving (or sharing) problems. For example, when all my sites hosted on (MediaTemple) were down a couple of weeks ago, I obviously tweeted about this, and got responses back from other people having the same problems. Some of them then pointed me to the MediaTemple Twitter account which was giving out status updates on the cluster problems they were having, to which I then subscribed and got into the loop of how and when things got resolved.
Twitter is an open micro messaging platform which allows people to use it in any way they see fit (within the 140 character constraints). It’s a diary, a bulletin board, a self-help system, a publishing platform,… enabling real time search for events, brands, people… and we haven’t seen the end of it yet.