"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Friday, July 3, 2009


I've been following Twitter more closely this year than ever before, partly because I was involved in getting Sandia National Laboratories to get with the program and authorize a corporate @SandiaLabs feed. Since then I've set up Twilerts to give me a daily "Plone" summary and my Tweetdeck is doing passing well.

I've noticed that there have been lots of positive tweets regarding Plone, but every day or so, there's a flaming remark about someone who's gone up on a reef with Plone. Lots of folks hop into the breech, but I'll have to say, Alexander tends to be ever the diplomat, reaching out as per this sample:

[name withheld]: pox on plone 2:39 AM Jul 2nd

limi4plone: [@name withheld] If Plone has a disease, we need to cure it. ;) Anything we can do to help?
Of course, its deucedly hard to diagnose a problem in 140 characters. I'm particularly frustrated by the ones asking, "Which is better, Plone or Drupal?" When asked for requirements so one can make an intelligent stab at what they need, they vanish. I suppose if I was the perfect Plone advocate, I should have simply tweeted back, "Plone is best... always," which ultimately causes more problems.

Then in today's NY Times I find an article on using Twitter to get better customer service. Turns out, as we've always known, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Here's a sample:

Mr. Wagner suspects he received better service because of Twitter’s viral nature. Twitterers habitually “re-tweet” one another’s posts, not unlike forwarding an e-mail message to everyone in your address book. Companies, he said, “want to head off the conversation as quickly as possible,” adding, that “it’s in their best interest to make people who have a pulpit happy.”

JetBlue puts a more positive spin on it. Disgruntled customers “tend to be the biggest opportunities,” said Morgan Johnston, a spokesman for the airline who helps manage its Twitter account, which has more than 770,000 followers. “We can take that person aside and kind of pull them in and say, ‘Hey, you seem to be really upset in front of several hundred or thousand people.’ ”
Twitter is an amazing tool for situational awareness, but my guess is that it needs to be better integrated with other streams of communication. As the Times article points out, Twitter can get the attention of customer service, but rarely can it solve the problem.

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