I have written a lot of blog posts about twitter and am a massive supporter of the medium as a communication tool, but it seems that twitter itself has forgotten the art of communication.
My colleague Rebecca Thomson has been working very hard to build up her profile in the technology space and has been using twitter effectively to build her online network.
This is something that we have been justly proud of as she demonstrates well how journalists can become much more engaging by being involved and participating in communities rather than just broadcasting stories at them.
All good until her twitter account failed and she lost all her 370-odd followers last week that she had worked hard to get over six months. Several messages to twitter support has led to two automated responses and three posts on the twitter forum thread for this issue has not led to a single response. Rebecca writes:
I’d like to ask Twitter what on earth is going on, and why it’s taking so long to fix it. I don’t think people would mind if they just let us know, but since I’ve signed up to the forum thread on this issue I’ve seen dozens of updates from people in a similar position who are similarly confused. I sent an email to their support desk, and had a hugely unhelpful automated message back saying, amongst other things, “If you want to delete your account, log in and click the ‘delete my account’ link in your settings page.” No, Twitter, I do not want to delete my account. You have deleted it for me. And you won’t tell me why. I’d ring your press office, but you don’t have one.
This is appalling customer support, particularly as there is no valid reason for Rebecca’s account failing, and one which twitter should act quickly to repair.
And as she says several others are reporting similar problems – a sports writer recently complained to us that twitter had deleted all his followers as it bids to clean out the spammers (a good thing, I might add, but it should ensure that this doesn’t wipe out genuine users’ accounts).
The biggest problem is that as businesses gear themselves up for using twitter to help it with its external communications, this type of failure and poor customer service will ruin its reputation. If you have a comment on this point in particular then please contact us or leave a comment as Rebecca is writing a feature on the issue and is seeking comment.