How Do You Use Twitter to Provide Customer Support Without Pissing Off Your Friends?

So… this morning I was drinking coffee with my buddy Jackson before a meeting that we were both going to.

He brought up that he loves following me on Twitter and he’s going to continue following me but sometimes it can get slightly “noisy”/annoying when I’m using Twitter as a mechanism for doing customer support for Clearspring and AddThis customers, like the amazing Frank from @ComcastCares.

I completely agree with Jackson’s concern.

I LOVE Twitter because it allows for me to have a certain level of connection with both my friends and my greater communities, as well as the Clearspring and AddThis user communities.  But… by using it to have conversations with such a large base of folks, I run the possibility that I alienate the friends that I started out with on Twitter, when I was just using it to share what kind of beers I was drinking and when I was waiting at an airport terminal. :-p

All of my communities aren’t interested in all sides of me.  Today’s social networks can’t have such a macro way of approaching how I communicate.

Yet… I’d much rather have just a single Twitter account.  Having multiple is  just a lot to manage.

I don’t want to hide under the cloak of a corporate Twitter account.  I agree with Dr. Mark Drapeau. It adds so much to the conversation when all the relevant parties are completely transparent about who they are.  It adds an authenticity.

So what should I do?  Should I create a Twitter account that’s @JustinFromClearspring?  What do you guys do?

Twitter Is Just As Good for One Way Broadcasts as Two Way Conversations

Blogs move over.  Twitter is is the new squeeze of the social media scene and thus is getting more of a spotlight shined upon it by those who’re looking for more effective ways of taking their message to their users.

There are two things companies are doing.  Employees are getting on Twitter as themselves and talking on behalf of their company or companies are making corporate Twitter accounts like Starbucks or the Washington DC Metro (subway) System.

In a recent Mashable article, my friend Dr. Mark Drapeau makes the case that Twitter is for two way conversations.  It’s about individual people talking to individual people.

I agree that this is a major use but I think that Twitter can be used just as effectively for one way broadcasts.  There are plenty of times where I want to keep up with something, in the hyper connected manner that Twitter lends itself too, but don’t want to have a conversation with them.

Look at the success of the Barack Obama campaign on Twitter.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  This wasn’t Barack Obama on Twitter.  Someone in his  campaign hooked their RSS feed of live events to their Twitter account so that their community could know when things are going on.  And guess what?… it worked.  150,000+ folks followed the account and I’m confident it drove significant traffic to their Web site.

If I was a big fan of Dunkin Donuts, I’d absolutely want to follow them on Twitter.  It’s not because I want to have a conversation with them.  It’s because if they’re holding an event or something where I can get a discount, I want to know about it right away.

I guess what I’m saying is… I think the value of Twitter is in its hyper connectedness.  It allows me to have that level of ambient intimacy with whomever I want however I want.  Whether I want to use that for being connected with the coming and goings of people, organizations, trends/memes, or for  having conversations, that’s up to me as the user.

A State Dept. Diplomat Starts Using Twitter

This is SOOO cool. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy has recently started using Twitter.  Right now she’s tweeting while on her trip through Iceland, Croatia and Armenia.

Despite what you see and hear on TV, there are actually good people doing good things in the government.   Something like what Colleen Graffy is doing on Twitter has the potential to bring so much interest and excitement to the State Department and public diplomacy that they would have NEVER seen otherwise.

People don’t want to be all up in the State Dept’s business.  We don’t have time for that or at least I know that I don’t.  Twitter allows for that comfortable level of ambient intimacy.

I challenge other government agencies to follow suit and start using Twitter as a tool for building community around their actions and ideas.

(Via Dipnote)

Dell, Twitter, and Some Sound Advice About Communications Strategy in a Web 2.0 Era

My friend Shel Israel is working on his book Twitterville and recently posted his notes about his conversations with the team at Dell that uses Twitter.

The last 3 paragraphs of his notes are just jam packed with some killer truth.  I wanted to especially share those with you.

It is our strategy not to speak with one voice. A blogger who influenced me once wrote that he just can’t have an intelligent conversation with a Coke Bottle. People do not wish to speak with brands. They wish to speak with people. And at any big company, different people have different passions and knowledge sets.

Twitterville is wonderful for getting the message in from these 100 people Tweeting than our getting messages out through the 21 Twitter accounts. Twitterville is great because people tell you when you screwed up as quickly and as often as they tell you when one of your representatives was wonderful.

During tough economic times, it is even more valuable. You don’t need expensive focus groups anymore.Twitter is part of a social media strategy that allows us to bring customers into our company and walk down the hallways with them talking about things we share in common and very often those are Dell things.”

Keep Your Eye Out for Shel Israel’s New Book Twitterville

My good friend, social media expert, and Naked Conversations co-author Shel Israel has recently announced that he’s going to be writing a new book called “Twitterville–How Business can Thrive in the new Global Neighborhoods.”

From a business perspective, it will cover and give examples of how social media, especially Twitter, us to come together, breaking down major geographical boundaries, to start conversations and form communities or as Shel like’s to put it global neighborhoods.

When it’s done, I’m confident that this book will be a must read.

What’s really fun is that he’s going to post a lot of his notes and text from the book on his blog and on Twitter as he writes it.  The world will be able to help give feedback and shape the book to make it even better.

Day 6 of the Barack Obama Twitter Watch

So, I just friended Barack Obama on Twitter.  I figured it’s about time, considering he’s now President-Elect.  Much to my surprise, he his staff hasn’t tweeted in 6 days.

Will he pick it back up again or will the weight of the mighty government bureaucracy put a muzzle on his grassroots Web 2.0-style efforts?