Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tweeter - What's up with dat Anyway? Tweet tweet

Tweeter. I joined a ways back. It was the cool thing to do in tech nerd circles everywhere. I used it maybe half a dozen times - maybe more. A few people followed me, not sure why. I didn't have anything useful to say. Then it started going mainstream. All the news outlets and celebrities had a Tweeter account. And I was like, what the hell for? Who would follow CNN? What does that even do for you? Just check out their homepage or use an RSS reader. They publish their important stuff anyway. But at the end of every damn marketing message, you now see, "Follow us on Tweeter". Um. Why again? No, I'm serious. Why would I follow your company unless I'm so devoted that I hang on every breath some company breathes. I just checked out United Airlines, my least favorite airline in the entire universe. And here is one of their recent tweets that provides endless value to every consumer:

"Arrive at the airport at least 60 min in advance for domestic flts or 2 hrs for intl or large airports. #UAL12daysoftravel"

Really? Thanks.

Then the Iran reform movement/crackdown gained steam. And Tweeter was supposedly what allowed information to get out. OK. I'll say that it helped with that. It gave an audience to the little people. And it's fairly difficult to clamp down on that. Unless you shut off the Tweeter stream. And I'm still not sure why Ama-whatever-his-name-is-dina-jad didn't just shutoff the internet machine?

I'm revisiting my discontent with Tweeter because of their recent $3.7B valuation. They're going to have to figure out how to monetize the heck outta their site. Please tell me how that's going to work without pissing off their users?

Then I read a sweet little article today, which got me fired up about where Tweeter is headed. And now I feel whole again.

"Because Twitter is, more and more, becoming a gaming platform -- for various games of wit. So up-from-nowhere hashtag trends that inspire a global call-and-response are now, increasingly, crowding out real trends tied to breaking news (celebrity or otherwise)." (here)

I'm rooting for you guys you little up-form-nowhere hashtag writers.

Comcast redeemed themselves but Rebates Don't

This is a short story, but one I felt obliged to write. I used Tweeter, my derogatory name for a service I still don't fashion, to write an update about Comcast screwing people over by making it nearly impossible to get deals they openly advertise. Well, I was contacted by a Comcast rep who worked tirelessly to get the deal for me. So with that, I was content. But what still chapped me, was the fact that this rep couldn't even find the deal in the system and took several weeks of back and forth phone calls and emails to finally get the deal in place. And for the record, it was a modified deal with shorter terms. But the effort was certainly appreciated.

So what's up companies offering deals and then making it impossible to find? I'll tell you what's up with that. It's an insincere form of customer appreciation. If they were really looking to offer their customers a deal - they'd do it outright. And it wouldn't be a shit show trying to get the deal in place. I guess the closest corollary is the rebate model, where companies know that rebate redemption rates are extremely low. For low ticket items, they can hover in the single digits, while moving upwards to around 50% for higher priced items (here).

It makes me wonder how this electronic rebate processing stuff works. I guess just bumping up rebate redemption rates. So I'm sure their actuaries take care of all of that.