Fullrate & Big Brother
I recently had an interesting experience with Twitter. I'm going to share it.
When we moved into our new flat, after some research (in to prices, I admit), we settled on Fullrate as our internet provider. All seemed well and fine, but after a while the connection kept cutting out and we had to re-enter our password on a daily basis. Needless to say, while not the biggest problem in the world, it was hardly what you'd expect or want. After a quick moan on Twitter, someone suggested I change the channel on my router, I did, and it seemed to get better. I'm not sure if it actually did really, but it doesn't matter as soon the problem returned, and after Christmas, we had a lot of trouble even logging on.
Originally, I had put it down to our computers (she has a Mac, I have a Dell), but after I had changed the channel, could see that the power was on and that the router was working (to some extent!), and after making sure we could still log on to other networks, I had had enough. I tweeted;
The next morning, I received this in my inbox;
Was I impressed? Yes. Very. I told them as much, and a brief email conversation followed, where they established the problem (remotely) and told me that it was a fault with the router, and a new one was being sent out to me (I'm picking it up today). The whole email conversation is at the end of this post, if you're curious.
Needless to say, I tweeted about this, and included a Twitpic link for the above email. The feedback I got from Twitter was all positive bar one, who thought it was 'creepy' and didn't like being being visible to the 'big corps' in that way (her tweets are not private). I also posted the picture on Facebook, where the feedback was mixed. Some thought it demonstrated great service, some thought it was a bit too 'big brother' like.
It all came to a head when yesterday I received an email from a journalist friend of mine, saying she had been 'outraged' by it. She had asked 'Forbrugerrådet' (the Danish Consumer Council) about it, who had said it was a violation of my privacy, and therefore she would like to interview me to find out how I felt about it.
I have to say I'm still slightly baffled by all this for a number of reasons.
First - the internet is not a private place. If you say something online - especially on social media! - you have no right to claim it as private. If you don't want others to read it - don't post it. Simple as. If you want your tweets to be private - make them. Don't complain that others can seem them when your profile is public. Please!
Secondly - since when was Twitter some untouchable private sphere? How on earth can people be surprised or upset about Fullrate finding my tweet on Twitter, but they're OK with posting a complaint (for example) on a brand's Facebook page? I can't see the difference.
Thirdly (while I'm on Facebook) - the irony of people complaining about privacy on Twitter, via Facebook, is just overwhelming.
Fourth - customer service. I wish I didn't have to say more, but apparently I do. This is brilliant! One of the things we tell clients at Vizeum (my place of work) is that this social media thing isn't just a flash in the pan, and they must scan Facebook (if they're not on there already) and Twitter for their brand (or what have you). It's an incredibly easy (you don't even need a profile), free, and effective way to get an idea of what's being said, and in this case, it turned one annoyed customer, into one who is currently defending them!
She asked if I felt weird that they had found me online and contacted me without my permission, which is, in my eyes, a good definition of great customer service. It just stuns me that in this day and age, where people demand that brands and companies be on Facebook, the fact that one company has taken the next step (and in Denmark, a rare one, I might add) of searching Twitter makes people feel uncomfortable. It leaves me speechless. Think about what personal data is available through Facebook, and then through Twitter. As I said in the interview, I feel far - far - more secure about my personal details on Twitter than I do on Facebook.
I found out today that she won't be quoting me in the article,as I didn't fit the angle ('too positive'!), which is a shame. A big shame. I really hope that people don't read the article and are put off Twitter. I really, really hope that they too see how effective Fullrate have been, and how I am now eager to defend them (at least in their customer service). I hope that brands/companies read it, ignore the negative tone, take an interest in Twitter, and begin to search too. People talk, reputations are made or destroyed online, and it's about time this was realised.
I'll be totally gobsmacked if people agree with this article. If people who have their lives on Facebook for all the world to see are actually offended by the fact that someone effectively Googled their own name, found my tweet, and contacted me via my personal email asking me if they could help.
Tell me how this is bad. I for one don't understand.
I'll update this with the article when it comes out.
Below is the email exchange (note that the first email is at the bottom. Sorry - I couldn't be bothered to swap them all around);
Here's the article - Selskaber Overvaager dit Brok på Facebook
Another, slightly less negative, article from Fyens.dk.