Sunday, September 26, 2010

Comcast Uses Twitter Much Better than Me

Everybody knows I've been bitching non-stop about having to start a Twitter account for class.
I've never really seen the purpose behind Twitter, the value of the connections, or how I can really use it besides writing annoying posts about every detail of my life all day long.

However, I just read about the coolest Twitter page ever (and it's old news, but new to me):

Comcast, a Rogers type company in the USA, has a Twitter account where they constantly monitor the conversation people are having about Twitter. Comcast waits for  complaints to come by, and just like a regular customer service line, they help solve the problem for the customer via Tweets.

Purpose? Hell yea. Value of the connections they make? Yes. Innovative use of Twitter? Of course.

Not to mention, the power of having these public conversations in front of a live Twitter audience all the time. Unlike phone calls, now everybody can see how great you are at customer service.

And of course, being able to turn disgruntled customers into brand champions, as their Twitter accounts are now full of Comcast related conversation.

Why isn't everybody doing this?


  1. Rogers does this, Fido does this, Etisalat (A dubai based phone company) does this... and a bunch of other non-telephonic companies do this. It's not really a "new" thing-- companies have been doing this for years now. People give away free products, people tweet questions to celebrities while watching their shoes, people have interviews on Twitter, if you're not on Twitter, you're missing out on a big chunk of the communication. Everybody is already doing it all. Twitter and Facebook are often hated on by millions of people but whether or not they like it, it is now a phenomenon. If you're not on Facebook/Twitter, you're way too out-dated. People that use twitter "properly" use it to share news and update themselves and others about news. Information is now sent out by the second, trends are now being made by the minute. If you're not on twitter you're too slow.

    I'm actually surprised that NOBODY in Schulich Marketing is on twitter. I really don't get what they are teaching you in Marketing! When I entered the Creative Advertising program in Seneca, they told us, "if you're not on twitter, you're dead in the industry". I'm surprised that Schulich Marketing majors are only now (in 2010) getting Twitter profiles. I can't get over how late Schulich is on the social media bandwagon.

  2. Tanvi,

    That's very cool! I didn't know about all the other companies using Twitter for custoemr service and I'm looking them up now as you said it.

    In defense of Schulich marketing majors, I STILL don't see it being necessary for a student, with nothing extremely exciting going on in their lifes (i.e. look at my tweets), no custoemers to conversate with, or anything innovative/value-added to add to the Twitter world - to necessarily have an active account. A lot of Schulich marketing (and other majors) that I know have always had a passive Twitter account to follow news magazines, influential business people etc, which makes more sense to me.

    It's the reason I'm not happy with my Twitter assignment, because I can update myself and share news - and already have and do- much more anonymously - through sites like Reddit, Digg etc. - without having to deal with the Twitter clutter of what everybody had for lunch today.

  3. When I got twitter I thought the exact same. Now, I'm being followed by some very brilliant people that I talk to, ask questions to and learn a lot from. I tweet questions to people being interviewed on live web shows and DM professors. It's actually very helpful for a student. The "personal" part of twitter is definitely silly posts like "forgot to brush my teeth today and nobody noticed!"-- it doesn't all have to be serious. I've learnt a lot from simply being on twitter and following some brilliant people. Because you can choose who you follow, you can choose the information you get, so it's filtered. I follow a lot of celebrities but I also follow some very brilliant people in the field I want to get into. It's also amazing to see how different companies use twitter to promote their products, market themselves and inform & update their customers. I've never used Reddit or Digg or any other website. Infact, I'm not even sure what they do. I've found that twitter is often more than enough. I have friends on twitter too, but the active ones are the ones that tweet about interesting things-- 140 character reviews of movies & tv shows, jokes, interesting facts, etc. I've come across a lot of interesting things simply by being on twitter. My blog has gotten a lot of exposure because of it too.
    I think that once you get the hang of it, it's a brilliant tool.

  4. Great points Tanvi- I hadn't quite seen it that way.

  5. Tanvi and Brandawashed

    Brandawashed, don't worry about Tanvi's Twitter-advantage over you. As with every new communication technology in history, there are always the ones who think that everything that came before is now suddenly outdated and everything that comes after the invention and introduction of what ever new and amazing communication technology will forever change all the rules of business (if not the world). Such a standpoint is the hallmark of someone who prefers to think about micro-issues and operational aspects of marketing tools. This is not unimportant but new technologies come and go at accelerating pace and what makes a really smart marketer (rather than one who just chases the next technology and claims its revolutionary power) is one who investigates each tool from its strategic relevance. That is what marketing students need to learn so when you work for whatever company, you can make judicious and intelligent decisions about where to put your marketing dollars. Put differently, you have to be able to tell all those 'creative advertising' folks eager to sell you the next cool thing why you allocate resources towards one communication format rather than another based on your in-depth analysis of your organization's strategic objectives. Obviously, creative ad folks are not trained to do that. And besides, as you learned in your SSB marketing classes, ALWAYS be VERY cautious of anyone who says thinks like: "Everybody is already doing it all."

    ps.: Tanvi, I wonder how smart it is for a creative ad student to come across slightly condescending towards Schulich students. Many of these Schulich students will be brand managers and marketing directors in the not so distant future making decisions about who to choose from the many creative ad people out there for their next promotional campaign...

  6. Thanks for putting things in perspective Professor Zwick!

  7. Interesting discussion here. It IS important for marketing students to be current and relevant and that encompasses reading blogs, news, consuming culture and to some extent being on social media as well. However, at the end of the day these are all choices and depending on your personal beliefs, you may or may not see strategic value in being on Twitter. It is not obligatory by any means.

    I mostly agree with Professor Zwick's comments. Marketers and advertisers have leveraged Twitter and Facebook to create communities and conversations around brands. The next trend will probably be about location based services (such as Foursquare/Gowalla) and the possibilities they bring for marketers. However, not everyone will or even want to benefit from these technologies.

    Brandwashed: To add to this discussion, I think the problem is not that students are not active on social media but how they view themselves. I disagree with you when you say that students have nothing "innovative or value-added" to contribute. Students are privileged enough to be in an academic setting and can provide a lot of insight to professionals. They are also upcoming generation of workers and their contributions and views help shape the future. It doesn't have to be mundane details about your day, just like in life what you put out there and what you get depends on you.

  8. Saadullah, that's definitely another way of looking at it that I hadn't previously thought of. Perhaps if we as students could learn to see Twitter as a means of furthering our academic discussions (as opposed to what it's currently being used by students for), it could be a value-added service. I think it's sometimes hard with Twitter, because there's no criteria for it's purpose yet and different people are doing different things with it. Personally, I'm learning to limit my attention to only valuable Tweets.