Talking to Twitter

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This little birdie won't tell you anything.

A great irony of Twitter, Inc. struck me today as I tried unsuccessfully to reach the company for comment on a story. While millions of people can talk to each other using Twitter's platform, it is exceedingly difficult to talk to Twitter.

The story I'm working on has nothing to do with the mid-Market payroll tax exclusion zone -- but it does concern Twitter. The company does not publish any phone numbers on its website. So, using an online media inquiry form, I sent Twitter a message seeking comment. Here's the automatically generated response I received almost immediately, from something called "Zendesk Admin 01":

Thanks for your inquiry. We are a small communications team based in San Francisco within a growing global company. Due to the high volume of requests we receive, unfortunately, we are not able to respond to many inquiries. When our team grows, we'll be able to respond in a more timely manner. For now, we will capture your contact information so that we can be in touch in the future.

In the meantime, follow @Twitter for news, interesting user stories, and updated stats about the company. Note that we currently only release global metrics and do not break out usage data on a country-by-country basis.

Thanks,
Twitter Comms

So my inquiry wasn't important enough to warrant a response -- but not to worry, they are going to "capture" my contact information. OK.

Undeterred, I set out looking for a phone number. Sometimes, if you type the address of an organization into a search engine, the phone number will pop up. Sure enough, a Google search yielded this: 415-778-6470.

A pre-recorded message thanked me for calling Twitter after several rings. I was then given the option of pressing 1, 2, or 3.

If I was a law enforcement officer and wanted to leave a message, 1.

For communications, 2.

For staffing, 3.

I pressed 2, and a robotic voice informed me that the voice mailbox was full. So I hung up and called back.

I listened to the three choices again. Then I heard this message: "If you know your party's extension, please dial it now. To hear these choices again, press star."

I pressed star. "If you know your party's extension, please dial it now. To hear these choices again, press star."

A loop! Groan.

I punched in "111" at random to see what would happen, and got another robotic message about the voice mailbox being full.

Guardian City Editor Steve Jones did manage to communicate, via email, with Twitter's CFO Ali Rowghani when he was writing about the payroll tax-exclusion zone -- but one of his email requests was completely ignored, and the only way he knew who to contact in the first place was by sifting through hundreds of pages of documents gathered through a public-records request.

Twitter has in its possession data associated with millions of users. It will benefit from legislation crafted specifically to keep the company headquarters within San Francisco city limits. Yet it seems next to impossible to talk to a representative of this company on the phone.

Why does Twitter have such poor communication skills? Let's Tweet about it.

Comments

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/faster-forward/post/twitters-biz-sto...

Outlining the company’s history through its many, short-lived CEOs, Fortune’s “Trouble@Twitter”painted a grim picture of the Twitter leadership as lacking a unifying vision. It said the company is floundering as new users drop off.

Twitter has shown signs of growing pains after a scorching start. The company has faced backlash from users as it tries to figure out how to mon­etize its product. The disastrous “quickbar” the company introduced in its iPhone app was quickly redesigned and then pulled after Twitter users objected to intrusive ads.

more here
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/14/troubletwitter/

Posted by ok then on Apr. 15, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

If so welcome to the lives of the rest of us Americans.

try just mashing the keypad over and over again.

Posted by meatlocker on Apr. 15, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

Someone should go to public comment every Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors and laugh at them for their Twitter votes until the company totally collapses.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

Is that how you spend most of your days?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 15, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

Twitter's nickles,

And, they didn't ask for the write-off. MOEWD offered it to them in order to get the Chronicle development into whatever tax dodge they developed. You seen the space they have over there? Just left the Tempest Bar and with the parking lots and old printing facilities they must have the potential for at least 2 million square feet of development there focused on internet start-ups and the like.

I'm thinking of going public with my online archives at the SFBulldog.com and expect to raise a couple of billion?

Building an economic base on companies like Twitter is like sailing in a lake of mercury. It's beautiful and smooth but it's poison and if you go in the drink, everyone dies.

Not the Giants!

Won tonight and Posey passed .300 again and Belt crawled above .200.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Apr. 16, 2011 @ 1:12 am

"Building an economic base on companies like Twitter is like sailing in a lake of mercury. It's beautiful and smooth but it's poison and if you go in the drink, everyone dies."

I knew there was a reason why we keep your abusive alcoholic ass around.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Apr. 16, 2011 @ 8:22 am

It's far easier to talk to them vis the web than by phone.

Phones are so 1995.

Are you over 40, Rebecca, by any chance? Methinks possibly so, if you don't know this.

Posted by Minty on Apr. 17, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

"Are you over 40, Rebecca, by any chance? Methinks possibly so"

Hahahaha! Usually the commenters don't make me laugh, but you just did. Methinks you possibly didn't read my story, which explains that I contacted them first using that there newfangled interwebs.

I wasn't even in high school yet in 1995, Minty.

 

Posted by rebecca on Apr. 18, 2011 @ 7:59 am

Rebecca hadn't even set up her MySpace page in 1995, I mean, seriously!

-marc

Posted by marcos on Apr. 18, 2011 @ 8:43 am

Lots of sarcasm in comments, but I do understand your frustration and the ironic point of the post. It's unfortunate that as we become more and more advanced in tech and develop increased ways to easily interact with one another, finding interaction when it is needed is often about as productive as banging your head against a wall. It may be a step back, but it would sure be nice to have live operators now rather than automated phone systems - regardless of how "cheery" they can make a computer operated voice be.

Posted by Rebekah on Apr. 17, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

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