August 02, 2010

Doing My Twitter Homework

In my never-ending quest to educate myself on the many marketing marvels that Twitter affords, I decided to do a little homework last week.

I read an article called What Your Company's Twitter Account Says About You. Foolishly, I had never stopped to think about what my company's Twitter account might be saying about me. Here are some of the things I learned.
  • If your Twitter feed is "...mostly retweets of nice things that other people are saying about you" you are telling the world "...we don't have anything interesting to say, and we don't care about you..."
  • If your Twitter feed is " engaging feed clearly written by humans, including a good mix of news, tips, deals, contests, photos/video and basic customer support" that means..."we're here in earnest and we care.
  • Then I learned that when it comes to excellence in tweeting, some of "the best we've seen include Starbucks and Virgin America."
So naturally I went to these Twitter feeds to absorb some of their excellence.

The first thing I noticed was that three of the first four tweets from Virgin were "retweets of nice things other people were saying." Figuring that Virgin must have lost its Twitter mojo, I went to Starbuck's.

Here are the first three non-retweets I found:  

"We're thinking of offering a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich. We have two versions & want your help. Let us know your pick"
Huh? I'm supposed to tell them which Veggie Breakfast Sandwich to offer? I have never eaten a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich in my life and if there's a God in heaven I never will. As a matter of fact, I've never even heard of a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich and just the thought of it gives me the willies.
 "Happy Friday! I'm drinking the new Ethiopia Limu. It's citrusy and flavorful."
Now this is some fascinating shit. A pimply intern is sitting in a cube in Seattle pretending to be drinking Ethiopia Limu. This is information I've been starving for! By the way, have you ever heard a real human say "citrusy and flavorful?" Oh, and just for the record, the next person who says "Happy Friday" to me is going to get a knife in the head. I mean it. 
"Who's listening to the our (sic) new hip-hop mix? Great tracks from Tribe, De La Soul, Digable Planets and Del. Learn more"
Amazing coincidence -- it was me! I was the one who was listening to it! Okay, I really wasn't. What in the world would make them think I want to "learn more" about some hip-hop CD they're trying to peddle? Are the twits who follow these companies really that pathetic?

The startling thing about all this is not how inane the subjects are. It's the attitude. These tweets have the tone of a condescending nurse talking to a demented gerontology patient.

Now that I've seen some of "the best" of corporate tweeting, my reaction is this -- you couldn't squeeze a thin-crust Veggie Breakfast Sandwich between the best and the worst.

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