I love Twitter. Over the last 3 years I have made the channel my main communication channel. I’ve built a series of global events on a hashtag #tru, and I have spoken publicly many times to encourage others to get out and tweet. I’ve encouraged the use of Twitter for business, found new ways to use the channel for recruiting including the use of sponsored tweets. I’ve worked with high-profile corporate brands like Hard Rock Cafe, The BBC and Oracle to set up dedicated Twitter accounts to engage with followers and customers. I’ve been an advocate and a fan, and I’ve never asked for anything back from the guys behind the bird until earlier this week, and the response has been massively disappointing. I would say more than disappointing, it has been non-existent.
On Thursday, I was in Cape Town for #truSA, just about to start a session on Twitter for recruiting, with a group of enthusiastic twitter users. I sent out a message, and was surprised to discover that people were replying to a name I did’t recognise. My name, my picture, my bio, my 12,000+ followers but the twitter handle of @michaeltuan. I have been lucky to be able register back the @BillBoorman account, which is currently an egg and 4 followers. (This secures my name until/or if I ever get my old account back). I’m listed in over 1000 lists, and earlier this year at #SHRM national in Atlanta, I helped over 100 HR Pro’s to set up their first Twitter accounts. I think I have paid my dues with Twitter, and should be entitled to a little bit back.
I went to the help desk to register the problem. This is labelled as “talk to us”, but takes you through to an automated screen to reset your password by e-mail, so that you can log back in to your account and change the name back. This is not possible because when my account was hacked and the name changed, so was the associated e-mail. All e-mails go the squatter on my account, which makes them pointless. I have filled in the contact form. The Twitter help desk promises me a speedy response over the next 3 days! The biggest surprise though was getting no response to tweets sent to @twitter asking for help and advice. Not an acknowledgment, any advice, just silence. You would think that Twitter would use their own channel as their principle method of communication. It seems that the help desk at Twitter prefer e-mails that they can ignore in private. Not good for an instant communication channel!
The Recruiting Animal had the same problem a few months ago, and went through the same thing with Twitter help desk. You can read about his story HERE. I understand that 100′s of accounts were stolen last week. This looks like a simple hack to do, and changing e-mail addresses and names take seconds with no real controls or checks from Twitter. This kind of security breach must be a real concern for the company, and they need to do something about fixing it. Twitter should really be looking at their customer service and support as a matter of urgency. It is a poor reflection on the channel that they don’t reply to tweets, and not what you would expect. If anyone from Twitter Towers picks this up, please contact me. you can e-mail me on email@example.com. or tweet me on my empty @BillBoorman account. I will be updating my bio that this is my holding account saving my name. I will be tweeting my 4 followers from this account and anyone else who wants to sign up. In 10 days time I will be delivering my third annual Twitter Eve for Social Media London. It is already a sell out with 6 on the waiting list. It would be embarrassing for me, and perhaps for Twitter if I did it with 4 followers only, and no assistance from the channel I promote so often.