Thursday, August 27, 2009

So apparently Dooce is having issues with Maytag customer service. And is twittering about it. Which considering she has over a million followers, is something of a PR nightmare for Maytag. They seem to be trying to save face, and various parties have @replied offering to help, but at the moment, Maytag is facing some serious backlash - and so is Dooce, because of her increasingly pissed-off tweets.

Contrary to what it seems, this post isn't really about Dooce. I'm not here to pass judgement - if there's one thing I HAAAATE beyond all reason, it's bad customer service, and if I had any sort of influence, I'd bitch to all and sundry about my bad experiences. But it got me thinking about how something as essentially trivial as Twitter has the power to change the way we interact.

Before Twitter, Dooce would have had to wait until everything was resolved to write up a witty yet wrath-filled post regaling us all with the drama. Perhaps at worst there would have been a brief post saying the new washing machine was broken and OH MY GOD, TEH DRAMAS but that a proper post would come later. I'm sure there will be a post about this when it's all over, but in the meantime, it's playing out in real time to anyone who feels like following it.

Twitter is great as a time wasting device, or an amusing tool to update your friends (although Facebook works just as well for that, and you don't get friended by spammers). But when you have something important to say, 140 characters doesn't really cut it. So often, the subtleties of the message get lost and your informative, witty tweet ends up boring and confusing. Not to mention, the immediacy of it means it's incredibly easy to focus on how you are feeling RIGHT NOW, which is often pissed off or upset or combative or any number of emotions that all essentially mean "not thinking straight". A blog post or email requires a modicum of thought; an angry phone call requires interaction and patience. Twitter requires nothing but an ability to be brief.

Of course, that is entirely the point of Twitter, and for the most part, it's what makes it good. But just as you should think twice before posting a snarky comment on Facebook (and oh! How many times I've wanted to do that!), you should check your emotions before you tweet. Twitter is not your diary. Your followers are (by and large) not your best friends. Bitchiness, even if well-deserved, rarely comes off well in print. Get a blog! Even (or especially) one no one reads. It's like a diary, but without the pesky pen part.

P. S. True to the diary-no-one-reads form, this is my promise to write tomorrow about my breathtaking incompetence and how I cannot be left alone even for 24 hours without disaster occurring and the world nearly ending. It's about how I nearly broke MY washing machine! There may well have been some pissed off tweets if that had happened.

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