Fail Whale

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was recently asked what the next phase for Twitter is. He responded by saying that Twitter is not great at dictating how people use Twitter, but rather making it easier to follow discussions and events through streamlined curation. That first part is certainly true, as Twitter has decided to tell users exactly how they can use Twitter by hanging 3rd party apps out to dry. How quickly Twitter forgets where it came from. This new policy, coupled with my recent experience with the support staff, signifies an unfortunate change of course for the company and likely more problems to come.

Earlier in the week, I contacted an account manager that I had worked with in the past about a feature called “Contributors.” This feature allows for multiple users in an account. This is extremely useful for businesses to assign tweeting privileges to more than one staff member. I know this feature exists because I used it at my previous job. Yet, the aforementioned account manager had this to say: “My apologies, this wasn’t something I was aware of!” Really?  Because Twitter published a blog post talking about this exact feature back in 2009. So if Twitter’s own staff is not aware of all the available features, how can they advise clients?

My next inquiry was about verified accounts. The response after being passed along to another account manager: “verification is no longer handled by my team unless you’re an active advertiser.” So now you have to advertise in order to get verified. This was not the case before. Again, I know this from my experience at the old job. Unless you now pay for promoted tweets, a.k.a. ads, you are not going to get any special treatment.

The cliché, “you get what you pay for,” is cynical but sadly apt in this case. Bad policies, mixed messages and an uninformed staff add up to a likely backlash ahead, especially given social’s struggles with monetization (witness Facebook’s plunging stock price).