Twitter Warning

After discovering Tweetscan and their amazingly useful RSS feeds recently, I’ve been thinking about writing a post about how Twitter can be used in a crisis communications scenario. Then along comes Michael Arrington and his scrappy little blog, TechCrunch, and suddenly the issue is everywhere. Ok, you win this time Mr. Arrington but your dominance over Point Oh! will be short lived. Mark my words.

Anyway…what Arrington brought to light in his post last night was how Comcast officially responded to his complaint within 20 minutes of his first Twitter message going out about his connection problems in his home. Certainly it didn’t hurt to have Jeff Jarvis and others pick up on the story but still…20 minutes is a pretty amazing response time in the face of a potential crisis. If Comcast sits on this issue overnight, on a Sunday no less, they would probably wake to find a TechCrunch post about how awful their support is but instead hundreds of thousands of people are reading about how quick they were to respond.

So obviously this is underscored by the fact that Comcast has customer service issues. As single tweet by Arrington may not have popped up on the radar for Comcast but the hundreds of people that quickly chimed in with their own customer service horror stories certainly created enough chatter for Comcast’s monitoring program to spring into action.

As I’ve said previously, Twitter is often dismissed as a fringe technology that has limited appeal but in crisis communications it’s more important to find out who is talking about your issue than how many people are talking about it. By subscribing to your key crisis terms in Tweetscan’s RSS feeds can do is alert you to a potential problem well before it hits the mainstream, which is the best case scenario in any crisis situation.