The answer currently is… no.
Let me be the first to say that I’m a fan of Twitter. Twitter has revolutionized the way we communicate and connect with others. It’s an amazing tool. However, I discovered a pretty big snag last week with Twitter, one that made me look silly for depending on a free communication tool.
Let me also say that I’m not bashing Twitter, I’m simply offering some constructive criticism to help Twitter become that dependable and even “critical” application. Enough build up… Here are the details.
On Wed, June 23rd I wrapped up my day with a simple Tweet about the day being long or something along those lines. The next morning I grabbed my phone to see what was happening in Twitter world. Uh, oh. It wouldn’t take my password. I panicked and immediately thought my account had been hacked. Crap. I tried to get a password reset and that process worked but when I saw my actual account on Twitter.com it said the account had been suspended. Not only did I think my account had been hacked but it had been hacked and someone used it to spam the Twitterati. Great I’m suspended. Hasn’t happened since high school.
No worries. I would email Twitter support and get this taken care of immediately. After all, I’ve been using Twitter over a year, have a pretty healthy group of friends (followers sounds so cultish!) and was very vocal against spam and all the crappy auto direct messaging that has been going on. Easy fix, so I thought.
I went to the help desk and submitted a request. I was given this link and continued to read that my account could be held for 30 days for “research”. 30 days? Not me, I use Twitter to communicate with clients and to stay on top of the happenings in my area of work! I NEED Twitter. This is where the problem comes in. I needed Twitter. I had just successfully landed a new client and was a Twitter evangelist only for them to see that I was actually a suspended evangelist. Talk about looking silly.
Here’s where the kicker comes in. I have never been told exactly why my account was suspended. I was sent an automated response saying it could be one of many things. After reading the list I’ve determined that my account was suspended because my personal blog site had been hacked. My blog. Not Twitter, my blog. After connecting some dots I’m pretty sure that when my blog was hacked the hacker put a piece of code on my site that linked to malware/spyware. Twitter saw this link in my bio and thought I was distributing the malware/spyware. Technically they were right, but I had no clue this was going on. Thankfully it was brought to my attention and cleared up quickly. Google had put notice on my site that is was a malware site, however I contacted and updated them and was taken off that list in less than 24 hours.
While I’m happy that Twitter is watching out for this sort of thing and keeping us all clear from the crap that floats the internet, that is NOT why I think they are not dependable. My problem was the communication and the customer service. This is what I had to figure out on my own.
- Account suspended
- No notice of account suspension except red box on twitter.com (I use Seesmic and don’t go to Twitter.com so it makes it tough to see that)
- No explanation of suspension
- Request from help offered no information immediately
- 30 day estimated resolve time
Again, I’m glad that Twitter is taking the time to protect us from the crap that is floating the web on some sites. I believe there is a better way to handle these issues and the contact from customer support. Some simple ideas to help Twitter out:
- Send email to address on file notifying of suspension
- Give exact reason of suspension
- Suggest ways to correct/fix the issue
- Automate the research process- It’s easy to read and see if a user is a participating asset to the Twitter community
- Setup @helpusers to assist suspended/questionable accounts
- Don’t put up that it takes 30 days to “research”. That sends users into an immediate panic.
- Create an automated process that users can use to “protest” their suspension. With my problem I could have easily taken off the link to my blog, submitted a ticket to re-check my account and been back up and running in minutes.
- Listen to other users in the community. I had multiple friends contact the Twitter help users on Twitter to see how to get help with no response.
These aren’t the answers to all of Twitter’s customer support problems but this is a start for some one who depends on and uses Twitter daily. And just for the record my account was offline for 7 days not 30.
As Twitter moves into being a critical app for business I hope they will take the time to realize that most users are legit and want to be a part of their community.