How Not To Do Twitter

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2016/05/24 ...

Recently I had an exchange on Twitter that beautifully exemplifies how companies get it so totally, totally wrong. Usually I don't name names, but on this occasion it's just spectacularly bad, and then they asked me to point them at a write-up, that I've decided to go ahead and do so.

It all started with this tweet:

    08:53 mikehall314
    Seems @123reg are now just ignoring
    updates to my support ticket. Anyone
    recommend a great domain registrar?

As is typically the case, Mike then got innundated with companies saying "Pick me! Pick me!" Rather predictable, and comparatively easy to ignore. In particular, Paceweb got into the act with this:

    08:56 PacewebUK
    @mikehall314 Sure, let's see what we
    can do to help you out? Our website

I replied directly to Mike with this:

    08:56 ColinTheMathmo
    @mikehall314 I use @XenCentricHstng - they
    are expensive, but the service is unbelievably
    good. Outstanding, and well worth it.

Interestingly, I got a response from @PacewebUK about that tweet. That's unusual, and potentially a good thing, because it suggests that they might actually engage with their users. They said:

    08:58 PacewebUK
    @ColinTheMathmo have you tagged the
    correct profile for them.  It's not
    loading up on our screens :/

OK, so it's not clear what they mean. All the links work for me, but they've asked a question, so I answer:

    10:25 ColinTheMathmo
    @PacewebUK Not sure who you are, or
    what profile you're referring to. Both
    profiles load correctly for me - please
    be more specific.

And there it stopped. Check the timestamp, which is BST. I tweeted to them at 10:25, and then nearly three hours later they still hadn't replied. So much for engaging with their users. So I tweeted at them again:

    13:16 ColinTheMathmo
    @PacewebUK I see that you were quick to
    respond to asking about new business, but
    there's no response when I then talk to you.
    Poor form.

The response was brief, and not very helpful:

    13:18 PacewebUK
    @ColinTheMathmo (@XenCentricHstng) the
    Twitter profile does not load.

I responded fairly promptly:

    13:34 ColinTheMathmo
    @PacewebUK The @XenCentricHstng twitter
    profile page loads for me - do you want
    me to take a screenshot so you can see
    for yourself?

....... and followed up with the screenshot:

    13:40 ColinTheMathmo
    @PacewebUK Here is @XenCentricHstng's
    twitter profile page as shown in my browser
    (scaled down) - do you not see it?

Again, I waited nearly three hours, and then prodded them:

    16:25 ColinTheMathmo
    @PacewebUK Again, you interact with me, and
    then ignore the question I ask.  Result:
    I have no confidence that you would be a
    good supplier.

I was then interested to know if any of my tweeps have any experience of Paceweb, so I asked:

    16:26 ColinTheMathmo
    Do any of my tweeps have any experience of
    @PacewebUK ?? My twitter exchanges suggest
    they would not be responsive to issues.

Seemed a reasonable question, since this entire exchange started with someone asking for a better company, and Paceweb seemed to be keen to step up to the plate.

Then, surprisingly, I got this:

    16:32 PacewebUK
    @ColinTheMathmo for technical support issues
    please DM @AskPaceweb.

Where did that come from? I'm not a customer - they should know that from the tweets we've been exchanging - and I certainly don't have any technical support issues with them. That started to feel a bit like it was an automated response from a bot. At this point I've pretty much decided I will never go with Paceweb - their handling of Twitter is a great example of how not to engage with people. So I said:

    16:39 ColinTheMathmo
    .@AskPaceweb @PacewebUK Do you want me to take
    the time to write up why the exchanges with you
    are a good example of how not to do Twitter?

The clincher:

    17:00 AskPaceweb
    @ColinTheMathmo @PacewebUK you can do if you want.
    We love to hear customer feedback! Email it to :) ^DC

That got this reply:

    17:09 ColinTheMathmo
    .@AskPaceweb So you've *still* not got the message
    that I'm not a customer? I'll certainly be blogging
    "How not to do twitter" CC:@PacewebUK

And so this is making good on that promise. One response from a follower of mine made it clear that it's not just me being astonished at the thread:

    17:12 icecolbeveridge
    @ColinTheMathmo Gosh. Reading the thread would be
    enough for most people. @AskPaceweb @PacewebUK

Then they said this:

    17:18 AskPaceweb
    @ColinTheMathmo please can you send us the link
    when you have created the blog post, as it will
    sure be some reading. ^DC

Happy to oblige:

    17:23 ColinTheMathmo
    @AskPaceweb I'll do that - thanks.

So I ask, am I being unreasonable? To summarise this from my point of view:

  • Someone asks for recommendations for web companies that provide a good service;

  • Paceweb says "Pick Me! Pick Me!";

  • When I respond, they say that twitter profiles don't load;

  • I ask for clarification - it takes three hours for them to respond;

  • I point that out, they come back with a near content-free reply;

  • I send them a screenshot - three hours later there's no response;

  • I tweet a request for feedback about them;

  • Promptly they reply with a non-sequitur;

I am not filled with confidence, and will not be using Paceweb. After this twitter exchange, would you?

And if the answer to that is a resounding "No!" then it just goes to show that this is a great example of how a company should not do twitter.

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