How much is a tweet worth to me? In 2014, I’ll find out

It’s hard to believe that 2013 has come and gone already. It seems like it was just yesterday I was writing a post like this one for 2013. But alas, another year has come and gone, so it’s time to set my sights on the future and decide on what I should better myself with.

First though, here’s a look at how I did in what I set out to do in 2013.

Get out of debt
OK, that one didn’t go quite as I hoped (getting married will do that to ya!), but my husband and I are on a good place to do that this year (and a little more if I stick to one of my 2014 resolutions below!).

Run 750K this year
OK, that didn’t happen either. BUT I did start cycling to and from work this summer, and cycled a total of 1522 kilometers in three months and a bit. Running-wise, I clocked in at 129.44 kilometres, and ran my first 10K. A personal achievement. So I say check here.

Read 100 books
OK, I know, it was ambitious. But that included Baby-Sitters Club books, so I had to have a high number. I actually read 64, and think I would have hit 100 if I had the energy (and time!) to keep up with my BSC Bloggin’ project (which I plan on getting back into, honest!).

So on to 2014! Here’s what I hope to accomplish this year

Spend less time online frivolously. That’s it.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I tweet an awful lot (and if you don’t follow me on Twitter, what are you waiting for?). I didn’t realize how much I tweeted until last week, when my husband asked if I noticed I had recently surpassed 48,000 tweets.

I did some math, and in the six years I’ve been on Twitter, that works out to an average of 600 tweets a month. Which a Twitter follower of mine worked out to mean I tweet one and a quarter tweets every waking hour. That’s a lotta tweets.

So on our way to the U.S. for New Year’s my husband wondered what a tweet was worth to me. How much would I be willing to pay to tweet?

I had already decided that one of my goals for 2014 was going to be to save money, so why not save money AND tweet a tad less.

I was still working out the “rules” for my resolution, when I came across an article in the New York Times entitled For 2014, Tweet Less, Read More. Since I’m always challenging myself to read a certain amount of books per year, this article interested me. But this interested me even more so:

It feels at times as if contemplation has given way to expectoration, with speed overtaking sense and nuance exiting the equation. And I’m talking about more than the rising count of reputations forfeited and careers dashed in 140 characters or fewer, of crackups like that of a prominent New York publicist who recently tweeted what she apparently meant to be a joke about not having to worry about AIDS in Africa because she’s white.

Bruni goes on to say that people who read more fiction tend to be more empathetic than their peers, and goes on to hypothesize it also likely contributes to a “coolheadedness, maybe even open-mindedness, definitely deliberation.

“It doesn’t just yank you outside of yourself, making you consider other viewpoints without allowing for the incessant interjection and exaltation of your own. It slackens the pace. Forces a pause.”

Sold.

So here is my big 2014 resolution: I will tweet less, and read more. I will put my money where my thumbs are. Each month, I will get an allowance of 140 tweets. Those are freebies. Anything over that, and a quarter goes into a jar.

As for reading? I vow to read 75 books this year. I will take at least an hour at the end of each day where it’s just for me. I won’t be online, or watching TV. I’ll be reading a book, or writing, or just sitting by myself with my own company.

As of the publication of this post, I’ve tweeted 46 tweets this month (and it’s only the fourth!), which means I have just under 100 more to go.

I’ll keep you all posted on how this “project” of mine goes. Each month, I’ll post how much money I put aside because I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself, and tweeted. I’ll also be chronicling the books I read over on my Goodreads page, if you’re interested in trading recommendations.

What are your resolutions for 2014?

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Can you plagiarize a tweet?

Saturday night after the L.A. Kings won Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, this tweet was sent from their account:

It was retweeted it 50+ times and favourited 50+ times as well.

Then at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, this was tweeted by the Huffington Post Canada:

Coincidence? Or something else? I’m hesitant to call the second tweet plagiarism, though I don’t understand why it pretty much mimics the Kings’ tweet from six hours earlier — even if unintentional.

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A tale of two complaints: BMO vs. UPS

Social media has opened up a new way for consumers to complain about products, services and companies like nothing before it.

Some may think it’s passive agressive to simply send a tweet complaining about an issue, but I beg to differ. I think social media offers a great way for a customer to interact directly with a company when they have an issue with their product(s). It’s also a great way for customers to complain in a way that doesn’t waste their time (i.e. you’re not sitting on hold for hours waiting for someone in a call centre somewhere nowhere near the company you’re actually complaining about).

However, there are limits to this mode. Many companies don’t have too much of a social media presence. If they do it’s either: a) limitedly staffed (meaning turnaround time for your tweet could be hours or days); or b) just a broadcasting mechanism where no one actually listens to what people are saying to it. Another problem is the allusion (or perhaps the reality) that if you complain on social media, you get better treatment than someone who called or wrote a letter because they are not on social media or whatever.

However, there are times it works. In the last few weeks, I have tweeted negatively about two companies. One ended decently, the other not so. Here’s what occurred.

Bank of Montreal

I am a BMO customer. A few weeks ago when I was depositing my pay cheque, I needed to see a personal banker to make a transfer into my Tax-Free Savings Account (customer service representatives — CSRs or tellers — cannot perform this transaction). The CSR who was serving me found a personal banker who was free. He told me she would see me, and we continued to finish up depositing my cheque.

I overheard the customer next to me ask his CSR to see the same personal banker I was to see. When he was asked if he had an appointment, he admitted he was just a personal friend and wanted to say hi. The CSR brought him to the personal banker. When I arrived to her office to do my banking transactions, the CSR and I waited outside her office for five minutes before she came out and said she couldn’t see me after all — she had forgotten about the appointment she had with the gentleman sitting inside her office.

Liar! I wanted to scream, but I didn’t. She asked if I was willing to wait until someone else could see me (all the other personal bankers were with other actual customers), I said no. I had to get back to work.

As I walked out of the bank, my thumbs were already furiously typing away on my phone:

I explained in about 12 DMs what had occurred. The person on the other end of the BMO account apologized and said someone would be in touch. Later that afternoon, I got a call from corporate apologizing and offering to do my banking transaction for me.

Not really what I was expecting, but whatever.

The following week, I got a thank you card in the mail from the CSR who served me. I got mad all over again and decided to call the branch manager — which is something I realize I should have done sooner.

I left a voicemail and the assistant branch manager actually called me back. She was very apologetic and said she, and the branch manager knew about the incident already. She wanted to know what she could do for me to make things right. Her phone call was enough.

Because of her great response, I also tweeted a follow up to my followers to let them know things had been righted:

UPS

I was expecting a couple of packages — containing goods worth over $500 — to be delivered to my home. As of yesterday at 2 p.m., UPS’s website said it was set to be delivered by end of day Thursday. Accordingly, I made plans to work from home in order to receive the boxes.

So colour me surprised when my boyfriend and I arrived home from work to find two large boxes right in the middle of our front lawn in plain site, with the logo from the company I had ordered from plastered all over the boxes.

Maybe, colour me angry is a better phrase. We lugged the packages in the house and wondered what would have happened if someone had walked away with them. So again, I took to Twitter.

This morning, UPS responded to my tweet, promising a follow up.

Sure, enough I got a phone call from the local UPS outlet shortly after and if the BMO assistant manager illustrated what good customer service was, the person from UPS did not.

Basically, she told me it was the driver’s discretion to leave the packages. When I enquired if it was OK they were on my lawn for the entire neighbourhood to see (and possibly take), she again said it was “driver discretion.” When I asked what would have happened if someone had stolen the boxes from my land, she said I would have had to file a lost package claim and they’d “investigate it.” When I asked her why the packages arrived so soon when I was expecting, and making arrangements, for a Thursday delivery, she again told me the driver was within his right to leave them since I wasn’t home and that if I was so concerned “I should have required a signature.”

Well, when I ordered my items, I was never given that option from the shipper. Nor have I ever known a courier company to simply leave a package without express written consent to do so from me. Usually after a first attempt, you get a paper on the door where you can check a box telling them to leave it. None of this occurred.

I again tweeted my frustration and the wonderful woman behind the account apologized again and said she would again follow up with the local team.

Seems like UPS in Toronto could learn a little bit about customer service from their corporate Twitter account and the assistant bank manager at the Liberty Village Bank of Montreal.

What are your customer service horror stories? How were they solved? Have you blacklisted any companies?

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QMI covers trial with branded Twitter account

Perhaps taking a page from our neighbours to the south, the London Free Press and QMI Agency have decided to cover the Michael Rafferty trial with a branded Twitter account (@RaffertyLFP) instead of using reporters’ personal Twitter accounts to live tweet the proceedings.

Many Florida-area newspapers and TV stations did the same thing when they covered the Casey Anthony trial last summer.

There are pros and cons to going this route for a court case.

Pros:

  • You don’t clutter reporters’ personal Twitter accounts with tweets their current followers don’t have an interest in reading;
  • Multiple people can access the account, meaning followers don’t have to follow three different people;
  • People can go back and read the case from beginning to end in one place.

Cons:

  • You have to build the account’s following from scratch (at least when you have reporters tweeting, you can piggyback off their following);
  • If not publicized correctly, it might never get much of a following.

From what I can tell, other media outlets are just using their reporters’ personal Twitter feeds to broadcast their courtroom play-by-play.

Just after the start of the trial Monday morning, the account had 212 followers. The trial could last three months.

It will be interesting to see how high the following on the account gets as the days and weeks of the trial go on.

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