June 10, 2009

What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 7)

Filed under: #140tc,Twitter — @smokejumper @ 11:58 pm
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View this blog post “What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 7)” on my new blog site at

“You can’t own social media.  You can only interact with it.”
@JetBlue (Morgan Johnston)

Joining Morgan on a panel about corporate use of Twitter were Jon Zilber of Palm and Ross Mayfield, Founder of SocialText.  Morgan is a pioneer in the use of Twitter for the purposes of customer service.  He has assembled what amounts to a set of best practices based on his real live experiences with @JetBlue:

  • Support of organization. If you engage your customers in real-time, they will expect response in real-time.  For a small, single product company, this may not be a big deal.  But for a large organization, providing those on the front lines of Twitter access to people and answers in a timely fashion is critical.
  • Don’t punt to an Intern. I’ve got nothing against student interns (as I’m sure Morgan doesn’t), but to be successful you need a passionate person with deep knowledge and/or immediate access to subject matter experts.
  • CoTweet to delegate. JetBlue is testing CoTweet as a tool to assign multiple responses to different people simultaneously.  Early results look promising.
  • Twitter as a Difference Maker. Morgan gave a couple of excellent examples of how Twitter was able to directly and dramatically impact JetBlue’s customers’ experiences with the airline.   One, he was able to calm agitated customers awaiting check-in in a long-line by assuring them they wouldn’t miss their flight after checking with the flight operations manager.  Two, he was able to hold a flight for passengers who were tweeting their in-airport status.  Morgan convinced the flight crew to wait given his knowledge of how close the passengers were as they ran to make the flight.  If either of these incidents had happened to me, I would be immediately transformed into a very loyal customer.

Morgan also provided the following “sage” perspective and advice:

“In the case of social media the community is the message.”

“Twitter is a free market research tool.”

“Sometimes people just want to vent – don’t be intrusive or big brother about it.”

“You can’t own social media, you can only interact with it.”

I’m feeling like lessons from the front line are best . . . more later.


  1. The Power of Presence. Insights from Alex Payne, Twitter API Lead.
  2. I am a Twitter God(ess) and So Can You! The View From Twitter Stardom with @ijustine, @missrogue and @davepeck.
  3. Don’t Take the Drive to Manic Feature Explosion. What Makes a Good Twitter App.
  4. Twitter business start-ups are combination socialist and radical markets.   Twitter Strategies:  Real-World Success Stories.
  5. WTF, No Twitter TV!? Direction from Anamitra Banerji, Twitter Product Management.
  6. Even with a simple hash tag, there is a learning curve.   Soren MacBeth, Co-Founder / CEO of StockTwits.
  7. You can’t own social media. You can only interact with it. Corporate Use of Twitter by @JetBlue.
  8. Twitter will transform conferences & events. Surprising takeaways from an in-person Twitter conference experience.