This past week, your Guide deleted Twitter. Some of you may have already done the same or be thinking about it. As travelers delete Twitter, however, what will we do about losing access to our superpowered customer service agents? If you didn’t already know about this travel hack, I’ll explain…
Why was Twitter helpful for digital nomads?
There was something omnipotent about the capabilities customer service agents on Twitter had versus their phone-based colleagues. It was inexplicable, like the customer service agents for United Airlines on Twitter had access to not only different computer systems, but different airplanes. The phone agent was no help when United deleted my flight and didn’t even send a message about it, but the agent on Twitter had all of the details I needed.
When a Meliá hotel hadn’t responded to my messages for a week, and my arrival was approaching quickly, it just took one message on Twitter to the hotel chain’s main account and minutes later I received a message from the location I was trying to reach.
When Avianca refused to give me a refund on a refundable ticket, I tweeted about it, and customer service was suddenly able to process the refund.
How do you reach airlines and hotels without Twitter?
Instagram seems to have the same customer service agents with the extra magical powers. Hotel chains also tend to be more active on Instagram. That’s where I’ve moved the bulk of my social media posting and interactions with businesses. I enjoy it much more than Twitter (more on that below).
If you’re traveling in Central and South America, Whatsapp and Facebook are likely your better options. Visit the website for the regional airline or hotel chain and you’ll typically find directions on how to contact them via Whatsapp.
If you’re traveling, you almost certainly have better things to do than arguing on your phone with a bunch of angry anonymous blue birds.
Why was Twitter bad for business?
Let’s talk about business for a moment. This is relevant to anybody that’s running a business as they travel, but if you’re just using Twitter for reading news and posting some trip updates, it might explain why you see businesses leaving Twitter…
Contrary to what you hear Twitter’s new CEO say, businesses aren’t stopping their advertising as some attack on free speech. They’re jumping ship because Twitter just isn’t great ROI on ad dollars spent. But there was this sense that businesses needed Twitter profiles like they needed a website. You just had to have it.
Twitter was one of the many platforms online that act like malls for businesses. Maybe their shop in the Twitter mall wasn’t the most profitable, but it was a well-known mall, and having a shop there was seen as an important way to keep your logo in front of consumers. Politicians stopped by to shake hands. Celebrities hosted concerts. Fans shared memes. It had fountains and air conditioning.
But the Twitter mall was mostly for chilling, whereas other malls, like TikTok and Instagram produced much better shopping experiences and higher turnover.
The new management at Twitter seems to have forgotten it’s a mall, even if it was never very good at being a mall. If they want to use the money from leases to host free conspiracy theory conferences in the food court, they shouldn’t be shocked businesses have an issue with funding that. With so much disruption in the mall’s management right now, it’s giving businesses a chance to duck out of an already unprofitable retail location.
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