Hello, my name's Brandmonkey. You've never met me, you've never seen me in the street and you've never chatted to me. But you probably hate me. Because I work on a corporate company's Twitter account.
OK. That's a bit harsh -- you probably don't hate me. Right? RIGHT?? But you've probably gone through times where you've hated people that do what I do. If you've been on Twitter for any amount of time you'll almost certainly have fired off an angry tweet to a service provider. "You've let me down," you'll say. "This is very bad PR for your company," you'll say. Or, if you're really seriously British and pushing the nuclear button you might even tweet "Right, that's it, I'm off to @YourBiggestCompetitor."
But only when you really mean it, obviously.
People like me are responsible for receiving hundreds of these tweets in a day and remaining calm, cheery and courteous. That's why we spend our lives typing out "Sorry to hear you've had a problem, @yourname, is there anything I can do to help?", especially when you work for a train company. And that, as far as it goes, is my job. It's a job people seem -- seem -- to appreciate and I can often spend the day doing some relative good.
But. There's a scourge coming across Twitter. It's moving slowly, for sure, but it's coming. Like midi-chlorians to the Force, it's changing everything for the worse.
It's called "banter". I hate it, and I'm here, taking a stand on Giz to see if it's just me or if there's a silent tide of social media users just waiting to turn.
You'll have seen people like me "doing" banter. Ho ho, hee hee, my brand's making a middle-of-the-road joke to a big competitor. What fun. We'll host a big circle jerk with six other brands because some tweeter sent us all a joint tweet, all of us desperate to make the most dad-at-a-disco type remark before the music stops. You even start to see it in the papers now. "Today, a brand tried to be cooler than it actually is by doing the verbal equivalent of whacking off into a hat at a twitter user's demand. What insightful social media users they are." Work for a brand that's ever engaged in a rap battle? Re-evaluate your life choices.
Or, just as bad, we'll tweet you every morning. "Hello! I'm Bob and I'll be with you till three, when the gorgeous Michaela takes over!" we'll say, as if the relative attractiveness of the person battering out apologies every six seconds matters. "We're off now, see you at eight AM with Christian!" you see in your feed, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. What's that about? Do I really want a company I buy a product from to wish me good morning and demand questions every time I'm at work? You're going home? Great -- feel free not to tell me. I don't care and your tweet's just cost me three seconds of valuable time I could have spent scratching my arse.
And who among us has managed to go a day without seeing "^FM" or some similar inane initials appearing after a random tweet from a brand? Because yes, what you really need with your cheesy line back from a company you dislike is the knowledge that "FM" or whoever dealt with you.
It's not all bad...right? Well no. There are some brands out there who know not to be so crass. Some companies who keep their eager young space cadets -- sorry, community managers -- on tight leashes. But the masses are taking over and the "cool kids" are winning. Tell me Gizmodo readers, are they on the side of good here? Should companies be alerting you to their every move on Twitter, and is it just me that doesn't care for it? Or do we need to vote with our tweets and tell them where to shove their good mornings, their cotweets and their ^initialled posts right up their twitter beaks? I'd love to know. I'll even drop into the comments to hear about it. You'll know it's me, I'll be the one trying not to start every post with the word 'sorry...'.
Brandmonkey has sent thousands of tweets, Facebook messages and even a Google+ post or two. He's sorry for any inconvenience this post may cause.
Spiels From “Them Below” is a series of columns written by “them below”; the thousands of readers who comment tirelessly, or tirelessly read, Gizmodo UK. Have you got something to lament? Extol? Ponder? Get in touch at kat.hannaford[at]futurenet.com, after reading the details here. Disclaimer: Spiels From “Them Below” doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Gizmodo UK or its editors.