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More On Twitter Cans UK SMS

From PaidContent.

It seems that Manx Telecom (who provide Twitter’s “UK” number) is an O2 subsidiary. This would explain why O2 currently treat texts to the 07624 number as standard UK text messages.

“Though phone calls between the UK and the Channel Islands are capped to cost the same as those within the mainland, SMS rates are unregulated so Isles telcos are free to set higher termination rates for those they send, Ofcom told us. The mobile networks are likely to pass these extra costs on to clients like Twitter; some of them even bill Channel Islands numbers at international rates.”

My own experiences with other mobile networks’ answer to the 07624 number are documented here, as are links to the questions others have asked of Twitter.

With the loss of the friends’ information coming to my phone when they post it, Twitter has lost a major component of its functionality and relevance. My future use of Twitter now hangs in the balance.

The “Shut up! It’s a free service so stop moaning!” brigade have been out spreading their ideology and misinformation. To those people I say please wake up and start living in the real world. Here are a few relevant facts which you seem to have missed:

If you claim to provide a service – regardless of whether it is free or not – then the users of that service are your customers.

Good service provision requires openness, honesty, professional conduct, professional performance, timeliness and commitment to customer care. I for one question whether Twitter has achieved any of these criteria in their handling of the “UK” SMS related issues.

Twitter users were never given the option of becoming paid customers. A total lack of engaging with the customer base before making what appears to be a rather sudden decision. The kind of thing Livejournal pulled in the past. Not talking with your customers (note the use of the word “with” rather than “to”) before making a major change really won’t help your reputation.

Twitter doesn’t have a dedicated help and support section on It has a quasi-forum on which is rather dissatisfying as customer support provisions go. (For people who have come straight to this entry, I work in IT customer support myself so am well qualified to express opinions about customer service and support provision). Whether or not that is a money saving measure I don’t know. I do know that, in my view, it is not a good way of supporting and serving customers. Again, doesn’t help your reputation.

The PaidContent report says that Twitter raised $15m recently. That’s a lot of money, even with the poor exchange rate for the US dollar. Where is that money being spent?

As an experienced IT and service professional I am entitled to express my opinions and engage in constructive dialogue with the providers of services that I use. You might prefer to say nothing and get walked over. I do not. It’s called making a positive difference. Don’t criticise me because you prefer to be supine. If Twitter prefers not to take constructive advice on board then at least I can say I tried to make a positive difference.

Twitter has work to do to retain its customer base and rescue its reputation. A lot of users, myself included are looking for alternatives to Twitter. Already TweetSMS has started to promote itself as providing the SMS functionality UK and other international users have lost, thus filling the gap Twitter have created.

It isn’t rocket science. It’s about openness, honesty and good and timely communication with your customers. A little more of each could well have avoided all the negative responses from concerned customers.

Any halfwit can say something’s crap without any justification for their argument. It takes a logical, constructive mind to say why something is wrong and then to offer alternative and better ways of handling situations. They are being offered here and elsewhere in the spirit of openness, honesty, a desire for improvement and making a positive difference.

That desire, that passion, underpins my approach to work and my writings here.

Published inbusinessInternet