If you're reading this blog post, you're likely to be one of my pals on Twitter - or you came from my website. For the handful of you who came from the website and haven't a clue what Twitter is, it's sort of like AIM meets Facebook with some LinkedIn thrown in for good measure. It's like blogging in 140 characters or less. Like Facebook, your network grows often by "following" people who have common interests or following the people your friends are following. I "tweet" far too much - according to Tweetwasters, my little 140 character blurbs have taken a full 1.18 days to type. Rather amazing that I enjoy it since I can't seem to do anything in 140 characters or less - which I'm sure you've noticed.
One way of gaining followers, or even finding people to tweet to is to have an alert set up for certain words. Obviously, I have an alert set up for the word PurelyCosmetics and the phrase "Purely Cosmetics". Apparently, ToysRUs has one set up to auto follow anyone who mentions their name, or at least who mentions it a set amount of times.
On Black Friday, I had made several references to the shooting at the ToysRUs store in Palm Desert, Calif, followed by a ton more the next day when I found out that my in-laws were in the store at the time of the shootings (gak!). Suddenly, I got an email notification that I was now being followed by a Tweeter named Toysrusonline. I didn't think much of it; the Dow500 and Barak Obama follow me as well. Trust me, our President-Elect does not read my 20 odd tweets a day. So I figured that ToysRUs had a robot type twitter account who's sole purpose is to monitor what's being said about them. WRONG.
A week ago, I tweeted this: "Off to brave Toys R Us. Wish me luck". Toysrusonline wished me "Happy Shopping" within minutes of my tweet. I was pretty shocked, as I was sure that this was a robot! So I tested them: I'd been on a quest for knowledge of what the "cool" toys for 5 year old boys was for my nephew's gift, and wasn't getting much in the way of answers from the Twitterverse. I sent a post via text message from my cell phone while in the parking lot of the store. Before I was in the store very long, I already received a message back with a link to some suggestions. Unfortunately, the ToysRUs in my neighborhood had a wide selection of "out of stock", but that wasn't her fault. If you look through her posts, toysrusonline let's you know that they've just gotten in more Wii Fits, listens to irate people who expect their online credit card charges to be reversed even before they've finished their transaction, and lets you know about deals and steals. She's truly amazing. There are quite a few brand names on Twitter: CNN, for example has 14,820 people following them, but follows back only 6. That's a robot posting the latest news (which comes in handy, but it's not the personal interaction that makes Twitter so fun). If you look at toysrusonline's tweets, a significant portion of them begin with @someone's name - meaning they are replying directly to that person about something. In the height of the holiday season, where one would think that anyone who is even remotely associated with Toys R Us is about to pull their hair out, she remains cheerful, personable, helpful, and even tempered.
@Toysrusonline's boss: you need to give this gal a raise. And have her train the rest of your muckity-mucks how to use social media. For those of you who came to this blog from the website, join Twitter and follow me!