I love the web. I love that it makes it easier to stay in touch and communicate, meet like-minded people, buy goods not readily available in local shops, and most of all create anything you want. Yet a few years ago, as many of these reasons were obvious, I hadn’t considered that something which took place yesterday would be possible.
On Saturday, I signed up for Songkick, a potentially useful service for a someone who loves going to gigs. It imports your Last.fm data, and tells you when gigs are on in the towns you select by artists which you listen to. Smart. On the signup page, the default location is London, UK, which you can change. I changed the location to Edinburgh, UK and filled out the rest of the form. Once signed up, I logged in to the site, imported my Last.fm data and was presented with gigs for artists I liked, but in London. I had to manually change the location to Edinburgh. Not a massive problem, but it struck me as an unnecessary to ask for my location at signup, then disregard it later. I posted on Twitter:
if i give you my location at signup,you probly shouldn’t give me events for the default (wrong) location after signup. looking at you songkick
Perhaps not my finest hour. I thought nothing more about it until yesterday, when I received an @reply on Twitter from Get Satisfaction:
Wondering what was going on, I followed the link, to find that a new topic had been created in Songkick’s Get Satisfaction area with my tweet in it. A Songkick Official Rep, EmilyS, had replied to my rather off-the-cuff tweet with thanks for alerting Songkick to the problem, and asking for more information so they could look into it!
As it turns out, Get Satisfaction allows companies to create ‘Overheard’ sections for their products, as they explain:
Overheard lists out the most recent Twitter posts (“tweets”) related to this company. Anyone, employee or customer, can convert a tweet into a Get Satisfaction conversation. Overheard notifies the original Twitter poster of the discussion started in response to their issue.
It would appear that Songkick monitor their Overheard section, and EmilyS saw my tweet and responded, which creates a topic and sends the user a reply on Twitter to let them know. Songkick didn’t have to respond – my tweet was hardly an official support request – and by doing so they flagged a potential problem with their product in public for all to see. Yet this probably hasn’t caused any negative effects, and in my case has actually caused a positive effect.
All this has left me in awe of the web again, at the possibilities and applications for the web that we haven’t yet grasped. And in the meantime it is helping companies help their users and themselves in increasingly clever ways.