The Power of Twitter to Uncloak the Invisible Finger

This is a topic that many Twitter users have mixed feelings about.

It’s becoming increasingly common for corporations to dredge Twitter for mentions of their organisation.

For why?

Well, various reasons, I’m sure. It must have been a hell of a wake-up call to some of them, to see, in real-time, hundreds or perhaps thousands of comments every hour – many of which are likely to be sarcastic or vituperative. Such is the nature of Twitter as a medium.

Some customers have found their Twitter-fed gripes being responded to by the maligned corporation itself.

BT are the most memorable entrant in this category. Let’s all point and laugh at the Daily Mail’s take on the matter.


Some of Britain’s biggest firms were last night accused of ‘spying’ on their customers after they admitted ‘listening in’ on disgruntled conversations on the internet.

The companies include BT, which uses specially developed software to scan for negative comments about it on websites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You just can’t parody that, can you? Software so secret, that the name of it appears at the end of every message sent.

 Classified information hidden on Twitter, yesterday.

There it is – Debatescape.

And spying? Hell no. Anything you type and send using Twitter etc. is visible to the whole world, including the object of the comment. Ask Paul Chambers. (Incidentally, his appeal gets underway next week. Keep ‘em peeled.)

So what’s my point? Well it’s this: The Invisible Finger. A corollary to Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Fuck you, you corporate whorebags.

It is the invisible finger that consumers give to organisations that give poor service or value. It’s part of the market’s self-regulating nature. Reputation matters.

Via tools like Debatescape and Tweetdeck, Web 2.0 has uncloaked the invisible finger for all to see.

My experience that prompted this post was a moan I had, on Twitter, about Rightmove. Typically ribald, it read as follows:


My point being, that if I’ve been receiving automated emails from some web based presence for months on end, I don’t want to have to dig out my password for the site, should I decide I don’t need to receive that email any more. Typically you just click the unsubscribe link in the email and that’s the end of it.

It’s life’s tiny irritations that erode the quality of one’s day. **

I was slightly surprised, though, to receive communications from Rightmove a few hours later.


I responded, somewhat more politely, making the point as above. I would hope now, that fixing that irritation is on their developer’s to-do list.

In restrospect, all of the above considered, I should not have been surprised.

Anyway. Would I have been any more polite, had I considered that Rightmove would indeed have an employee reading and would indeed respond? Perhaps I would have, yes.

Although I was in a pretty dark mood earlier on. Way too much refreshment last night.

This is power, people. Use it well.


** As it happens, I was just being obtuse. I have an encrypted password database, where I keep all my passwords – a key internet security principle being the use of a different complex/unmemorable password on every site you use.

Think about it – if your Amazon account is compromised, most likely from within, do you really want those people to also be able to log into your Hotmail and Facebook?


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