Weekly Thoughts 13

I am writing this right now from a McDonald’s.

Yes, I recently moved which put me in a position of having no internet and while McDonald’s is certainly not known for its Wi-Fi game, it beats the monotony of a daily appearance at Starbucks. I want to talk more about this internet-less experience, but you will have to wait next week for that– today, a complaint.

Last Wednesday I called in order to have my internet transferred, they told me that on Saturday between four and five they would come to do it. By 5:15 on Saturday we hadn’t heard anything so we called again, made sure they had our numbers right and soon after that they came and tried to install it.

Unfortunately this didn’t work because some sort of cable wasn’t working and they told us that they would have to come back some time on Monday.

Monday came around and we didn’t hear anything from them. The next day we called again and they said that they had come and fixed it and called us but nobody answered. Turns out that they called an old phone number, which we had just made sure they wouldn’t use the previous Saturday. They told us somebody would call us within an hour to try to schedule a time. No call ever came.

The next day we called again to see what was happening, this time they told us we could only schedule an appointment for the following Tuesday–6 days later and 13 days after our original call to them.

This enraged me a little bit, I’m not gonna lie. It feels like pretty poor customer service and mishandling people who rely on a service quite a bit and are willing to pay (probably too much) to have it. Right now we are not paying anything, just waiting to give away our money.

This service provider is named Time Warner Cable by the way–I wanted to make sure you knew that. Obviously this story is not the most exciting, I’m sure some readers will love graveling against a big corporation, because they are fun to gravel against, but ultimately this is an experiment of sorts.

Time Warner provides support in two main ways: through their call-in system (which we’ve been using) and an online chat. There isn’t really any way to email them complaints and for timid phone talkers like myself I will never sound enraged enough on a telephone to make any real change happen. The chat is difficult to use, especially to explain this problem using only an iPhone.

The other day though, I noticed something very interesting. Frustrated at a lack of internet and general enthusiasm to fix my problem on Time Warner’s behalf, I sent out a sarcastic tweet. Within minutes a Time Warner Help account tweeted back at me, asking me about my problem and what they can do. I never responded, because my phone does not really work well in sending replies, only in sending out Tweets. But I had gotten someone’s attention.

So perhaps detailing out my problems and the ways in which Time Warner Cable has failed on the internet, using social media, and blogs is the best way to make change happen. These brands are working very hard to keep their images clean. Like how advertising has crept slyly into our feeds maybe we too have the power to affect corporations by what we say about them online. After all they pay good money to be featured however slightly on our screens, this shows that these platforms have a perceived sense of power and influence at least to marketing types. Maybe the criticism given to the slacktivist is a little unwarranted after all.

So Time Warner Cable, if you’re out there, I don’t want to trash your brand, I really don’t, but let’s see what happens.

And you, my internet readers and users of the web, this medium is the future. It is the place where everything happens and where everybody is fighting for their corner; their place to commodify. In its ridiculousness this gives you power, so use the internet how you will.