Internet | Music + Technology | Social Science | Culture | Arts | Humanities

Currently Reading:

Any opinions expressed by me on this site are my own opinions, not those of my employer.

The anti-social web: in defense of Comcast employees

Xfinity Comcast TV HBO Go Apps

Oh my, where to begin? Here's my first thought: on the social web, when we rail against a company that provides service, and we feel let down by that company's services, we may honestly feel that we are railing against that "faceless corporation." And yet, if we were to honestly explore our subconscious, we would surely come to understand that we are venting our frustrations against real people - the company's employees. In fact, I would argue we must by now know very well, that after so many years of social media "experts" insisting that a company must "act like a person" in social channels, we are venting our frustration upon real people. After all, what is a company without its employees? And taking that thought a step further, the "company acting like a person" notion is a ridiculous one. I'll leave it at that.

Here's how I got to those thoughts: I had a tough time getting Comcast cable TV installed at my house. The house was already wired for cable, as I already subscribed to the Comcast/Xfinity internet service, and I had been told by a technician, that the actual cable from the road to my house was almost new and the signals he detected were strong, perfect he said. Still, it turned out to be extremely frustrating to get to the end point of simply watching television. Let's just say that I was on the phone on hold a lot.

As you'll see in the image above, I was angry at Comcast the company, and turned to Twitter to vent my frustration, but I fell into the trap of using unsophisticated discourse as you can see when I said that "Comcast sucks.." That was poor judgement on my part. I was being lazy when I used the pejorative and I can't be excused just because everyone seems to use it. I certainly got attention, but the attention came from human beings of course who no doubt spend at least some of their time slapping their foreheads and whispering "here we go again" under their breaths.

And yet, in my own defense, the service I received from telephone operators at Comcast was haphazard at best and the information I was given was often wrong. That's not a definition of good customer service.

So, here's the puzzle for me: why was I only able to get a response and some positive support via @ComcastBill and from the person behind @xfinitytvapps (Jack, I believe his name to be,) by venting rudely in Twitter? (It's worth noting that I was privately applauded by a few Twitter followers for getting attention this way..)

Comcast certainly has some internal customer service issues to deal with and ought to tighten up its process, but are the employees that are tasked to deal with angry customers every day also thinking that "Comcast sucks" too?

Comcast needs to not suck, period, and I'm sure they are working hard to achieve that. Meanwhile I don't believe that venting on the social web about this company and that is actually productive, nor is it positive, in polite society. It feels more like anti-social media to me. And I was guilty of that.

On another note: Comcast would immediately suck less if they stopped supporting SOPA and PIPA..

Dave Allen

Kodak and the curse of knowledge

iPad usability: a tale of two apps