I was sitting around Saturday not doing a whole lot and all of a sudden I got an idea. I think I was thinking about those white boards and chalk boards in the office cafeteria or on the front door of a particular restaurant. Anyone that wants to can walk up, grab a marker or piece of chalk and write a message or make a doodle. It’s fun!
So I was thinking that it could be cool to do something like that with Twitter. So the next hour was spent creating a few necessary accounts, creating a logo, setting up a Tumblr and priming the account. And so here it is!
Remember when the Web became ubiquitous? I mean when broadband started showing up and dial-up was fading away. When you’d see stacks of AOL trial discs at a friends house. And when companies learned that they had to own a plot of land online just to stay relevant. Remember that?
There are reasons why companies should have a website that go beyond relevancy. Now it’s about control, freedom, communication, community, marketing, PR, and support.
Fast forward a few years. We saw pop-up businesses showing up solely on MySpace. If they had a domain, it would take you to their MySpace profile. Then MySpace (mostly) died as did most of those pop-up businesses. I would imagine that this left many “homeless.” Services come and go. That alone should be reason to host our most important assets at a location that we have more control over.
Self-hosted sites have freedom. Freedom of design. Freedom from someone else’s Terms of Service agreements. Freedom from changes that we have no control over. We also have the freedom to build our own communities without competing noise.
Not everyone we know is on Facebook. Far fewer are on Twitter. Or more simply, not everyone wants to participate in a public arena. If someone wants to contact our company with a question or they have a great idea or they’re looking for support, how are they going to do that if we don’t have a website and they aren’t on Facebook or Twitter?
My friend Joe sent me an e-mail earlier this week:
A friend of mine [Mitch] recently recommended I download the iPhone app, TiKL – Touch to Talk
After checkin’ it briefly – downloaded and installed.
Once I completed the awfully confusing setup process, I realized I had set up the app wrong…I entered Mitch’s number instead of my own. Realizing this, I had Mitch have someone else send him a PTT request over the app just to see if I could intercept it…I could. Now that alone is pretty funny because it’s so broken, but the best part is basically the grave the company has dug for themselves…
First of all, due to Apple’s new(ish) rating system you can’t just automatically rate after download/uninstall.
Second, the ‘TiKL Inc Web Site’ and ‘TiKL – Touch to Talk Support’ listed in iTunes both point to their Facebook page.
Their Facebook ‘Info’ lists http://www.tikl.mobi as their website…which points to their Facebook page.
I don’t have a Facebook, so I checked their Twitter to see if they had a different website listed…they don’t.
So basically this company has given me two options:
1. Sign up for Facebook -> Send them a message
2. “Why can I put any number in the @TiKLTouchToTalk app and get their PTT request? And why did I have to tweet this?”
Personally, I don’t think I’ll do either, because I’d rather not destroy a company’s rep…but as a convenience to me why wouldn’t I take option 2?
People are beginning to understand the dangers of social media, but it looks like maybe some companies are not.
I think Joe means that people and companies rely too heavily on social media as a means of communication. As of May 1, 2011, ~70% of the online population in the United States is on Facebook. Which means ~30% are not.
After looking for a contact e-mail a second time, I finally located it. First go to their site, which will redirect you to their Facebook page. Click on Notes. Click on http://info.tikl.mobi/. Click on FAQ. Scroll to the bottom and it’s right there. firstname.lastname@example.org
I can understand not providing personalized support because the app costs nothing to download (although ads are served). Spam is probably also lower because the e-mail address is less conspicuous. BUT, It limits feedback. And feedback is critical for any product! Why limit feedback channels? It’s also a good way to lose ad revenue and paying customers down the road.
Couldn’t a forum on a yet-to-exist TiKL website solve all of this? 45,839 people “like” TiKL on Facebook while over 10,000,000 use the app on Android alone. Add in the iPhone users and there’s an awful lot of people who can’t or are choosing not to communicate on Facebook.
We all have 5 senses to communicate information. Any less is a handicap; any more is awesome. Some people choose not to use every “sense;” let’s not alienate those that prefer alternate channels of communication.
Here’s my last-ditch effort to pitch the need for a website: If you have millions and millions of users, you’ve probably made a good product. I’m willing to bet that lots of those people would love to see what else the folks behind TiKL have made and are working on.
Are there reasons not to have a website for a business? Are there other reasons to limit communication?