Last week, as many of you will know, the main dude behind the Telecom NZ Twitter account finished up. Richard had been at the helm for a few years and although supported by the famous ORT (Online Response Team), he was the guy you’d most likely be tweeting and Facebooking if you were talking to Telecom on social media. On his last day, the Twitter community got together to have a farewell tweet with him – not something I’ve seen before on Twitter. Except maybe when Paul Brislen left Vodafone – but really, who can remember that far back?
There was a great sense of camaraderie and Richard received an endless stream of tweets and lols to fill in his last few hours in the role.
Here’s a few of them:
(@nzben) February 22, 2013
Anna Connell (@AnnaGConnell) February 22, 2013
@TelecomNZ Hey ^RI you should go out Oprah-style... "You get a new phone, and you get a new phone... YOU ALL GET A NEW PHONE!!"—
Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) February 22, 2013
There was recognition from other social media managers, mega trolls and just normal trolls who have all gotten to know Richard from his helpful customer service, witty jokes and patient explanations of how to reset your wifi. But what now? It’s quite challenging for a brand to replace someone who is so well known within the community and who had developed a relationship with those tricky individuals over time.
It will also be interesting to see whether the community adjusts and if the interactions change. When you know the guy on the Twitter phone, you are less likely to bug him at 9pm on a Saturday night to ask some random question about APN settings, because you know you are probably intruding on his weekend. But if it is a Twitter account that you haven’t interacted with before or you don’t know the people or the resourcing model behind it, then you will probably tweet away without a second thought. Well that’s what I do anyway – would be interested if anyone else does this too?
No-one is irreplaceable of course, and the new team seem to have settled in well.
Hey team - we have new members of the team. Holly (^HL), Lucy (^LJ) & Harriet (^HM) are joining us. Please make them feel welcome 🙂 ^AC—
Telecom New Zealand (@TelecomNZ) February 25, 2013
But it’s something for large brand accounts to ponder on if there is just one highly visible person answering that Twitter phone and what the succession plan is when they move on. It’s one thing to be able to use Facebook and Twitter, it’s completely another thing to know who needs fast attention, who is just joking around with you, or being able to judge if there is some impending thunderstorm gathering on the horizon. Tricky indeed.
Lastly, I thought this tweet from Cate Owen summed things up perfectly:
Oh Richard Irvine was all right. I suppose.—
Cate Owen (@CateOwen) February 22, 2013
PS : If you think you are the next Richard Irvine, you can see the role advertised here.
PPS: Richard made me add that in 😉