Is Social Media Over?

“Social media is over,” said James Franco at a recent nonprofit benefit. The actor and write received much attention for live tweets sent out during his co-hosting duties at the Oscars. However, after just a few months of being on Twitter, he’s said that he’s looking to spend less time on the service.

Is Franco right? Will social media be another online fad to be eventually forgotten like our Geocities home pages and AOL chat rooms? With over 600 million Facebook members and 155 million tweets posted every day, it’s not hard to look at the statistics and balk at James Franco’s prediction. However, as a Geek Squad Agent who helps the public with their technology every day, I see a more fundamental proof that social media is here to stay: the simple human need to share our experiences. Continue reading “Is Social Media Over?”

I’m a Twelpforce Team Member, and so are you!

Recently, I’ve found myself adding “… and Twelpforce Team Member” to my listed position at Best Buy on documents like the short bio page I had to create for my local Geek Squad group. I started doing this after I came to notice that Twelpforce had become far more than just something I did on the side at Best Buy. Instead of just another task or responsibility, being part of the Twelpforce really does feel like being part of something unique in our corporate culture here.

Even more interesting to me is that I really consider every employee who contributes to Twelpforce as a full-on Twelpforce Team Member, worthy of adding that to their listed position, regardless of how often they do so.

The reason, I believe, is that even if an employee is only able to help answer a single question every once in a while, they’ve gone above and beyond their normal duties to reach out and directly provide help to a worldwide audience of current and potential customers. Every single “twelp” they contribute truly helps those with questions out there in a way that personifies what we mean by Best Buy believing in “the power of our people”.

Every interaction through Twelpforce is a lesson for us that begins with a question, but ends as an interaction with a customer who now has an answer that may solve an issue they had, or inspire them to new possibilities.

All thanks to 2,500 of my fellow employees, every one of which I’m proud to call a Twelpforce Team Member.

Google Needs a Twelpforce

It’s pretty obvious that Google’s biggest strength is their technology. It seems like every month involves some new Google technology meant to strengthen the company’s position as the Internet’s information phone book. On the other hand, as the company releases more and more products, I’m starting to see a small, but growing, backlash against their weakness: customer service.

When Google’s product line consisted of “beta” products like Gmail or Google Maps, they could get away with providing very minimal customer service. Users with issues are often directed to an email address or forums for support. Now that Google is developing operating systems, like the Android platform on a growing number of smartphones such as their own Google-branded Nexus One, or the Chrome OS that they hope to have on netbooks, relying on email or forum support just isn’t going to cut it for potential buyers.

Google is absolutely going to have to invest in more traditional customer service options, such as call centers, as their product families grow. However, I also believe they’d also significantly benefit from looking at how Best Buy’s Twelpforce handles both customer service and technology questions.

As a Best Buy employee who has helped a number of people via Twelpforce, I know very well how the model allows a company to use the collective knowledge of its employees to provide help to the public on a wide range of topics related to a company’s products and services.

If there’s one thing Google is very strong in, it’s the technical knowledge of their employees. Imagine how many questions they could answer for the public by using a Twelpforce model to bring that knowledge straight to not only those asking the questions, but to anyone else who might have similar problems as well.

Google wouldn’t have to rely on only Twitter as a means to answer those incoming questions either. Best Buy has been developing a tool alongside Twelpforce, called BBYFeed, that allows for both questions and answers that won’t fit within Twitter’s 140 characters. This tool is being designed to open up future avenues for both incoming and outgoing interactions beyond Twitter.

If any company would be good at creating a way to collect those answers in a way that could be easily searched and available to answer future questions, it would be Google.

So Google, where’s your Twelpforce?