With all that said, I have a wonderful example to back up my claim. Another friend of mine who needed to relocate with her 3 year old son back to Boston bought one way tickets on Jetblue to fly home only she mistakenly bought it for Boston to San Diego rather than vise versa. Granted this was her slip-up, she got on the phone with Jetblue Airlines to explain the situation and what she had done. It was 11:00PM and she was supposed to be leaving in 2 days. She spent close to 3 hours on the phone with customer service only to learn her only option would be to purchase 2 new round-tip tickets at a very expensive last minute price.
So, I decided to contact @JetBlue on Twitter for her. I explained how unyielding their telephone customer service was being. Within 2 minutes they replied to me. In the end after all that telephone hassle, @JetBlue helped her solve the problem in under 5 minutes. They fixed her tickets and reimbursed her for the additional 2 new round-trip tickets she purchased. Without starting this communication on Twitter she would have been out $800 and left with a bad taste in her mouth. Oh, the power of social media. Talk about great customer service online.
I went out to dinner the other night with some friends and the subject of social media came up, more specifically Twitter. One person made a comment that he was skeptical of this new tool and that it seemed like it was just a bunch of noise - a way for others to promote and push themselves. He went on to say that he has an account, but does nothing with it. I politely began to educate him on all the wonderful aspects of this tool and continued to explain that with the right following/follower base, it can be extremely useful.
The truth of the matter is he is right in some ways. There is a lot of noise on Twitter. A lot of people with no significant message. The best part about Twitter is that you can weed those people out. You control what you hear. If you care to accept the truth that Twitter is a great source on so many different levels, then you're at least one step in the door. Once you've accepted this truth, you can worry about learning how to use it with a little bit of time and patience. For those individuals who don't accept this, then, well, they are missing out and eventually over time as its usefulness becomes even greater, they'll be forced to.