Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr
I'm a pretty happy MiFi owner, but I've had a problem with my battery and would like to buy a new one. They're not easy to find, so I was plesantly surprised to find that Novatel (the maker of the MiFi) had a Twitter account: @MyLifeMyWayMiFi. I followed and when I saw some activity, replied to @MyLifeMyWayMiFi asking where spare batteries could be purchased. Nothing. I tried a few more time when I saw activity and have never received any kind of reply. It's clear that Novatel is using it's Twitter account to simply push more advertising at me.
Maybe its working for Novatel, but I think they're missing the real value of using Twitter: two way communication with their customers and opportunities to build relationships. I like my MiFi a lot and I'm a fan. I want to know what they're doing, so in that respect the Twitter account is working. But there's more there.
If I had a relationship with Novatel through Twitter (because they answered my question, for example), I'd be more likely to recommend it to my friends. I'd also be more likely to forgive them missteps. As it is, it's just another piece of the gigantic sewage pump that the industrial age has constructed to push more stuff at me.