A few days ago we started a new campaign on SUMO, the Army of Awesome. It’s an effort to allow casual Firefox users to get in contact with other Firefox users who have something to say about Firefox, positive or negative. There is a back story to this project. We at SUMO started a similar campaign earlier this year and launched it after some initial testing. Our focus was on answering as many help requests as possible and we used Cotweet to coordinate our efforts with our core contributors and new volunteers could use their own account and the #fxhelp hashtag so we could track their contributions. That worked fairly well for a while. But in the end it was too inclusive with the Cotweet account being the main tool, and surprisingly enough looking at long rows of only negative feedback turned out not to be really motivating, but we have been doing it since then with new contributors joining from time to time.
A little later the engagement team also started to experiment with Twitter. They also went for the cotweet approach, but answered all kinds of Tweets instead of just the ones relevant for support. That worked much better, but since the engagement team is not the support team they couldn’t answer all the different kinds of support requests on Twitter, and also: we have up to 10.000 Tweets about Firefox a day, it’s impossible for a small team to really answer all those teams, so apparently cotweet wasn’t the correct answer here either.
So a few weeks ago the SUMO team and the engagement team came together to evaluate their own programs and see if we could come up with something better together. We then quickly decided that we’d need an open approach. Much broad in reach than what we had with cotweet. And we decided early on that our help would not be reduced to support tweets but that those would be an important part.
So we began sketching out a micro site that would allow casual Firefox users to skim a stream of Tweets about Firefox, pick one that they wanted to reply to and offer them an easy way to reply by giving them pre-written snippets that they could modify. With a lot of hard work from William Reynolds and the awesome Webdev team we had the basics for the page done pretty quickly.
From our experience within SUMO we knew that support on Twitter quickly evolves into a back and forth and Twitter is not the best tool for discussions. So we wanted to come up with a way for casual contributors to select a pre-written tweet with a link to a support article, and send it to a Firefox users in need of help, but with the good feeling that the tweet would most definitely solve the users problem.
To accomplish that we wrote 3 articles specifically for Twitter users:
We knew from earlier testing that those were the top support related tweets on Twitter, and we wanted to create articles that would specifically target them, so we could send one tweet in reply instead of having to enter a rather difficult support discussion in 140 characters.
A few days ago all of this came together now and works just great on the Army of Awesome. One user called the experience ‘addictive’. Go check it out 🙂