I recently posted: “Google before you Tweet” is the new “Think before you Speak.” Since things posted on the Internet are forever, I thought I’d remind myself and others that it’s good to verify your information before pontificating. (I have snopes.com on speed dial.)

The same is true for reading the content before we share on facebook or retweet a link. Actually reading and checking what we post can preserve the illusion that we are intelligent beings.  Otherwise we risk sharing something incorrect or inappropriate or pass on, as truth,  satire from The Onion or Mooscleans.

Being asleBadRetweetep at the wheel when you are posting as yourself is merely embarrassing. But when you’re posting on behalf of an organization, it’s criminal not to have your brain in gear. So I was puzzled, today, to see a retweet of something I posted a couple of weeks ago.

Is this an organization rubbishing itself? Or is someone simply not reading and thinking before posting?

NovoED is the learning platform for an online course I’m taking. (A MOOC with thousands of participants.) Desire2Learn, based in my community, would seem to be a rival in the ed-tech space. (Yes, I Googled that before pontificating.) So why would NovoED repeat a plug for D2L?

I think it’s just another example of what happens when those asked to communicate on an organization’s behalf are not involved in or, at least, curious and informed about its operations.

NovoED’s usabilty was, at the time of my tweet, somewhere between nothing and zero. Frustrated and grumpy participants couldn’t see or scroll to the [Submit] button to complete their assignments. Sadly and paradoxically, our assignment topic was empathy for the user of a product or service. Where was the empathy for us? An unusable platform in a usability course is a super learning opportunity. Was this part of our learning? Or was it some weird social sciences experiment involving, as they inevitably do, Stanford students?

Meanwhile, whoever was communicating for NovoED was tweeting things like this:





Technically, the tweet was correct. The ‘Technology Issues’ section of the course forum was abuzz with cries for help and reports on failed workarounds. Even the Mac people were trapped in User Hell. Nobody seemed to be monitoring the pages and pages of chat to offer a suggestion or acknowledge the problem. Show me the empathy in that.

I took to Twitter to try to get us some help.









I continued for several days, using the hashtag #usabilitymatters. Lots of retweets, but no response from @GoNovoED. I wrote to customer service. No response. I considered dropping the course.

I wondered why so many organizations maintain a Twitter presence when they are not willing or able to respond to customer requests. I tried to imagine developers building a ‘Technology Issues’ forum and then ignoring it.

Then I asked myself, what do organizations that just didn’t care about users do? So I downloaded and installed a new browser. It worked in Google Chrome. Guess I should have thought to Google first.