How to let me help you on Twitter

You may want to read instead “How to get your question answered on Twitter.”

My apologies.

If I sent you to this post, it’s because I’m trying very hard to help you, but your responses are unclear. You may think the fact that you forgot or weren’t quite clear on something I asked or said shouldn’t be a big deal, but I can’t help you unless I can understand very clearly what the problem is. You’re probably a very nice person who is just very frustrated. And believe me, I’d like to help you. That’s what I’m here for.

I’ve left the table at least once at every holiday dinner party with my family for years now to help people with Twitter problems. Yes, I’m helping you for free, in my spare time. No, I’ve never worked for Twitter.

Here’s what you need to do to help me help you:

I won’t be any good to you unless you help me help you. First: If I’ve asked a question or given a suggestion, don’t write me anything else: Answer the question or try the suggestion first. If you don’t remember what I asked or suggested, go back in your tweets or DMs and find what I wrote you, read it again and do what I asked or suggested.

Provide details on what you have done. Don’t just say “It’s not working” or “I did what I was supposed to.” You have to provide details. What exactly did you do? If you tried troubleshooting, what steps exactly did you take?

If I give advice for a type of computer or device that you aren’t using, let me know. For example, if you’ve been asking me how to fix a problem with your mobile but have switched over to your desktop, you need to let me know.

If I advise something, and I ask you “Did you do it, and if so, what happened?” tweeting back “I’ve tried everything” is NOT an acceptable response. You didn’t answer my question. Did you try what I suggested, yes or no? What happened when you did? I’ve noticed people who say “I’ve tried everything” often did NOT try what I’ve suggested.

Realize that If I had a solution I would have given it to you already. What we’re doing now is called “tech support” and the faster you can be clear with me on the problem and answer my questions and try my suggestions the sooner I can tell you if I can help you or not.

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