This was kinda cool. I got up this morning and tweeted pretty early that some of us from work were planning a Field Research project to a local coffee house later that morning. Would they respond? I wasn't sure, but I checked it repeatedly that morning. (I ended up breaking my "no social media at work" policy a few times.)
Around 9, we all gathered at the coffee house. We wanted to see their new in-store-only website. It's part of a project I'm working on at work. So we all sat down and pulled out Mac and PC laptops, iPads, iPhones and tried to view it. We couldn't get a signal that would work. We tried walking around the place. Tried disabling 3G, disabling Edge, forcing WiFi, nothing. So we went back to 3G but couldn't figure out what to do. Someone finally asked and was told the WiFi in that shop had been broken for months. I inquired further and the employee I asked asked another who responded "Never" in a sing-songy voice before saying they'd reported the problem a long time ago.
I tweeted that we were on to another location because the wi-fi was broken in the first location. So the eight of us packed up our electronics and our coffees, got back in the car and drove to the next closest one and walked in. People at tables when learning that we were all one group moved to make room for us, which was pretty cool, especially considering many of us didn't order drinks at the second place, still nursing the warm soothing drinks from the first place.
I had given everyone a series of questions for them to think about as they looked over the website. It was really an exercise about getting people to think outside of the box, and I think it was really fruitful. I kept checking my tweets because I'd now name-dropped a few times. I heard that a colleague was getting responses to her tweets and noticed she'd used a phrase in hers that I hadn't. So I sent one last tweet before we all packed up and headed back to the office.
By the time I had gotten back to the office, someone from the company was asking me what I thought of their website and where the broken wi-fi was. From their Twitter profile I found their blog and on their blog was their work email address, so I emailed them back. (They are a C-level exec at their company! When I get to this point in the story relating it later to my boss he says "Of course they were.") They responded back which gave me the opening to ask if maybe a group from our office could meet with a group from their office so that we could learn from what they're already doing.
No response on that request yet, but they did reply back before lunch to say that the wifi was fixed.
That was a pretty awesome use of social media.