Monday, 23 April 2012

Why I'm suddenly all of a Twitter

Ok, so I changed my mind, I know... but I'm a woman, aren't I (please note, tongue firmly in cheek)? 

What we look like on Twitter @dairyfree
I'm 'coming clean' about it, because I believe in honesty and because the eagle-eyed among you might already have noticed a subtle change to the layout of the dairy free blog page. Yes, it's a Twitter feed!

So, only a few days ago, I was planning to just do FB, but... I changed my mind when I discovered a new reason for Tweeting - which might respectfully be called 'lobbying' or 'campaigning'. Well, strictly speaking, it's probably more like hassling, but what it boils down to is getting your point heard and it struck me that it could be a very useful tool for those struggling with food allergies.

It first came to my notice a few days ago. No sooner had I put out my FB post and started 'liking' other pages, than I discovered that another allergy blogger had used Twitter to contact a major supermarket chain and got a swift response! So, having a few questions of my own that I wanted answered, I decided to conduct an experiment.

Twitter account activated, I first contacted Starbucks, from whom I still haven't had a reply, when, over a week ago, I emailed them about a sandwich. I'm rather keen to get an answer on this one as it has the potential to make quite a difference to my life. Still waiting for an answer on that one Grrr!

Next, I tweeted Tesco, about my gluten free bread - Genius. Again the availability of this brand has made quite an impact on my life. If I can't get it, I literally have to find another supermarket that has it in stock. Success! Tesco decided I was worthy of a response. Kudos to them for that! It didn't actually solve my problem - I want them to keep better control of their stock, but at least they bothered to reply. I have other issues with them, but those can wait for another day!

My last target (for the moment anyway) is Jamie Oliver. Now some people don't like him, (and if you are one of them, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion) but I think he has done very well at getting his voice heard in regard to health issues, such as school dinners. Now, I would love, love, love him to take up the cudgel and campaign on behalf of the food allergic - in fact it's a secret dream of mine. How great it would be, if he could raise the profile of the needs that we have (in terms of sourcing food that is suitable) especially when it comes to eating out.

No response on that one, as of yet, but even if he doesn't reply, maybe having put the idea out there...

Meanwhile, there's still a lot I need to get to grips with. I'm currently taking baby steps. I do find myself getting a bit frustrated, 'cos, when Tweeting on Twitter, you only have a limited amount you can say - at the risk of sounding rude! And maybe, in the heat of the moment, you could be a little indiscreet - I'm going to have to watch that one!

Other uses for Twitter, I discovered (in case you're interested) are making new contacts (two so far - welcome to them) and finding new sources of information, which could be useful (keeping my eye on a doc from New Zealand, who has some interesting things to say about food allergies - not sure if i agree with him, but we shall see). 

I also found it quite fun (and a bit of a revelation) following responses to 'The Voice' on Twitter! Going to try and avoid doing too much of that last one though - I've been neglecting my other duties!

As for The Hub, he has started his own (maybe more practical) form of lobbying - he's discovered you can 'recommend' products to Ocado, that you'd like them to stock. Hopefully they'll be selling my favourite flavour of Kirsty's Freedom (chocolate of course) before long. Will let you know how we get on!

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