The dysfunctional state of tech
How did we get here?
How is it that we have normalized completely dysfunctional relationships between tech platforms, users and businesses? Seemingly, we just now accept incompetent support that borders on user-hostile.
Working with the tech empire of social media companies is an absolute nightmare and in stark contrast to my personal experience working in large corporations decades prior. I worked in end-user customer support for PCs in the 90’s and there was a level of expected professionalism and knowledge for the support staff. A customer escalation was a very big deal and almost always resulted in giving the customer the benefit of the doubt with overcompensation for their grievance.
Late 90’s and the rest of my career I was a software engineer in which I occasionally needed to interface with other businesses or partners for some manner of consultation. Always such exchanges were extremely professional and the disposition of all involved was nearly always helpful and the desire to satisfy your needs was confidently expressed. Hostile exchanges or gross incompetence would have resulted in severe disciplinary actions or terminations. Such was very rare.
One of the later projects I worked on starting around 2009 had a large public forum for customers to ask questions and get help. We had a policy that no question could go unanswered. Our product also could not have any open bugs older than 2 releases and this was a massive product.
All of this brings me to where I am now trying to start a personal business, grow and promote this blog. These activities have resulted in the seemingly futile efforts of trying to work with other businesses that I would have expected wanted my business and would want great relationships with users and other businesses.
However, what I’m greeted with are constant vague policies, the impossibility of clarifications, support that is so incompetent it seems almost purposeful to discourage one from ever attempting to reach out again, policy violations that will not be explained and probably is a violation for even asking.
For example, I have a Facebook page for which I submitted a request to be renamed more than a month ago and still has not been executed. Spent an hour with business support who couldn’t understand the problem. I escalated and received an email response in which it was clear nobody even read the problem ticket. Some of the suggestions actually included “Restart [your] computer.”
Reached out again, was told they don’t handle these issues and gave me another support link. The support link was broken. Reached out again. And again it is clear they did not read my response about the broken link as they resent the same broken link.
“… what I’m greeted with are constant vague policies, the impossibility of clarifications, support that is so incompetent it seems almost purposeful to discourage one from ever attempting to reach out again, policy violations that will not be explained and probably is a violation for even asking.”
So I have no recourse left except maybe to delete and recreate the page. However, in my experience and from other discussions, anything might trigger some “unusual activity on your account” type of notification that shuts down your ad account. Then you will be left at the mercy of waiting for support for days or maybe indefinitely.
This is just one typical example. It is the same and similar pain from Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc. How did we arrive here and is there any hope of it getting better? Anyone out there that works in support, what are your perspectives on the problems?
If you are interested in deeper thoughts of our tech dystopia, you might find my writing on Uniform Thought Machines of interest as it goes into the cultural and societal effects.
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