May 29, 2011

How Twitter made a believer out of me

A few nights ago my daughter was stranded at JFK airport. She had just returned from an international trip with her college. With the long overseas flight completed, all she had left was a relatively quick hop from New York to Columbus. Or so we thought. But storms had played havoc with the airline schedules that day, and after a two-hour delay and three hours of sitting on a stationary plane, her flight was cancelled. At 1:00 in the morning, she found herself in a endless line amid chaotic circumstances at the Delta counter. And called mom.

Well, of course I pulled out my arsenal of tools to help her. Only problem was, that wasn’t much. A check of the airline schedules showed little availability for flights heading into the busy holiday weekend. A call to the Delta reservation line advised a wait time of over an hour before I’d get an agent. In the meantime, her line was barely moving. Then she overheard some people around her talking about rebooking on Twitter. She asked them about it, and told me to try Delta Assist on Twitter.

Now I’ve had a Twitter account for awhile, but never really used it. I participated in DearMyrtles’ first Twitter/TweetDeck webinar, though, so I had a basic understanding of what to do. I logged in, searched for Delta Assist, and clicked to follow them. Then I sent them a message using the @ sign, saying, “My daughter is stranded at JFK. Can you help rebook her?” I forced myself to take a deep breath. Was I even doing this right?

A few minutes later, I got a message back: “I’d be happy to try. What’s her confirmation number?” YES! Okay, another deep breath. I wrote back, the Delta agent wrote back, and within minutes we were making progress. By the time we ended our exchange, my daughter had a confirmed seat on a flight later that afternoon. She’d have to spend the next 14 hours at JFK, but she’d get home.

So that’s how Twitter made a believer out of me. If it can help me in a pinch like that, I have to believe it can help me with my genealogy questions and connections as well. So I’m going to start making a little time for it in my schedule. You can find me on Twitter as “SenseofFamily” (if you follow me, I promise to follow you). It’s time for me to admit this is pretty useful technology after all. Besides, you have to agree they have the cutest corporate logo around!


  1. Awesome story. Thanks for sharing. I didn't realize Twitter would be used this way. (Overthrowing governments like in Tunesia, yes, but fixing one's flight rebooking... wow!

  2. You're preaching to the choir with me, but thanks for sharing your positive experience with Twitter!

  3. I have an account but I have not done much other than follow the NGS conference. Maybe I will need to pay more attention to it.

  4. Hmm ... I find this a compelling reason to joint Twitter and can perhaps use it to persuade my family as well. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Preaching to the choir with me, too. I love my Twitter account as a news feed, a networking agent, a friend connector and more. Glad you were able to save the day!

  6. It never would have occurred to me that Twitter could be used for something like this until it happened. I'm just glad I already had an account set up, and so grateful to the people in line who told her about it!


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