Recently, I received an invite to Brightkite which is reminiscent of Twitter, but focuses more on your location and connecting you to those nearby. It doesn’t use GPS, but rather the user checks in using the web interface or SMS. In the future, hopefully you can use a GPS enabled phone so you don’t have to check in.
While the service has its upsides and downsides, what was really exciting was their usage of Twitter for technical support and feedback. The Brightkite Twitter account is surprisingly active and responsive. I noticed when a user requested that their account be deleted, it was immediately answered and the account deleted. As I kept track of my Twitter feed, I noticed more and more users giving feedback and requesting help from the Brightkite Twitter account. The user at the end of the Brightkite Twitter feed appeared very well informed and responsive to the user requests as they should be. Using Twitter to communicate to you user base is not new seeing as Michael Arrington, at TechCrunch, recently had a bout with Comcast and they too had a representative respond to his frustration using Twitter.
Are we seeing the next wave in technical support and corporate communication with its users? I hope so, because it is a quick alternative to emailing the company, which usually entails a long wait. Only time will tell if other companies adopt such corporate-user feedback, but I think it is a winner.
[edit: I also have some Brightkite invites, so leave a comment with a valid email address and I will send you one.]