We released a new widget onto our Playground a few weeks ago – a mini report about your Twitter personality.  I imagined it’d be a hit – and there would be much fanfare, or at least a few congratulatory words of the type we’re used to (“how do you do it?” “you’ve got me spot on” and such).

A few hundred people completed the questionnaire in a couple of weeks, which is a fair success. Not all of them published their results on Twitter. That’s okay – not everyone feels inclined to share personality results.

However, it was the next point that really stopped me in my tracks. A few of those hundred took the time to comment on the website with some grumbles. The main complaint it seemed, was around the use of the “Tweet This” feature : some of the folk actually accused us of trying to harvest their Twitter account login and password details!

I’ll admit to being a bit crestfallen. I guess that I thought my disclaimer comment at the bottom of the report was enough to reassure folks that we wouldn’t ever see their Twitter details, as we used the Twitter developer API to exchange details.

To be honest, I couldn’t even begin to understand why folk would think we would want to steal their Twitter passwords and such in the first place. How can that be beneficial to anyone?

Oh, boy – I was wrong! And there were a few other points being made.

I took the time to reply to each complaint personally by email (although not everyone gave a valid email address) and also posted my response in the comments section.

Was it good enough? Of course it wasn’t. It might only have been a handful of customers, but they were making a valid point in the context of their experience. How could we ignore it?

The upshot is we didn’t ignore it. We made some changes. I rearranged the output report, deleted some of the text and inserted some new.  More importantly, we installed OAuth for the “Tweet This” feature. That means that the user details are inserted onto a page on the Twitter site, before returning back to the PeopleMaps widget.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that the less geeky amongst our customers might still not be nervous, and I know I can make even more improvements to the widget – perfection more often being a goal than a reality. But overall I’m happy with the way we’ve dealt with it. For one, we’re learning to listen to feedback more, and understanding that all feedback is relevant and worth listening to. It’s really changing my attitudes to showing off what we have before I think it’s ready, and not being personally offended if the feedback isn’t as positive as I’d have liked.

p.s. Want to give it a go and see what you think? I’m open to your feedback, of course 😉 And if you’ve already completed a PeopleMaps widget/questionnaire you don’t need to complete the questionnaire again: enter the login details you created on the front page as “Existing User” and you’ll be taken straight to your report…