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It’s nice that companies have Twitter accounts, giving them the ability to respond to customer concerns on the fly. It’s less good when someone says she’s trapped in your company’s elevator and you shoot her a tweet seven months later to ask if she’s still there.
That’s what just happened with the Amtrak Twitter account. Back in February, the communications director for the Ted Cruz campaign tweeted that she was stuck in an Amtrak elevator at the Baltimore airport (a normal inconvenience for anti-Trump conservatives, as a recent Daily Dot investigation revealed):
Guys. I’m trapped in an amtrak elevator at Bwi airport. Help?
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) February 14, 2016
And that it hadn’t been inspected in quite a while:
A Valentine’s Day disaster! But Amtrak sent a tweet offering help, and Carpenter eventually got out. Looks like the system works.
But fast-forward to September: The Cruz campaign is long dead, and Carpenter has gone on with her life outside of the elevator. Out of nowhere, she gets this tweet:
Ahahahah. Did someone at Amtrak suddenly freak out at the idea that a woman had been trapped in an airport elevator for more than half a year but somehow managed to survive all that time?
No, but they did see a retweet of Carpenter’s original call for help and fail to check the date. (This makes sense, because there’s been renewed internet of late in Republicans’ troubling tendency to become stuck in elevators.)
Ultimately, no one got hurt, but Amtrak was mildly embarrassed and offered to make things right by giving Carpenter a free Acela train ticket.
#Brand Twitter, the world of Twitter accounts run by social media professionals on behalf of corporations, is hilariously doomed to fail. There’s not really a middle ground between uncomfortably stiff and humorless or uncomfortably human, and the high volume of tweets corporations send ensures that one of the unfortunate people behind the accounts will screw up eventually.
The internet has truly made life better in all ways for people, corporations, and corporate persons.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.