By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Dick Smith Electronics is doing its best to live up to its self-applied Techxperts label, using Twitter to communicate with consumers and promote specials and sales.

Since launching the 140-character revolution on 6 November last year, Dick Smith has tweeted 182 times. Whilst 0.95 tweets per day is a relatively modest rate, use of the service has picked up recently.  This is something of a trailblazing move for the CE retailing industry, with only Bing Lee also tweeting amongst comparable rivals.

There are three distinct subjects covered by Dick Smith when on Twitter. The first is specials and promotions, which generally entail a brief product description, price and a link to the applicable page on the Dick Smith online store.

The second broad use of Twitter at Dick Smith is to promote news articles published by specialist online titles. These titles include CNet, PC World and GamesRadar. Unsurprisingly, these articles present an invariably favourable view of products, trends or certain brands.

The third, and arguably most interesting use of Twitter by Dick Smith Electronics, is to engage dissatisfied customers. Using Twitter keyword monitoring, the person tweets on behalf of Dick Smith, he refers to himself as “Luke”, finds out negative postings and asks the bad news bloggers to convey their frustrations privately.

On 12 April 2009, ‘Cameron_Smith’ wrote, “Dick Smith, Featherston st… bunch of prats. Wasting my time. This is why retail is dying. Simple things made so hard. ARGH!”.

The next day, Dick Smith Electronics, who was not following ‘Cameron_Smith’, or vice versa, replied to this exultation:

“I am interested in knowing more in regards to your experience. Please send further details to Luke”

Before that, in a sentient post, Sydney man ‘davegazz’ (real name David Guazzarotto) wrote:

“ducked out to get some new headphones… worst service ever from Dick Smith.. bad form ..if they’re smart they monitor twitter and fix it!”

Whether Dick Smith did fix this problem is unknown, but they are smart enough to monitor Twitter, and within 24 hours, Guazzarotto was contacted for a more private airing of grievances. Harvey Norman, Good Guys, Retravision and Clive Peeters may be more conservative than the ‘Techxperts’, but they could do worse than follow this example. contacted Dick Smith Electronics for comment.