Telstra and shutting down NowWeAreTalking social media site

Telstra closes Now We Are Talking blogs in anticipation of a new site later on. But are they burning engagement in the meantime?

Companies who create social media sites and then don’t do a controlled shut down really don’t get engagement.A controlled shutdown means: telling people it’s coming. Having a real reason – not “the social media experiment is finished, fuck off” or the more polite “we’ll have something better for you  later”. Remember Disney shutting down their virtual worlds. Or even Second Life’s Melbourne Laneways? What a mess. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT AN EXPERIMENT. And you don’t get to just walk away.


Telstra has done a sort of half-hearted controlled shut down. Why half hearted? Well the good news is, they are still listening. Sort of…


The bad news is, they are still thinking of blogs as “their content” and “broadcast” and forgetting engagement, commitment, relationship building and longevity.

Engagement is not press releases with comments. Anyway, those comments? They were OUR content. We bookmarked stuff, blogged about it – linking to it for reference and felt part of a discussion, a community. Now it’s been ripped away.

Our favourite Telstra bloggers? We liked them, even if we never commented and only read,  we felt connected to them…  and Telstra.

How much warning did Telstra give? Will their bloggers come back? Or will we be dumped with a new lot, expected to build relationships with them, only to have them wrenched away again.

In the long tail of the internet, content doesn’t disappear. The fact that Telstra sacked or removed, what 3? 4? bloggers remains, even if the site is gone. Their public blog feuds with Optus remains.

They could’ve left the site up, but locked down e.g. The Police Act wiki in New Zealand. Read only. In the meantime. Sort of the equivalent of giving us a photo on the mantelpiece to look at while we wait for an errant loved one to return. Or not. Heh.

By the way, if they don’t care we don’t care. If no one cares that the ‘engagement’ blogs are gone, then they weren’t working so don’t bother. If Telstra thinks however that customer discussions online IS an important strategy, they might want to show it a little more!

I dunno, the whole thing looks like a love who takes off for Europe for 6 months, without a word, expecting you to be waiting when they get back. *Wanders off humming IRREPLACEABLE by Beyonce. *

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  1. Was just listening to your speech from the Digital 2009 summit, and the Now We Are Talking blog was mentioned.

    5 mins later, your tweet came through which pointed here.

    It’s sad that corporate conversational channels don’t seem to have the resilience required engage with consumers online.

    People trust other people .. more than companies.

  2. Hi Laurel,

    We do care and we are pleased that you do to. Telstra’s involvement in social media has not been an experiment but a serious commitment to the space. We do try to pay respect to the community that engaged with NWAT and if you are interested you can find it archived by the National Library.

    NWAT’s successor will be worth the wait – sorry that ‘the hoardings” are up, like an office refurb, but we want to get it right and with the involvement and contributions of the online community.
    .-= Craig Middleton´s last blog ..We’re still listening =-.

    1. Craig, we both know this isn’t about a business service being closed temporarily for renovations. Not unless Telstra typically has Facilities remove all the items off people’s desks including personal photos, mementos of holidays and cutesy calendars with fluffy kittens on them and dumps them at the library.

      I did say you had it HALF right tho. 😛 Just a little more care ok? We’ve linked to you in the past – those links are now deadlinks. Same with social bookmarking. We’ve quoted stuff that we can’t prove anymore. And so on and so forth. Communities are not business services in isolation but carry a whole weight of the ecosystem.

      Suggest you read the Disney link again – why would parents convince their kids to sign up again to a Disney service when it might get pulled with no warning. Why would people invest time in comments and discussions when their social media collateral gets removed?

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