In what has to be a truly innovative use of Twitter, Shire Pharmaceuticals launched a phone-assisted ADHD Support Twitter account (@adhdsupport). Instead of following other Twitter users and building up a community where followers can “direct message” the account, @adhdsupport suggests that people call the Shire Customer Service Center if they want to provide comments. The reason given: “At this time we aren’t able to follow other users” (see screen shot below).

I decided to call the 1-800 number listed and ask why @ADHDSupport is “not able” to follow other Twitter uses “at this time” and when it will be able to do so. LISTEN TO THE PHONE CALL.

Phone-assisted social networking may not work for all pharmaceutical products, but it is well-suited for ADHD products because — according to this Shire “ADHD: Not Just a Child’s Disorder” fact sheet — ADHD sufferers:

  • Often take action before they consider the possible consequences.”  Consequently, @adhdsupport would enable this behavior if it allowed ADHD sufferers to willy-nilly click the Twitter DM button to ask a question.
  • In conversation, [ADHD sufferers] interrupt others [and] blurt out inappropriate comments.” Again, a good reason to disable conversation with ADHD sufferers on Twitter. It’s not likely to lead to any meaningful discussion if @adhdsupport gets “inappropriate comments” such as complaints about ADHD treatment!
  • [ADHD sufferers] experience difficulty waiting in line or for [their] turn.” There’s no such thing as “your turn” in a Twitter dialog. You just type something and press a button whenever you want to say something. I should think Twitter is a good environment for ADHD sufferers. So this is really an argument against blocking DMs.

[I rephrased these as statements rather than questions as originally posed in Shire’s fact sheet.]

Well, I’ll wait for Shire to call me back and then see if I get more information.