Culture

Microsoft shows unusual paranoia on Twitter

Commentary: A Twitter user tweets about how bad 2016 has been. The Office Twitter account takes the criticism very personally in a case of "Word" confusion.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Now that's commitment. Or fear.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

2016 has seen Microsoft gain in confidence.

This doesn't mean, however, that there isn't fright in the air. I judge this from the activity of its Office Twitter account.

When Twitterer @OfficialchinXS mused: "Word 2016 has been the worst year yet," coupled with a weeping emoji, Microsoft was deeply saddened.

Actually, hurt would be a better description. For its official Office Twitter account must have tortured itself for three days, before it replied: "@Officialchinxs Ouch. Do you have any feedback for us?"

Had you or I been less forgiving than this unknown Twitterer, we might have replied back something about famous people dying, the Golden State Warriors losing in Game 7 of the NBA finals or the failure of Rudy Giuliani to become US attorney general.

@Officialchinxs didn't reply. Others, however, did. You see, it was fairly clear that this Twitterer didn't have a criticism of Microsoft Word at all. He was just lamenting all the year's tragedies and using the by-now dated colloquialism "word."

So more than one lamented that he hadn't used a comma between "Word" and "2016," as this would have alerted the Office Twitter-writer that this tweet had nothing to do with Word 2016.

Nila M. Brown offered: "but seriously, Office365 is aesthetically ugly as crap and horribly 2 dimensional...went back to 2007..."

More than one suggested the return of Clippy, the Microsoft assistant with good intentions but bad reviews who was removed from duty many years ago.

Some, like Swag-avi felt forced to explain: "'worst year yet' Lmao you guys need to reread that tweet he's talking about the year not your word processor."

And now, as Microsoft Office's paranoid reply has drifted over the web since it was posted on December 19, it's been retweeted almost 1,000 times and like over 1.100 times.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on this specific tweet, but said that the company "takes feedback seriously, and has a monitoring and listening approach."

Perhaps, though, it's healthy that its Office Twitter-writer is a touch paranoid, there to soothe and solve. In 2017, perhaps this account will be available to fix the world's problems, not just the Word's.

Updated at 12:42 p.m. PT: adds comment from Microsoft.