4:50 PM -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is using social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook and its community forums, to alert FiOS customers that snow-caused commercial power outages could affect their service.
The tweets, which you can see here advise customers how long their battery backups will last and what they need to do after power is restored.
In general, this is a good idea -- I suspect a lot of FiOS users weren't paying attention when the service was installed and won't remember that voice on FiOS is different from line-powered phone service. This was certainly the case in 2008, when Hurricane Ike devastated Houston, knocking out power for weeks. Many cable voice customers were dismayed to discover that their landline phone service died at about the same time all their cell phones were crapping out, and without power, batteries couldn't be recharged.
But what about all the older FiOS users who aren't addicted to Facebook and don't Twitter?
Consumers are going to need time to adjust to the new reality of telephone service that is dependent on commercial power -- especially older consumers, who are also more vulnerable in times of trouble. That will be a challenge for all service providers who moved away from line-powered phones.
Verizon gets credit for what it is doing, but I think everyone needs to do more.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading