Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Spare a thought for these brave souls.

The ones who man corporate Twitter accounts.

They stare at laptops and phones all day and prepare themselves for questions and comments on Twitter.

Hired by companies to be their help and their shield in the face of instant Twittered commentary, they're often prepared with anodyne responses.

These are designed to mollify customers and immediately move the complainant to Direct Message, where no one but the company will hear their screams.

Sometimes, though, they get thrown a curveball.

This is something that, say, the Wendy's Twitter account can successfully handle, with a little caustic humor.

Last night, however, it was AT&T faced with a problem.

It suddenly received this tweet from Star Manson: "Pay to play huh?"

Should you have spent the last couple of days planning your escape to the more remote parts of New Zealand, you may not know about AT&T and Michael Cohen.

It seems that the company was paying some-time Donald Trump lawyer Cohen for consultancy services. Just as AT&T was trying to ensure that its purchase of Time Warner would be approved by the authorities.

Hence the pay-to-play accusation.

You might imagine, then, that AT&T's Twitter account would avoid the issue or have some prepared reply.

Instead, it answered with a tweet worthy of, well, you decide if it's worthy of an elegant communicator, a sad gaslighter or someone who doesn't look at the Trending Topics on Twitter very often.

"Hi Star, we are here to help answer your questions. Can you please tell us more about what you mean by pay to play? We look forward to your response," it said.

Ah. Oh.

There are two options here. 

The person behind the Twitter account had every idea what pay-to-play meant -- and AT&T's newsy role in it -- and decided to keep an entirely straight face.

Alternatively, they might actually have had no idea what Star Manson was talking about.

Either way, the response was bathed in a blessed absurdity. 

I asked AT&T to enlighten me and will update, should I hear.

Of course, there's another possibility.

The AT&T tweet was the work of a bot.

In Robotworld, the concept of pay-to-play is foreign.

Play is strictly controlled. No one has to pay for it.

Robots just play when they're told to play and don't play when it's not their turn.

The outcomes of play are strictly monitored, to ensure that it serves its strict purpose -- placing robots in the optimum condition to fulfill their assigned tasks and render humans ridiculously obsolete.

Ergo, the mere idea of a company being accused of paying to play simply doesn't compute.

Published on: May 9, 2018