Tweet A Coffee(▼)(▲)
October 31, 2013
I love seeing innovative new ways in which companies are integrating with modern day services such as Twitter. The latest of these is a new initiative by Starbucks called Tweet a Coffee. Tweet a Coffee is a beautifully simple service. All you have to do is send out a tweet with the format “@tweetacoffee to @[friend's username]”, and your friend is automatically sent a $5 Starbucks gift card. That's it. You can also optionally add more to the end of your tweet as some sort of message to your friend. So long as the tweet begins in the exact format shown above, the rest of the Tweet's contents can be anything. Once your tweet has been sent, the tweetacoffee Twitter account will recognize it and @mention you and your friend, confirming the transaction and including a link to redeem the gift card.
The initial setup of Tweet a Coffee was easy and quick. I already have a Starbucks account set up, as I go to my local Starbucks almost every day to work. My Gold Card is linked to my Visa card, so that was ready to go as well. Tweet a Coffee prompted me to log into my Starbucks account, then to log into my Twitter account to link the two. After that, the service automatically pulled my card information and presented me with a box in the web view that was set up in the proper format to tweet a coffee. I went ahead and filled in the box, and moments later a free coffee was on its way to my friend Kelly.
If you don't have a Starbucks account, or don't have a credit/debit card linked to it, your initial set up will probably take slightly longer than the few seconds that mine did, but either way, once it's done it's done. If I want to tweet any more coffees in the future, I don't need to go through the web view, but can simply compose the tweet straight from Tweetbot from my linked Twitter account.
I was concerned when I first saw the service of the possibility of others stealing the coffees that I tweeted to my friends. Tweets are public, after all. I can't say for certain exactly how the process goes, as no one has tweeted me any coffees yet for me to try redeeming one myself, but when I clicked on the link that Tweetacoffee sent to my friend, the webpage that it directed me to included this text:
Someone sent you a Starbucks eGift through Twitter. We want to make sure that perfect cup ends up in your hands, not someone it wasn’t intended for.
Clicking the link beneath this sentence brought me to another Twitter authentication page, so presumably after authenticating yourself as the true recipient for the coffee, you will be able to redeem the gift card. Being able to trust that your tweeted coffee is going to the right place is the most important part of the process, and I see no reason anyone would be able to circumvent this authentication system.
I'm excited to see where Tweet a Coffee goes. It seems like an awesome new way to deal with things like owing your friends coffee, or sending someone a quick gift if they are sad or if it is their birthday. The simplicity of the system is extraordinary, and I think that Tweet a Coffee has potential to be a huge hit among average consumers. If you're curious about Tweet a Coffee, they're even doing a promotion in which the first 100,000 people to tweet coffees will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card themselves. Basically this means that you are giving coffee to someone absolutely for free. I can't be certain how many of these have been taken, but the Tweet a Coffee Twitter account has posted 23,479 times at the time of this writing, so I would assume it is somewhere around that number. Act quickly and you can try the service out like I have without wasting a dime, and give a friend some cheer as well.
Tweet a Coffee is a really cool idea, and I hope that more companies start taking advantage of Twitter or other social platforms to create their own innovative and useful new ways to interact with friends and followers. Currently the service is only supported in the US, but presumably they will expand into more regions if it is successful here. If you are in the US, you should check out Tweet a Coffee at its Twitter account or on its page on the Starbucks website.