Much agree that writing is the best option where an option exists. It is more direct, considered and personal. But don't underestimate the forums, I have had first class advice via these columns and often from people infinitely more experienced than any Apple Genius I have met.
I also find that to Google a question can produce interesting answers too.
Be aware that Apple post a warning that some areas of support must be paid for going via the iTunes/contact route, once your Apple Care has run out.