So Tweeter hiccupped yesterday. It didn’t affect my work, but it made big news on cnn.com. The service was down for about two hours and what made it so newsworthy, I think, is how many people use this service. Duh. But what’s interesting to me is how companies (versus individual users) were affected by the break in service. If a company relies too heavily on one medium like Twitter, it could slow things down a lot.
What’s the lesson here? According to cnn.com, “Some Twitter and Facebook users expressed near-panic that the sites were not working properly. Others reacted with ambivalence.” We all know, mostly because we’ve all experienced this at one time or another, that our relationship with technology can be quite fragile. Email systems that go crazy for no particular reason, servers that go down (again, for no particular reason), and all sorts of black magic occurrences.
But it’s interesting that the outage also made the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Here’s the headline followed by the subhead: “Twitter, a Service of Few Words and Many Followers, Goes Silent”; “With Twitter Down for Two Hours, People Couldn’t Follow MC Hammer’s Every Thought.” Who cares, right? Well, apparently MC Hammer’s 1.2 million followers might have cared. MC sure did, which is probably the most interesting part of all. Perhaps this Twitter phenomenon has more to do with the egos of those Twittering versus the ones reading 140-character gems we call messages.
On the other hand, maybe an outage, while not fabulous for a publicist whose clients may love being followed, is good for the soul. Those who follow couldn’t and those who reach out to their followers were stalled. I’m thinking based on what I read this morning that perhaps a few people might have substituted their Tweeting habits with some old-fashioned email or, gasp, actually talked to another human being. Some people, I imagine, were relieved and maybe even a little grateful for the extra time the outage gave them. At this point, I Tweet about once every thirty days, hardly the activity of an addict. But I’m wondering, maybe I’m missing something.
Maybe that guy in Israel who wants to follow me finds the ten or so Tweets I’ve posted rather fascinating.
Nah, I doubt it.