When Twitter Goes Down

Twitter downtime image

Okay, first, a round of applause. Twitter has been FAR more stable lately than the old days. But it’s dawned on me that not only do I use Twitter as a way to learn, to share, to grow, and to communicate with friends, I’ve also come to rely on Twitter as part of my information sharing habits.

I’m scanning blogs in Google Reader, and I find this article about giving good return on attention. I like it. I hit Shift+S to share it via Google reader, which pushes it along to FriendFeed, which connects to my Facebook, but then, I decide to share it in Twitter, and I realize we’re in scheduled downtime.

The moment I realize this, I get itchy. I want to share. I want to exchange information. I want to see whether people find that information useful. That last part’s the big one: did someone see the tweet, find it interesting, and retweet it or share it in some other way?

What am I going to do with this piece by Chris Perry (smart guy!)? I mean, it’s just sitting here waiting to be shared by me, and then commented upon.

I guess I never realized that the “ack” part of the conversation (ping= “here’s some data” ; ack =”wow, that’s good stuff!” ) was as important to my sharing habits. But it is.


(Oh, and I can’t share this with Twitter to ask for your opinion on it.)

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  • http://www.ribeezie.com Ricardo Bueno

    Not only have I come to rely on it as a place to share information that I find interesting around the web but I've come to rely on my network (my community) to brainstorm and develop new ideas, elicit feedback (I use this to determine where/what areas I can do better) and more.

    Twitter is very simple. 140 characters doesn't seem like much. But, it is.

  • http://conniecrosby.blogspot.com conniecrosby

    Ack! When is it coming back up again?

    Um, oh yeah, thanks for sharing, Chris. ;-)

  • http://iampariah.com iamPariah

    I know exactly what you mean, Chris. I've got several tabs of interesting articles open just waiting to be able to hit the Tweet This button and it's driving me batty. Heh. I can't even use the “tweet this comment” checkbox below this form! What kind of a world do we live in!? What the hell am I going to–Sorry. I'll get myself back under control now.

  • http://bradgoetsch.com bradgoetsch

    I had forgotten all about the scheduled downtime today. When I tried to share something on twitter a moment ago I realized how much of a intricate part twitter played in my sharing habits. It sucks when they have down time but gives me a chance to see how far Friendfeed has come in the past month.

  • http://www.33charts.com DrV

    Itchy is the word. If I can't get it out now I'm often 'on to the next thing' and it may not be done.

  • http://gwalter.weebly.com gwalter

    I'm actually in the process of setting up FF to be my primary Go-To app. Changing cross-posting settings and the like. This Twitter downtime is quite inconvenient for me – but highlights my need to make the switch. Between HelloTxt, BrightKite, Facebook, Twitter, and Friendfeed – not to mention Flickr – I'm going to make some adjustments – may need to write my own post about my setup soon. Maybe…

  • jrep

    Wow, great reflexes, Chris! I had pending tweets queued up within seconds of the downtime, too, but I didn't think to blog about it. “Blog”? Might as well send it to the “Letters to the Editor” column in the local newspaper. On a notecard. Hand-written.

  • http://promote-my-site.com Don Draper

    Most companies schedule their maintenance windows for when they'll have the fewest users impacted. 2:00PM Pacific time usually doesn't come to mind.

  • http://www.purplecar.net/ PurpleCar

    Yes but I had my NetNewsWire up and this came down right away! That's good, right?

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  • Maria

    I used my Twitter down time to come read your blog :)

  • http://totallyincorrect.com David

    It's a good time to catch up on blog posts and some reading.
    Funny how we take things for granted until they are not there!

  • http://brian.shaler.name/ Brian

    For what it's worth, you're more likely to reach me through your blog than through Twitter. I spend at least as much time in my RSS feeds than on my Twitter stream. Blog posts are more thought out and pre-filtered by the author, so I get more ROI from reading RSS than Twitter. I can understand the gaping hole you must feel without the instant gratification of getting a flurry of tweets in response to the content you share and your requests for feedback.

    Maybe us RSS subscribers should comment more! ;-)

  • http://snailbird.com Nikki

    I feel your pain. My google reader is chock full of twitter-worthy articles, and there's nothing I can do. I feel lost. AHHHH!

  • http://www.adampieniazek.com/ AdamPieniazek

    Hmm, maybe there's a market for a mini-twitter offshoot that only comes online when twitter is down, mimics twitter exactly and then pushes your tweets back out to twitter when it's back up. Or we could just use friendfeed when twitter is down…

  • http://neoblog-teachersadventure.blogspot.com/ kiwispouse

    i totally agree. i've been in my house on napier hill while it has been blocked off due to the gunman loose down around the corner, and have been using twitter to tweet about what's going on, and also find out where ppl i care about who live near me are and if they need anything. when twitter went down for maintenance this afternoon i felt very cut off and isolated!

    the gunman has now been found dead in his home, so i'm hoping we'll be able to get our freedom back soon. well done to the police and other special forces personnel who came to help with the situation.

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  • http://MoneyPowerWisdom.com Dr.Mani

    I save such info to a text file, saved to my desktop with the name “to-tweet”. When I log in to Twitter, once or twice a day, I 'cluster tweet' all info from that file, and then delete it from that file.

    Bring on the Whale – she don't bother me no more! :lol:

    All success

  • http://businessaccent.com Vic-BusinessAccent

    Twitter becomes the fast and reliable social marketing online.
    Without it, of course there are still alternatives out there.
    But twitter is already been a part of every marketers daily activities online.

  • johnhaydon

    Just retweeted. Hopefully that will help sooth your ack-attack.

  • http://www.partnersinc.biz/blog Lynda Partner

    For many of us Twitter is becoming essential as a business tool. Our twitter IDs are on our business cards and our websites and a current tweet stream is part of our credentials as a marketer. A few short minutes of downtime across the board is annoying, not having access to your twitter account for 14 days is devastating on many levels – both personal and business. It happened to me: http://partnersinc.biz/blog/2009/05/social-medi

    I think it might be time for Twitter to seize the opportunity – there are many of us who would happily pay for a premium twitter service – with real support and seamless access.

  • http://e-patients.net ePatientDave

    As a desperation move, doesn't HootSuite's delayed send feature let you do this?

    I use TweetDeck for most everything, but I find the scheduled send feature useful for flashes of insipitation at 2 a.m. that need to be seen by my dayjob tweeps.

  • motownmutt

    I've been spending less time on twitter lately, but I share your main point of feeling disconnected when it's down.

    More telling to me, about myself, is that I really like the “ack” of even just seeing page views on some of what I share. Maybe it's an empty validation of some sort, but I like seeing that 20 or so people regularly check my twitpics, for instance. I was a bit surprised to recently see a twitpic with 0 views, as if even the 20 or so people who check in suddenly decided in unison that my links were no longer worth the click. After checking my tweetstream, I realised twitpic hadn't posted to twitter. I had a good laugh at myself when I realised how much I value those anonymous 20 people's page views.

    A bit silly, and a little off of your main point, maybe.

  • http://gerardmclean.com Gerard McLean

    @don It is a public statement of brand power. Twitter is free and useful. It gave Chris Brogan a blog topic. Who will you call? What tool will you use to complain, twitter? :-)

    Brilliant timing, either way

    Reminds me of this, but they can get away with it. You and I probably can't. Often, anyway

  • http://www.seldomseenkid.co.uk geetarchurchy

    I've asked this question a couple of times recently and i've had the same response each time: shurgged shoulders and a blank face.

    If Twitter goes down it seems as if we're in suspended animation for an hour or so, just itching to be able to get back on the platform and share information.

    To that extent i'm trying to expand my Tumblr network to learn more about new topics!!

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Haha, whenever Twitter goes down I run my head into the wall a few times but then I go out and use a variety of other ways to share cool stuff I find. Namely social bookmarking sites, im, phone and offline. Just as fun (and probably a faster response).

  • http://www.rebizworks.com Rebekah King


    Thank goodness there's systems for us chronic share-ers! It was said best at IMS09 SF – twitter has become the new news portal – and when it goes down many of us loose our connection to the cloud…

  • http://misadventureswithandi.com Andi

    Both articles you shared are really great. I particularly like the Chris Perry one. I am so sick of all these “experts” who feel like they own the space. It is moving so fast out there that it is nearly impossible to own any piece of it. Instead of worrying about who owns what, just do the best you can, be genuine and the rest is just noise.

  • http://shegeeks.net Corvida

    I get a little itchy too Chris. It's a bit of an annoyance because sometimes I forget to go back and share.

  • http://jbrotherlove.com/ jbrotherlove

    I saw the planned downtime and planned for it. Unfortunately, API connections seemed to fail before the schedule start of maintenance; that caused some scheduled tweets for my client to stall, then bulk publish when Twitter came back up.

    Interestingly, I popped over to FriendFeed to see what people were sharing Friday and they were down as well. Not a good day for micropublishing.

  • http://twittercism.com Sheamus

    I feel the same as you CB. I knew the downtime was coming, had tweeted about it earlier to my followers, and reminded them minutes before, but moments after it happened, I stumbled across something so magnificent that I simply HAD to share it… but could not. So, I twiddled my thumbs, and waited, waited some more, and thought about alternative ways to reach my network.

    Alas, none were available.

    Fortunately, we all survived.

  • http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com Deirdre

    Hi Chris! I think Twitter has been much less “stressed out” lately. But, when it does go down, and I have to wait, I'm very impatient, borderline anxious. For me, Twitter has become a part of my daily regimen…it's like having a cup of coffee in the morning. If I don't get my caffeine or my Twitter, you can detect this in my mood :) Luckily, it's only a temporary situation.

  • http://technologywebblog.com mccomf

    I think twitter will fail sooner or later.We are all forgetting about real friends we have…

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  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    Chris, I so know what you're saying. I come to view Twitter as an information sharing and gathering tool. And yes, it has come a long way in that its very rare that I see the fail whale. But for me its my primary way of sharing information and when I cannot share it, I bookmark it in Delicious and hope that I will remember to share it later.

  • Lane

    I hate that twitter has only 140 characters. When I want to rant and rave or get in an argument i have to send 5 separate messages to get my point across..

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  • http://friendfeed.com/mangee JoMangee

    Yes, I too have come to like Twitter and regard it as my primary 'communication' medium – so when it is down, I do feel a loss of that constant flow of information and conversation.

  • http://www.careereco.com jowens89

    I totally know what you mean. since joining twitter, everytime i read something i tweet it- yesturday during the scheduled down time, i tried posting, and didn't know what to do, i resorted to posting to my facebook friends but the satisfaction isn't the same!

  • http://cyberfrogz.net/ cyberfrogz

    what do you think about twitter can boost our traffic site…?

  • artmaker

    I bet a lot of people are rediscovering their blogs today, and you know this is the first time i'm visiting yours!

    @artmaker =)

  • artmaker

    I bet a lot of people are rediscovering their blogs today, and you know this is the first time i'm visiting yours!

    @artmaker =)

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