Twitter Down

Twitter Down

It’s 9:48am. I’ve tweeted about 5 times since getting on the bus this morning. I arrive at work at 9 to find twitter down. Hootsuite, iTweet, Seesmic, Tweetdeck, even good ol’ – Nothing. I’ve been refreshing the tab every 10 seconds on average. I’ve tried to get on twitter, to no avail, 3 times since I began writing this post – and I’m only a few sentences in. Is that sad or what?

But it appears I’m not the only one – No sooner did I realize twitter was having problems when my coworker called out from behind a desk “Is anyone else having trouble with twitter!?” 3 seconds later I received a gchat from my friend and PR Peep, Sasha.

Sasha: Morning David
is your Twitter working?
me: no!
Sasha: well is it loading?
me: its not
Sasha: me either. okay, good, it’s not just me. lol.

[I Just Reloaded Hootsuite 2 More Times…Nothing…Sigh]

My Facebook Feed Is Filled With Friends PRCog, Katy Zack, Rosie Siman and others, lamenting Twitter’s Sudden Failure.
Google News’ Tech/Science Section Top Story Is The Twitter Fail – Mashable, Wired, even The AP and Washington Post are all over this…So Clearly, I’m not the only distressed twitterholic. This is the Social Media Apocolypse. Or is this just a ploy by the brilliant minds at Twitter HQ trying to show us how much we’ve come to rely on and need their service?

You know the phrase/lyrics – “You Don’t Always Know What You’ve Got, Til It’s Gone”

Well – I’ve been forced to confront my addiction – Why is twitter so important, so vital to my work?
I Think the answer lies in my role. I sit in the intersection between PR and Social Media. PR means abreast of current events, the days headlines, and staying on top of the news cycle 24/7. I work with clients in politics & business, nonprofits & tech, and of course, I need to constantly read up on the latest tools and vehicles, campaigns and strategies, case studies, failures and successes, within the social media realm. How else would I learn.

And while Google News serves as a decent backup – it’s no Twitter. I’ve used the new Hootsuite (Full Review to Follow – Probably Tomorrow or Later Today) to build up customized groups and tabs of people and outlets I follow. I have one Tab – Media Outlets – Separated Into Top Tier News Feeds, Tech Blogs, Social Media News, and Political News – And Another Tab Set Up with All The Reporters and Journalists Who Cover Those Beats – Making it REALLY EASY for me to follow the latest breaking news and buzzed about topics, as the outlets tweet links to the articles and as the reporters themselves discuss the topics and what their forthcoming coverage.

So – Addiction Reason #1 – Twitter is my primary resource for customized, individualized, and niche information, as it’s released to the public.

Then there’s the social aspect. Forget building relationships with reporters and bloggers because, while it’s incredibly important to me and my job performance, it falls within the walls of category 1. I’m talking about networking, p2p connections, making friends and professional contacts.
For me, it’s about the analysis and feedback and response to the headlines, it’s about identifying trends and influencers from whom I can learn. But I suppose that really falls within the realm of Category 1, as well. It’s all about information, whether through news outlets or people, Twitter, for me, is about sharing and receiving information. Access to that data is my competitive advantage…and that’s why I’m so reliant upon – and addicted to – the platform.

I have a job, so it’s not as much of an issue to me, but a vast multitude of my comrades have been aggressively networking and job hunting on twitter. Every day for them is a struggle to establish connections – the only aspect of the job hunt that can help you that’s actually under the individuals control. We’re all aware that “It’s all about who you know” and Twitter has opened many doors in that respect – providing access to people – CEO’s, HR Managers, etc… to contact, to impress, to get your resume pushed to the top of the pile. Every hour that Twitter is down is an hour lost.

Of course, there are other people you want to connect with – Customer Service & Sales Reps, Tech Support & Others. A few days ago, I had an amazing experience with FiosGuyJoe – as he jumped into a conversation in which I had been asking around – crowd-sourcing, if you will, concerning a possible switch from Cablevision/IO to Verizon Fios – as it just became available in my area. He answered all my questions and would probably have gone back to him today to order the service…alas, now it seems I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Rest assured though, once I actually have FiOS installed & working – I’ll blog a full case study about my experience with their sales and customer/tech support staff and how they effectively used Twitter – which, so far, has been quite well.

Anyway…I tweet from the bus, I tweet from work, I tweet while watching TV, I tweet from bed…I’ve grown accustomed to the continuous and instantaneous connection to people and information. Granted – you can get information from Google. You can get the personal connection through other social media, like Facebook. But not integrated and organized by interest or industry or region or whatever else you’re looking for.

These are the first few reasons I can think of to explain, and rationalize, my addiction to the platform. Why are you addicted? What would you do if all of a sudden twitter just broke, disappeared, as if it never existed?

Would you mourn? Would you simply get from other services what you got from other services, in lieu of the downed platform? What is it that makes twitter different, aside from the integration of People & Information? And lastly – Who Killed Twitter??? Is this just unplanned maintenance? Did they get hacked? Does Anyone Know???
AAAAND – Facebook is having issues too! What is this – The Social Media Apocalypse

Update: Mashable is reporting that this is a Denial of Service Attack.

Twitter has revealed that it’s defending against a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS), in which the target is typically saturated with so many fake requests that the victim is unable to return legitimate ones.

Knowing that the cause is a malicious attack does take Twitter off the hook to some degree – it may have been assumed that the site was simply failing to scale properly, as had happened in the past. DDoS attempts are difficult to defend against even for some established sites.

As to who might have it in for Twitter: the site is so large and visible that the attacker could be anyone…from a lone prankster to a more organized outfit.

Update 2: According to Twitter HQ:

Ongoing denial-of-service attack 2 hours ago

We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly.

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack.

Update (9:46a): As we recover, users will experience some longer load times and slowness. This includes timeouts to API clients. We’re working to get back to 100% as quickly as we can.

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  1. Sheema says:

    I have also been suffering from Twitter withdrawals so I feel your pain! Like you said, is one of my main sources of information so while I still have the internet, I feel disconnected.

  2. […] jumped onto my Gmail and found one of my PR-tweeps, David, was online too. He’s a Twitter addcit as […]

  3. Lauren Teicher says:

    Yes, you do tweet from bed… maybe should should seek professional help for this addiction 🙂

  4. Lauren Teicher says:

    Thank you twitter hacker for my anniversary present (our 3 year anniversary night alone…)

  5. […] blogosphere summed-up our addictions, including some of my favorites: The Little Pink Book and The Legend of Aerocles sharing their misery and PRetty Social asking if we would pay for the […]

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