The tech world will be full of reports about an extended series of outages that occurred on Twitter today. The outages remain unexplained by Twitter themselves beyond there was an issue, engineers are working on it and we are back up and then back down again!.
And I can confirm as I write this it seems the outage may not actually be over as the service is once again unavailable. In fact Twitter has acknowledged the issue is on-going.
I am not sure what the percentages are but I imagine Twitter has a fairly high rate of availability but when it goes down for that 2-3% of the time it is widely felt by its users. So where do you go when Twitter goes down?
Is there another social network out there that covers the scope and real-time reporting ability that Twitter does? I am not sure there is.
One of my Twitter followers, @kenoldp, said he went to Facebook and posted a public question about Twitter being down. After 47 minutes he had not received one single reply to that inquiry. That is something that would never happen on Twitter.
I semi-sarcastically tweeted after the service seemed to be back up “Where do you go to say “Twitter is Down” when Twitter is Down – folks on Facebook just do not get it!”
Now Twitter was never created to be an emergency response system for the world but it has become that in a lot of ways. That is how things kid of happen with technology as it ends up filling roles that were never intended by its creators. I now find out news bits on Twitter and then go to the news sites to wait for them to come up to speed. I am sure many of you do the same thing as well.
Think about it. How often do you go to Facebook to get breaking news?
In reality we don’t because the usage is different. We go to Facebook to talk about the emergency or issue and have a conversation about it after it has happened not as it is breaking.
Now one possible option that has a more real-time component to it is Google Plus. In fact you can see the discussion on the Twitter Outage with this search. However, Twitter nor Twitter Outage are even trending on Google’s trending topics for the service.
So is this an issue for real emergencies or is it unreasonable expectations on a private company?