Twitter teeters, and the hipsters fall down
August 6th, 2009 by scaredpoet

fail Whale

That’s right, Twitter went down today due to DDoS attacks. Old news. I’m writing, however, about how people responded to this bit of fail.

A few hours of Twitter outage, and apparently, people had stompy fits, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the last blackberry outage. See, there were rumors out there, that there existed these hives of Starbucks-dwelling hermits who spent all of their time huddled around laptops and netbooks or incessantly fondling the touchscreens of their cell phones, and their only interaction with the outside world happens to be Twitter. And if ever it were to go down… OH NO! they just wouldn’t survive the day and would be incapable of coping with the real world again.

Just rumors, I thought. Total exaggeration. No one would be that stupid, that facetious, that fad-obsessed, that an actual social life would be nonexistent in the face of the almighty Twitter.

Apparently, and as a testament to the truly sad state this humanity has degenerated to, I was so wrong:

For Twitter users, the outage meant no tweeting about lunch plans, the weather or the fact that Twitter is down.

“I had to Google search Twitter to find out what was going on, when normally my Twitter feed gives me all the breaking news I need,” said Alison Koski, a New York public-relations manager. She added she felt “completely lost” without Twitter.

Oh heavens, she had to actually Google something to find out about something? The utter indignity! How did she survive such a harrowing ordeal! I mean to think for a few hours, she had to look away from her cell phone to find out what’s going on in the world! WHAT HORROR!

Look, I’m not against Twitter. In fact, I paid for Twitterific Premium on my iPhone, and love it. When I touched that cute little icon this morning, and got the Twitterific error of Fail, I though “bah, either our WiFi at work is down again, or Twitter is doing something stupid. Blast, I guess I’ll get real work done.”

You know what else I did? I talked to my co-workers. (*GASP!*) I know, to some of you twits out there, this is Serious Business, and Crazy Talk. But bear with me… opening my mouth… and speaking – get this – COMPLETE SENTENCES… and using chains of thought lasting longer than 160 characters… wasn’t so bad, actually!

Funny thing about real conversations… when you want to refer to people or nouns? You just say the name of the thing you’re talking about! No symbolic tag prefix needed! Think about it: When you talk to your friend @Bob about possibly doing #lunch, you just say “Hey Bob, wanna join me for lunch?” And if Bob wants to RT @scaredpoet’s #lunch request to see if others want to join in, guess what? He doesn’t have to retweet. This whole, old-technology “real conversation” thing… it’s quaint, but rather fascinating! I suggest you try it sometime!

Oh, here’s the topper: do you know how I found what was going on with Twitter? By this amazing news source called “word of mouth.” It’s simple really… in the middle of lunch, Bob said “hey, did you hear about Twitter? Some kind of DDoS attack brought it down. Facebook is down too. It’s messed up!”

(For the real-world impaired, the statement translates into Twittereze something like this: “@scaredpoet ZOMG! Diduhear about #whentwitterwasdown? Facebook 2! OHNOES!”)

The experience was exhilarating. To be informed about current events by face to face conversation. It evoked an indescribable sensation that must be experienced by all twits sometime.

Seriously, though. Take this morning’s little outage as a wake up call people. Life has to be taken in morsels larger than 160 bytes sometimes, to get the full effect. And if your life ends with a Twitter outage, then maybe you haven’t really lived.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, I leave you with a more crass depiction of the pitfalls of Twitter:

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