Twitter crashes: Sufficient online mayhem occurs
Jan. 25, 2016
by Mark Ollig

Early last Tuesday morning, I stopped by the local coffee house to pick up my usual large depth-charge, light roast, with a splash of heavy cream.

While waiting at the counter, I tapped the Twitter app on my smartphone to catch up on the latest messages.

I was surprised when greeted with the following: “Something is technically wrong.”

My eyes narrowed, while looking fixedly at the cartoonishly drawn Twitter personality shown below the message.

This comedic caricature had both arms raised high in the air as if saying; “It wasn’t me!”

“Twitter crashed? Wonder what’s going on,” I thought.

Yours truly wasn’t the only one puzzled.

As I looked around the coffee house, I noticed a lot of frowns on the young millennial faces, as they sipped their beverages and stared at their smartphones in disbelief.

It was four months ago when the other online social media giant, Facebook, crashed.

Millions of its users fled to Twitter; posting their frustrating tweets about the outage.

Traffic on Twitter surged, as throngs of Facebook-deprived users went there to satisfy their hunger for online social media.

Just about every other Twitter message included the hashtag: #facebookdown.

Last Tuesday morning, we had the reverse. Facebook users were typing messages about Twitter being down, using the #twitterdown hashtag, and posting Twitter-related news links.

Indeed. Many were suffering from Twitter withdrawal.

Not only was Twitter down in the US, but Twitter Europe also confirmed their site was down, as were Twitter sites located in Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and in the Philippines.

One website, used for Twitter status reports, said users were experiencing issues accessing Twitter via mobile device apps, and computers trying to reach its webpage.

Twitter first went online nearly 10 years ago, and currently has around 320 million active (some might say addicted) users, world-wide.

Having over 300 million subscribers upset because their service isn’t working, probably wasn’t what the head of Twitter anticipated dealing with last Tuesday morning.

By mid-Tuesday morning, a number of users were beginning to successfully log back on.

Twitter Support (@support) posted this message for those who could see it: “Some users are currently experiencing problems accessing Twitter. We are aware of the issue and are working towards a resolution.”

The Associated Press Business News (@APBusiness) succeeded in getting out this tweet; “Users in Europe and in the US were having problems with service.”

As folks regained access to Twitter, they made known their frustration within the 140- character word limit, along with posting some amusing “Twitter is down” photos.

I noted the hashtag “#twitterdown” was trending, once I finally was able to access Twitter.

The following are some of the #twitterdown hashtag messages posted.

“The most frustrating thing about #twitterdown is you couldn’t tweet about it,” messaged @Stuart_1992.

The BBC News World (@BBCWorld) posted; “If you can see this post, you’re one of the lucky ones.”

Another user, @BillionaireJ, tweeted; “almost formatted my phone thinking it was the cause of #twitterdown.”

One tweet by @obicatnobi, said; “This certainly is the work of the Dark Side.”

Twitter user @Schrodinger, posted; “The fall of Twitter was as if suddenly everyone goes at once.”

One of my favorites was from @jordyjayTV, who tweeted this observation; “When Twitter goes down, and you have to reluctantly socialize with people in real life.”

Of course, I needed to post something too.

My (@bitsandbytes) photo contribution to the #twitterdown diatribe can be seen at: http://tinyurl.com/bytes-Tw.

By noon Tuesday, Twitter had sent out this status update: “The issue [crash/outage] was related to an internal code change. We reverted the change, which fixed the issue.”

Yes indeed, one must always be careful when making those code changes.

But I digress.

Let’s nostalgically end this week’s column by envisioning how legendary newscaster Walter Cronkite might have reported this Twitter outage:

“Good evening from the CBS News Control Center in New York. This is Walter Cronkite, reporting. We are receiving numerous printed teletype bulletins into our news room confirming the popular online social media site; Twitter, is currently unreachable by millions of frustrated Internet patrons. We will bring you the latest updates as we receive them. And that’s the way it is, Tuesday, January 19, 2016.”

There was indeed (tongue-in-cheek) “sufficient online mayhem” last Tuesday morning.

To view the status of Twitter, visit: http://status.twitter.com.

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