Twitter Down! Scoble's Knickers in Knots!

Published on April 22, 2008
by Kara Swisher


OK, I like Twitter a lot, but what is up with all this tech news coverage of its outages?

With the Twitter service being glitchy all weekend, for example, the jump-to-the-next-big-thing champ Robert Scoble wrote another piece yesterday smacking his old amour and praising his new love: FriendFeed.

You know, the new pretty young thing in Silicon Valley (ex-Googlers involved make it hotter still!).

You don’t know?

Neither does most of the human race, in truth, which is just getting around to noticing Facebook and maybe, just maybe, figuring out how to properly use a SuperPoke (my advice: never ever!).

And, while Twitter is amazing in many ways, its tech glitches don’t deserve this level of emergency alarms.

But that has not stopped the echo chamber of Silicon Valley from making a lot of really noisy noise about the indignity of it all.

Isn’t there a recent Sarah Lacy interview with some random Web 2.0 player they could egregiously overreact to instead?

In a weird way, though, this reminds me of the outrage when AOL (TWX) went down for 19 hours in August of 1996. (To date myself, I was actually at AOL HQ in Virginia at that very time with CEO Steve Case, working on my first book.)

At the time, AOL’s 6.3 million users had their first collective digital nervous breakdown and the outage resulted in national headlines–as well as later governmental investigations–across the nation.

“If this (outage) is a sign that AOL can’t handle its growth, that’s a very bad message for the professionals that use it,” Gary Arlen, president of Arlen Communications, said ominously to CNN at the time.

Now, 6.3 million users over a decade ago in today’s terms is a lot more in comparison to Twitter’s current users.

But the difference: Today, one single person like Scoble can tweet louder than millions can complain and it sounds like it is exactly the same thing.

Return to: Twitter Down! Scoble's Knickers in Knots!