Jonesin’ For Twitter
Something remarkable happened the last time the power went out. My family and I grabbed a seat on the porch and we actually talked to each other. It was scary at first. No blue glow on our faces, nothing provided via electronic transmission for us to comment on. Of course, all that retro-interaction ceased abruptly as soon as the youngest of us heard the AC kick on again.
There were butts just waiting to be kicked inside the magic Wii machine.
People get hooked pretty easily on things. That’s why I try, when possible, to stay far away from the computer on the weekends. It’s hard sometimes. Sometimes I envision my email just sitting inside the machine piling up, something important, something funny, something interesting, something to be deleted. Must. Go. Look…
It was because I was avoiding my electric opium all weekend that I missed the crisis: The Twitter Crisis. Twitterers weren’t getting their tweets.
For the whole weekend.
This spurred TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington to confess on Monday: I now need Twitter more than Twitter needs me. The reactions of other A-listers—despair leading to abandonment for another microblogging platform, developing scripts to get around the outage—reminded Arrington of people "stockpiling candles and bottled water for the next big storm."
Robert Scoble, Twitter-jilted, exalted the reliability of FriendFeed. "If Twitter keeps going down and/or having reliability problems it won’t be long before we change ALL of our behavior and just participate on FriendFeed without worrying about Twitter at all."
Kara Swisher was catapulted all the way to 1996, when AOL had trouble, and noted that temporary glitches happen, but don’t always cause a mass exodus. And while that’s true, it does seem reasonable that if Twitter can’t get its act together – like Gmail, lately, it’s been questionable with more frequency – there may be a risk in the much more competitive and addictive online world of 2008.
Fortunately, I barely noticed. Twitter isn’t as essential for me as it is for others. I was able to watch the aftermath when I returned to my digitized world on Monday, and think of the latest South Park farce where America wakes up to no Internet and pandemonium ensues, and ponder this Wired quote about Web-addiction:
"We have people calling on a weekly if not daily basis," says Libby Smith, a corporate clinician for the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, which helps treat internet addicts. "If somebody engages in the use of an application compulsively, we get calls about it. There isn’t one application that’s good or bad, but if people are unable or unwilling to stop using it, that’s what we look at as a red flag for an intervention."
I sense a cable reality show on the horizon…Hopefully I’ll be on the porch waving at cars as they pass—just like my grandfather—when it airs.