Twitter’s Response to Downtime Leads to Trending of #TwitterDown and Public Frustration

Here at Alertra, we often tell our readers to communicate with the pubic whenever their websites experience downtime. We also suggest utilizing social media platforms, such as Twitter, to keep the public updated and informed. What happens, however, when Twitter becomes unreliable? In today’s day and age, one would think that platforms as large as Twitter are on top of their uptime and that they take serious precautions in terms of downtime issues and other service disruptions. Earlier this month, however, Twitter failed to inspire confidence as both Twitter and its associated TweetDeck suffered significant problems, and not for the first time. Just a few months earlier, the social media platform had users in an uproar after another major outage had occurred. What is most concerning about all of this, however, has to do with Twitter’s response time in addressing the problems that users were experiencing and how they communicated the issues.

What Happened to Twitter and TweetDeck?

In the beginning of the month, many Twitter and TweetDeck users around the globe found that the popular social media platform wasn’t working as it should be. Users were having issues with receiving notifications, sending tweets, viewing responses to tweets, viewing DMs, and performing other basic functions on the platform. Trending topics also seemed to be down. Twitter did issue a tweet stating that they were having outages across the platform and were working on the issue, yet the outage went on for several hours. On Twitter’s status page, the issue was described as a partial service disruption. While Twitter did offer some limited information, it gave absolutely no insight as to what the cause of the problem was or when the outage was expected to be fixed other than a vague offering of “soon.” What has some users in even more of an uproar this time, however, is that while Twitter reported they began investigating the issue at approximately 12:20AM EST, the issues with the platform had started hours earlier. This has led many to ask, why exactly did it take Twitter so long to respond and why did it take Twitter so long to fix the problem? Furthermore, at the point in time that Twitter claimed that everything was fixed and once again operational, issues were still apparent to many users. What was the response given to these users by the popular platform? Just wait a few minutes and see if it starts to work again.

Another Case of Poor Communication

Twitter is where many companies go to communicate with users when they are experiencing website downtime and other website issues, with many providing updates regularly as to the status of the problem and what is causing it. This is, in fact, what we advise our readers to do when they find themselves facing technical issues or a bout of website downtime. The key, however, is not just communication with the public but the quality of the communication. When the public is inconvenienced, they want to know why and they want to know when they can expect a problem to be fixed. While a number of companies successfully relay this information to the public using Twitter and other social media platforms when their websites go down, Twitter itself seemed to fail in its ability to communicate transparently. Vague answers, a delayed response time, and inaccurate information left many wondering if Twitter is as reliable as they had once thought.

Twitter Has People Talking – But Not in a Good Way

One of the main questions that many are asking is why there was such a delay between the time Twitter stated that they began investigating the issues and when the issues actually began? Furthermore, why was there such a delay in communication? These issues could have been easily avoided by partnering with a quality website monitoring service and maintaining server monitoring along with failsafes – things that are absolutely essential to any online business. Twitter is no exception to the rule, but recent experiences make some feel that the company thinks they are. Answers to what caused these issues and what took so long to fix the problems aren’t forthcoming and Twitter seems to have been experiencing ongoing issues since the transformation of its desktop product – a format that many users aren’t keen on. One would think that a platform as large as Twitter has downtime monitoring and failsafes in place. Their response to this latest outage, however, has many wondering just how proactive Twitter is being in their downtime defense.

A Culmination of Errors

While we cannot explain why Twitter went down, why it took them so long to respond, or why there was no detailed explanations given to its users, we can discuss some of the blatant errors that Twitter’s made in handling this issue. These answers can help you avoid making the same mistakes if your website goes down. First, make sure you are indeed partnered with a quality website monitoring service. This will allow you to begin investigating issues as soon as they occur, if not before, rather than hours later as seems to be what happened in the reports with Twitter. Furthermore, never forget that communication is key. Consumers are much more likely to forgive downtime when detailed explanations are given and when updates are provided regularly. It’s also imperative that updates be accurate. This is another area in which Twitter seemed to fail in their latest outage. A lack of transparency leads to a lack of trust and an increase in public frustration. This not only damaged Twitter’s stocks, but also damaged their reputation with #TwitterDown becoming a trending hashtag that had many users complaining about the service. Hopefully, if Twitter experiences issues in the future, they will offer regular detailed updates and fix any issues in a prompt manner. What we can take away from this whole experience is, again, that it is not just downtime itself that can impact your site, but how that downtime is handled can also have significant impacts on your company’s profits and reputation.