Today, starting at about 11:03 AM CST (and for a little over an hour), Twitter was unavailable worldwide. At first, I noticed that my Tweetdeck columns were no longer refreshing. Then, a series of Facebook status updates with tons of people commenting exploded. I checked Google+ and there too, people were commenting and chatting about Twitter being down. It seems that the Twitter regulars have quickly flocked to one platform or the other to joke about “How will we survive?” and “Oh man, I had some news I really was ready to break”.
For me, I took this time to reflect. I was thinking this morning about writing a post called ”Social Stream Burnout” after reading an article on how big data is more about viewing relevant data, and no longer “real-time” data, since there is so much of it. For anyone that follows more than a few hundred people on any platform, the constant updates can be overwhelming. How many of you wake up each morning and grab a screen before getting out of bed? Maybe it’s your recharged phone. Maybe it’s your iPad, or tablet. Are you hungry for updates before you even sense your hunger for food?
What I find most interesting about this Twitter blackout, is that it seems like someone just turned up the volume on my Facebook and Google+. As people can’t update their Twitter status with articles, thoughts, questions, and interactions – they are simply turning to another platform and plugging in. I’m seeing more hashtags than normal, and more comments that are just seconds apart – as if it were a live chat on a status update.
As time passes, the streams are slowing down. I’m envisioning millions of people trying to refresh their Twitter apps and their web browsers. It would seem that for some, the other platforms just “don’t do it for them” like Twitter does. And for brands that monitor public mentions – what are they doing with this time? Think about it for a second – Twitter is really the only public platform where conversations and a stream of millions of people’s consciousness are captured, stored, and available to be harvested by anyone. No circles. No friends. No connections. No permission needed to listen.
I’ve already made it a habit to plug in my phone and turn it upside down with the buzz and ringer off when I get home. I might pop back into the stream later at night, but I have to make more time for my wife, my kids, and the rest of my extended family and chances are – you do too. This blackout feels peaceful to me.
So, what did you do with your time? Did it change your day? What did you do different?