It’s funny — I know Twitter is down. I know it has been down for about an hour now. And yet, I can’t stop visiting the site to see if just maybe it’s back up. And I’m hardly alone.
I’m sitting here at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA and Twitter’s current downtime seems to be what a huge number of people are talking about. And they’re talking about it in person, because they can’t on Twitter.
The problem is that there is no good substitute. We used to have FriendFeed back in the day which was essentially a conversation layer over tweets, but with its own independent messaging capabilities. This kept the conversation going if Twitter went down (which it often did back in the day). Now we have Buzz, Facebook, and a few other things. But no one seems to use them in the same way.
We need a backup plan. One we can all agree on.
I’m perfectly fine with it being the TechCrunch comment area. But it needs to be some place where everyone will gather. Maybe Google Wave?
Seriously though, it’s not just about killing time. Twitter is increasingly a way many of us consume news and media. And just in the past hour I wanted to go to Twitter to find out why I was getting so many Quora follow notifications recently. I also wanted to know what people thought of the latest Techonomy panels. And I just can’t. And there’s nowhere else I can turn for that type of information.
It sucks. It’s annoying.
Last year, I made the humorous list of alternative things to do when Twitter is down. Things like “go outside” or “think about Twitter being down.” But we really do need a backup alternative we can rely on.
Update: Here’s Twitter’s statement on the matter:
Twitter is currently down; the site has been down for approximately an hour. This outage is due to an internal failure; it is not a capacity issue. Our team is working on a fix now. We will update Twitter’s Status blog soon with more specific info.
Update 2: Twitter is currently in the process of getting back up to speed and Twitter says it should be within the hour. That said, it’s still mostly down.