With Major Downtime, Foursquare Well On Its Way To Being The Next Twitter

It’s like deja vu all over again.

Two years ago, Twitter used to be down all the time. It doesn’t seem like this should be a major issue, but it actually is quite annoying during conferences when so many rely on the service for information. And, back in those days, people used to rely on it to know where everyone was going drinking afterwards.

Today, those same people now use Foursquare for that purpose. And that’s why when its down — as it has been tonight for the past couple of hours — it matters. How on Earth am I supposed to know which Web 2.0 Expo afterparty to go to without Foursquare?

Half-kidding aside, I was hardly the only one echoing this sentiment after Web 2.0 Expo this evening. Foursquare went down soon after the conference concluded, and at least a half dozen friends and colleagues I bumped into on the street were running around like chickens with their heads cut off not sure where to go without the aide of Foursquare. Yes, it’s kind of pathetic, but this is the age we live in.

So what caused Foursquare to go down? Apparently, an outage in Amazon’s cloud services — in Virginia to be precise. Supposedly, it’s in the process of coming back on, but Foursquare is still very much down.

Worse, this is the second time today that Foursquare has gone down. Earlier, they were up and down for a few hours, attributing the down time to “growing pains” — again, sound familiar? On the plus side – Foursquare is doing a great job at communicating with users (appropriately, over Twitter) about the downtime. Back in the day, part of the problem with Twitter being down is that no one in the company would say a word about the problems (of course, they obviously didn’t have the luxury of tweeting out updates).

Most of the comparisons between Foursquare and Twitter are silly (though, maybe I can be accused of starting that trend). They’re two completely different services. But tonight they found a very common link in some major downtime. And look, Foursquare even has its own Fail Whale now: the Emo Mayor.

Update: And they’re back.