Everyone’s favorite under-estimator of social media, Malcolm Gladwell, might get a chuckle out of Amazon’s EC2 problems this week. First, they took out Foursquare, Reddit and Quora service, as TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher reported yesterday. The disaster in the cloud also put a stop to those who would Tweet the revolution via Act.ly, a site that gets petitions going virally, online.
The site and service was still out of order as of publication. Act.ly founder Jim Gilliam said:
“We usually get several thousand activism tweets a day. That hasn’t happened for 36 hours, because of these issues with Amazon and another service provider we use, Heroku, also effected. I can’t access the data to tell you what our petition creation, retweets and general user interactions looked like last year on Earth Day, because I don’t have access right now. But the timing on something like this is a bit of a shame, really.”
According to Gilliam, petition creation and sharing tends to spike sharply around particular events, from the earthquake in Japan, to a calendar holiday like Earth Day. Act.ly petitions in the past have ranged from environmental to entertaining. They have encouraged “web citizens” to demand that phone manufacturers source materials used in their devices sustainably, or to get the EPA to regulate ostensibly harmful pesticides and food additives more carefully.
Staff members at The Young Turks, the popular political news series and site, regularly send out Act.ly petitions, and got in touch with Gilliam to vent and gripe about the Earth Day blackout.
Gilliam is also the founder of NationBuilder.com, a site that he says is not effected by the problems in the cloud.
Anyone can use Act.ly to whip up awareness and inspire problem solving around a cause, online — at least when it’s up and running.