For about an hour on Thursday, Google was offline. The company blames the problem on a glitch that routed too much traffic through computers in Asia, overwhelming the system.
To hear the Twitter world talk, it was not only a problem they — the Twitter users — discovered, but a problem of monumental proportions. Many tweets about the outage featured the additional codeword #googlefail, a “hashtag” that becomes a searchable keyword that Twitter users can use to see what everyone on the planet is saying on the service about that particular subject.
What’s so funny about the whole #googlefail phenomenon on Twitter is that it’s revealing what Gawker is calling a #twitterfail: hours after Google was completely back online, Twitter users were still “reporting” Google being offline as “breaking news.”
For many traditional media haters, services like Twitter represent an exciting alternative, where citizen journalism and speed-of-light posting ability combine to give old-school journalism a run for its money. One of the biggest complaints the anti-traditionalists have is that the old-school media like to “blow things up out of proportion.”
“What Twitter actually does is inflate problems out of all proportion, as Twitterers noisily tweet about how with it, on it, and over it they all are, repeating each other’s messages without adding anything of value. Any Googler trying to search Twitter to diagnose his company’s networking problem would go mad long before he extracted useful information.
Who’s going to report this outage? No one on Twitter, certainly. They’re too busy congratulating themselves for yet another Twictory over reality and common sense.”
Am I being too hard on Twitter to point out such a failure? The answer, of course, depends on your point of view. Sure, it’s exciting when you feel like you’re in the grasp of a big, breaking story and it’s your job — either by actual employment or self-appointment — to spread that news.
But for a service with some users who think they can do it better, how ironic it is that they seem to waste no time making the same mistakes they scream to the heavens about.