The Day Twitter Died

The Day Twitter Diedby Braden Kelley

Nothing is more true than the saying ‘you never know how much you love something until it is gone’.

Well imagine everyone’s surprise, when on May 10, 2010 at 10am PDT (roughly) – Twitter effectively died.

Will it come back to life? I sure hope so.

What do I mean by ‘died’?

Well, recently Twitter suddenly started displaying 0 followers and 0 following for everyone (even the infamous @aplusk millions of followers dropped to zero).

It was the great reset, personified – Twitter style. A chance for everyone to start again. Well, except it won’t let you do that either (or else Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t still be sitting on zero).

But even worse, it didn’t just start displaying 0 followers, but it started acting like 0 followers – meaning I couldn’t DM someone real fast to see what was going on.

Now I only have 5,550+ followers, but these have been hard won followers (I tend to follow back only people I know). I like to believe that I have all of these followers because I deliver value through my twitter channel to people interested in innovation and marketing insights. Granted I could probably have 100,000+ followers if I focused my energy on building up my number of followers, but frankly I believe that engagement and value fit my style more than sheer bulk.

So, what now?

Do we have to start following people again one by one?

Will the people who game the system rush back to the top (in terms of the number of followers)?

Will people lose interest in Twitter?

Or, will their isolation from normal Twitter operation reinforce for people the value that they derive from participating in the conversation and not merely consuming information?

Well, all of this depends on how long it takes Twitter to revive itself. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Two things are for sure:

  1. It will be interesting to watch people’s reactions
  2. There are a lot of panicked people at Twitter right now

UPDATE: – Apparently Twitter was hacked and is trying to rollback to before the hack

We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to “force” other users to follow them. We’re now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place. Follower/following numbers are currently at 0; we’re aware and this too should shortly be resolved.

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.




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No Comments

  1. @ynanasi on May 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Amazing the panic that is propagating the internet and social networks due to Twitter’s faux pas today. I’m sure they can reset back to a previous backed-up version to get everyone’s followers back on track (at least I’d like to hope they can!), but this has raised a larger issue for me.
    I find it shocking that businesses (small, medium and large) will leave their Rolodex at the discretion and mercy of networks they have no influence over. Many businesses are spending real marketing dollars on social media campaigns, investing in innovation strategies through open crowd-sourcing networks and deploying resources to propagate and protect their brand across consumer social networking channels…all without owning and having access to the aggregated list of followers/fans/friends I like to call their Rolodex.

  2. Braden Kelley on May 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    You raise a very interesting point. Instantly people know nothing about the Twitter audience they used to have.

    Now, if Twitter is rolling back, then most of that will be regained, but you’re right. People and brands can only communicate with their ‘followers’ as long as the service exists and allows them to do so. They don’t have enough information to communicate with them in other ways or in the event that the service fails temporarily (or permanently).


  3. Mark Dykeman on May 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Looks like things were fixed.

    It would certainly be an interesting adventure if we were all forced to earn back all of our followers again. Would we do things the same way? Would it take as long to rebuild the list?

    Or would we even bother?

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