For about a terrifying three hours yesterday, I had no followers and no one was following me – or so it seemed. Like everyone else on Twitter, my juice was drained to zero’s across the board. It was a brief moment of cataclysmic anxiety across Twitter, that will probably be forgotten soon, but not before I throw my two cents in.
I’m currently reading God Save the Fan by DeadSpin.com’s Will Leitch in which one chapter he chronicles his horrifying 24 hours of watching only ESPN channels. It is by no means an original idea, but I thought I would record my actions during this Twitter turmoil to tell the world my story.
I’m really flying through my morning rounds of scheduling Tweets. This is great! HA! Looks like a bug, but my friend Valentina just announced to all Tweeters that she has no more followers. Sucks for her!
My TweetDeck alert is going bonkers…it seems like the “No Friend” freak-out is spreading. Looks like all my accounts are
…Oh dear god.
Now I know how Tom Cruise felt in War of the Worlds. What’s going on? Will my social media clients freak out? Everyone’s tweeting updates on the situation…who do I trust? How am I still seeing updates from my usual followers? WHAT’S GOING ON?!
I think things will be ok.
BUT what if I have to “Follow” everyone again? Is it worth it? It has to just be a bug…
Twitter followers are still down! but it should be coming back shortly. Just had a phone call with a friend talking about the situation. We’re going to go get pizza later. Is real life socializing still viable?
WHERE ARE MY FOLLOWERS?! Why doesn’t my lunch taste as good as it did yesterday?! Why is it cold out today? Why is my fantasy baseball team so terrible?
I just took a walk outside to calm down. Still no calls from clients wondering if the last few months of their budget is down the drain. Fortunately, it’s a really pretty day outside. I might try disconnecting from my Tweets more often.
My followers are coming back. We’re going to make it, we’re going to survive. According to the Twitter Status Blog, we’re all going to be okay.
Friends Come Home
In the end, the Great No-Follower Freakout was merely a bug that Twitter’s people were fixing throughout the day. The glitch in the system, as identified by Gizmodo posts, allowed users to “force” other Tweeters to follow them. ( Justin Beiber’s account would not have been happy about that one.)
This little loophole could have proven disastrous for Twitter’s mass following. Many celebrities and businesses eagerly jumped on Twitter due to it’s privacy settings; the aforementioned Justin Beiber can send messages to his legions of fans, but his Twitter feed only includes the other mega-celebs he wants to follow.
So what did we learn through today’s crisis? Twitter knows it’s audience very well. While followers disappeared for most of the work day, the Twitter Status Blog kept us informed of the status of the repairs, so as to avoid the freak-outs documented in my “live” blog above. Twitter is built on the foundation of “staying informed” and sharing information. In this sense, they succeeded, even amidst a time of failure.
This is a guest post by Case Ernsting , who is one of the lead bloggers for MetaSpring, a marketing and web design consultancy in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also the Marketing and SEO representative for the company, handling linkbuilding and public relations campaigns. Read more at the MetaSpring Design & Marketing Blog. Contact us if you want to guest post on this blog.