Is Gmail down? I’ll Twitter it

So I had the title of this post saved as a draft in WordPress. When I have an idea for a post, but no time to blog, I “Add New” and save a title for a post. That title acts as a reminder for me to blog about the topic when I have some time. Well what better day to write this post, since Gmail was down for a while yesterday afternoon.

Gmail down September 1 2009

As more users sign up for online tools like Gmail, outages are becoming more common. Whether it’s from hackers trying to take down the system, bugs in the system, or simply system overload, users are having to deal with outages more frequently than they would like. With that said, when one site goes down, many users rush to another in order to stay connected.

Is Twitter the new CNN for breaking news? I know I go to Twitter whenever I’m having an issue with a social tool OR when there is any sort of breaking news. For example, I have Comcast cable and it went out the other day, I hopped on Twitter and searched for “Comcast Philadelphia”. I was presented with hundreds of tweets from local Comcast subscribers who were having the same problem. I was able to find out just what was going by using Twitter.

The trick for Twitter is to recognize that their subscribers are using the tool in this way and make sure their bandwidth can handle the increased traffic. We don’t want Twitter going down due to increased traffic.

Businesses large & small will hopefully realize that Twitter is being used in this way because there is an opportunity for them to trouble-shoot issues by using Twitter. Customer service is a huge expense for organizations, but it’s critical in keeping customers happy. If companies begin shifting those expenses from traditional customer service techniques to new methods such as using Twitter, they can drastically cut costs, and service their customers better. When Comcast goes down, they can simply tweet that information to their followers. Those tweets should explain the issue, provide assurance that Comcast is working on it, and provide an ETA for getting the system back up. This would keep customers in the know and alleviate heavy call traffic to the traditional customer service tools.

When one of your social tools goes down, where do you go to find out what’s going on?

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