Monday June 25, 2012
A-Twitter over ‘death’
One Man's Meat
By Philip Golingai
The worst thing about Twitter being down is that you can’t tweet that Twitter is down.
AT around 12.13am on Friday, I wanted to tweet “Have you been to Tarakan?” to @NonVitalTooth. Neo V.H. is someone I consider a friend although I’ve never met him in person.
I assume he is a male dentist living in Tawau. And I consider him an insider when it comes to the east coast of Sabah politics.
But then again, with anonymity on the Internet, @NonVitalTooth could be a gorgeous female Special Branch officer working in Bukit Aman. If that’s the case, I would like to state that my intel on Umno’s Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh is a spy vs spy kind of counter-intelligence.
Anyway, I clicked “tweet” several times and nothing happened. Perhaps the Internet service in the office was slow, I thought.
I then fired up Twitter on my Nokia smartphone and the microblogging site failed to launch. Did I forget to pay my Maxis bill, I thought.
I was in Menara Star as I was the LOC (late officer in charge) and I asked my colleague Lim Wey Wen whether she could log on to Twitter. No, she said.
She Googled to check what had happened to Twitter. News reports were trickling in that Twitter was down.
“Okay, Philip, you can survive this,” I told myself.
Five minutes later, I typed Twitter.com and still nothing happened. Another five minutes later and still nothing. Then another five minutes – nothing.
I got anxious, worrying that there might be breaking news that I might miss on TwitterJaya. There have been instances when Twitter was the first to break a news item.
For example, when a Malaysian journalist was killed in Somalia, I was one of the first to know about it as @papagomo, who was in Mogadishu, had tweeted about it.
“Productivity goes down when Twitter is down,” I told Lim. “Productivity goes up,” she replied.
I laughed as there was some truth in what she said.
That morning, in between reading stories on Euro 2012 and checking the Bernama wire service, I kept on clicking on Twitter.com.
I felt so isolated because I could not connect with my Twitter friends and share the frustration that Twitter was down.
It is not as if I’m a Twitter addict. I’ve stopped tweeting while I’m having a meal with someone. I can live without Twitter.
Hold on. I need to take a break from writing. I need to check on what’s happening on Twitter.
@leongyookkong tweeted: “@junzwong When is the red durian season in KK? We intend to hold #twitupKK eating red durians.”
Oh ya, where were we?
I’m not a Twitter addict. It is just that Twitter can be fun.
Yes, there are nasty characters lurking in TwitterJaya. But if you ignore these trolls (which Wikipedia defines as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or disrupting normal on-topic discussion”), TwitterJaya is wicked fun.
Twitter was back up again after an hour. I immediately tweeted: “wow!!! Twitter was down for at least an hour – worldwide” and “suddenly I felt as if I lost my friends when Twitter was down.”
My Twitter friends were on Twitter. And it was as if we had just survived a natural disaster. We consoled ourselves for living through the despairing one hour when Twitter was dead.
For example, Ho Kit Yen (@hkityen) replied, “About to jump off a bridge/building” when @PhilipGolingai tweeted: “Twitter down was equivalent to a ‘brief’ end of the world kind of experience.”
Six years ago, nobody would have complained that Twitter was down. That’s because the social media service did not exist then.
It was launched on July 2006. Now the service hosts 400 million tweets daily. I contribute about 39 (or is it 100?) tweets a day.
The barrage of complaints that Twitter was down, according to the company, underscored “how critical Twitter has become”.
“Every day, we bring people closer to their heroes, causes, political movements and much more,” said Mazen Rawashdeh, Twitter vice-president of engineering, who blamed a “cascading bug” for causing the outage.
To quote a tweet from user Arghya Roychowdhury: “OMG...twitter was down...closest thing to living without oxygen for most of us...”