Top 10 things to do during a Twitter outage

What? I can't hear you! Something about fail and a whale?

Have you prepared your Twitter Disaster Response Kit yet? Hint: When Twitter is down, that might be a good time to think about it. Suddenly you’re going to have plenty of free time. Not that you’ll be able to microblog the experience.

Okay, first things first. Twitter is down. Maybe you get the legendary “fail whale.” Maybe it just sits there and just sits*. (Trust me. It’s not thinking.) Maybe the little circular “wait” icon keeps spinning and spinning to let you know it’s doing something. I tried to out-wait the icon but gave up after a quarter hour, thus burning any shot I ever had at my 15-minutes of fame.

If you merely get a blank screen, try to refrain from punching your monitor. That won’t help anyone.

Twitter is down. The first thing to remember is: Stay the fuck calm!!!!!! Do not bludgeon the heads of passerby unless absolutely necessary.

You have an emergency contact tree, right? This is the moment when all that preparation finally comes in handy. Use it!

  1. Before going willy nilly, try this: Sit at your computer and click the REFRESH button in your browser. Again and again. Repeatedly! Some of you might think that this action just overloads a server already dealing with more than its share of problems, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In all actuality these clicks are transformed into uplifting, powerful and transformative beams of encouragement that are absorbed by the Twitter crew. They’ll need you now more than ever for the strength to carry on. Most experts omit this step – but heed my advice. The rewards may not be instantaneous but you haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced the gratification of taking this action. So click away and as fast as you can. Click as if your life depends upon it.
  2. Stay hydrated. You won’t be able to respond properly, quickly and efficiently when (if?) Twitter ever goes back up. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to sneak in a quick tweet before Twitter engineers were really ready to ramp the system back up. Roll on the floor while you wait.
  3. If you spontaneously combust from frustration, do not run or use gasoline to douse the flames. Trust me. You’ll be sorry if you do.
  4. Your family, friends and followers should have already an arranged Twitter Outage Meeting Area (TOMA). Head to your TOMA immediately. Look carefully up and down your street for other people exiting their homes, especially those looking dazed and confused. Be prepared to render assistance. When possible, offer Mountain Dew and Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos until emergency vehicles arrive.
  5. Send a quick tweet to your followers to let them know that you are okay. If possible, enable GPS and describe your position in relation to the nearest Starbucks.
  6. There is always the possibility that the outage could be related to terrorism. Look for “funny looking” people, especially those taking pictures of bridges or buildings, tackle them and wrestle them to the ground in the most humane manner possible. Sit on them until police arrive. If they look American read them their rights. If not, use mild torture.
  7. If banks are open, withdraw all of your money. If banks are closed, withdraw only $300 from the nearest ATM.
  8. After ensuring that all loved ones are safe, go to your secret place and calmly meditate. Focus on what you imagine might be trending at the moment. Suggestions include: outage, fail, whale, tweets, is it up yet and Justin Bieber’s daddy pubes.
  9. Some outages may be of limited duration. If so, apply elements of this list as appropriate to the situation. Some outages, however, may last for longer periods of time and you may start to tremble from a lack of me-oriented attention. This is also known as the beginning of shock. To help feel more narcissistic, strip completely and sprint down the street until arrested, you throw up from overexertion, you are pepper sprayed by the police, or you run 50 feet, whichever comes first.
  10. If the “outage” turns out to be merely your own router, reset the router by unplugging the cord, waiting 10 seconds, then shrug and look suitably embarrassed. Add, “My bad,” but only if you feel it is necessary and lots of people are watching.

Note: For your protection I googled the proper spelling of “Bieber” for this post. Don’t ever say I never do anything for you. That was quite the sacrifice.

* No, not a grammatical error.

20 responses

  1. At the risk of allowing you to think this is the ONLY thing I took away from your brilliant post…. they make Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos?? Must try Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.


    1. Oh, crap. I inadvertently advertised a product, and without getting paid. I would have merely said “tortilla chips sprinkled with flavorings” but the specific variety is crucial in this case.


  2. “Stay Hydrated”. Who knew?


    1. Of course, I neglected to mention that the liquid needs to be applied directly to your keyboard. Ooops. My bad.

      Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  3. I’m glad you didn’t tell us that drinking water would prevent hydration, or you’d be in serious trouble in the EU.

    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I’m a Twitter Forgetter. Just another way to be ignored in cyberspace…

    Planetjan says keep kitty litter ready. (That’s for when you are well-hydrated.)


    1. True. Thank you, EU, for protecting us from the things that keep us alive. I like that. A lot.

      The only real purpose of water is when you want to Wee for a Wii. And yes, it does help to have kitty litter for that. If you live.


  4. I’m filling up water bottles right now.


    1. Hell. You’re half way to being a scout already. Well done. And I think live tweeting Thanksgiving is an awesome idea. Why didn’t I think of that myself? I’ll be visiting your blog to see how it went!


  5. Um, am I only the one that noticed a problem with #5? “..send a quick tweet..” Is there some secret emergency Twitter that I’m not aware of for these situations?

    Rob, The Mainland


    1. LOL!!! Heh, yeah. I think it’s called Channel 9.

      And the part about people walking out of their houses looking dazed and confused? That’s a true story. I was there, man. It was carnage. It actually involved the Super Bowl, though. It happened right at kickoff. The kicker’s foot contacted the ball and then … BLINK! Power went out.

      For some reason us humans were compelled to leave our houses and stand in the street looking at each other. “Is your power out? Yep, mine, too!”

      It was a surreal moment. I imagine that’s exactly what Twitter outages are like, too.

      Your blog looks to have lots of important content I need to survive the holidays. I’ll be over to read up on that soon! Thanks!


  6. Crap. I hadn’t even thought about what would happen if twitter went down… I’M NOT PREPARED!

    *prints off blog and staples it to her hands*

    I’m going to go and revise.


    1. Sobering, isn’t it. Far too often people wait until it’s too late. Don’t let that happen to you.

      By the way, the link for your blog is supposed to be this, right? Looks like someone was thinking about “blood,” eh? 🙂


  7. OMG! I am twitter-fied as I don’t have a TOMA!!! I know a Tom but I don’t think he’d be much use in a situation like this.


    1. I know TOMA was lame as hell. I tried thinking up a funnier acronym but it made my head feel funny.


      1. How about TITS – Twitter Interuption Therapy Station.

        As you can see I don’t feel like working today.

        Rob, The Mainland.


  8. Rob, you show great promise. Unfortunately that bastard Jim Gaffigan already co-opted that acronym.

    Tactical Immersion Taskforce Specialists


    1. Hey TITS can be very versatile.


      1. Brother, you just said a mouthful!


  9. If the banks are open and I still only have $300 in my account do I still empty it? (Only talking about Twitter could confuse me so much. I’ve never twitted in my life.)


    1. Good point! What about people who don’t use Twitter much? Luckily I have tips for them, too. They should still take out the $300 then give it to me and await further instructions.


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