Monthly Archives: July 2012

When Twitter Goes Down: Ten Things You Absolutely MUST Know

Believe it or not, you can often keep using Twitter, even if only a little bit, when it is down for most people (see tip #3). And you need to reconsider what and when you tweet for awhile (tips #5 and #6).

Here are all the tips in this post:

  1. Check Multiple Twitter Status Sites…before Complaining To Twitter.
  2. Reset Any Scheduled Tweets.
  3. How To Tweet Even When Other People Can’t: Mobile Twitter…sometimes works.
  4. Efficiently Check To See When Twitter Comes Back Online
  5. Wait Before Tweeting Important Info.
  6. Reconsider Tweeting Links.
  7. Problems Will Continue After Twitter is Back Up.
  8. Get The Word Out When Twitter is Back Up.
  9. Realize Twitter Support Will Be Slow To Respond To ANY Problems For Awhile.
  10. Share Helpful Information About How Twitter Downtime Works—Help Squelch Conspiracy Theories
  11. Get on with your life :-)

Tip: If you want to share these tips, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/TwitterDowntime (this will NOT work if Twitter is down right now. Copy the link and share it later.)

 1. Check Several Twitter Status Sites…Before Complaining To Twitter

Status.Twitter.com reports all major, multi-country outages. However, even the status page goes offline when tumblr goes down, because it is run on tumblr. So sometimes, your best bet is to check sites like

Unfortunately, status.twitter.com doesn’t report smaller downtimes. I wish it did, but always check the other sites listed above before opening a ticket with twitter support. And if Twitter is down, do NOT open a ticket to complain. It will just slow everything down for people who have issues that need specific attention. Complaining doesn’t get Twitter working any faster ;-)

Also, don’t ask “when will Twitter be back up again?” No one knows. Even when Twitter has had scheduled downtime (extremely rare), the site has not come back up on schedule.

2. Reset Any Scheduled Tweets

If you use a Twitter app that lets you schedule tweets, move the ones just about to be sent to a later time, and keep checking for uptime before you let them be sent again. Different services work differently, but it’s possible to both lose tweets or have a bunch of tweets go out all at once if you don’t change your scheduling.

Also: Be careful about resetting your connection to Twitter in a scheduling app! If you end up accidentally recreating your account on the software you use for scheduling, you could accidentally DELETE all your upcoming tweets and lose all your settings.

3. Mobile Twitter Might Let You Tweet When All Else Fails

Twitter’s mobile site is usually the best place to tweet from when Twitter is having problems. And you can access if from a browser, smartphone, and even old “feature phones.”

While it doesn’t always work, if you keep refreshing, you can often read or send tweets from time to time even while Twitter is down for other people.

4. Efficiently Check For Changes

You might want to open status.twitter.com in it’s own window, and then use a quick method such as Alt-tab (how this works in Windows) and Ctrl-R (refreshes browser page) to quickly view and refresh the page. You may want to click on the title of the current issue to open a page that is only about that issue, such as this.

However, if using Twitter is urgent for you, don’t be shy about asking some friends or community members to keep checking and email, call or DM you when the status.Twitter.com page shows an update. Don’t spend hours refreshing when you have other work you need to do.

5. Wait Before Tweeting Important Info

If you have something important that you’d like to reach more users, consider waiting instead of refreshing mobile twitter to try to get a tweet out. Few people will see it even when you’re successful.

The same is true even when Twitter seems to be mostly back up. It’s likely it’s not fully up for all users yet, so if you wait a bit before tweeting your most important info, it’s more likely more people will see it.

If you are doing tests on how much traffic is being sent from your tweets, be sure to make a note wherever you do your tracking about the Twitter outage to adjust your tracking statistics as needed.

6. Reconsider Tweeting Links

All Twitter links, of ALL kinds might be broken. This is because when Twitter is offline, it’s link shortening service t.co is often also offline. And because ALL links in tweets go through t.co, that means ALL links become broken too. Links may fail, or all people may see is a page that looks like this:

7. Problems Will Continue After Twitter is Back Up

I hesitate to make such a blanket statement, but Twitter uses a strategy called darkmode, whereby they purposely leave some features offline or only partially working to make other features work better, or for testing purposes. Yes, Twitter actually purposely breaks things sometimes!

Twitter never seems to work just as well right after an outage as right before for all users. (For example, right after the July 26 outage ended, avatars started disappearing.) That does NOT mean it won’t work fine for you. It means some people will have problems.

The kinds of problems may vary. Twitter often goes partially offline a couple of times after a major outage. It’s kind of like aftershocks after a major earthquake. Sometime they uncover a problem in their infrastructure, and have to make changes in how things work that may take weeks or months to implement fully. This means you’ll need to:

Check for Fixes on Related Problems

Follow the Twitter list of announcements from official Twitter accounts and check it more often in the days following an outage. Twitter will often mention specific problems it is working to resolve, which may cover issues YOU are having.

8. Get The Word Out When Twitter is Back Up

There are several reasons to tweet about it. One is that some people won’t have known Twitter was down, and may have problems that will confuse them. Seeing your tweet about the (now solved) problem will clue them in to what might be causing issues for them, such as scheduled tweets that didn’t work right.

And even though people mostly won’t see your tweets until Twitter is working again, many people don’t know how to check Twitter status, so when it’s working again you can educate them on what to do when Twitter goes down with your tweet.

9. Realize Twitter Support Will Be Slow To Respond To ANY Problems For Awhile

If you file a ticket with Twitter support via http://bit.ly/twicket, first realize that you will get an automated response. That’s how the system always works. For more about the ins and outs of Twitter’s help ticketing system read this. The initial email will contain tips about resolving your situation. If you don’t receive an automated reply email, check your spam folder and check what email you have given Twitter to contact you via.

Second, if you do receive the email but none of the tips work, you’ll need to reply to the email (read it closely and follow the directions) to get a person to look into your issue.

And if Twitter has been down lately, those poor Twitter support folks will be overloaded. It will take support people a LOT longer to get back to you. It can take several days. Do NOT create another ticket, because your previous ticket will be deleted, and your new one will go to the back of the line!

10. Share Helpful Information About How Twitter Downtime Works

People will be confused during and after Twitter goes offline. Help them. Explain what you know, and share links such as http://bit.ly/TwitterDowntime to help people learn about what happens, and what they can do.

For example, Twitter will have problems at exactly the wrong time for some people.

You will hear people saying their political tweet disappeared, or wouldn’t send, and that it’s a conspiracy by Twitter to censor certain kinds of information. Realize that even though this is ignorant, these people are confused and could use someone to lead them out of their ignorance.

Why not let it be you? But…be kind ;-)

11. Get on with your life.

Don’t spend all of your time doing nothing but refreshing to see if Twitter is back up. All web sites go offline from time to time. Take the opportunity to move forward on something that you can do outside of Twitter. HT to DJGidds and Tessa Faber for sharing this sound advice in the comments :-)