Thunderbolt, a web design and social media Surrey based company ensure to keep up to date with industry news no matter how big or small. At the touch of a smartphone or click of a web-browser, social media can link us to anyone at any time. However, with more people logging into the likes of Facebook and Twitter each day, the question must be asked: Have we become too reliant on social media?
On the nineteenth of January 2016, Twitter’s website, app and mobile site went down worldwide. Claims from news channels and monitoring sites suggest that hundreds of millions of Twitter’s users worldwide were affected by this downtime. Twitter’s API (application program interface) also experienced problems, meaning other websites and apps could not access Twitter. This impacted businesses launching digital products and marketing through Twitter and the customers trying to access those products and information. The impact of a long period of downtime on businesses has been said to be potentially catastrophic.
Reactions from the few hours of downtime ranged from horror to amusement, as Twitter users took to Facebook and other forms of social media to complain. Many expressed frustration at being unable to access the latest news. Others complained at their need to interact with people offline. With Twitter unable to cater their users’ needs, many felt distressed about being cut off from their online social connections. Rising to the occasion, a range websites and radio programmes broadcast live updates to reassure people about the situation. One of these feeds concluded that people should “stop panicking and get back to work” upon the issues being resolved.
The magnitude of the reaction to this Twitter downtime shows the responsibility users place in the role of social media in their lives. With users at a loss of what to do in Twitter’s absence except flock to other social media site, it shows how vital these platforms are for social interaction. The personal nature of social media means no single answer can be given as to its importance in someone’s lifestyle. However, would a Twitter user’s life be quite the same without all that communication at their fingertips?