By Harry McCracken
March 12, 2014

Twitter went down yesterday for around 45 minutes. Once upon a time, that wouldn’t have been news: In the heyday of the Failwhale, Twitter went down a lot. But now it’s a rare enough occurrence that when I heard about the outage, my first paradoxical impulse was…to tweet about it. I’m sure I was far from the only person whose brain malfunctioned that way.

Over at Wired, Mat Honan has a good piece on how Twitter’s essential role in spreading news makes downtime into a major problem in a way that it wasn’t back when the service was theoretically designed to let you tell your friends what you were up to at the moment.

Thought-provoking sound bite:

I’m usually O.K. with the fact that services such as Twitter and Facebook are proprietary, rather than open, distributed standards such as e-mail which can’t come crashing down for everybody all at once. But Twitter has indeed become a sort of chatty, social Emergency Broadcasting System. Maybe we do need something similar which can’t be felled by one software glitch — which was the culprit that took the service offline yesterday.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST