Update: Looks like everything’s back to normal. I advise going through your most recent followers to be sure. For more tips on sustaining your business when things go wrong on the web, continue reading.
First I’d like to let you know that you can be calm if you see that you’re not following anyone on Twitter, nor is anyone following you. Caroline McCarthy has reported on an awkward bug discovered within the Twitter web interface. The reported bug,
“[…] forced the Twitter accounts of industry luminaries like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Evan Williams to follow a dummy profile. The flaw allowed members to add followers to their own accounts, basically, by tweeting “accept” followed by “@” and any given Twitter user name.”
Twitter is aware of the bug and are actively working to fix it. Please note that it only works with the Twitter Web site, not third party clients such as Tweetdeck or Seesmic. Also, you should still be able to see updates from the people you are following. So, you haven’t really lost your followers. You just can’t track them at the moment.
Multiple Channels Of Communication
On another note, this is begging the question: what should your business do if Twitter goes down or has a crisis like this in the future? The answer is simple and painfully obvious: you have to have other channels of reaching your community. For me it’s my blog and here’s the play of exchange:
- If my blog goes down, I can switch to Twitter.
- If Twitter goes down, I have RSS and comments go a long way in helping build awareness.
- If all of these fail, my iPhone holds a ton of contacts and email addresses.
That’s just covering your bottom line. You need to go beyond this at some point. It’s important to understand your community and actually be apart of it on many levels. Those that are genuinely part of their communities, are never forgotten or lost. They’re worth more than a number and remembered as such.
So let’s rephrase my earlier question: are you making your business more sustainable using social media or are you using social media to sustain your business?