TWITTER has been suffering its second technical failure in one day, leaving social media commentators to observe how dependent users have become on the site.
Its first outage of the day lasted for more than an hour from 8.20am, with the site down again at around 1pm.
Users visiting the home page found a message saying: “Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing – we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”
The site was functioning again for many users at 2.15pm, but Twitter's @support tweeted at around that time: "Some users are currently experiencing problems accessing Twitter. We are aware of the issue and are working towards a resolution."
Mitchell Stuart, managing director of Bournemouth-based social media specialist Inferno Media, said: "So many people rely on Twitter to share their daily experiences and updates. To not have this medium means that real-time occurrences have no place; many online users would never think to Facebook status something they may have tweeted.
“The absence of Twitter morning rendered anecdotes useless; the child screaming on your train to work was no longer of interest by 11am. People in modern society communicate through the platform, and its absence – even if only for an hour – shows how habitual the use of Twitter has become.”
Mark Masters, of the ID Group in Poole and author of The Content Revolution, said the reaction showed businesses could be over-reliant on Twitter.
“What this means to me is that we have all become too attached to these places that have become a given, so when something odd happens we all start losing it. If Twitter decides to change the field and start charging people per month for reach, that is totally up to them, it’s their ball,” he said.
He said businesses needed to build relationships with their audiences and attract visits to their own websites, rather than putting all their content onto social media.
“Social channels are here to make money, just as much as we are. We need to get our own houses in order first. Which comes back again to the need to have an audience that we have responsibility for and not controlled by someone else to have a conversation with,” he said.
Paul Tansey, managing director of Poole marketing agency Intergage, said: “At a headline level, Twitter’s downtime is frustrating for individual users who have come to know and love it as a medium.
“Twitter is a great source of real-time information and, of course, gossip.
“But the reality for most companies is that higher quality traffic will be coming via other channels such as organic search, direct, referrals and paid search.
“And from a social media perspective, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are generally far better sources of quality traffic.”
The technical problems have affected Twitter on desktop and mobile devices.
The “micro-blogging” site – in which users share posts of up to 140 characters plus pictures and video – has more than 300million active users.