When Twitter.com goes down, I feel extremely cut off from what’s going on in the world of Twitter. But at least I know that everyone feels this way… today, HootSuite, the popular Twitter dashboard and the one that I personally use most, is down, and I feel very left out of a conversation that I know is still going on.
If you’re also a HootSuite user, you would have seen this page if you tried to log in this morning:
As Mashable reports, HootSuite is suffering downtime alongside FourSquare and Reddit, due to some technical problems with Amazon’s servers.
The error page is admittedly pretty cute, and at first I smiled to see an owl in a hardhat, but that is only enough to distract me for about 20 seconds… then I realize that this means I don’t have access to my lists, my @mentions, all of my social profiles in one place…
That’s when I take a breath and realize that if anyone knows a way to access these things that’s not HootSuite, it’s me. I’ve been writing about Twitter tools for a long time, and I have a whole arsenal of them in the back of my head.
But still, this downtime has made me realize that it’s a bit of a daunting process to move outside your comfort zone. I’m currently using TweetDeck and will be tweeting this very post from there, but it’s been a while since I’ve logged in and I have to spend some time reconfiguring the layout, adding search and list columns, and pulling in some of my other social media profiles.
Once you get used to a tool, it can be difficult to learn another. I’m happy that TweetDeck is a very powerful dashboard, and the column design is so similar to HootSuite that it has taken me about 2 minutes to get it up and running just the way I like it. But other people aren’t as lucky, and will be floundering without access to their favorite dashboard today.
With all of the rumors floating around that Twitter (or UberMedia) might buy TweetDeck, many are suspicious that Twitter will simply scrape TweetDeck for parts and then shut it down. If that’s the case, loyal TweetDeck users will have to go through the same process I went through this morning, but more permanently.
Of course, these are just rumors as of yet, but if today’s HootSuite downtime teaches us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t rely too heavily on a single piece of technology. Diversify, and you’ll save yourself the headache of having to re-learn what you already know if something goes wrong down the road.