The Power of One. Gazillion. (or, uh guys, maybe we DID help take twitter down…)

As I mentioned, last week was the iCitizen client symposium, held by my employer, Resource Interactive. We had a social media cafe dedicated to showing attendees the power of social media and in particular, some of the most popular tools and services out there. We had an official live blogger and twitter stream, as well as a host of other delegates participating.
To showcase the power of twitter, we educated people on how to track a topic, and we kept Summize up on a few screens to show people how to monitor buzz. We were ecstatic to see that we reached the #1 trending topic at a few different times through the conference.

As the day wore on, we found we were having more trouble with twitter. Some of us who used the service regularly laughed it off, instructing people that “the first thing you need to learn about using twitter is that it isn’t always reliable.”

Yes, there was no reason for me to suspect this was anything different than any other twitter downtime. But then today I saw a link to what I recently saw referred to as the “twitter excuse blog“, where they shared a graph of the week up until Wednesday (iCitizen was Tuesday and Wednesday).

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A curious commenter noted the peaks:

It peaks in the evening time on the 19th, then in the morning on the 20th, then the entire evening again. On the 21st, it peaks in the – morning again? – nope, flat in the morning, peak at mid-afternoon, slammed in the evening again.

Now, I don’t know about the time zone for the graph, but I do find it interesting that the times were entered around our event. Goodness knows we had some hardcore twitterers sharing their thoughts.

Many of us had been tracking the term “icitizen”, and something I read earlier today mentioned that it was potentially this feature that caused some of the problems. I know we had some cases where people were overwhelmed with the volume of messages returned from tracking, and turned to tweetscan on their own:

icitizen tweets coming in too fast and furious to keep up! I’ve switched to tracking them here: http://snurl.com/29xfm #icitizen (from @getshust)

Now we’re all home and recovering from frantic tweeting, and while twitter is still struggling (most recently, suffering from a DB crash), I can’t help but wonder if in the true vein of iCitizenry, if we were all influential in taking twitter down?

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