Facebook? Down. Twitter? Down. You?

Social Media DownDo you depend on Social Networking to run your business—market it, and communicate with clients? Or do you depend on social networks to promote yourself and look for a job? Either way, when Twitter and/or Facebook go down…what do you do? Think it doesn’t happen? Think again.

The most notorious case of a social networking meltdown occurred this past summer. In the beginning of August, Russian Crackers (evil hackers) disrupted Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, and YouTube to varying degrees. Twitter was the hardest hit, experiencing problems for 3 days. The Crackers were trying to silence a Georgian blogger, Cyxymu, and the rest of us with social networking accounts got caught in the mayhem. The attack was just one of many salvos in an ongoing cyberwar between Russia and Georgian Crackers—an extension of decades long animosity between Russia and Georgia that has moved into cyberspace.

Beyond cyber warfare between hostile nationals, social networks can and do experience technical problems and go down for more benign reasons. Until about a year ago, we got the Twitter Fail Whale almost daily here at Chaos To Clarity. In the last few weeks, the whale watching has been excellent (not good when a sighting means Twitter is temporarily over capacity). In fact, on November 30, 2009 we saw the Fail Whale more than we saw our Twitter page.

Twitter may be the most notorious example of technical problems on a popular social network, but Facebook has also had its share. According to Mashable, Facebook was “wonky” on October 3rd and on November 23 we found it difficult to update our Facebook Fan Page or do anything else. Youtube has also had its share of problems with outages on October 3rd and November 1st.

What’s a business or professional to do? Do you stick with LinkedIn®, which rarely has problems, and dump the rest? No way. Facebook is the largest social network with over 350 million users (LinkedIn has only 50 million) and Twitter is the fastest growing network. LinkedIn has limited access for non-members, so it is little help if your target audience is on Facebook or Twitter.

Need a better plan? Establish an independent home base where you are in control.

Consider a self-hosted blog (not at wordpress.com, but on your own domain — http://www.yourdomain.com for example) or, if you’re not interested in blogging, use a website for your home base. That way you’ll have a place that provides links to all your social networking pages, and you can even send your social networking content to your blog or website. Having your social networking content on your blog or website gives people who don’t participate easy access your content. You’ll get the added benefit of a flexible, expansive space to showcase your work or products. Blogs and websites can (and do) go down, but they’re less likely to get caught-up in a cyberwar, surges of social network popularity, or hot news days. In the meantime, you have a virtual space for businesses and individuals to find you during the next social networking meltdown.

If you’re not sure about the right solution for you, then give us a call at (240) 839-1266. We offer a free 30 minute consult to help you figure out what makes sense for you.