Communication is vital when there's an outage
Wednesday, October 3, 2007 by Dave Winer.
This morning a key element of the Twitter user interface went missing, the "older" link at the bottom of every page. Without it, it's as if there was no past. Unless you're glued to Twitter around the clock, or follow very few people, you're going to miss some of what's happening. I like to keep up with it all. There was lots of speculation about where it went, and whether the disappearance was temporary or permanent.
At some point during the morning, a post appeared on the Twitter weblog explaining: "This is not a permanent change." Okay. That's good news. I was seriously thinking about what life would be like without Twitter, and didn't like the feeling. Now I know at some point the link is coming back, and the functionality behind it (also missing temporarily) and I can relax.
While you're deep in the server logs, and trying to figure out what's going wrong, it's hard to remember that there are people out there wondering what's going on. Over time, the frustration builds, but right now the Twitter community is still in its Happy To Use Something New phase, so everyone took it in stride and with good humor.
Suggestion: There's this perfect space on every user's page where they can communicate with the users. Make it easy for the staff to quickly post a note there, perhaps saying nothing more more that "we're working on it" -- to help keep the users in the loop.