I remember way back in the days when search engine home pages were not reliable, when Yahoo! or MSN was down, people thought the entire net was down because they didn’t know how to input URLs. Now I don’t think much has changed in the last 5-10 years in terms of how many people use the ‘net, except for instead of search engines being the home page/tab, people have Facebook or Twitter as their starting point. Many people don’t even go further than Facebook anymore as the only reason they go online is to catch up with friends. So today’s meltdown (C|Net, Mashable) of Twitter and Facebook was certainly an annoyance for folks (and a reminder of how dependant we are getting) who had their ‘net break this morning. But outside of the traditional web, I think where this might have had a bigger impact was in mobile computing – I wonder how many people who have phones hooked into the two services all of the sudden felt the sensation of being disconnected? In my experience, the biggest drivers for mobile data, at least in my circles, have been related to social networking. People want to be able to go out and meet their friends and share those experiences with those who are not there and store them for those who are.
One of my colleagues in the office suggested that the attack on Twitter might have been some State clamping down so hard that it knocked Twitter down for everyone. I also don’t see that being that far out of the realm of possibility. But if a State did attack a company, who is there to defend them? The “cyber forces” of their home country, or some other body (the UN?). I don’t know but as services become international in use and importance, the defense of these services becomes the interest of the world as well, once again throwing fuel on the fire that is the role of borders on the ‘net.
PS. Be sure to check the update.