On Thursday August 6, 2009 Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal and Google were attacked with a DDos campaign that slowed down the sites and severely crippled Twitter in particular. The other services were able to withstand most of the traffic bombardment that as we later found out, was targeting a particular blogger from the Republic of Georgia. On this week's Bella Buzz podcast Joe and Desiree discuss how this interruption impacts businesses and what can be done to prevent disruption in the future.
(For a more in depth discussion on this topic while the initial attack was going on, listen to Joe's podcast called Geek Dads @ Home.)
Some initial reaction called into question the safety of using these social tools as it relates to privacy. For the most part, you would not be storing any passwords or secure data on these social networks that might be obtained in this type of attack. In fact, there was no "hacking" at all. This type of attack is merely throwing so much bot traffic at a site their servers cannot handle the load.
This entire episode raises a very important question about Twitter as a service and the stability of the infrastructure as we generate our "life stream" with this sole source provider. Would you feel better if you knew that there was a dispersed, federated approach to managing this traffic that had more of a relationship to the way email is handled?
There is an open source micro-messaging option to Twitter called Laconica which is the platform that the service Identi.ca works on, and has been seriously pushing this debate about distributed messaging.
Friendfeed can also be a solution for maintaining connections and the functionality of micro-messaging. The threaded conversations are a terrific user interface for real dialogue, and the ability to integrate numerous streams of content such as Flickr photos, blog posts, and even a Twitter stream makes it a very efficient service. (NOTE: This podcast was recorded a couple of hours prior to the announcement that Friendfeed has been purchased by Facebook.)
Long term the solution is not to look for other social networks to run to in the hope that a mass migration would take place. The only solution that makes sense at this stage, with the high adoption rates of Twitter, is the hope that they will look to adapt their business model and structure and look to become a web platform or protocol that will carry the micro-messaging across the web.
It will be interesting to see if the rollout of Google Wave and the promises that are being touted with that service will indeed provide us with a live, all in one messaging platform. Will all services ride upon a Wave in the future? It is possible that Google sees some opportunities when Twitter failures happen.
What was your reaction last Thursday when Twitter went down? Was it an inconvenience, or did it severely impact your ability to function?