Daily Archives: October 6, 2009

What happens to your outsourced brain when the cloud fails you?

Today I got a very retro screen indeed:


It must be at least a year since I got the Fail Whale on Twitter more than once, today I got it 3 times and it does make me wonder what the business and personal impact is of sites being down. I believe in that concept of using computers, phones, the internet as a part of your brain in a way but it does make it tough to cope when the internet or your cloud service is down.

Twitter is an interesting example. When it was falling over every other day the demographic stats about users tended to be those tolerant of problems – most were young male geeks based in California. Now it’s a stable service users are much more varied and are not asked to stick with it through the bad times (mostly). That impacts on the exclusivity of the service and it’s attraction to spammers and marketeers – those savvy geek guys weren’t about to click on dubious URLs!

I think the way that the usage, media treatment and academic treatment of the internet seems to have some parallels here. Even a limited service has a certain sort of appeal when it is only populated by specialist insiders who navigate and/or simply aren’t presented with the same noise of content. I think one of the downsides of popularism is that experimentation and exploration becomes scarier – there is more information out there in general and there are conventions and behaviours that become expected. The upside is that you get speed, stability, competition… Mostly very good stuff.