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May 10, 2010

TwitterFreakout: Follower Counts Down To Zero - Then Restored

As the world is battling important issues such as the world financial crisis, oil spill and the recent Dow plunge - what may push social media types over the edge is what happened today: Twitter follower/following counts were set to 0.

Yes, I sent a tweet out, pushed enter then could not believe my EYES as I saw my follower count reset to 0.

After frantically searching on the Twitter support forum (which had no information) - I found the Twitter "support" Twitter ID that had updates:

1. "Following and follower counts are temporarily unavailable. You should still receive updates. We're working to resolve this." at around 10am.

2. The follower count reset was related to a bug they found which had the effect of "forced" following. A few minutes after that the bug was posted about in the Twitter status blog: http://status.twitter.com/post/587210796/follow-bug-discovered-remedied

I tweeted updates to my followers so they did not need to go through the shock that I experienced. Seeing the behavior of my tweeps (and myself), this made me think of the old saying ""If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?".

The modern equivalent of that is "If My Twitter count falls to 0, Do I exist?". This is a subject that can reflect modern society's dependence on social networking, which leads to many who now feel a connection between their "friend" or "follower" count and their self esteem.

Not that I feel that way.. Really.. OK! I DO and will feel calmer after my Twitter follower count is restored. I hope a get a few more followers out of this. If I just tweeted that, I would use the hashtag "#sadstateofaffairs. I may need to search out a Twitter follower loss support group after this.

My value add for Twitter has been connecting with an amazing community - that I ended up making many real life business connections from. I view Twitter as a place I share "whats going on" in my niche of parenting and technology and read what my followers are up to. So while I may joke about my Twitter addiction, I have seen real value from the site.♠

Conan O'Brien also shared my emotions with his tweet: "Twitter exploded today! I guess my dream of a world where Twitter runs our stock market, phones, and nuclear defense is still a ways off."

UPDATE: A short time after I posted this, Twitter restored follower counts and all is well (I do exist again - at least for now..).  Here is my Pearltree that summed up this morning's exciting Twitter events:

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