Twitter was unavailable to many users worldwide today for an hour or two.
A company statement on the Twitter status page, posted at about 9 a.m. Pacific time, stated, "Users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue." A little more than an hour later, the status page was updated to say the issue had been resolved.
The outage was not universal. I know because I was denied the experience of eyeballing the ugly error message that appeared in place of the traditional Twitter fail whale that appears when the site is overloaded.
Some visitors were instead treated to a bit of naked template code that the site barfed up:
Twitter is currently down for <%=reason%>
But even during the outage, some accounts were active and posting, including posting information about the outage.
Not down for everyone: CBS was one of several news outlets tweeting about the outage while it was going on.
One of my public relations contacts reported that she was able to access Twitter through the HootSuite social media management tool, just not directly through twitter.com. Other users reported being able to access the site via mobile clients but not over the Web.
This is a little more than a month since the last serious outage in June, which Twitter blamed on a "cascading bug" in its server infrastructure--although a hacking group also claimed responsibility.
Twitter has not disclosed the cause of today's issue.
Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)