The problem: It looks like when Twitter went down today, when it came back up it lost a bunch of follower/following connections.
Aaagh! Twitter knocked off 50 of my followers and about 30 of my "following". Wtf!
And Alex Iskold said:
My followers and following are down. First is understandable, second has to be exact. Lets revisit tomorrow.
Of course I should be able to say something about my own numbers, but while I *think* my numbers are down, I did not have my following/follower counts committed to memory so I can't be sure. But no matter, it appears something is up.
I suspect Twitter has backups, and that they will fix this, but for people who really rely on Twitter (for either emotional or serious business purposes) if so much connection data really is lost, it would be a nightmare. A sufficient amount has been written about the problems keeping Twitter up and running, and so I will not revisit them here. But it does highlight the issue of how important this kind of data is for so many people. And without a reasonable way to back up such data, it does call into question the reasonableness of relying on web based services for critical business purposes. The idea of losing contact with people and not having any reasonable way of reconstructing those relationships is certainly frightening.
If this is not solved some time later today, I think there are going to be some very unhappy campers in Twitterville. Hopefully this is only temporary.
update: it appears they are already working on fixing this as they indicated on the corporate blog, though at this hour (1am est) they are clearly not totally back to normal. Thanks to Morriss Partee for the latest info.
update 2: at 6:46am the problems still have not been fixed. This suggests that the message from yesterday saying they had fixed the problem and were propagating the data is now either inaccurate, or they rolled back to an old data set. If so, this really may indeed be Twitter Armageddon.