Twitter is down - again today.   This is the message that’s up on the homepage this morning..

"Twitter is currently down for Unplanned maintenance.

We expect to be back in about an hour. Thanks for your patience."

The message always says "in about hour."  Last week, that hour turned into days.

Last week, Twitter collapsed for reasons unspecified.  

Users routinely encountered the graphic they’ve come to dread -  the infamous happy whale being carted from the ocean by red doves.  The whale was accompanied by a message announcing saying the system was off-line "for an hour" - except hours have turned into days.

These were messages left in help area at the time, when Twitter whale came back up for air.

James W. Gentry Jr. replied 1 hour ago

C’mon. Is Twitter ever going to recover, or are we going to be subject to ever escalating disasters.

When I was finally able to log in last week,  I discovered that ALL of my followers and following - all the users who were following my tweets (or messages) etc. - had been wiped from the system.

Hundreds of other users were in the same boat.

Here’s a snippet of a slew of frustated users.

Chris LaBossiere replied 19 hours ago

Boy this really is a bad mistake. I have also lost about 350 that I follow and 175 that were following me. Having that community is important to the value of Twitter.

tboemily replied 18 hours ago 

Same here. I’ve also lost access to my Replies and Archive tabs. Anybody get redirected to when they tried to log back in? Seems like there may be more to this story than a technical glitch.

Niki Costantini replied 18 hours ago

But there’s no way for the twitter staff to fix this automatically without having to readd all the lost twitters? This really sucks…

Green Living Ideas replied 18 hours ago

We’re in the same boat, lost 100% of our followers. If they don’t fix this we’re definitely moving off Twitter and onto Plurk and/or Pownce. If you’re going to start over, might as well do it with a service that’s more reliable.

overprocessed replied 13 hours ago

Sometimes I feel like Twitter is a social experiment in itself to test the patience of good and sane people.

fussypants replied 18 hours ago

I lost 700 followers! Unbelievable.

Et tu, Twitter?

Then finally, from an official rep, Jason, who said it will take "several hours" for an update to propogate. 

Jason Goldman, Official Rep, replied 16 hours ago

Thank you to all the folks who provided additional information. We went into maintenance mode to recover from the missing user problem which was caused by a data inconsistency problem.

We were able to restore to an earlier version of the relationship data. You may still see out of date information for one of the following reasons:

1) The changes are still propagating out to all parts of the site. It will take several hours for the data to be correctly reflected everywhere.

2) There may be some missing data as a result of this restore. In particular, changes you made to your social relationships in the past 12 hours may not be reflected.

3) Notwithstanding the first two points, the counts that appear in your profile for followers or followings may be slightly different than they were before. Those counts are generated from a cache that was not always a perfect reflection of the true data. Therefore, the counts may slightly change.

I completely understand how frustrated everyone is by this outage. Thanks for your patience as we recover and work to make sure it won’t happen again.

Okay - but today…there’s another outage.  My following/followers were restored fairly quickly, once I was able to notify the help group.  But I had trouble getting into the help group initially.

Why the outcry? 

Twitter.  There’s almost no better way to quickly tap into the Zeitgeist.   Twitter.  Like Livejournal, it quickly evolves into a community.   Users are loathe to leave and start over.  It’s literally a bit like selling your house and moving into a new neighborhood, and starting over.

So Twitter.  Please.  We love you, man.  But you’re killing us here.  Pull yourself together.