Starting last night (and ongoing today), Facebook has been unstable and/or stopped working completely in some cases. This is the first major Facebook outage we have seen since earlier this year when it went down for a few hours on a Friday night.
Overall, Facebook is far more stable than other services such as Twitter, whose infamous “fail whale” is seen on a somewhat regular basis. However, with 500 million users worldwide — many of which rely on Facebook as their sole online service for email, photo sharing, and instant messaging – the negative response from users is immediate and overwhelming. (My favorite tweet comes from @BestWorstAdvice: “Facebook down, productivity levels around the world increase 80% “)
Whenever there is downtime with a site like this, we are reminded that most web-based services are transitory at best. This is not to say that Facebook is going away anytime soon — but things change, and the services of today will not necessarily be the services of tomorrow (remember AOL?). In the short term, a more likely scenario is that Facebook changes its business model, privacy settings, or some other facet of the application and makes it less appealing to businesses.
In either case, we as businesses should learn to keep our options open. We should diversify our social presence the same way we do our portfolio, and for the same reason (to minimize risk). If you spread your presence across the web, using through several different networks, the impact of one network going down is less detrimental to your business.
How has the Facebook outage affected your business?
Original photo: meddygarnet