The Day I Broke the Twitters

Yesterday, Twitter had a well-publicized downage, causing many discombobulated social media addicts to step away from their smartphones and catch a rare glimpse of that yellow ball of hot light in the sky. Needless to say, #whiletwitterwasdown quickly became a trending topic and speculation was rampant about how and why such a devastating “epic fail” could happen.

While the official story is that the two-hour outage was caused by a “noteworthy” double failure in Twitter’s data center, I can smell a ruse a mile away. You see, friends, Twitter’s data center is functioning perfectly. I know this because I know what really happened.

Twitter is covering up the real culprit: me.

Yesterday morning I tweeted a note about JC Penny’s Foursquare promotion that will donate $1 to the USO for every check-in through July 31. As you’d expect when social media titans collide (a major retailer, the world’s largest location-based application, a nationally-renowned charity and yours truly), the ReTweets came faster and furiouser than a Vin Diesel car chase.

That’s 32 (and counting) RTs in one day! Though I have no quantitative proof, I have it under good authority that I smashed Twitter’s RT record. The people from the Guinness Book are on their way over. Mr. Ripley has left several voicemails. I’m kind of a big deal.

In all seriousness, one seemingly innocuous tweet reached nearly 50,000 people, which *is* a big deal for someone with “only” 582 followers. While my tweet was merely intended to call attention to the meeting of two subjects about which I am passionate (social media and philanthropy), my name, brand and ideas were suddenly in front of thousands. Pretty cool, huh?

The takeaway is that whether you believe Twitter is a broadcast medium, a two-way conversation mechanism or simply the quickest way to stay in touch with what’s happening around our increasingly small world, using it to share your passions – while sourcing your content and giving shout-outs as appropriate – can yield surprising benefits. I’ve picked up a bunch of new followers in the past day (approximately 2% of my total followers). And, let’s not forget, the huge Klout bump I could expect from having my Tweet shared all over the interwebs.

What’s that? My Klout score decreased 0.15 since yesterday? Stupid Klout…

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