Who Gives a Hoot? What happens when sites go down?

I was staring at my PC screen recently.

Staring at an owl wearing a hard hat. Hootsuite was down for maintenance and it was darn annoying.

It brought home the fact that I rely on Hootsuite a great deal to manage multiple social media accounts. Many of us do it now – we’re using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Facebook, YouTube, FlickR, YouTube, Blogger – for business.

When our telephone line goes down, we call our phone provider. If the electricity fizzles out, we call the building manager. If the newspaper doesn’t get delivered to the office on time, we can call the newsagent and ask what’s going on. They’re all being paid by us. They’ve got service agreements with us. And there are consequences to those services being unavailable.

But when happens when our free online tools fall over?

Not much.

Services like Hootsuite, quite rightly, do not promise they’ll always be there for you. In its terms, owner Invoke Media states in part:

“Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The service is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis … Invoke Media does not warrant that (i) the service will meet your specific requirements, (ii) the service will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free, (iii) the results that may be obtained from the use of the service will be accurate or reliable, (iv) the quality of any products, services, information, or other material purchased or obtained by you through the service will meet your expectations …” http://hootsuite.com/terms

But it’s no fickle matter if these services are unavailable. Increasingly, we’re relying on free social platforms as main communication channels. We’ve all read about major companies like Pepsi, Coca Cola, Ford and Holden devoting more resources to sites like Facebook, rather than official sites. When these online tools are gone, it’s an interruption to our services.

Imagine a world where social media is ‘taken away’ (hideous, isn’t it?) The Social Media God decides the experiment is over, and we all need to go back and play on our standard dotcoms.

Boom! In an instant, you’ve lost your thousands of Fans – their names, locations, likes and dislikes. You’ve lost all the comments you’ve been gathering, all the interaction you’ve built up. You’ve lost photos and videos. Not to mention search engine listings.

That’s why it’s important to back up that information. How many of us do that? When was the last time you archived a social media account? (I’m making a mental note …)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Boomka says:

    This is something that very much interests me. I have been applying to social media jobs lately, and I think what people are looking for is basically somebody who can prove they know what the hell they are doing. Most of them seem to want "2 years social media experience" but I think that is just a filler for proof. Since most of the people posting for the jobs don't even really know what the jobs entail they are kind of hoping they hit the lottery. At least thats what I think, but what do I know right/

  2. Prakky says:

    Hi Richard – thanks for the comments.Personally, if I were advertising for a 'social media bod' I wouldn't want to put a timeline against how much experience I'd expect them to have. But I would like to see an online body of work, some sort of demonstration that they have a longstanding PASSION for the online world. 🙂

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