Today’s Dyn DDoS attack: you wanted a world without Twitter? You got it. Enjoy.

Twitter, Quora, Squarespace, Reddit, Pinterest, and more were taken out by a massive, ongoing DDoS attack on Oct 21, 2016

For weeks — years? — people, the media, news outlets, trolls everywhere — have heralded the death of Twitter, or at least, the beginning of its end, never mind its indisputable value and even necessity to millions of people around the world.

Well folks, today, those of you who think Twitter doesn’t matter, good luck getting your to-the-second updates on the latest state of this morning’s epic DDoS attacks with a simple Twitter query for #ddos or #ddos #dyn or whatever.

Because Twitter is down for the count.

PSA: Use the following OpenDNS IP to access (a broken) Twitter, Quora, Reddit, etc: 208.67.222.222

Oh, there’s Facebook? Try it. While Facebook is without question the social network for humans around the world — it’s said now that virtually 100% of all internet-connected people have a Facebook account, some 1.7 billion — it’s not as good for immediate, breaking events (think earthquakes, ongoing civil unrest…. DDoS attacks) as Twitter, where to-the-second timing means everything.

Where Twitter is like a continuous stream of information, Facebook is more like droplets of information. And while the droplets, to be fair, will be far richer and full of more detail, you can’t tell the shape of a river from several drops of water: you need to see the full flow of the water coursing through the canyon.

I’m not beginning to suggest for a moment that Twitter is a better thing than Facebook, because that would be absurd. It would be like arguing that a giant tortoise is a better thing than an ice cream sandwich.

But what I am going to say — not merely suggest — is that a world without Twitter is in fact a terrifying concept: now that we’ve had ten solid years to get used to the idea of being able to tap into a perpetual information stream from anywhere on the planet, the idea of having that spigot suddenly shut off is the online equivalent to having your ears blocked and your eyes shut.

But here’s the really scary part of all this:

For those of us living comfortably in the US or other western, developed nations, Twitter’s absence is at worst an extremely frustrating nuisance, and maddeningly annoying. (Did you feel that earthquake? Not sure? Quick, just search Twitter for #earthquake #SF… oh … wait.)

But for people less fortunate, in a more harrowing state of barely living a normal life, say in Egypt; Syria; Libya; Tunisia; even Brasil, recently, Twitter’s absence isn’t an annoying thing, it’s potentially catastrophic. For millions of people in countries around the world upended by the horrors of war and civil unrest, Twitter has been a veritable lifeline, the only practical means of easily communicating en masse; the only way to coordinate groups of people; the only way to push forward with life to make each day a new day worth fighting for, to make each day better than the previous.

Turning off Twitter then isn’t just removing a first world convenience; it isn’t just eliminating some luxury that’s nice to have; it’s removing a fundamental utility that people depend on just to live and improve their lives.

It’s now midday.

The DDoS attacks have been going on for about six hours now, with a brief respite about three hours ago. Who knows how long this will go on for.

But one thing is certain: many of you said Twitter was useless, nothing but meaningless white noise at best and abusive trolling at worst, with a sprinkling of celebrity gossip to spice things up a bit. The online equivalent of a drunken stupor. You said Twitter didn’t matter, and it might as well be taken out to pasture and shot dead, to hell with that undeniably adorable Fail Whale.

Well, for the time being at least, it looks like you got your wishes: you can now experience a world without Twitter. But just remember: while the inconvenience to you is simply not being able to keep abreast of the #ddos hashtag every few seconds, millions of people around the world have just lost their only best way to communicate together at all.

Enjoy your world without Twitter.


PS. For those of you who are customers of Twibble, it appears we’re still able to tweet your feeds, but of course nobody is able to receive them since your Twitter clients can’t retrieve them. Furthermore, we have no way to reply to you via Twitter obviously, but only via email, so shoot us a note.
PPS. The biggest irony of all: I have no way to really share this story since Twitter’s always the best channel, followed by Quora, and finally Facebook. But both Twitter and Quora are down thanks to these attacks. Great.