Counting the Cost of the Twitter Outage

We have frequently commented on the high costs to businesses, most commonly banks, of IT glitches; but what is the impact when your business is entirely web-based? Yesterday’s disruption to Twitter, which left some users locked out and others receiving only an intermittent service, provides a fascinating case study.  It also provided some much-needed humour at this time of year, with Twitter posting details of the disruption on…Twitter!

The disruption lasted only 6 hours, and appears to have been completely resolved, but Twitter’s share price in New York fell by 8% (before recovering slightly at the end of the day), wiping nearly $1b off the value of the company.  It is important to note that Twitter’s share price is extremely volatile anyway, and had lost 12% of its value in the last 4 trading days prior to yesterday; so some care must be exercised in generalising this extreme reaction to all internet-based companies.  Nevertheless, it is a stark reminder of the costs of such disruptions.