Given the recent Twitter problems of the last week, similar to the months ago when Twitter was down almost as much as it was up, I decided I should compile a list of things that people can do while Twitter is down or showing the Fail Whale.
1. Use other services similar to Twitter.
There are many other services that perform a similar function to Twitter that can hold you over until Twitter returns. Many people like services such as Plurk or Pownce. While I never cared for Plurk, I do like Pownce although rarely use it because I don’t have that many friends on the network. Personally, I mainly use FriendFeed (me). Friendfeed is great for not only communicating in a manner similar to Twitter (it does unfortunately lack direct messaging functionality) but it is a great place for people to announce their latest online content creation. Friendfeed is able to detect new blog posts, favorited YouTube videos, new Flickr photos and much more and then put them in your stream to share with others and get feedback on your online activities.
There are millions of people who have a blog and chances are, you do as well. Try filling the Twitter void by doing some blogging. Whether you want to talk about how bad the drivers in your area are, or just want to share some of your favorite recipes with the Internet, blogging is a great way of expressing yourself and inviting others into your life and thoughts. If you don’t already have a blog, you can start one for free with sites like Wordress and Blogger.
3. Read blogs!
Like I mentioned, there are millions of blogs on the Internet. There are likely to be a ton of blogs on the subjects you care about. Google your interests to find related blogs and join in on the discussion! Whether you are looking to learn something or help others learn by commenting on posts, blogs are one of the most valuable things on the Internet. Don’t forget to comment on the blogs that you read! Bloggers thrive on user feedback and you can often contribute to the discussion by bringing your own perspective to the issue (For more information on being a constructive commenter, read this blog post).
4. Start an online discussion!
There are many places on the Internet that are great for having an online discussion such as chat rooms and message boards. Much like with blogs, there are countless chat rooms and message boards that are dedicated to a large number of topics. If you are having trouble finding a blog post that you want to bring you insight to, try starting a thread on a message board or find a chat room dedicated to the topic you want to discuss. Although these communication mediums have been around almost as long as the Internet, they are still a great way to communicate with people you don’t know about subjects that you are interested in.
5. Create a video!
With services such as YouTube, almost anybody can create a video and put it online at no cost. The only thing you really need to put a video online is a camera or webcam. One of the great things about user generated content is that there are very few restrictions you have to abide by when creating things like online video. Whether you want to create video of your kids to show the rest of the family, or make a funny video you hope will be the next ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video, when it comes to making online video, or really any online content, you are limited only by your imagination. If you really want to have fun, try creating a video podcast!
6. Create an audio podcast!
Speaking of podcasts, probably the most popular podcast medium is audio. Creating an audio podcast is easy, all you need is a microphone and some audio recording software such as Audacity. You can create a podcast on just about any topic. Personally, I have two technology related podcasts, the Global Geek News Podcast and the Geek News Daily Podcast. Whether you want to talk about technology, politics, food or anything else, an audio podcast is a great way to have a conversation with other people that know about the same topic as you and then share it with the rest of the world. Of course you can go solo on your podcast, but how you run your podcast is completely up to you!
7. Check out new podcasts!
If you are like me, you often fall behind on podcasts and need to catch up. When Twitter is down, it is not only a great time to catch up, but a great time to check out new podcasts you have never heard or watched! Whether you are using the Zune software or iTunes, they are some of the quickest ways to find new podcasts on topics that interest you! If you don’t use software like that, don’t fear as most podcasts can be found on PodcastAlley.com. Some podcasts aren’t as good as others, but there are some great shows out there that will entertain and educate almost anybody. If you are looking for some of my personal recommendations, ask in the comments and I will throw some great shows out there.
8. Watch online video
There is millions of hours of video online, so you can easily watch some online video and never run out. This often depends on where you are in the world as to what content you can get to thanks to licensing, but you can find tons of videos online on sites like Hulu.com or TheWB.com. With these sites and many others, you can easily watch many of your favorite television shows and movies for free! If you are looking for less professional content, there are of course sites such as YouTube, but even they are getting on the professional content bandwagon and starting to show TV shows for free! Also, don’t forget to check out the new and improved Joost!
9. Shop Online!
It is almost the Holiday Season, its time to stop putting off that holiday shopping! With great shopping sites such as Amazon.com and Buy.com, its easy to find the gifts that your loved ones want. Of course its always a good idea to buy something for yourself when you get something for your friends and family! Why hassle with the crowds at the major retail stores when you can get the same products online for cheaper and not have to pay sales tax (this depends on where you live)? I have saved thousands of dollars by shopping online and you can too! With the current state of the economy, saving every penny you can is not necessarily a bad idea. Warning: Beware of scammers! With online shopping increasing during the holiday season, its a good idea to keep an eye out for people trying to rip you off or steal you identity.
10. Play games online!
There are tons of great games to play online to pass the time. Whether you want to play some simple flash games on websites such as AddictingGames.com or some great games on Xbox Live, there is a vast number of games that you can play online. Depending on the kind of games you like and whether you want to play with others, you can choose from thousands of games to online. Not everybody can afford the monthly fee of games such as World of Warcraft, but there are many free games that are great for passing the time! Do a search on free games and you will likely find more games than you could ever have time to play.
These are just a few of the many things that you can while Twitter is down without having to leave your computer. If you have any suggestions for this list, put them in the comments to share them with everybody!