Internet Text-Ad Company's Email Service Goes Down

Ken Layne:

For an hour or two today, Gmail was down. The entire world basically screeched to a halt. The economy crashed. A monkey in a coat wandered around an Ikea, in Toronto. And in offices everywhere, people were forced to talk to each other. Why did we ever think it was a good idea to trust our entire life to an Internet text-ad company that thought "Google+" was a good idea?

Andrew Beaujon:

Any good Gmail-is-down story has four major elements: 1) Notice that the service was unavailable; 2) Vague references to people complaining on Twitter; 3) News that Google’s Apps Status Dashboard had no updates; 4) A promise of updates.

The month of excruciatingly slow news and gift guides is here, but, thankfully, not all journalists have decided to mindlessly regurgitate pointless news.

Twitter is a Truth Machine

John Hermann reflects on the misinformation and lies that spread during last night's Hurricane Sandy blackouts:

The old adage, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” should probably be abandoned along with other dated bits of wisdom — “Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

Because the internet today, as exasperating as it can be, is very good at one thing: vetting ascertainable facts.

Although there's certainly plenty of truth to Herrman's conclusion, I tend to think it only applies to a small demographic of Twitter users. The vast majority of Twitter users do not follow people who are actively "vetting ascertainable facts." Instead, most follow their friends and family.

In the grand scheme of trickle-down viral content, these are the people who see the information later on and are also likely to be tricked into unquestioning belief. It's not a matter of intelligence, but a matter of contextual awareness. And, for the vast majority of Twitter users, I would hazard a guess that most lack that information from their day-to-day timeline.

Still, the overarching point in Hermann's article is accurate. Twitter has allowed for the real-time dissection of news and rumors in a very novel and useful manner. Perhaps it's often filled with echo-chamber philosophizing and rampant sophism, but it can also prove to be a service of invaluable knowledge and discussion.

It's worth noting, also, that BuzzFeed has some phenomenal coverage on their refugee-Tumblr today. Definitely worth checking out.

"9to5"

Marco Arment writing on the official Instapaper Blog:

The best way to prevent Instapaper from accessing 9to5Mac’s pages was to add them to the opt-out list. So I did that, thinking I’d let the dust settle and reevaluate that decision later once I had a better idea of how they felt about Instapaper.

In retrospect, that was an overreaction. 9to5Mac’s statements, as much as they angered and scared me, did not constitute an opt-out. Furthermore, it was inappropriate to add a publisher to the opt-out list that did not explicitly request it.

Amidst yesterday's various controversies, I was endlessly pleased to see this post on the official Instapaper Blog. Setting aside matters of personal conflict, Marco made a measured, rational, and well-considered statement of accountability and apology.

Aptly juxtaposed with Seth Weintraub's petty response from yesterday afternoon, Marco did what I hoped he would: he took the high-road.

Looking beyond the vapid echo-chamber that is 9to5Mac, particularly considering its offensive position towards Marco and his company, Marco made an admirable statement of accountability and, in doing so, elevated himself far above the conflict.

Perhaps we, as members of this community, were already aware of Marco's nature, but I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of Marco's users do not know him in such a fashion. Yesterday, however, by assuming responsibility for his actions and defining the boundaries between his personal and business affairs, Marco showed himself to be a fallible, likable, and responsible person.

In a digital world increasingly encumbered by anonymity and a distinct lack of accountability, Marco has gone against the grain and taken responsibility for his actions, in spite of a distasteful series of personal attacks from 9to5Mac. In my eyes, that's certainly deserving of praise.