Here’s a study in social media strategy: Contrast the archives of Twitter status blog, powered by Tumblr, with the Tumblr status feed, hosted on Twitter. Twitter’s status blog is an archive of the company’s downtime: May 10: “site stability issues,” May 5: “elevated error rates,” and so on. Tumblr, by contrast, likes to wipe the slate clean! Tweets about Tuesday’s downtime–and all the service issues Tumblr has tweeted about in the past–have been scrubbed from the company’s feed.
On Tuesday, Tumblr tweeted:
“A database issue is causing error messages on many pages. We’re working quickly to resolve the issue.” on May 09, 2011 at 06:49PM
“We’re working quickly to resolve an issue causing a subset of blogs to be unavailable.” on May 09, 2011 at 07:04PM
“Two hardware failures in the same database cluster have dramatically lowered performance for those blogs. Recovery is moving quickly.” on May 09, 2011 at 08:31PM
Those tweets are now gone from Tumblr’s Twitter.
CEO David Karp wrote a blog post about this downtime because it was pretty disruptive. But with smaller outages, Tumblr usually apologizes via Twitter, then deletes the tweet once the service is back up and calls it good.
We speculate that this is to prevent the company’s Twitter feed, where Tumblr also posts meetups and featured users, from becoming a running log of shortcomings. We emailed Tumblr to ask why they delete their tweets, but did not receive a reply.
This revisionism does not seem to be common practice. Foursquare’s status blog, also powered by Tumblr, does not appear to edit status updates after the fact. GroupMe is another company that has had frequent service advisories lately, most of them planned, which it advises users about via Twitter. GroupMe does not appear to delete service issue tweets.