Twitter was experiencing the effects of a bug this weekend that exploited the following/follower method (as this post on Mashable explains). This morning, as an after effect of this bug, all users have noticed their following and follower numbers have dropped right down to zero. This means the little corner store down the block has the same follower count as Ashton Kutcher or CNN at the moment.
I’m certain Twitter is working to rectify the problem and it’s not something permanent as timelines are still filling with updates. However, things like this always seem to cause panic, mass hysteria, and the inevitable shouting at inanimate objects such as a computer screen or iPhone. To alleviate some stress in the future, here are a few ways you can back up your Twitter account.
John Biehler clued me into the Backupify service a few months ago and it can be used to archive and back up your accounts from Twitter to Flickr, Delicious, Google Docs, WordPress, Blogger, and Facebook. The very basic service is free (although they do have premium options) so there’s sanity to gain from simply singing up.
Backup My Tweets
The Backup My Tweets service will back up your Tweets since they have a limited shelf-life on Twitter.com. It doesn’t back up your followers as Backupify does, but it will provide you some peace of mind. There is a program you can download for your PC that will backup your friends however I have not tried this so I cannot guarantee its security.
The best thing anyone can do right now is wait this out.
Do not go on a mass re-following spree as I can only imagine this would muck up any backups or restoration process they might have Twitter has posted an update saying they have suspended following until this is resolved. Stay tuned to Mashable.com or @Mashable for updates since they have been crowned the most influential account on Twitter (well, at least up until this morning).
Update All is right with the world. From the official Twitter account: “Follow bug discovered, remedied. Read our status blog for details. http://bit.ly/dhQ3fF“.