For many companies these days, the first instinct in a crisis is to turn to Twitter to get the message out and communicate with customers and other people affected by the incident. Which is why, as the Amazon Web Services outage reached its apparent conclusion today, it was remarkable to look at the company’s official @awscloud account and realize that nary a peep had been tweeted about the problem since it began.

Of course, Amazon has been communicating regularly on its AWS Dashboard, and Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, who has four times as many followers as @awscloud, pointed people there in a tweet shortly after the outage began. But still, the silence from the official AWS account is practically social media heresy, and part of the communication issue highlighted by Keith Smith of BigDoor on GeekWire last week.

In a message on the dashboard this hour, AWS had some bad news for a small segment of its customer base: “We have completed our remaining recovery efforts and though we’ve recovered nearly all of the stuck volumes, (we’ve) determined that a small number of volumes (0.07% of the volumes in our US-East Region) will not be fully recoverable. We’re in the process of contacting these customers.”

On the dashboard last night, the company said it was “digging deeply into the root causes of this event and will post a detailed post mortem.”

That should be interesting. Just don’t look for any official news of it from AWS on Twitter.

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  • Guest

    Web 2.0 is all about disintermediation. What exactly is “heresy” about a company informing its customers of an outage using its own web presence? What expectation is there that companies reintermediate their infostreams through Twitter, etc.?

  • Ken Smith

    Very much agreed. Amazon lost a ton of goodwill in this crisis simply by not overcommunicating. A status page is the bare minimum of the communication required: they should have been trying to get the word out about status through every possible mechanism, and in as much detail as possible. They also need to fight the tendency to sterilize their updates. Geeks sympathize with geeks fighting fires and doing the best they can in tough circumstances. They don’t sympathize with lawyers trying to cover their corporate ass.

  • Neuroelectronic

    Face it Ken,
    Twitter is just another lame trend. A year ago You’d be pounding your chest because they didn’t update their Facebook page. A year before that, their MySpace. Amazon is a huge tech company and their customers deserve more than 140 chars or whatever. No engineer worth more than $10@hour is checking TWITTER for updates on AWS. That’s just laughable. This isn’t celeb gossip, this is billion dollar commerce.

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