This past week, Buffer was hacked (you can read more about it here: Buffer security breach has been resolved -- here is what you need to know). This is problematic, because Buffer allows its clients to schedule the social media that it would like to share across various social networks. This social media management tool was suddenly pushing spammy comments on to individuals' and corporations' public pages. Within hours the problem was resolved, and the team at Buffer performed what could only be described as a best practice case study in social media crisis communications, in terms of how they resolved and communicated the issues. And, while the impact of having some sketchy posts on a corporate Twitter feed gets less recognition than a stalling healthcare website, we're still faced with the true reality of our digital economy:Technology is a porous wall. We see this everyday. From governments spying on other governments to e-commerce sites being hacked and revealing consumer's credit card information to regular glitches and stalls. Who among us doesn't get frustrated when a simple video on YouTube won't play or when wi-fi connectivity in a hotel room is shoddy? If you don't have the education or know-how to understand the many different layers, components and moving parts that keeps this all together, it seems easy to point the finger at one individual, but it's not.
Perhaps the easiest way to think about all of this Internet and technology development is to realize that it is one, big MacGyver moment (yes, the television action series from the eighties). What we have is a media and business platform that has been pulled together by hardware and software, much in the same way that Richard Dean Anderson would escape from a perilous situation by stringing together some chicken wire, bubblegum and a shoelace. Of course, technology is more stable and proven than this. Of course, over the years we have been able to produce much more scalable and solid platforms, but it is still very much all based on a very sensitive and fragile system. One that can collapse with just a few lines of bad code or a whole lot of people trying to do the same thing at the same time on a system that was even tested to handle that type of bandwidth (because tests are never reality).Let's not make excuses. That's the default position that most people will take. Everything is just an excuse. It should all work perfectly. That is simply not the case with technology. In fact, I would be happy to debate that bugs, crashes, delays and hacks are in fact not mistakes but rather a healthy and normal part of a truly functioning technology. It is as much of a component of what happens in the digital economy as passing gas and burping is to maintaining one's personal health (smells, sounds and all). Perhaps, the opportunity in all of this hacking and crashing coverage is to better educate the mass population that these sorts of things are a natural part of the technological eco-system, whether we like them or not. It would be interesting to live in a world where known bugs, crashes and more were expected by all, this way we can be surprised and marvel when technology works rather than being disappointed when it doesn't. Mitch Joel is president of Twist Image - one of North America's largest independent digital marketing agencies. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his highly successful blog and podcast of the same name is a business and marketing bestseller. His latest book, CTRL ALT Delete, is out now.