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The 2014 Oscars were last Sunday evening, March 2nd. If you don’t live in a cave, you probably heard about Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie that broke Twitter.

If you just came out of your cave and missed all that action, you can get the deets from the Los Angeles Times article about the event here and the New York Daily News article here.

2014 Oscars Selfie that broke Twitter

One Message ~ Over 2 Million Retweets

Basically here’s what happened…

Oscar host, Ellen DeGeneres, encouraged Bradley Cooper to take the infamous picture of her and the cozied-up group of A-List actors, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Long before midnight that night, Ellen’s selfie was retweeted more than 2 million times. The overwhelming influx of network traffic brought Twitter to its knees. Or, to use a highly technical term, “they were hosed”. So much so, that Twitter later sent out an apology regarding the 20 minute disruption in service that happened after 8 p.m. PST.

Why it’s a big deal…

People who don’t use Twitter don’t get how big this is, both on a technically and humanly—the way we work and live.

I’ve been a technical writer in the software industry for a number of years, and have been exposed to a broad range of technologies in some of the most influential companies in Silicon Valley. Twitter, and other high-profile companies that provide real-time services, have substantial server farms to compensate for traffic during peak times. Nothing short of World War III should bring them down.

So … for ONE TWEET to hose the services of a company like Twitter is HUGE.

But something else was remarkable about this phenomenon. It shone a lantern on how Twitter affects the way we interact and communicate as a society.

One message shared over two million times because it resonated with a population, is nothing short of amazing.

This says something powerful about instantaneous connectedness. How the world is a global community in which we share thoughts and ideas in a fraction of a second. More important, how much we have come to depend on this ability.

I was one of the many who live tweeted through the 2014 Oscars broadcast, talking with people across the nation and around the world, retweeting and replying to tweets. I experienced the “Twitter crash” in real-time, the frustrating sudden loss of being able to communicate with other tweeters.

The retweets-heard-round-the-world from Ellen’s single tweet demonstrated our power as a collective whole. Because at the end of the day, technology is nothing without us—the people who drive it.

How does technology affect the way you communicate and live?