It happened right around 11:25 a.m. Pacific time. My Twitter feed started acting up, so I shut down my TweetDeck program and started it back up. Something wasn’t right. A few new tweets immediately showed up, but the vast ocean of older ones did not.

And wouldn’t you know it, one of those new tweets was 49ers kicker Phil Dawson announcing that he had just re-signed with the team. Well shucks, I should retweet that. Except I couldn’t. As Davey Johnson might say, my tweeter was broken. I tried a work-around, going to to post there. Wasn’t working. All of our tweeters were broken.

Well, not all. Some tweets were getting through. Matt Maiocco, my former Press Democrat colleague who now breaks news for CSN Bay Area, confirmed that he has a pact with the devil (or at least a highly placed source in the netherworld) and tweeted the Dawson news.

Mostly, though, Twitter ground down to a crawl, overburdened with the rush of NFL free-agent signings, people watching the adorable video of Justin Bieber at his deposition and that footage of a hippopotamus saving a wildebeest.

How long was Twitter wobbly? Maybe an hour and a half. Less than two hours for sure. And in that time it felt like NFL icebergs calved and floated away, while deserts bloomed into rainforests.

I mean, hoow can my Twitter feed be down when I don’t know which team is signing Vontae Davis and where Darrelle Revis is headed for his first visit?!!

The first day of NFL free agency has always been a huge day for football geeks and the underemployed. But just a few years ago, we were content to get the news in small waves, by scanning blogs and tuning in to the occasional sports-radio show. Our Twitter addiction was never more apparent than during today’s brownout. I found it frustrating not to be able to comment to my world. If I were an actual NFL beat writer, my feeling would have approached hyperventilating panic.

Finally, at about 1:15, the world returned to its proper axis. The tweets starting coming like hailstones: Rashad Jennings was going to the Giants! The Raiders re-signed Darren McFadden! (Wait… what?) Linval Joseph headed to Minnesota!

It’s so stupid, and so exhilarating. And please, Twitter, get some backup servers.