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Did your world come crashing down on Thursday when you tried to tweet something and it failed?

I, for one, survived the well-publicized hack attack on Twitter that also apparently slowed or stymied the Facebook Web site. I think most of us made it through the day without real pain from tweet withdrawal, though I am aware of the anxiety that naturally results when any application millions of people use suffers a malicious breach.

But I’m not here to bash Twitter as frivolous and time-wasting (though I do wonder). Instead I’d like to raise the question of whether social media like Twitter have yet found a true place in corporate life as a business tool or just a goofy way to communicate and compete to see who can attract the coolest followers. If they have, such a hack could be quite detrimental.

In talking to folks in the channel it’s clear that Twitter (and to a much great extent Facebook-like sites) are beginning to gain a foothold as mechanisms for community-building, P2P networking and marketing and demand generation. A group of solution providers at CompTIA Breakaway in Las Vegas this week described in great detail about how they are using social media tools as part of their brand-awareness and communications strategies, in many cases eliminating more traditional forms of outreach such as email newsletters to potential and existing customers.

But it’s far from pervasive at this juncture. Many business owners are still waiting for the Aha! moment that hits them as they figure out how these tools can increase revenue, drive growth and boost profits. In June, Dell announced that it could attribute $3 million in earnings directly to Twitter activity. Now that’s encouraging, but as a percentage of Dell’s overall revenue it’s a drop in the bucket.

Are you using Twitter in your business today? If so how?