Twitter Down Again? It’s Scoble’s Fault

May 30th, 2008 | By | Category: Commentary, Featured Story, Microblogging

Social messaging/microblogging site Twitter today addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about the site’s infrastructure, frequent downtime and what the company is doing about it.

One of the most interesting comments they have is that Twitter power users are responsible for the site’s downtime:

The events that hit our system the hardest are generally when “popular” users – that is, users with large numbers of followers and people they’re following – perform a number of actions in rapid succession. This usually results in a number of big queries that pile up in our database(s). Not running scripts to follow thousands of users at a time would be a help, but that’s behavior we have to limit on our side.

In other words, when people like Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan, Jim Long or Guy Kawasaki (top spewers per Dave Winer) tweet, it can take the site down. When these guys post a thought, Twitter has to deliver their messages to personalized feeds for tens of thousands of people.

Twitter can’t handle the load created by top users because the site was slapped together as an experiment.

According to the company:

Twitter started as a one-day project to explore sharing status via SMS that rapidly took on a life of its own. That Twitter would eventually evolve into a messaging system in its own right wasn’t conceptualized from the get-go.

Scoble’s Response: Screw You, Twitter!

“The comments are really pissing me off,” says Scoble. “FriendFeed is 1000 times more reliable. Twitter was going down before I even got popular on the service. Their architecture has always sucked and everyone knows it. They’ve never been able to get a handle on the quality of their service and now it looks like they are blaming their top users. Wonderful. I’ll just go to the service that CAN keep up with my load.”

While Twitter doesn’t specifically point the finger at Scoble or any of its other power users, it makes clear that its infrastructure can’t handle the load they create.

Twitter’s inability to handle is current load, and it’s attitude towards power users, are going to keep the microblogging messing service from going mainstream. If the site can’t handle the load created by a top blogger and podcaster like Scoble, there’s no way it could handle users with a large mainstream following.

Update: VentureBeat comes to similar conclusions.

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No Responses to “Twitter Down Again? It’s Scoble’s Fault”

  1. taniaelis says:

    Shouldn’t Twitter start charging power users?

    If somebody has 50,000 “friends” – they aren’t using it like you or I would. They’re using the site as a professional tool to deliver their messages to as broad an audience as possible.

    For people like that, Twitter should offer a commercial service and use the money they make to create a reliable infrastructure to support this type of use.

  2. marquibeck says:

    Scoble so NOT on my fun 2 follow -updated list. Agree with the comment above: pay per usage when you are obviously using it for major promo and business, might be (one) way to go. 50K friends obviously the case.

    Same for major -former only and still in parallel- traditional media utilizing Twitter to extend their reach on-line. (news feeds, offers, etc)

    Plus maybe using it as a chat channel like many do, may require other filtering tools, and edu-informing users usage recommendations, options… (some use it for Who twitts the most-a-day competition, this might require some follow-up: kind request notice making them aware of the resource usage… ) food(s) for thought.

  3. James Lewin says:

    Isn’t that punishing the people that are making Twitter popular, though?

  4. […] 12, 2008 · No Comments With the recent downtime in twitter and the arguments around why this has been happening, I thought I would look at friendfeed as an alternative. I have […]

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