Is This The End of Twitter?


Have the cats disconnected Twitter?

It’s happened before, several times now, and it will happen again. We have had Odeo, SlashDot, Kiko and Friendster. A new social networking style site is the darling of the Internet world, the word on the A-listers lips. Then they couldn’t scale, they couldn’t maintain the traffic and interest that they had generated and the people, the users, walk. Whether it’s because of hardware or software issues or just bad business planning is another matter. But the core is they ignored several key business rules for web startups.

Well over the last four days, Twitter has been non functional more than it has been in the past. It’s been constantly loosing tweets, or missing tweets in the feed, or the servers have just been down (those cats seem to be have been a constant problem). This is Twitters longest period of technical trouble. Maybe I’m seeing more of it; having access when the rest of the world is asleep, and a good period for downtime adjustments, but it has been very flaky.

This has lead to a fair number of people, who are new to Twitter to just abandon it really before they got started. This is not good for any startup company. Or as Miles Burke has suggested maybe a name change in jest, is the way to go. The longer term users of Twitter are also starting to suggest that maybe they should be looking for a better alternative (remember people tell that Gen-Y is fickle).

Now we all know it doesn’t take much, a few key groups start to make a move to another service and the migration of Twitter will be on. It seems the only real alternative is and frankly it doesn’t at present have the level of secondary support, that Twitter does There are some more clones, but none like Twitter. However that’s all moot if Twitter doesn’t work. And who is to say what the scaling methodology of Jaiku is like anyway.

The really interesting aspect of this is the dynamics of the application loyalty base and the social implications from the twitosphere. People are genuinely hoping that Twitter can get over this problem and succeed. They also enjoying and finding the service useful from a networking and professional information source viewpoint. However there is a personal pain point for every user on the usability issues. Even within my small circle on Twitter, several people have reached this pain point and have just closed up Twitter and walked away. If there was a solid alternative I’m sure some would have considered migration.

The question is can Twitter jump the shark? or will it be consigned to the annals of Internet history? Has Twitter learn for the lessons of the past, Ev Williams seems to think so. What do you think, will Twitter be here in six months or so? Will we be Twittering at WDS07?

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  1. Judging by the silence from the Twitter Blog on the performance issues I’d say they’re either ignoring the problem (it IS a beta application after all, which means “license to ignore standard performance and uptime benchmarks”), don’t know what to do or just aren’t in a position to do anything due the scalability of the architecture or money.

    I think Twitter is going to die.

  2. Ha, that’s funny (not), just clicked on the link to Mile’s comment – blank page.
    Refreshed – see it (yes, very good name 😉 )
    Click on link to get to his account page: cat doing maintenance
    got to twitter home – blank page

    arghhh… I give up!

    Mmm, good point that they’re maybe doing most maintenance while the US is sleeping… still twitter seems popular everywhere!

  3. But… interesting point… I’m not giving up… I’ve left the tab open and am refreshing it every so often. Sucker for punishment I guess.
    Oh, it’s back, I’m off to read twitters from last hours!

  4. I’ve taken to typing my tweets, then copying it to clipboard … sometimes having to re-paste and submit any one particular tweet up to a dozen time over 10 minutes … so it does force us to a certain point to work around it’s unreliability; but it won’t last. It’s appeal is fading with every revealing of the cat.

  5. I have turned off Twitterrific and I’m just using the web site (from time to time) as the XML feed and post is just too flaky to use.

  6. I wait with baited breath on this – not because I can’t live with twitter, but because Twitter is a time sink app, that people don’t need. It can got one of three ways:

    1. People realise they don’t need it and leave
    2. People become addicted and ignore the downtime
    3. People become SO obsessed by it, they get angry when it is down and leading to a messy break up.

    So far point 2 has provailed. Now we play the waiting game.

  7. I wonder if Twitter meets a sad demise, whether the ozpack should just do the logical thing and set up an IRC channel. Crazy but it just might work 😉

  8. I better be so careful what I tweet. Seriously though, great post – and I’m very close to being one of those who walk away from twitter.

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