If you’ve been using Twitter for a while you might remember the term ‘fail whale’, or at least the image of this mammal being carried by a flock of birds on its homepage. Remember?
This was used to tell us, early eager users, that the service was temporarily down because it was overloaded. And boy, how many times that did happen. Twitter’s early architecture prevented the expansion of its capacity by adding servers to its back end. So, every time a huge number of users were engaging on the platform due to any major event, the system would collapse. Oh, the dark ages.
This doesn’t happen anymore, does it? Twitter has grown massively over the years and it is now one of the behemoth Internet companies, with plenty of resources to fix any bugs and develop error-free architecture, you may argue. But the answer is yes, it continues happening. As a matter of fact, it happened this very morning. An outage took place and affected worldwide users.
Twitter has announced the outage by its @support account and confirmed that the service began failing over the web, mobile and API at 8.20am(GMT). The service remained down for over an hour, returning to an apparent normality about 10.00am. However, users continued experiencing issues accessing the platform. Twitter continues working to fix the problems and get it back working.
Although it’s quite annoying not to be able to use its service, this incident helps us to understand how complex is to develop and manage a popular platform like Twitter. We also speculate how this would affect the company’s value and image, and how competing social platforms will take advantage of their slip, or if all of this is just a bump on the road.
What do you think will happen?