I am an avid Twitter user and enjoy the interactions the service creates. It is amazing how you can build relationships through 140 character discussions. In many respects, Twitter has become an integral part of my daily schedule, and I view Twitter as another medium for communication like phones, email or texting. However, the recent outages experienced remind me of the immaturity of the service and how it cannot be consistently relied upon.
The excitement of the World Cup has had a negative impact on Twitter. For the last week or so, Twitter has experienced frequent outages which result in an inability to send or receive messages. Unfortunately, Twitter’s response has been to report on the issues, and they appear to be powerless to resolve them. More recently, they created a new strategy to limit access and disabled features during times of heavy usage; however, this is a stopgap measure and a long-term solution is needed immediately.
Twitter is currently the standard in micro-blogging, but faces a a major challenge. It lives and dies by the quality of its service and these periodic outages alienate users. Every fail whale is a reminder of Twitter’s inconsistency, and drives users to consider alternative platforms. I have considered migrating to Google Buzz and continue to look for other options. At the very least, the outages are a reminder that Twitter is not a highly reliable medium like the traditional telephony-based solutions; Twitter is a toy in comparison. I frequently throw out broken toys and am considering doing the same with Twitter.