Twitter blames its users

I almost did a Mike Arrington headline, like the one he used recently against Wired magazine, when he was frustrated that they were calling him out. It would have been so satisfying. But, I decided to play it straight. At least here. Over on FriendFeed I let my full fury out.

What happened? Well, you can see the headlines over on TechMeme. Twitter blamed its “popular” users for its woes. Now, who could that be? Right. Venture Beat filled in the blank, if you just weren’t sure.

A business that blames its best users is one that’s in trouble. Serious trouble.

It’s so sad to watch a business make so many bad decisions like this one is doing. Right now a pretty significant part of Twitter is down. Track isn’t on. IM isn’t on. Other parts of the service are giving me tons of whale photos that say something is technically wrong. It’s so sad because I really want to use this service to keep in touch with my friends and fans and family and enemies and all that. They all were on Twitter. Now? On FriendFeed alone I now have 11,566 followers (a large percentage of which joined in past two weeks). There is a migration underway, although most people say “I really want to be on Twitter” even after trying out competitive services like Pownce, FriendFeed, and Jaiku.

Please Twitter: fix your darn problems and stop blaming your users. You now have $15,000,000 in venture. You have no excuses anymore.

Thanks to gapingvoid.com for the cartoon.

231 thoughts on “Twitter blames its users

  1. ————————————————

    Dave Winer, father of RSS says “Twitter, as it was conceived, was never meant to live.”

    “It’s very possible with better engineering its architecture might have gone on for a few more years, but eventually it would have hit this wall, where there were too many people posting too many twits to too many followers. The scale of the system as conceived rises exponentially.”

    So is the end of Twitter getting near? I hope not. Twitter I hope that you are listening and you better start taking things more seriously.

    ———————————————–

    Here’s my two cents.

    For instance there are about 100m users of yahoo messenger and usually 2-3 of them talk at a time that means scalability of 300m conversations. On the other hand with 100m twitter users who usually send messages to 100-10,000 other users the scalability required is 10,000m to 10^6m I have never known any current architecture based on webservers to handle such a scale. So according to me Twitter was never meant to live. It is like a concept car that will never see production. Users of twitter don’t understand this and they don’t care.

    They don’t know whats happening when the website is down. The sad part is that the best analysts claim that Twitter is a billion dollar company in one year of operations. There is an old saying before the days of when people understood permutation combinations. One peasant asked a king to give him rice equal to the total amount gotten by placing double the number of rice grains on a chess square than the previous square, starting with one rice grain. There are 8×8=64 squares. We seriously need to visit grade 7 mathematics.

    I know of only one News/Messaging system that supports around 1 billion users sending messages to all 1 billion users each. Thats a scalability of 10^12m. It is not Web based but rather on a massively scalable serverless P2P architecture based. The team is soft spoken and when I last talked to them I was told that they don’t care about money or hype or fame but rather for just the passion of next generation global systems that will stand the test of worldwide use. Its called Mermaid News Mermaid

    They have other softwares too but this post is about Twitter and Messaging. Once everyone comprehends basic mathematics that goes behind scalable algorithms they would go past the flashy screen and hype to actually want a system they can trust. To the analysts I would say it is easy to create a business plan, create a hype and raise $20m funding it is far more difficult to create something of use.

  2. ————————————————

    Dave Winer, father of RSS says “Twitter, as it was conceived, was never meant to live.”

    “It’s very possible with better engineering its architecture might have gone on for a few more years, but eventually it would have hit this wall, where there were too many people posting too many twits to too many followers. The scale of the system as conceived rises exponentially.”

    So is the end of Twitter getting near? I hope not. Twitter I hope that you are listening and you better start taking things more seriously.

    ———————————————–

    Here’s my two cents.

    For instance there are about 100m users of yahoo messenger and usually 2-3 of them talk at a time that means scalability of 300m conversations. On the other hand with 100m twitter users who usually send messages to 100-10,000 other users the scalability required is 10,000m to 10^6m I have never known any current architecture based on webservers to handle such a scale. So according to me Twitter was never meant to live. It is like a concept car that will never see production. Users of twitter don’t understand this and they don’t care.

    They don’t know whats happening when the website is down. The sad part is that the best analysts claim that Twitter is a billion dollar company in one year of operations. There is an old saying before the days of when people understood permutation combinations. One peasant asked a king to give him rice equal to the total amount gotten by placing double the number of rice grains on a chess square than the previous square, starting with one rice grain. There are 8×8=64 squares. We seriously need to visit grade 7 mathematics.

    I know of only one News/Messaging system that supports around 1 billion users sending messages to all 1 billion users each. Thats a scalability of 10^12m. It is not Web based but rather on a massively scalable serverless P2P architecture based. The team is soft spoken and when I last talked to them I was told that they don’t care about money or hype or fame but rather for just the passion of next generation global systems that will stand the test of worldwide use. Its called Mermaid News Mermaid

    They have other softwares too but this post is about Twitter and Messaging. Once everyone comprehends basic mathematics that goes behind scalable algorithms they would go past the flashy screen and hype to actually want a system they can trust. To the analysts I would say it is easy to create a business plan, create a hype and raise $20m funding it is far more difficult to create something of use.

  3. Wow, you are a megalomaniac, and a not-very-nice one at that. Spoiled egotist. “Oh, I have 20 thousand friends and they’re blaming people like me”

    give me a break.

  4. Wow, you are a megalomaniac, and a not-very-nice one at that. Spoiled egotist. “Oh, I have 20 thousand friends and they’re blaming people like me”

    give me a break.

  5. Maybe Scoble is just a big-headed that thinks he is the only one with big numbers in twitter. What about Twitter against his clients? Since when you paid twitter for their services? Friendfeed? Give it a month or so and you will find something wrong about the service that you don’t like and you will start attacking them too. Who’s next QIK? Plunker? Whatever is new next week? Scoble move on please.

  6. Maybe Scoble is just a big-headed that thinks he is the only one with big numbers in twitter. What about Twitter against his clients? Since when you paid twitter for their services? Friendfeed? Give it a month or so and you will find something wrong about the service that you don’t like and you will start attacking them too. Who’s next QIK? Plunker? Whatever is new next week? Scoble move on please.

  7. Erm, how is it you conclude that ‘popular’ equates to ‘best’ where users of twitter are concerned? Best for whom? For twitter, who have yet to come up with a way of making money from their principle activity, popular certainly doesn’t equate best. And for everyone else? Well, considering Dunbar’s number, it seems highly unlikely that anybody who follows your model (of having a very large number of followers AND follows a large number of people) would represent high value in terms of conversation. Much like any conversation, it has to be between a small enough number for it to make sense, otherwise all it is, is a crowd of people shouting at each other, hoping that they get heard.

    Considering this, it’s hardly surprising that Twitter ‘blames’ its ‘users’. It puts me in mind of the early days of broadband ISPs imposing bandwidth caps because of a minority who abused the system with torrent downloads etcetera. It’s not fair when companies do something like that, but it is at least understandable, given how this minority of people are essentially using the system in way it wasn’t designed for, and so pushing it to untenable limits.

  8. Erm, how is it you conclude that ‘popular’ equates to ‘best’ where users of twitter are concerned? Best for whom? For twitter, who have yet to come up with a way of making money from their principle activity, popular certainly doesn’t equate best. And for everyone else? Well, considering Dunbar’s number, it seems highly unlikely that anybody who follows your model (of having a very large number of followers AND follows a large number of people) would represent high value in terms of conversation. Much like any conversation, it has to be between a small enough number for it to make sense, otherwise all it is, is a crowd of people shouting at each other, hoping that they get heard.

    Considering this, it’s hardly surprising that Twitter ‘blames’ its ‘users’. It puts me in mind of the early days of broadband ISPs imposing bandwidth caps because of a minority who abused the system with torrent downloads etcetera. It’s not fair when companies do something like that, but it is at least understandable, given how this minority of people are essentially using the system in way it wasn’t designed for, and so pushing it to untenable limits.

  9. sometimes “high quality” problems don’t feel so high quality. i can only imagine how the twitter folks feel trying to play catch up to their success.

  10. sometimes “high quality” problems don’t feel so high quality. i can only imagine how the twitter folks feel trying to play catch up to their success.

  11. “there is a larger question of a popular “FREE” service being available 24×7.. what shud be the expectation from them? Zilch or full availability? what if gmail or live mail went down for the period that twitter has been? what happens then?”

    The expectation should be: you get what you pay for. Gmail and Hotmail have been down for lengthy periods of time in the past. And surprising as it may be; miraculously, civilization continued to progress.

  12. “there is a larger question of a popular “FREE” service being available 24×7.. what shud be the expectation from them? Zilch or full availability? what if gmail or live mail went down for the period that twitter has been? what happens then?”

    The expectation should be: you get what you pay for. Gmail and Hotmail have been down for lengthy periods of time in the past. And surprising as it may be; miraculously, civilization continued to progress.

  13. Either MSFT or Google need to buy Twitter and fast, before the pretty significant mind-share they have accumulated evaporates.

    Frankly I am very surprised that MSFT hasn’t moved already, unlike GOOG with Jaiku, they don’t even have Micro-blogging in their arsenal.

    Now there would be a worthy project for them to hone their skills at cloud computing and search (Twitter is badly in need of more useful NATIVE search/tag/filter/sort facilities to make the onslaught of potentially useful data, well, useful…

    (What if Scoble could subsegment his follower/following lists, with e.g. “all followers who have ever used the term “branding” in a tweet”, right now it’s either all of Twitter with “track”, or single user on Tweetscan. Also note that the overview of one’s follower list is almost completely useless right now, since there is no way of sorting them in any predictable way, e.g. last-in, # of followers, etc. etc.)

    Alas, since MSFT still doesn’t get the Internet much less Web2.0, it’s more likely that Google will move eventually after seeing that Jaiku has already missed the boat as far as mind-share/branding/positioning is concerned. Twitter(ing) has already become “the verb” for micro-blogging. Would be same as the Google Video vs. YouTube story, except that Twitter can still be had for, what, $100M or less (given their recent problems?).

    Twitter already integrates with GTalk, it really seems like a no-brainer.

    Or… possibly… can you say “bidding war”?!?

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