Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Can’t Promise It Will Stay Up During the World Cup

All those World Cup tweets you saw today? They’re not going to stop. And if they increase dramatically, well…Twitter can’t make any promises.

That info comes at the bottom of a new blog post the service put up explaining its downtime problems this past week. If you’re technically savvy, it might be meaningful for you. (My caveman translation attempt: Twitter say internal network bad. Twitter sorry. Twitter fix.)

But this is the part you’ll want to think about if you’re planning on tweeting about Wayne Rooney’s temper tomorrow:

As more people turn to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world (or in the World Cup), you may still see the whale when there are unprecedented spikes in traffic. For instance, during the World Cup tournament–and particularly during big, closely-watched matches (such as tomorrow’s match between England and the U.S.A.)–we anticipate a significant surge in activity on Twitter. While we are making every effort to prepare for that surge, the whale may surface.

As Twitter notes, the fail whale shows up much less frequently than it used to. And the World Cup is a really, really big deal. So your inclination should probably be to cut the service some slack–and you certainly can’t demand a refund.

But if it breaks down at a particularly crucial time, you’re still going to want to give Twitter a red card. Or worse.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald