Update 2:

Via a Twitter post from Engtech (which I found on FriendFeed), I came across a suggestion from this guy about how to re-enable your Twitter cache. I tried it and it seems to have worked. And now — finally — there is a Twitter blog post about the difficulties (hat tip to Frederic from The Last Podcast).

Update:

There’s a yellow box at the top of the home page for Twitter users that says:

“Due to some cache changes we made Friday, you may not be seeing all updates in your timeline (don’t worry, they’re still there!). Thank you for your patience while we fix this issue.”

As Nav notes, this is the equivalent of flowers after a fight. I think we could use a bit more than that.

Original post:

MG Siegler of ParisLemon and VentureBeat (and my rival for number nine slot on the Techmeme 100) is keeping the pressure on Twitter about the system’s recent problems — intermittent dropping of people’s messages, etc. — and so he should. For a service that is supposed to be all about real-time communication, the Twitter gang have been doing very little of that about their own issues. People continue to complain on the Twitter customer-response forum, and have gotten little response.

The last update from the team on the forum is almost two days old, and says that the problem resulted from a caching fix — which ironically was supposed to make the system more robust and faster, but seems to have opened a black hole into which people’s Twitter posts randomly fall. The last post on the Twitter blog is from five days ago, and it’s about how great Twitter is for helping that guy get out of jail in Egypt. It’s a good thing he’s not there right now, because he’d be out of luck. The last Twitter status message is from two days ago.

As MG notes, one of the big problems with this particular Twitter outage is that it isn’t really an outage at all — it’s just a seemingly random disappearance of posts, which makes it difficult to tell whether there’s even an issue at all, as I mentioned in my earlier post on the weekend. How many people are thinking “Oh well, maybe my friends are just too busy to respond to my posts.” That could push them away from Twitter gradually, I think. If you’re basing your business model on being a viral communications app, you had better communicate.

And that goes for the Twitter team as well — I’m sure they’re busy fixing things, but they should be out there communicating it. And as MG and others have pointed out, this is a particularly bad time for Twitter to be failing: the massive Web 2.0 conference starts tomorrow.

About the author

Mathew 2414 posts

I'm a Toronto-based former senior writer with Gigaom and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

12 Responses to “Twitter failure: Call the irony squad”
  1. […] Tweeting? Hmmm… Apparently not. CNET have also weighed in on the issue. [Matthew Ingram also points out the irony of the situation – and Jeff Nolan points out that the Web2.0 conference is due to start in San Francisco in 2 days – […]

  2. you should have mentioned also that, given how some of the malelitists of the tech blogosphere have been creaming their pants over the alleged half billion valuation of Twitter, it would behoove anybody with access to media and VC to spew such pronouncements in view of the system's obvious shortcomings in service.

    not that i would stop using it. it's just that, just as with Bebbo … where the hey do people get these wacked out valuations? it's like kids playing with their dads bank accounts :)

  3. […] is up to its old tricks again. It isn’t offline per say, but it might as well be. As others have pointed out Twitter has been having serious issues since Saturday, April 19th. The service has been […]

  4. […] There’s also a @Twitter Twitter but Twitter doesn’t seem to be updating this one. Mathew Ingram notes that the last entry on the Twitter blog is from five days ago. He also links to the Get […]

  5. I'd love to see the stats if people are blogging more because Twitter isn't working.

    It's funny how much more boring the Internet seems without having tweeps to talk to.

    • Maybe more people are actually going outside — or maybe they're just
      sitting at their computers, hitting “reload” on the Twitter page over
      and over :-)

  6. […] The latter use is starting to become almost essential, but as Matthew Ingram points out, for a service that is supposed to be all about real-time communication, Twitter has been doing very little to address recent reliability issues. […]

  7. “It’s a good thing he’s not there right now, because he’d be out of luck.”

    LMAO!

  8. “It’s a good thing he’s not there right now, because he’d be out of luck.”

    LMAO!

  9. […] also a @Twitter Twitter but Twitter doesn’t seem to be to be updating this one. Mathew Ingram notes that the second lobby next to the Twitter blog is from five days ago. He also links to the Get […]

  10. […] a @Twitter Twitter but Twitter doesn’t come across to be updating this one. Mathew Ingram notes that the later antechamber by the Twitter blog is from five days ago. He also links to the Get […]

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