Hugh McLeod’s latest GapingVoid cartoon probably sums up what many Twitter users have been thinking of late. The service, which hasn’t exactly been known for its reliable uptime, has been effectively crippled for almost a week now, with no ability to page back through previous messages and no support for using it through instant messaging. For many Twitter users, including me, the inability to see previous messages makes the service effectively useless, since the only messages you see are the ones that happen to be there when you look at the site, or @ replies sent directly to you. Some people are giving up or considering it.

Mike Arrington and others have written that whether Twitter is up or down doesn’t really matter any more because people are addicted to the service, and therefore will put up with anything — but I’m starting to wonder about that, to be honest. And while I have said in the past (during the whole “FriendFeed is going to kill Twitter” hysteria) that Twitter and FriendFeed aren’t really competitors, I’m not so sure of that either any more. I see more and more people saying they are giving up on Twitter and moving their conversations to FriendFeed. Will they come back? Some think they will. Not really sure of that either.

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

13 Responses to “Is Twitter losing it?”
  1. If there was an easy way to move my contacts over, i'm gone. I don't have a Windows machine so that app for it is no use to me.

    If FriendFeed was smart they would build a contact importer of their own, that crawled your Twitter contacts to see if they were already on FF. And if they weren't, it would set up Imaginery Friends with the appropriate Twitter account added as a feed so that you would still get all of your contacts Tweets in FF.

    Then once you are on FF, you find that comments start to ween you off the need to Tweet.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing, Jamie — if there was an easy way
      to set up Twitter friends in FriendFeed I would do it (Internet Duct
      Tape has a way, but it's a Windows program and sounds complicated).
      As it is, I'm considering setting up imaginary friends (I love that
      term) for those people I really want to follow from Twitter and axing
      the rest.

      • It might be the best option. From what Steve Gillmor was saying yesterday, Twitter can't be fixed as it stands.

        If I was Ev i'd be looking to sell immediately and cash in.

  2. I am a relatively new user to Twitter (approx a month). I was almost entirely an IM user in my short tenure. In the past week I have found that I have I have adjusted my habits to be able to use Twitter on my laptop (although not as frequently). I write my subconscious willingness to do this to it being new to me and wanting to continue to particpate in conversations and connect with my new Twitter friends. I also know I am not yet as emotional as some posters and users are based on my newby status.

    Bottom line for me, I do not believe that I will sustain the modification of my behaviours to fit the available service but will soon modify the tool (change to FriendFeed) to fit the way I want to use it.

    It is new technology and it is free so I think it is fair to cut them some slack. But there is a lemming aspect to this and once some of the pioneers start moving the rest will move enmasse. Once people leave I think loyalty will build with FriendFeed and unless similiar problems occur there it will be difficult for Twitter to recover .

    I hope they get it fixed in the next couple days….I am routing for them but I won't hold out much longer.

  3. the only reason I'm not totally switching over is the fact that I have many friends still on Twitter only; if I switch fully to FF, they will lose contacts with my updates. Until then, posting to Twitter is the only way to reach the most people

  4. I've noticed people have been bailing over the past week. They're just out & out deleting their accounts. Too bad actually. Anyway, it's incumbent upon Twitter to fix their problems unless they enjoy bad press.

    The “A” list can continue to blindly promote Twitter but they're going to tarnish their reputations!

    I do use FF but I find it's info overload. The reason why Tweets are great is that it's short and to the point.

  5. Where else do people expect to get instant gratification from other social media users? IRC?

  6. Hey, I thought you'd stopped reading my stuff…? ;-)

  7. Agree with Sam, FF doesn't replace Twitter's brevity which was what made Twitter different – and useful. Also that it seems to be dying, the noise is now reaching a crescendo. So why don't they do a major fix it ? Funding problems without current monetization plans ? If not, what is the reason ? Anyone got any ideas ?

  8. Reports say Twitter is in the final stage of closing $15M round with Spark in Boston. Details area attached in my blog. I suspect that the fix is more framework and architecture related than bodies right now.

  9. The addiction argument is wrong. People do leave. I follow almost 6000 people. Nearly 2000 follow me. I see and feel the changes in traffic far more than users only connected to their face-to-face friends.

    My experience with Twitter, especially with the volume of posts/responses lately, is that people aren't sticking around. My past experience with services that have massive outages is that no matter how popular or addictive, large numbers will stop using it when it's out.

  10. The addiction argument is wrong. People do leave. I follow almost 6000 people. Nearly 2000 follow me. I see and feel the changes in traffic far more than users only connected to their face-to-face friends.

    My experience with Twitter, especially with the volume of posts/responses lately, is that people aren't sticking around. My past experience with services that have massive outages is that no matter how popular or addictive, large numbers will stop using it when it's out.

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