The Road Ahead For Twitter

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The blogosphere’s been abuzz lately about Twitter — everyday, it seems a Twitter disaster makes its way to the blogs of its very users, leaving them with nothing more than a cringe and a hope. Whether it was the weekend downtime where users’ Twitter streams looked more than half empty, or fellow Web 2.0 enthusiast Orli Yakuel’s privacy disaster where her direct messages made their way into the very public Twitter stream, or, most recently, the firing/resignation of Twitter Chief Architect Blaine cook, Twitter has been very much in the public eye.

As I Twittered yesterday (how’s that for irony?): “Does anyone else notice the Facebook hype/meme/craziness is dying? If Twitter can hold itself, it’s TNBT. Problem is, it can’t and hasn’t.” And I beleive that. If MySpace was 2005, YouTube 2006, and Facebook 2007, I have a feeling Twitter has the potential to be the talk of the year for 2008. But the problem is — when you can’t merely stay alive for half the time, there’s very little chance everyone is going to talk about anything other than the fact that you can’t merely stay alive.

As Michael Arrington suggests in his post, it doesn’t matter if Blaine Cook was fired or resigned — what matters is that things can only get better from here. Cook semi-famously gave a talk at the Silicon Valley Ruby conference about scaling Rails and Twitter. In one of the slides (pictured right), he’s quoted as calling the scaling issue “Really Easy” and has a six-step secret sauce as to how to go about doing it, which very obviously hasn’t worked. Infact, I question whether he even went past Step 1 — it seems that lately, it’s been only the users complaining.

That said, there’s still some time left for Twitter. If things are, indeed, only going to get better from at from this point — with their new infrastructure, new hirees (Cook’s replacements — among which — an expert who was involved in scaling Blogger), then Twitter still has a chance to win back the hearts of its cringing users. And I have to say, I’m one of them. It’s clear that its users very much care about the service, and as a result, whenever Twitter has an outage (both literally and figuratively), we go through the same cringing/loving feeling as someone watching their sibling perform badly at stage. It’s not nice, and we want it to get better, but we’re powerless when it comes to it.


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