A-Listers Killing Twitter With TweetsBy: WebProNews Staff - May 30, 2008
Popular people with long lists of followers on Twitter may be partly responsible for the micro-blogging site’s performance woes at times.
Twitter serves as a messaging service these days, above and beyond what its creators imagined their experiment in one-to-many SMS messaging would become. As fans of Twitter, but lately its up and down availability made it difficult to drop an update to those who follow us on the service.
Twitter developer Alex Payne talked about the issues in a post at the Twitter Technology blog. He answered several questions posed by users of the site about its development and related issues.
In one response, Payne noted how a certain group of users may be the people responsible for some of Twitter’s growing pains:
The events that hit our system the hardest are generally when “popular” users – that is, users with large numbers of followers and people they’re following – perform a number of actions in rapid succession. This usually results in a number of big queries that pile up in our database(s). Not running scripts to follow thousands of users at a time would be a help, but that’s behavior we have to limit on our side.
We’re painfully aware of every minute that we’re slow or unavailable.
Improving performance will mean a lot of ongoing development work, tracking down issues with various diagnostic tools and generally exploring how people use Twitter. Its utility and ease of use lifted Twitter from being just another cute project to a highly useful service, something we hope continues to improve.