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High Twitter usage causes 'over capacity' downtime delays
June 21, 2010
by Mark Ollig

Recently I have been seeing a large, white whale in a fishing net being suspended in the air just above the ocean by eight tiny birds on my computer screen.

Of course I have been feeling alright lately, why do you ask?

Its users are well aware of what happens when the Twitter online social network becomes unavailable – the dreaded “Twitter is over capacity” message is shown using “fail whale” image I was describing.

Twitter has been having noticeable challenges staying online without interruptions during this month.

According to the website monitoring service Pingdom, during this month of June Twitter has so far been unavailable, or “down” for almost five hours.

Pingdom reported that during May, Twitter’s total downtime was 52 minutes.

The site: www.pingdom.com is an online business which provides monitoring services of websites. Pingdom also provides website statistics and will alert a client if their website being monitored goes offline.

Since January of this year, Twitter has been down for a total of 9.8 hours.

The web link: twittercounter.com also provides some interesting information about Twitter users.

Twitter has many popular celebrities and politicians using their social network.

These users obtained their authenticity via verification by Twitter and have “Verified Account” stamped on their Twitter profile page to guard against imposters.

The number-one person being followed on Twitter today is Britney Spears. Her username, “britneyspears,” has 5,246,365 Twitter followers.

Lady Gaga is Twitter user “ladygaga,” and ranks fourth with 4,519,292 followers.

President Barack Obama, user “BarackObama,” is the fifth most-followed user on Twitter with 4,268,619 followers.

Late night talk host Jimmy Fallon, Twitter user “jimmyfallon,” is 23rd with 2,606,456 followers.

The popular singing teen Justin Bieber, user “justinbieber,” is ranked at number 25 with 3,103,364 Twitter followers.

Even the White House is on Twitter. User “whitehouse” is ranked number 60 with 1,768,918 Twitter followers.

CNN’s Larry King, also known as twitter user “kingsthings,” is ranked at number 85 with 1,642,475 followers.

Your Bits & Bytes columnist’s Twitter user name is “bitsandbytes,” and has a somewhat lower Twitter ranking at 190,782. I do boast of having 246 faithful followers though.

To see the most popular Twitter users, go to: twittercounter.com/pages/100 for the current top-ranked listings.

Some of the Twitter users I follow post their messages, or “tweets” on a daily basis; these include film critic Roger Ebert, whose twitter username is “ebertchicago.”

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is using Twitter with the username “timberners_lee.”

It is interesting to read what is on the minds of these famous people.

Twitter is a two-way medium, so one can respond to their messages. Sometimes the celebrity will surprise you with a reply!

As you know, I am a Star Trek fan and so I follow Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) on Twitter at username “TheRealNimoy,” and also William Shatner (Captain Kirk), who uses the twitter username “WilliamShatner.” I was surprised how often Mr. Nimoy and Mr. Shatner use Twitter to send messages.

Many of these celebrities seem to be using Twitter as an online public diary of sorts; and it’s been a great way for their fans to stay connected to them.

The actress Elizabeth Taylor is a frequent user of Twitter. I follow her tweets and she usually writes a message once a week – more if some celebrity she likes is in the news. Her username is “DameElizabeth” on Twitter and she has 221,865 followers. Her Twitter rank is 775.

More local area businesses are using Twitter to post information to their followers about their products, promotions and service announcements. Restaurants are using Twitter to message their daily specials to their followers – who are also potential customers.

As of June 8, Pingdom reports Twitter is now averaging 2 billion tweets per month.

Twitter reached 1 billion tweets per month in December of 2009.

Pingdom reported for May that Twitter was averaging 64 million tweets per day, 2.7 million tweets per hour, 44,481 tweets per minute, and 741 tweets per second.

That’s a lot of tweeting.

Pingdom calls this Twitter’s “Tweet Growth.”

Information about my Twitter username, “bitsandbytes,” can be found at: tinyurl.com/29wa8up.

The Pingdom website is: www.pingdom.com.

To get real-time updates on Twitter site outages, you can visit: status.twitter.com.

Anyone who would like to see the picture of “a large, white whale in a fishing net being suspended in the air just above the ocean by eight tiny birds,” go to: tinyurl.com/2dltnuu.

Today’s column is being dedicated to Lynda Jensen.

Lynda gave me so much support during the time I knew her while writing these columns. I will never forget Lynda’s sense of humor and the playful banter we shared. Lynda provided me with encouragement when I needed it, and showed me kindness. I truly valued Lynda’s wisdom and friendship. I will miss her very much.