Friday, May 8, 2009

FriendFeed hungry, Twitter pining for the fjords - does this qualify as a perfect storm?

Both Twitter and FriendFeed have been down this afternoon. Since these are my two primarily outlets (I go to Google Reader more than Twitter, but its output primarily goes through FriendFeed), I'm almost in the same situation as Robert Scoble (check MG Siegler's TechCrunch post "Twitter And FriendFeed Battle For Downtime. Scoble’s Head Explodes.").

But Facebook is still up, and Disqus is still up, and I just wrote this Disqus comment in response to the Louis Gray post "Every Piece of the Infrastructure Carries Potential to Fail":

I wonder if we're expecting too little of consumer social media applications.

On the one hand, you can argue that we get what we pay for. Certainly if Twitter or FriendFeed had users that were paying US$50/month to use the service, they would have the obligation to offer a very high level of uptime, and would take care to design their systems to do so. Since both services are in a pre-monetization mode, one can argue that it's not wise to spend money for that kind of resilience at this time.

On the other hand, you can argue that they're damaging their future potential. Those who knew of Twitter during a good chunk of 2008 identified it with the fail whale, and now that there are many more users on Twitter, a fail whale can do a lot more damage to Twitter's image. FriendFeed is still trying to break into the public's eye, and while they've been relatively free of downtime, additional downtime episodes may bring FriendFeed unwanted attention.

I'm one of the extremely small minority of people who use these two services (base on the comments, it appears that most of TechCrunch's readers are on Facebook, or perhaps the WELL), and the only thing that I've determined is that I have to add more of my FriendFeed/Twitter contacts to Facebook. Then again, that could go down too...

P.S. As I type this post in Blogger, I'm told that Blogger will have a scheduled outage at 2:00AM PDT on Monday 5/11. We'll see what happens then...
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