How Can I Help You, Twitter?


The most universally hated creature in Twitterverse is arguably the fatty failwhale. When she shows up, it means Twitter is down. When she appears on home page, we can’t tweet at all. Refreshing is a must, doing it along with crossing fingers is recommended. TWITTER FAILWHALE SUCKS.

But then, I wonder, what could have caused it in first place?

I know 1 thing for sure:

Twitter’s servers are not equally sufficient for those inhabiting Twitterverse. Just like a PC game I used to play in high school, Pharaoh, when the city was growing, more and more people came, hoping to become residents. If I, the Cleopatra (OH YES! When I played that game I prefered pretending to be her, LOL!), wasn’t prepared with infrastructures as roads, houses, fire departments, farms and others, my city would fall apart.

Yesterday I saw a notification on my TweetDeck dashboard: Twitter is lowering its API limit to 175. And today it’s even lower: 75! Twitter must have been really ‘ill.’ Sadly for us, due to the extremely low API limit, refreshing Twitter client takes longer time than ever. Too much longer. *hiks*

Now, how can this happen? I may not a techie, but thanks to @agoes82 who struggled explaining it to me (LOL, sorry, Gus!), I can explain it to you by non-techie perspective.

According to Sir Wiki, an application programming interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program which enables it to interact with other software.

Whatever that means, LOL.

According to @agoes82, API is kinda an invisible wire connecting two applications: Twitter and Twitter-API application (i.e. Twitter clients and other Twitter applications).

Twitter: Hey, TweetDeck, here’s a tweet by @heyDian.
TweetDeck: Oh, cool, lemme have it… NOW!
Twitter: Whoa! Wait. Take it easy, Buddy!
TweetDeck: No, I need it NOW!
Twitter: Oh, here’s another stupid tweet by @heyDian.
TweetDeck: Yeah? Lemme have that one, too. Now.
Twitter: Will you please…?! Oh, here’s a retweet by @heyDian.
TweetDeck: AWESOME! I’ll take it now.
Twitter: Whoa! Wait, wait up, my server is spinning too fast. The engine is getting too hot now…
*fat whale is showing up… lalalalala*

Yep, it’s in fact the Twitter clients and all those Twitter applications that have caused the frequent appearance of Twitter failwhale.

I’ve been using TweetDeck in such an extreme way, having 7 active accounts and 18 columns. *GOODNESS!*

Turns out I’m listed among those guilty ones causing Twitter failwhale. No wonder that overweight creature shows up almost every nite, during Twitter busy hours.

Poor Twitter.

But then… Isn’t Twitter a big company with supposedly strong line of servers? I guess it’s just like playing Pharaoh. They do need some time to provide sufficient housing for all of us, yes?

So, how can I help you, Twitter?

@agoes82 said that tweeting via the web would help. It put lighter burdens on Twitter’s servers. I know, as many things in life, what I do might not change much. But if I do nothing at all, that change might not even occur.

So, unless it’s for a professional reason, I’ll just use the web. No more stalking time via TweetDeck, I know. No more auto link shortener, I might have to use *sigh* But it’s for the best. FOR I HATE THAT CUTE, FATTY WHALE!

C’mon, @Twitter team, improve your servers! You can do it YAYYY! *waka waka dance*

Btw, this explanation might be incomplete. To get a clearer, better understanding on how Twitter API works and how it it affects Twitter failwhale appearances, please follow @agoes82 @ibnutri @arisetyo @lowrobb @tyohan. They’re fine fellows, I’m sure they’ll answer your questions if you ask politely.

Another good read:

What’s Happening with Twitter?

Hey, you might also wanna read…

What a Good Twitter Name Means
Harnessing the Power of Twitter Text

9 thoughts on “How Can I Help You, Twitter?

  1. Pingback: API Rate-Limit and Twitter Fail whale | Sendy Aditya Suryana

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