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Rant: Why Twitter’s Election Night Success Is Not A Success

Twitter is bragging because it didn’t go down on Election Day. The info-bloat peaked at 327,452 tweets per minute last night, and not a single Fail Whale appeared! High fives all around! Way to… work like you’re supposed to.

Because, reading Twitter’s own statements and the commentary by some of the press, it appears that you all should be grateful that Twitter didn’t collapse in on itself. After years of crapping out constantly, Twitter didn’t crap out yesterday. Not crapping out — even while you weren’t supposed to crap out in the first place — is what counts as a raging success nowadays.

Yes, maybe that’s the benchmark of excellence now. Here, Twitter. Take a medal for not sucking.

After all, the tech world is now pure beta culture. It permeates everything — software, hardware and internet services. The planet is bursting with half-baked products and features full of bugs and pathetic excuses.

The bad news: It’s not them. It’s us. It’s entirely our own fault. Instead of rejecting those beta products and services, we grab them with our greedy little hands and suck on them. We see the obvious bugs and, instead of returning the product or deleting the app, we learn to live with it. We work around it. We’ve taught ourselves to accept — even be happy with — substandard shit.

We Apple free passes for Antennagate, Siri and Maps. We give Twitter a free pass whenever a white whale flies to the skies. We lived with Microsoft’s ubiquitous Blue Screen of Death and the Xbox 360′s Red Ring of Death for years. Or Sony and its multiple PlayStation 3 bugs. Or Google and all its beta crap. Don’t get me started on RIM. The list is endless.

As long as the company issues a letter from the CEO saying “Yeah, we suck, sorry about that! We’ll be sure to fix it someday. Thanks for buying, suckers!” everything is good. And then, if by some miracle the bug actually does get fixed, we’re ecstatic, grateful, because our product doesn’t suck quite as much. Stockholm syndrome. Silicon Valley syndrome.

It’s just sad. And it’s been like this for so long; I’ve been hammering at the point since 2008:

Personally, I’m tired of all this. But I’m mostly tired about the fact that it seems that we all have given up. Tired because now we see “upgrades” as an opportunity to protect our investment, but in reality, it’s laziness and a poor job on the manufacturer part that we have accepted without questioning. Instead of calling foul play and refusing to participate, we keep buying [or using their services].

That’s the key: We have surrendered in the name of progress and marketing and product cycles and consumerism. Maybe those are good reasons, I don’t know, but looking at the past, it feels like we are being conned. Deceived because the manufacturers of electronic products have taken our desire to progress faster and even embrace the web beta culture as an excuse to rush things to market, to blatantly admit bugs and the rushed features sets and sell the patches as upgrades.

So stop bragging about not sucking, Twitter. You and everyone else. This is nothing to be proud about. This is how things should be from day one.


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