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.


Comments

    Wait, this is the same Twitter that doesn't have ads and is a free service, yes?

    No freedom comes without caveats. Elections are a reminder of that.

      Doesn't have ads? Not sure which Twitter you're referring to: https://business.twitter.com/en/advertise/start/

        Oh crap, shoulda checked that. I don't use Twitter and last time I was in that loop there was no ads.

    This is sounding like the generation Y we really don't want to be known for; the 'I want, I want, I want' it just to work, I want it to be free, and comes off as more petulant than informed. Its a free service, yes there are more ads, there is downtime but it still works. What, it takes a moment for you to refresh and tweet about Big Brother or Obama2012 or Triple J.. whatever. Its FREE.
    Bugs and tweaks have to happen because no developer can envisage problems entirely without actually encountering the scenario first, surely? When has there not been a 1.0, 1.1 and so forth?

    This piece seems to trivialise the effort that goes on in the background to facilitate not just the high rate of tweets being propagated onto the network, but also the presumably large amount users consuming the information on Twitter as well. Is "working like you're supposed to" really supposed to apply to exceptional circumstances such as the US election? It also seems to be conflating the issue of increasingly crappier device and software releases with a free service.

    This article also makes broad generalisations on what people will put up with and accept.

    Alright, so it didn't go down, which is how it should be. Fine, fine.

    Considering it's been a bit unstable in the last few months, and considering the sustained load that hit it yesterday, I don't really see why they can't crow about it.

    I had issues yesterday, but just with push notifications. Apart from that, it was a thoroughly entertaining way of keeping up with the news (as well as watching Trump implode).

    If they waited until every product was 'finished' before release, there wouldn't be much out there, I reckon.

    Jesus Diaz our brazenly self-entitled patron of the ass-arts neither understands the limitations of technology or programming nor does he seem to appreciate the fact that free services needn’t exist, but they do, and for that we should express a modicum of gratitude for those who provide it, the free service that is.

    I don't usually post on this site, but this piece of diatribe made me actually sign up for an account so I could put my two cents in.

    Twitter congratulated themselves on being able to handle 327,452 tweets per minute. That's 19,647,120 tweets per hour. Most web applications (not websites, static html caching isn't hard, yo) struggle under any sort of decent load (100,000+ hits a day) without getting pretty serious about optimisation.

    Jesus, I suggest you learn a little bit about the amount of coding, back-end systems, bandwidth, infrastructure, testing etc that had to go into the pipeline for twitter to be able to scale to this level. Why does it go down fairly often? Because it's one of the worlds most used services which has grown almost exponentially at times, and has huge usage surges when massive things happen.

    Seriously this article shouldn't even be on this site. It's not journalism, it's not a rant, it's immature bullshit. If you don't like that a company is congratulating itself on accomplishing a modern technological marvel (and doing it for free), guess what? Instead of getting on your soap box about it, why not talk to an IT friend who actually knows anything about IT systems? They might tell you it's actually fairly incredible.

    Bet this guy ranted at the American space program when it got things wrong, and even worse when it congratulated itself on keeping someone safe.

    Last edited 08/11/12 7:18 pm

    Wow what a douchebag. Sure some products are buggy to the point of being actually crap and shouldn't be released, but I really don't think you understand how complex a lot of things are to make/code.

    I agree with Jesus a little, however I've also got a shirt with him riding a velociraptor so, it may well be invalid.

    I think with the rate at which society wants information now days, things can be left out in place of a deadline. I.E Windows Phone 8 being released without a notifications center, or native Skype app, or NFC 'wallet' system.

    However, like Jonorogers said - I don't care who you are, what you're doing but processing 19,647,120 anythings, worldwide per hour is freaking impressive. I would like to think that the 'celebration' wasn't Twitter saying oh God we're good at our jobs etc. I think it was more, holy crap, that was a lot of information transfer and we did it. So mainly boo on you Jesus; but have a cup cake as well.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now