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Agile Computing: Article

Twitter Infrastructure Insufficient

There are still obstacles for social media tools to overcome before they can be accepted as true social barometers

Was there some bias as to what got said on Twitter on the night of the debates?

Twitter needs to be able to handle large volumes and if they can't, they cannot say that they are providing any accurate public barometer on something as important as a Presidential debate.

On the last Presidential debate (with Crowley as moderator), I wanted to send a comment out as I was watching the debates and got tangled up on Twitter (this was about 8:50 p.m. Central Time). Evidently, the Twitter "Cloud" was deluged with tweets and they had a hard time handling it.

There was a rush to submit tweets to Twitter that night while the debates were going on and some perspectives ran into a bottleneck. Based on running into a bottleneck to post a tweet, I would say that all perspectives presented on Twitter were not equally balanced.

Had to Re-Try Several Times to Get In
I tried getting on and it kept asking me for my password (as if it did not recognize my password). Was that a delaying tactic put in place to slow down access and avoid a deluge of tweets?

After several tries, I gained access to my account and I finally got to send my tweet. Based on that experience, my current assessment of Twitter is that it is not ready-for-primetime as any type of true public barometer or tool that can get an accurate real-time pulse of society.

If Twitter was blocking access for whatever reason, how many people would have given up after two or three tries? I kept going just to see how long it would take to gain access.

At this point, it appears that Twitter does not have the real "volume" capacity they thought it would have for an event like a Presidential debate.

How many clouds are under-engineered to handle a huge volume of transactions? If you are designing one, you better stress test it to see what its real capacity is.

Learning from that Experience: New Strategy?
If you cannot get into Twitter easily once a debate starts, maybe the trick is to already be on it before the event starts. With all the spin doctors from both parties, I am sure their PCs and smartphones were all fired up before the debate even started.

I am not sure I will try to take this approach of logging into Twitter before a debate, but I will take a look at anything coming out of a "real-time" Twitter response with a grain of salt knowing that full access is not provided to everyone wanting to comment.

Copyright © 2012 - James Carlini - All rights reserved.

More Stories By James Carlini

James Carlini, MBA, a certified Infrastructure Consultant, keynote speaker and former award-winning Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, has advised on mission-critical networks. Clients include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, GLOBEX, and City of Chicago’s 911 Center. An expert witness in civil and federal courts on network infrastructure, he has worked with AT&T, Sprint and others.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.twitter.com/JAMESCARLINI

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