Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Twitter: Cool, but Not Ready for Prime Time

If you use Twitter regularly, you've probably noticed that it's not the most reliable of web apps. Yes, it's free, and sure, you have to expect some glitches... but compared to other services, it's pretty dicey.
We are getting a demonstration of that right now. I'm looking at ZDNet's updating blog page of Macworld keynote reports and I saw this shortly after it started:


Sure enough, a few minutes later...


(Twitter did indeed come back in a few seconds, as the message promised - but only in that there was a page there. No new tweets on it - it seems to just not be updating anymore, which frankly is no more useful than the error page.)

I like Twitter, but I have to say, I'd never make it the centerpiece of any time-sensitive social media strategy. You just never know when everybody is going to see an overly-cute "Oops! It's broken!" message instead of the application itself. Given that its makers appear to have no plans to make it into a sustainable enterprise (read: something with money to invest in infrastructure), this is unlikely to change.

It's a great concept, though, that will probably be implemented much better at some point. Maybe by Twitter, but quite possibly not.

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