It has been a hard week for Twitter. The site has been facing substantial downtime. The IM services have been shut down and it appears that tweets are now being throttled. Tonight Twitter has shutdown the service for three hours to update the database. While the message was only posted 15 minutes ago, there is definitely a chance that the service will be down for longer.
Throughout the weekend I haven’t been able to access Twitter via the TwitterBerry application on my Blackberry device. My guess is that API calls to Twitter were not consistently working. On Friday I posted about Twitter’s scaling problems and this is only one part of it. Most successful websites face issues as they grow in popularity but the amount of downtime suffered by Twitter has ranked it among the most inaccessible websites.
Having a service that is extremely popular is not a bad problem to have but the site is losing potential new users as the site continues to go down. Earlier this weekend Mike Arrington singled out Blaine Cook, an ex-Twitter employee, as the source of the problems. In my own opinion it was an unprofessional posting but that’s really not the main issue here.
As most users have pointed out, Twitter is a free service and it’s hard to complain about a service that has become extremely useful for many and will surely continue to grow. While I hate that Twitter isn’t consistently accessible, I’m sure that their development team will soon figure out a solution. With $15 million in the bank, Twitter should soon scale to become a leading communication tool.