Social networks that suffer from downtime often have a slew of frustrated users to deal with, and that can be a huge hindrance to a given network. Pingdom recently released the stats for 2008 downtime across the top social networks, and the findings aren’t all surprising. MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, Hi5 and Imeem saw the highest rates of uptime, while Twitter saw the most downtime of all the major social networks.
Friendster had the single most disastrous episode of downtime, with 23 hours of inaccessibility over the course of 3 days. But LinkedIn has also witnessed an increase in downtime, which happens to be the complete opposite of what we’ve seen with Twitter. As Twitter finally took care of its own server issues, the site has seen a decrease in downtime.
It’s also important to note that both LinkedIn and Twitter have seen significant growth in the past year. Pingdom hints that LinkedIn’s growth could be a contributing factor to its downtime, as the company copes with the rate of growth. Twitter, on the other hand, struggled with its growth and its correlation to its downtime from early on, and has seen a great deal of growth and success since fixing the problem late last summer.
I’ve always found it rather fascinating that Twitter was able to retain such a large and active user base despite its perpetual downtime and related issues. But looking at the nature of Twitter and its users it becomes rather evident that the recurring sight of the fail whale became a shared experience in itself for Twitter users.
Now that we don’t get to see the fail whale as often as we used to, Twitter is taking complete advantage of its new found uptime in order to introduce new features. This has also become more evident in recent weeks, as Twitter received tens of millions in additional funding, and has found itself in direct competition with the likes of Facebook (speculatively fueling the feature fire).
LinkedIn, on the other hand, could attribute some of its growth to the increase in layoffs, as many flock to the professional niche network to leverage friends and colleagues for finding a new job. These growing pains could certainly be causing some of LinkedIn’s downtime, which is often par for the course. What’s also interesting is the similarities in Twitter and LinkedIn’s growth trends, though Twitter is growing at a higher rate than LinkedIn. This is typical, as Twitter is a smaller network, but notable as downtime for Twitter and LinkedIn are moving in complete opposite directions from each other.