March 19, 2007

Twitter: Not just yet

Follow-up to Twitter from Secret Plans and Clever Tricks

So, I’ve tried twitter for a few days, and my views are; It’s not ready yet.

I love the idea of twitter, which works in 2 ways:
  • short blog entries – If you’re only blogging 140 characters at a time, you can do so much more informally. If blog entries are journals, twitters are more like the scribbles in the margins. Whether or not you get any benefit from the ‘social’ side of things, these little notes have some value, and I really enjoy creating them.
  • the social thing. Well, I’ve never really had a chance to test this out, because none of my friends are on twitter.

Now, of course I could solve this problem by telling some of my friends about this great new service, but the problem is that it’s not a great service. I couldn’t recommend to a friend that they start using it, because the performance is awful. The load time for the ‘post a new message’, from my uber-fat-pipe connection over JANET, is somewhere between 10 seconds and a minute. Early in the morning (when the US is asleep) you can sometimes get it to load in less than that, but in the evenings, it’s often even worse.

Look: right now (8pm GMT)

cusaab:~$ time curl http://twitter.com/chrismay > /dev/null
[...]
real    1m12.486s

1’12”. Not great. one-off?

cusaab:~$ time curl http://twitter.com/chrismay > /dev/null
[...]
real    0m53.920s

sigh…
If I recommended this to anyone I knew, I’d doubtless get some puzzled emails back again asking whether maybe I’d misquoted the URL? The IM interface has been up and down, mostly down, over the last few days, and I haven’t felt like committing my money to the SMS interface, given the shoddiness of everything else.

So, I’ll be keeping an eye on twitter, but until they manage to sort out their scaling issues, then I can’t see me updating it very often. Which is a shame, because I’d really like to be able to get more out of it. But for now I think I’ll go back to keeping my scraps in google notebook. Oh well…


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