WITH 1000 TWEETS already recorded across four separate Twitter accounts, I'm a little miffed that Twitter cannot hold the load of its natural growth. Today, a little message popped up that said, "Delivery of msgs has been up and down today. IM? Mostly down. We're working into the night to resolve the issues, thx for your patience!" Twitter is also soliciting "developers, developers, developers." These growing pains are not unusual but they have caused some of Twitter's senior members to start migrating elsewhere. The same kind of thing will happen in any social network that offers multiple channels of publishing alongside a point of presence. If you permit your community to freely send messages into the commons over text, instant messenger, the web, and through APIs attached to other communications platforms, there will be slowdowns. That's one reason why long-time bloggers often have an IRC or separate IM channel open while they sit at their screens. You need separate channels to ensure open communications. In a past life, we called it redundant communications.
If you are a consumer and you expect perfect levels of service from a provider offering a triple play of voice communications, data communications and television over the same network, you need to consider the weakest nodes of your communications provider. In my case, my node has collapsed when a digger accidentally cut a cable and on another occasion when a common criminal hacked through a cable containing the phone lines of 160 residents.
Knowing this kind of thing happens to me at least once a year, I carry a 3G data card for my computer. I'm looking at a 3G antenna connection for my roof but that means repairing a leaking chimney first. Maintaining perspective is important. At the end of the day, we have decided that we can live without data as comfortably as the grandparents once did.
But the grandparents expect microcontent on postcards (we use Moo cards today for that purpose) and some of our friends expect our microcontent in the form of text messages or microblog posts. We like services like Twitter and Jaiku for their microblogging potential and are excited at developing an audio microblogging component in Tipperary Institute's virtual learning environment that extends from the work that Robin Blandford did with comment casting a year ago.
Exciting times ahead.