ANALYSIS: With the outpouring of traffic over the Iranian presidential election and the death of Michael Jackson, Twitter came into its own in June as a real-time communicatons vehicle and social search engine. But how will Twitter make money from businesses that use this tool for messaging and collaboration, and what will disruptions mean for the microblog service?
There was a time in 2008 when you couldn't go a week or two without reading
on popular high-tech blogs that Twitter was down. TechCrunch founder Michael
Arrington often complained
about the loss of Twitter and frequently ripped the
service for going down, exhorting the startup's founders to improve the
Fast forward to 2009. Twitter, the microblog that lets users around the
globe "tweet"-shout out in real time online with short messages of up
to 140 characters-has become so influential that even the U.S. government is
asking the company's service to remain running 24/7.
Twitter had scheduled a key network upgrade for June 15 with its network
host NTT America Enterprise Hosting
Services. The upgrade was planned for Monday night in the United
States, but NTT
America told Twitter how important
the Twitter service was playing as a
real-time communication tool in Iran,
which was in the midst of a fiery controversy over the presidential election.
Fans and detractors of Iranian presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi and
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in
with their thoughts and feelings about the
election, which many claim was rigged for Ahamdinejad. The traffic to Twitter
and other sites was tremendous, but the planned downtime would have deadened
daytime service in Iran
So Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and his team rescheduled the maintenance for
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. PDT June 16, or 1:30 a.m.
in Iran. The
upgrade was a success, boosting Twitter's much-needed network capacity. Stone
later explained in a blog post
When we worked with our network provider yesterday to reschedule this
planned maintenance, we did so because events in Iran
were tied directly to the growing significance of Twitter as an important
communication and information network. Although presumed impossible if not
extremely difficult, we decided together to move the date. It made sense for
Twitter and for NTT America to keep services
active during this highly visible global event.