How Twitter Is Preparing For The World Cup

Twitter crashed repeatedly during the 2010 World Cup. Here’s how the company’s engineers are preparing for the 2014 games.

“I’ve been here just shy of five years, and I still have PTSD from the last World Cup at Twitter,” Twitter engineer Raffi Krikorian told Fast Company. “When you come to my floor at Twitter headquarters, we have signs all over the floor with a countdown to the World Cup. Reliability is at the top of our minds, and reliability first is the mantra. Somewhere in the world, there is a sporting event, an election, or an earthquake.”

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Hold on to your butts.

I think a problem is journalism is being overly concerned with writing for other journalists. Twitter, in particular. Journalists have so engaged on Twitter and it’s so empowering and gratifying to write an article your peers really enjoy that you can forget that your peers are very different from your readers. It can be a little bit problematic.
Ezra Klein, speaking to Joe Coscarelli on the launch of Vox.

Peter Kafka:

The promotion is part of a new Facebook effort to get stars posting “public content” on the service — in the way that lots of people already do on services like Twitter and Instagram. As I’ve noted in the past, Facebook has been explicit about its pitch: Publish with us, and we’ll pay you back with eyeballs.

And now we can see exactly what Facebook is offering.

Facebook, your Twitter-envy is showing. So lame.

Eriq Gardner on the latest controversy surrounding Courtney Love (yes, that Courtney Love):

The case is believed to be the first trial in a U.S. courtroom involving allegations of defamation on Twitter. Holmes was hired by Love to handle a fraud case against those managing the estate of Kurt Cobain, but in 2009, the relationship between the colorful rock star and her ex-attorney went south, and Love composed a tweet that read in part, “I was f***ing devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off.”

Holmes sued, claiming the tweet had hurt her reputation.

I’m flabbergasted that even after all these years, Courtney Love still finds ways to inject herself in the headlines. I also love that one of her defenses was that the public tweet was meant to be a DM — which, looking at the wording, is obviously bullshit.

Steven Lehrburger:

Because the new DM app would integrate directly with Twitter, it could automatically display tweets from a conversation’s participants in the thread itself. This is a simple feature, but one that other messaging apps also could not offer, and it would give users additional context in a variety of conversations. For large groups that outgrew the constraints of @-replies, these embedded tweets would make it easy for users to see what had already been said. For small groups, these embedded tweets would enrich the conversation by giving a sense of what other participants were thinking about.

A stand-alone Twitter chat (DM) app by itself isn’t that interesting. But an app that allowed you to easily injected (public) tweets to chat about could be very interesting. I know I already do this in other chat apps — that is, paste in a link to a tweet and then talk about it with a smaller group of people.

Also interesting: a chat app that injected your own tweets into a conversation to kickstart dialogue with friends.

A Tale Of Two Twitter Personas

Over the past couple of days, I’ve lost something like 100 Twitter followers. Percentage-wise, it’s not a huge number. But I usually don’t lose Twitter followers on a daily basis.1 So what happened?

I tweeted about sports. A lot.

Twitter is a funny thing in this regard. We’re (presumably) all dynamic individuals with a range of tastes, thoughts, and opinions on a wide spectrum of topics. But that’s not typically why people follow one another on Twitter. It’s usually for information/chatter about one topic, maybe two.

For me, given my background and line of work, that’s obviously technology. But I too have other interests — shocking, I know. Film is definitely one. Beer is definitely another. And sports is way up there. Yes, some people in the tech industry are as obsessed with sports as anyone else in the world. Blasphemy!

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Jeff Bercovici on the Justine Sacco shitshow last week:

Compounding the bad judgment was a perfect storm of circumstances. Stuck on a plane for hours, Justine was unaware of the outrage she’d sparked, unable to delete or attempt to explain it. That allowed the affair to swell into a real-time news event that was fascinating even to spectators who had no particular feelings about it. Justine’s professional affiliation with billionaire Barry Diller and his well-known companies made her seem important, not just some random crank; a number of other ill-advised tweets provided fresh fodder and the outline of a caricature; her job as a communications professional lent the whole episode an irresistible irony.

Now IAC has fired her, and Justine has apologized. Both were inevitable. So what else is there to say?

Only this, maybe: Justine Sacco was not the first person to get herself fired for saying something stupid on Twitter. She won’t be the last. Every medium and technology ever invented carries its own perils, but there’s something about social media in general and Twitter in particular that invites and rewards self-damaging behavior.

The awfulness and stupidity of what she said aside, it was fascinating to watch it unfold. At one point, my entire stream was about the tweet of one seemingly random woman.

Dan Primack:

Twitter itself obviously wanted a bit of price pop for PR and employee morale purposes, but here’s something else employees could be thinking about today: Had Twitter priced at $45.10 per share and used the extra proceeds to give out holiday bonuses, it would have worked out to more than $580,000 per employee. How’s your morale feel now?

It is interesting that Facebook maximized the amount of money it made by going public, and it was viewed as a “failure”. While Twitter clearly left a ton of money on the table, and that’s viewed as a “success”.

This is a case where perception is reality. But let’s be clear, the real winners today are the same ones who were the real losers of the Facebook IPO: the bankers.