By all reports, Twitter.com (and the API, for the most part) sailed through the onslaught of the Super Bowl and Super Tuesday with nary a hiccup. Please join me in a round of w00t!
So ends the saga of Twitter’s scalability. The Twitter community can now grow as far and as fast as we desire without fear of the thing crashing down around our heads. Or can we? I fear that while the Twitter team has overcome it’s technical scalability concerns (again, w00t!), there are serious issues to be overcome with the application’s social scalability.
By "social scalability" I mean the extent to which one can receive the ‘signal’ through the cacophony of ‘noise’ as one’s following list expands. This is a more complex problem that simply limiting the number of Twitterers (Twits?) you follow, as you might do with an RSS list.
The scenario is already presenting itself as the Presidential Primary season hits full-stride in the United States. Most of the folks I follow on Twitter are in the social media space – no surprise there. A few of them are also political junkies like me, as I’ve mentioned before. But what about everyone else? Do those social media folks who are not interested in US politics really want to be inundated with play-by-play tweets of Super Tuesday? What about the Super Bowl tweet-fest? I certainly wasn’t interested in the game but sat through tweet after tweet anyway in case anyone was talking about anything that did interest me.
It’s manageable at the moment since the community is still relatively small and the event-related tweet-fests are few and far-between… but it won’t be long before every sporting event spawns thousands of Tweets that I don’t care about. Unless it’s a Habs game… I’m in for that. :)
So the question is: