20

Sep

Twitter Case Study

As of June 2010, there are more than 65 million tweets posted each day, about 750 tweets each second. Today, Twitter is ranked number 10 in the most visited websites worldwide by Alexa’s web traffic analysis.

System Specifications

  • Bandwidth (Why Low?): With Twitters strict limit on characters and images one can tweet, there isn’t too much content for Twitter servers to send or receive. That being the case, it only needs a low level of bandwidth.
  • CPU (Why Low?): Again, the content Twitter sends and receives is very basic. Twitter doesn’t need to deploy too much computing power in order to run its operations.
  • Disk (Why High?): Although the Tweets are small, they are high in volume. Twitter ends up using a large amount of disk space to store all of the users’ conversations, blurbs, and posts.
  • RAM (Why High?): With an average of 65 million tweets per day, Twitter has to store and display these tweets incredibly fast which requires a copious amount of RAM.
  • Scalability (Why Medium?): Although there is a large amount of tweets per day, Twitter does not need to make itself extremely scalable since the content being tweeted is fairly light.

Once upon a time, Odeo was a podcasting company facing tough competition from Apple and others. They decided to reinvent themselves and held a day-long brainstorming session.

Jack Dorsey first introduced the idea of an individual using SMS to give real-time updates of his or her comings and goings to a mass group of people at once. The original project codename was “twttr,” inspired by “Flickr.” Developers initially considered “10958″ as the short code for service, but it was later changed to “40404″ for the ease of memorability. On March 21st, 2006, the project started when Dorsey published the first Twitter message: “just setting up my twttr.”

Odeo used the first prototype as an internal messaging system for its employees. The full version was publicly introduced on July 15th, 2006. Members of Odeo, such as Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and others, formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo and all of its assets, including Odeo.com and Twitter.com, from the shareholders and investors.

In the days when “10958″ was the code, there were only 50 members. During the SXSW festival in 2007, its tweets increased from 20,000 per day to 60,000 per day. As of June 2010, there are more than 65 million tweets posted each day, about 750 tweets each second. Today, Twitter is ranked number 10 in the most visited websites worldwide by Alexa’s web traffic analysis.

Twitter’s approximate uptime is 98%, which equates to about six full days of downtime a year. When downtime occurs, it is caused by the either structural changes or hacking attacks.

Twitter started their hosting with Joyent. Some addictive users of the microblogging tool began to experience delays, however, and the result was an abrupt switch from Joyent to NTT Communications Corporation (an Asian Giant). NTT America is now the main handler for Twitter’s infrastructure. In June, the COO of NTT America was quoted saying “traffic generated by Twitter is getting so big; it’s basically eating up a lot of our data center network resources, especially the segment where Twitter is hosted.”

To accommodate Twitter’s burgeoning growth, NTT planted a new, decked-out facility in Santa Clara, CA, boasting such features as redundant power supplies, water cooling systems, advanced climate controls, and a direct pipeline to NTT America’s Tier 1 backbone. Although the additional facility may not help to prevent Denial-of-Service-like attacks, it is sure to help balance network traffic generated not only by Twitter but by other websites colocated at NTT America’s facilities. Because the Silicon Valley experiences explosive internet traffic at times, there are a number of sites that can gain from relieved traffic pressure from Twitter.

Content of Tweets according to Pear Analytics

  • News
  • Spam
  • Self-promotion
  • Pointless babble
  • Conversational
  • Pass-along value

The Ruby on Rails framework, designed by Ruby, is used by the Twitter web interface. From spring 2007 to 2008, Twitter messages were handled by the Ruby persistent queue server called Starling, but the implementation was gradually replaced with software written in Scala in 2009. This service’s application programming interface (API) makes it possible for other applications and web services to integrate with Twitter.

Online marketing is a fantastic way to build a business and social networking is the strongest medium to utilize. You can start it from your own home, at your own pace, according to your own schedule, and sometimes even without start-up costs.

However, it’s important to remember that successful online marketing is not always as easy as it sounds. Not every “next big thing” turns out be a giant. It does require work, and part of that work involves staying up-to-date with the newest tools and the latest online innovations, all while staying in touch with new technologies and creating something attractive that catches the attention of people.

Sources

Amazon.com. “Twitter.com Site Info.” Alexa. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/twitter.com (accessed September 17, 2010).

Arrington, Michael. “Odeo Releases Twttr.” TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2006/07/15/is-twttr-interesting/ (accessed September 17, 2010).

Dorsey, Jack. “Twitter.” Twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/jack/status/20 (accessed September 18, 2010).

Douglas, Nick. “Twitter blows up at SXSW Conference.” Gawker. http://gawker.com/243634/twitter-blows-up-at-sxsw-conference?tag=technextbigthing (accessed September 18, 2010).

Garrett, Sean. “Big Goals, Big Game, Big Record.” Twitter blog. http://blog.twitter.com/2010/06/big-goals-big-game-big-records.html (accessed September 17, 2010).

Gomes, Lee. “The Pied Piper of Pay.” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0622/software-internet-innovation-digital-tools.html (accessed September 19, 2010).

Hendrickson, Mark. “Twitter and Joyent Split Amidst Downtime Travails.” TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2008/01/31/twitter-and-joyent-split-amidst-downtime-travails/ (accessed September 18, 2010).

Kelly, Ryan. “Twitter Study Reveals Interesting Results About Usage – 40% is “Pointless Babble.” Pear Analytics blog. http://www.pearanalytics.com/blog/2009/twitter-study-reveals-interesting-results-40-percent-pointless-babble/ (accessed September 18, 2010).

Miller, Claire Cain. “Why Twitter’s C.E.O. Demoted Himself.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/technology/31ev.html (accessed September 17, 2010).

Miller, Rich. “Twitter’s Growth Drives NTT Expansion.” Data Center Knowledge. http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/08/31/twitters-growth-drives-ntt-expansion/ (accessed September 18 2010).

“Twitter growing pains cause lots of downtime in 2007.” Pingdom. http://royal.pingdom.com/2007/12/19/twitter-growing-pains-cause-lots-of-downtime-in-2007/ (accessed September 18, 2010).

Venners, Bill. “Twitter on Scala.” Artima Developer. http://www.artima.com/scalazine/articles/twitter_on_scala.html (accessed September 19, 2010).

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About Rebekah Perkins

Rebekah is an avid writer and former lacrosse player. She is also the Content Manager at NetHosting. Rebekah enjoys the pace and energy of the Internet industry as well as the rules-are-made-to-be-broken attitude of the English language.



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