Twitter Kills the Fail Whale, One Tweet at a Time
Among the millions of messages, photos and videos people sent on Twitter Tuesday night, there was one picture people didn’t see: the company’s Fail Whale, a once-famous icon that showed Twitter’s Web site was down.
Instead, Twitter shattered a number of records during the election as people, including the President Obama, took to the social network to share results, commentary and quote speeches.
In a post on the company’s engineering blog, Twitter said people sent 31 million election-related tweets on Tuesday alone. From 8:11 p.m. to 9:11 p.m. P.S.T., Twitter processed an average 9,965 tweets per second, with a one-second peak of 15,107 tweets per second at 8:20 p.m., the company said. In 2008, by comparison, people sent just 229 Twitter messages per second on election night. That’s about 43 times more messages per second for this election.
During the last election, people on Twitter sent 1.8 million messages during Election Day, which included nonelection-related Twitter messages. On Tuesday, the company said just election-related messages alone tallied 874,560 Twitter messages during a single one-minute peak.
Barack Obama’s last Twitter message, which was sent just 16 hours ago, also smashed previous records, becoming the most retweeted message in history with 717,000 retweets. It simply said, “Four more years” and showed a picture of the president hugging the first lady.
As I noted on Twitter, from a media standpoint, the election coverage completely flipped, too. I remember in 2008, when social media was just being recognized by politicians and the media, Twitter was mostly used to share what was happening on television. Four years later, in a complete flip, the networks, including ABC, CBS, Fox and CNN, was citing people’s tweets on live television.
In the company’s blog post, Mazen Rawashdeh, vice president of of infrastructure operations engineering at Twitter, noted that the network stayed up without a problem during the influx of messages.
“The bottom line: No matter when, where or how people use Twitter, we need to remain accessible 24/7, around the world,” Mr. Rawashdeh. ”We’re hard at work delivering on that vision.”