Web 2.0 Applications

Pattern 8: Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability

Okey, this is my last blog post about how to succeed in Web 2.0. I hope you have enjoyed my blogs, and that you have learned something useful. Before we wrap it up I would like to talk about the last pattern; Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability. So, what is lightweight models and cost effective scalability about? Its about doing more with less. During the Web 1.0 it was all about getting big fast, and then the the Dot-com Bubble bursted.

The NASDAQ Composite index peaked at 5,048 in MArch 2000, the high point of the dot-com bubble

After this the new era of the internet started, the Web 2.0. People started thinking differently, they saw that getting big fast didnt work in the long run, they had to think differently. Let us take a closer look at Twitter:

Twitter is a microblogging service where you can both read and send so called Tweets. The Tweets can be up to 140 characters and is shown on the authors profile, or if you are lucky enough to have followers it also shown on their profiles. Evan Williams, one of Twitters founders states; “What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. We think of Twitter as it’s not a social network, but it’s an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.”

21. March, 2006 Dorsey sent the first Tweet by writing “just setting up my twttr”, since then Twitter have scaled tremendously. Now Twitter has over 100 million users. One of the best practices with pattern 8 is to design your business from the beginning so that its able to scale with demand. Twitter experienced some trouble with the growth, in 2007 they had 98% uptime, or about 6 days downtime. The downtime was often when there was big technology events, like the Macworld Conference & Expo. In may 2008 Twitters engineering team made changes to their architectual structure, so that could deal with the scale of growth.

Twitters Fale Whale that shows when they are experiencing some outage. It comes with the text "Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again."

Twitter is built on open-source software, and Twitter states: “As an aggressively open company, Twitter‘s success is dependent on the success of the developers in its ecosystem. Indeed, a majority of Twitter’s use comes through third-party applications that lets users tweet and read tweets wherever they choose.” It exists over 50 000 applications that use Twitters open API. Twitter has a big list over the open source software they are using, among others they are using Ruby and Scala. Wikipedia states: “Scala is a multi-paradigm programming language designed to integrate features of object-oriented programming and functional programming. The name Scala stands for “scalable language“, signifying that it is designed to grow with the demands of its users.”

Until recently Twitter didnt have any advertisment on their site. Many wondered if Twitter ever would start making money. For one month ago TechRadar wrote about that Twitter finally has revealed their advertising plan. Instead of filling up the site with advertisments, Twitter has decided to go with a different solution. TechRadar writes: “The Sponsored Tweets service will be rolled out initially in search results – where you will be prompted to re-tweet an advert – but the ads will eventually make their way to users’ Twitter feeds.” I guess time will show how subtle the solution is.


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  1. Wow, I find that figure about the downtime really surprising, I had no idea. I had actually thought that Twitter was a great example of scalability, but 98% uptime is not great! They have certainly improved their architecture since then though and I think Twitter downtime these days is unheard of.

    I find their new revenue stream model interesting, and it will be even more interesting to see if it works. It looks to me to be very similar to Digg’s new revenue stream, sponsored Diggs – an item will come up on the front page which you have the opportunity to Digg. I don’t know how successful that has been for Digg though, I find that usually the companies advertising with it put some cheesy headline that just makes me want to avoid the ad even more. It will be very interesting to see how Twitter’s model works!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * nymphad says:

      Yeah, it really surprised me as well. I havent heard about any downtime these days either, but I dont really use Twitter either though.

      Yeah, I guess it is quite similar to Digg. I think Twitter really needs some income soon since its so much invested in them, so its going to be really interesting to see how it works out. If it doesnt work out it could be what shuts down Twitter. I wouldnt want to invest in a company that doesnt give me anything back.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  2. * Tyson says:

    Nice linking of the the lightweight programming and essentially the other pattern of multiple devices, it is something I think many people would miss- the interaction of the different patterns. I also guess nothing much could be seen as scalable than a language which basically calls itself scalable.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * nymphad says:

      Thanks, Im glad you like my post:)

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  3. * Jack Marrows says:

    I didn’t realise twitter had had so many issues either. I have also heard talk of twitter offering premium/business accounts to businesses. The interesting point about twitter is that it hasn’t been cheap to set up and there is currently a lot of money invested in a company that isn’t turning profit yet.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * nymphad says:

      Yeah, its going to be interesting to see how Twitter turns out. If I had invested in Twitter I wouldnt be to happy with getting nothing back.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  4. Great post.

    I also had no idea of the downtime, then again i don’t use twitter.

    I was always wondering how twitter would eventually make money because I’ve seen so many articles about them having no revenue mainly because they have no advertising. This could be why lots of people use it though, because many people don’t like ads on websites. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

    p.s I love that “Fale Whale”…it’s so cute…


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * nymphad says:

      Yeah, its going to be really interesting to see how it turns out!

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  5. Great Post

    It’s the first time I know that twitter many issues. Also it is great idea to make twitter work without any ads that make the users like it.

    Yaroub Alredainy

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  6. * Ahmed Abughalya says:

    Hi Linn
    quite beneficial post with good explanation of the pattern. I dont actually use Twitter but I was shocked when I red that they dont have ads, but I like the new solution and I think it will work properly. Also I was wondering when Evan Williams said that they dont consider Twitter as social network, because Twitter is one of the most popular social network sites in 2006 according to Wikipedia.


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * nymphad says:

      Hi Ahmed!
      He said it at the Web 2.0 Summit in 2009, if you click the link you can see. I dont think what he means about that is that Twitter isnt a social media, I think he means that their vision with Twitter is for people to use it to inform people rather than using it to socialize. Its what they want to create with Twitter.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago

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