Last week, it started becoming apparent that Twitter's uptime was improving, and many were returning to the free microblogging service as part of their daily routine.
If you don't normally follow this space, the very popular service ran into some (serious) difficulties a few months ago, when the volume of calls to their API and other issues started crashing the service.... on an all-too-frequent basis.
Twitter had built a large community of applications, and last week suggested that more people may actually be using the service via the API's, than from the web homepage itself.
Users were getting outright angry at the outages. Twitter was part of their daily online experience. Jokes and cartoons proliferated the Internet. Some websites went as far as to predict the 'end of Twitter', while others declared, "That's it, I'm not using Twitter anymore".
Twitter did, in fact, have a PR problem. Their answer at the time was "We don't have a full-time PR person on staff" and updates to the Twitter blog were being made very sporadically by an 'anonymous person'.
That all changed during the past month with a large infusion of capital by several sources (including Amazon's Jeff Bezos' own venture capital firm). $20 million? (Someone must have a plan ?!).
Over the past few weeks, Twitter has been adjusting, testing, and yes, slowly returning. The PR (and communications directly with users) has gotten MUCH better, and while the fail whale is still alive and well (I think, I'd miss it :), the service is slowly becoming more reliable once again.
Other similar services have sprung up such as Plurk and Identi.ca but neither has had the time to grow the relatively huge user base that Twitter has enjoyed.
Tomorrow's USA today will have an article on Twitter, no doubt inviting yet another round of 'just regular people' to discover the service.
Is Twitter ready?
We should find out in 10 or 12 hours :)
For those of you that want to follow me on Twitter, I'm here. You'll probably have a little more luck engaging me in direct conversation on Friendfeed here.
Hoping everyone had A GREAT weekend! ....
Update: Apparently today is Veronica Belmont's birthday. She currently has (have a seat) 28,101 Twitter followers. If the 'fail whale' arrives, it's anyone's guess whether it was USA Today or Belmont :)
Staff edit July 21 2008 11.35 PM ET