Twitter users will sail on with the fail whale

Twitter users are unlikely to migrate to competing platforms despite the social media site's frequent outages, instead choosing to embrace the 'fail whale', according to a leading social media expert.

Speaking to Computerworld Australia, social media consultant, Laurel Papworth, said despite the site’s frequent outages over past weeks, Twitter's ongoing technical issues were perversely creating a greater sense of loyalty toward the social media platform.

“There is a whole community ritual that’s been built up around Twitter failing… to me that is fascinating because it shows an awful lot of brand love that the customers have for Twitter,” she said. “That [users] will take the fact that the service is not available turn it into a joke and turn it into T-shirts and I don’t think anybody would do that with any other brand. It increases the loyalty.”

Despite the support, Papworth said some users would be questioning the company’s decision to conduct a major update during the World Cup – a major driver of traffic to the website.

“It may have been a case that they had to do it because if they hadn’t they wouldn’t have dealt with all the traffic,” Papworth said. “It’s growing at a huge rate and I’ve no doubt that the World Cup brought in lots of people.”

Citing People Browser figures, Papworth said Twitter had grown at a phenomenal rate over the past year, claiming that in January the site had 75 million users.

As reported by Computerworld Australia the company anticipated the added World Cup traffic, launching a new site specifically to cater to the event.

They also specified in a recent blog post that managing World Cup-related tweets could be a major challenge.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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