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Image: Twitter whale
The adorable, iconic Twitter "Fail Whale" floats blissfully on the wings of your World Cup and Justin Bieber Babble.
Helen Popkin
updated 6/15/2010 2:22:29 PM ET 2010-06-15T18:22:29

No need to travel to Alaska if you want to get in some whale watching this summer … or even leave your desk. Thanks to a rampage of giddy World Cup tweets, internal updates, the impending lunar eclipse and who knows what else, “Fail Whale” is spending a lot of time on Twitter these days.

That’s the cartoon sea mammal that pops up on your screen whenever the microblogging site is down. And Twitter’s rolling outages — especially common on Monday — is a topic of much speculation, not only on the site but all over the InterWebs.

The Twitter status blog lists site problems every day since June 8, including bouts of “site availability issues,” “temoporarily missing tweets,” “incorrect tweet counts,” “high error rate,” “bursts of errors,” “bursts of elevated errors,” and well, if you spend any amount of time on Twitter, you know it’s been about as messed up as it used to be back in the early days of say, last year.

How to spend one’s time when Twitter is down is another hot topic.  (Yesterday’s trending topics on the site included “#whiletwitterwasdown,” “#failwhale” and “Stupid Twitter.”)

Web monitoring company Pingdom, which found that Twitter has been down a total of 3 hours and 3 minutes this month (which is only half over), chalks it up to growing pains. And Twitter, which receives approximately 65,000 posts per a day, is currently working on increasing capacity of its internal network.

At the same time, Twitter is adding a World Cup-inspired location feature tied into location-based networks Foursquare and Gowalla.  To that end, a site engineer recently warned users via Twitter’s blog to expect frequent outages during the World Cup, when tweeters are especially active.

Then there’s that recent panic-inducing rumor — possibly spread by at least one rabid Justin Bieber fan — that Twitter plans to shut down for three days.  “EVERYONE! TWITTER WILL BE SHUT DOWN FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS! RT and SPREAD THE WORD!” reads the cap-locked tweet of doom that, according to industry site The Next Web, has been retweeted more than 100 times as of Monday morning, More than a half dozen of those tweets come from Twitter Bieber fan account @JBieberBoy94.

@JBieberBoy94 hasn’t responded to a query about the repeated tweets that are in turn, being retweeted and perhaps believed by gullible users. One might speculate it’s retaliation against Twitter for changing its algorithm to keep Bieber-related topics from crapping up the trending topics. Perhaps it’s a misguided protest against those wacky 4Chan kids who saw to it that “Justin Bieber Syphillis” made yesterday’s No. 1 search term on Google Trends.

That’s not to imply that some sort of Bieberette-related espionage is behind Twitter’s current issues. The site is keeping the specifics of its current outages close to the vest, but still. This is the same crazed teen army that sent death threats to the guy who built the Firefox add-on that blocks all Web-mentions of Justin Bieber. So you never know. Those kids may not be happy until they crushed the entire Internet under their Candies. 

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints


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