Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter Lag Disrupts Virtual Conference Attendance

I spent a good chunk of today 'attending' the Computers in Libraries conference by keeping up with the  #cil2009 infostream while listening to  TWiT live via ustream. Around 1:40p (in the east)  I saw someone in TWiT chat screen a mention that they just felt an earthquake in San Francisco. 

Indicative of how my information seeking behavior has changed, the first thing I did was perform a Twitter Search. Within 20 seconds of my initial search, which had hundreds of results, over 1500 additional results were available. The number of updates increased rapidly

Around and hour later the infostream from Computers in Libraries virtually stopped. There was initially a 21-minute update gap between 2:46p and 3:07p . I thought maybe it was time for a coffee break at the conference. Eventually, Twitter began to back fill those posts with a delay of 15-minutes. By 4:15p the delay dropped to around 5-minutes.  A similar delay was occurring with the #earthquake posts.  Until I hear another explanation, I will attribute the delay on the increased number of updates about the earthquake putting a heavy load on the system. 

It also highlights the reality that we need to be careful about the increased reliance on this single system.  A 10-minute update delay in my virtual conference attendance is nothing when compared to the potentially devastating effect of such a system overload if relied upon for real time communication of emergency situations. 
Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

laura said...

That's fascinating--we were joking just the other night about a Twitter 911 service. Probably not such a hot idea.