What if the real-time Internet gets stuck? That seems to be what happened for several hours today with Twitter, as a large number of users reported that their timelines were not updating. The problems appeared to clear up around 3 pm Eastern time, when updates returned to a more normal pattern.
Twitter acknowledged the unusual problems. "Timelines remain stale for users," the service reported on its status page. "We are deploying fixes to address the problem." During the episode, users were able to tweet, and some of those messages appeared on Twitter search and third-party services like FriendFeed, according to TechCrunch.
Who cares if a few million Tweets get stuck in the space/time continuum? As we've previously noted, Twitter has become an important secondary support channel for many hosting and data center providers. As such, the service's continued reliability problems have business implications.