Of course, you would be hard pressed to find a more newsworthy event considering the times (although I must admit that it was my wife’s birthday and I didn’t have a clue that this was happening…. Did I miss anything?) and the networks decided to put their best foot forward so their viewers / consumers could get the most out of this. ABCNews in fact promoted the heck out of their Twitter stream that they would run during the speech calling it a Twitter – anza (huh?) and really trying to get the Internet masses to join them online to monitor this happening.
Instead of Twittermania, however, the deal pretty much tanked. As the folks at ReadWriteWeb put it
Unfortunately for them, the much ballyhooed Twitter stream choked, got stuck, and then failed miserably in the midst of a major broadcast, forcing ABC to pull it from the site.
Oh well, looks like prior planning can prevent poor performance if that planning actually takes place. This trouble had nothing to do with Twitter but rather the service used by ABC to pull this off called SocialSite which is in private alpha. Seems that the folks over at ABC are risk takers for sure since the words private alpha don’t usually imply that something is literally ready for prime time.
The whole incident was summed up well in the message that the online users received about the server meltdown and its location at ‘justworkplease.handbrewed.com’. Nothing like programmers pleading with a server via a subdomain name to instill confidence that success was imminent. In ABC’s defense, the service worked during the inauguration but maybe there were actually a few people working during the day in January vs. many folks being home or wrapping up their workday yesterday when this speech took place.
The saving grace for all parties is that most will be forgiving after their initial disappointment. Technology is moving so fast that sometimes it’s just not going to work. The only thing that might be prudent for the big guys like ABC is to let the little guys make these mistakes first THEN use it to full advantage.