The recently ended football World Cup showed that when it comes to social networks, the infrastructure is quite important. While Facebook reached five hundred million users, twitter was avalanched with problems such as lockouts and shutdowns. It is worth noting that since the content on social network is a complex of many aspects, changes, and constant growth, the effects of this should be planned ahead.
The example of Facebook
One of the biggest social networks announced 500 million users. Other impressive numbers include 100 billion daily hits, 50 billion photos, 2 trillion cashed objects and 130 terabytes of daily logs. This has become possible, thanks to a flexible and capable team geared to resolve problems quickly and a sturdy infrastructure to withstand the scale of information load.
Google uses its infrastructure to provide faster search results and be first among the search engines. In the same way, Facebook has created an architecture, which has a response time of 1.4 seconds, nearly one fourth the time it takes to reach Twitter, which recently has become the worst of all social networks in terms of performance. These social networking sites surely changed the way people use and see the Internet.
The importance of infrastructure
Everyday, millions of people have thoughts, experiences, photos, or news to share and millions more to share them with. Every new user brings more of the one or the other. The amount of traffic generated by the growing number of users must therefore be matched by the networking site. As the example of Facebook shows, it's never too early to stop and think about the scale of this daily current and how to prevent it from overflowing and blocking or destroying the systems.
The World Cup as a Social Event
The World Cup was an important event worldwide and the Internet, of course, wouldn't miss to reflect it. Some sites however, such as Twitter, were not prepared to receive the volumes of traffic generated by it. There were some lags and even breakdown in the service. The bad example is still an example, however. It showed that in real time information a user has only a limited amount of patience to wait for loading websites, which should prepare according to this demand.
Having a non-scalable infrastructure and unreliable services do not only damage the reputation it could also lead to loss of interest and momentum. Such was the case of Friendster, whose poky infrastructure brought it down. Founded in 2002 as means to contact others and share content online, Friendster now has most of its traffic coming from Asian countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea. It also sold all of its patents to Facebook for forty million dollars.
In a nutshell, if a social network wants to be on top of the game and rival giants like Facebook or Twitter, it should invest in steady infrastructure and flexible scale, ready to face the surprises of the next day, plus a capable operations and management team.