Dead Tweet

I’m sure we have some tweeters out there, so for those of you are enjoy using Twitter, beware of the approaching Twitpocalpyse! In fact, you can follow its pending doom by going to the official count down to the Twitpocalpyse. What is the Twitpocalpyse you ask? Well, you can file this under D for duh, or S for stupid, either way welcome to Y2K the sequel, or maybe Y2K squared, that kind of has a ring to it. Apparently when Twitter wrote their API, which allows 3rd parties like Tweetdeck, etc. to interface with the data from Twitter, they apparently used these strange numeric identifiers to tag each tweet that is sent out. According to the programmers at Twitter when they did so, the number 2,147,483,647 is the magic unique identifier, and when that number is hit the identifiers will start turning negative (or counting backwards) and no one has any idea what will happen when this occurs. According to Twitter:

The overflow of the 32-bit signed integer value for status ids (a.k.a “The Twitpocalypse” [1]) is fast approaching. The current estimate is around tomorrow at around 11am GMT, or 3:00am Pacific time in the case of Twitter. There is some discussion internally about accelerating things so we’ll be in the office and able to cope. Nobody is their freshest at 3:00am, not to mention it would be nice to not have apps broken throughout the weekend if one-person developer teams don’t notice. No decision has been made yet but I wanted to get something out to you all so you know what’s going on in the event we decide to do this.

Many think that the apps that we all use and love, which take advantage of Twitter API are going to crash, which of course will signal the end of the world, cats and dogs living in the streets, streams crossing and all that jazz. Personally, I’m already stocking up on canned goods and pokemon cards, which I think will become the new currency in our post Twitter apocalypse.

This is a seriously stupid thing on Twitters part. Why program this as part of your API, did we learn nothing from Y2K? Also, why wait until the day before the implosion of one of the most popular web pages on the Internet to make us all aware of this? It seems like a poor way to manage a growing community. I don’t think that they anticipated the explosion of growth they have had and didn’t think this would be a problem, or at the most they could deal with it later. I for one welcome our fail whale overlords and the dawn of the post-Twitter world.

Also, I’m guessing they fix this before Twitter explodes, but we’ll see.