Tweeting lightweight models and cost effective scalability

Lightweight models and cost-effective scalability have been in the center of the growth of semantic web applications. As web applications and the services they provide grow, the system that support their functions also need to grow to support more users, process more data, or a mix of both. The definition of the word scalability is derived from such factors where performance is enhanced through improving the application system or the architecture. The software architecture is a key factor in determining lightweight models and cost-effective scalability. Web applications which utilizes this model on scalability would have the capability of implementing and releasing new products to the market more efficiently and cost effectively without sacrificing the future growthTwitter is one of the innovative web applications, which utilizes open source software for its social networking and microblogging services creating a lightweight and a cost-effective scalable architecture.

Currently Twitter accommodates to more than 70 million tweets per day with an estimated 800 tweets per second. Also,  1Tb of data is produced every day with over 150million registered twitter users.  To adopt to such high scalability, Twitter employs innovative open source software such as Ruby, Scala, Cassandra, Hadoop and Pig for stability, identifying programming patterns, developing databases, and to apply mass processing power to twitter datasets. This has allowed twitter to improve response time, reduce latency, reduce mean time to detect and the mean time to recovery. The employed open source software has allow Twitter application to be more light weight and cost-effective with efficient performance.

Furthermore, Twitter follows a unique revenue model with sponsorship advertising. Twitter revamped its advertising products with promoted tweets, promoted trends, and promoted accounts. They have utilized their competitive advantage through publishing promotional content in an innovative manner allowing advertisers to push tweets to users even if those users did not follow the advertisers twitter profile. As shown below Twitter Ad revenues are forecasted to reach $260 million in 2012 and 400 million in 2013, by incorporating multiple revenue streams.

It is important for any web technology to improve its architecture model and scalability to meet the demand and supply. Scaling with demand would allow the application to be cost-effective and increase business value in the market. implementing effective revenue models coupled with  smart strategic decision would improve the overall performance of the web application.


11 comments on “Tweeting lightweight models and cost effective scalability

  1. Hi

    Great post; it’s good to see companies like Twitter who focus on setting one goal, such as twitting , and doing it well instead of trying to achieve too much and making mistakes.
    Feel free to have a read of and comment on my blog posts @ http://nasseralhammad.wordpress.com/


  2. An interesting post, the point that most sparked my interest was the fact that twiter promotes trends and the concept of sponsorship advertisement. However this (in my mind) presents a moral dilema. You said;
    “[twitter] push[es] tweets to users even if those users did not follow the advertisers twitter profile”

    In my eyes it is a technologically advanced cold call, and if it became the norm would begin to erode customer satisfaction with the site. Do you think this type of subtle advertisement is morally and ethically viable even when attempting to maintain cost effective stability?

    • Fair point Connor. But think about it, isn’t every other social netword doing the same in their own way? I’m not trying to justify this type of subtle advertisement. However I think it HAS become a norm since Television started doing advertisement. And I don’t think it has any negative impact on moral/ethical issues as people do find such advertisement useful effective, or even entertaining. Additionally don’t forget about the advancements on Data mining, where promoted advertisements are based on users likes and interests.

      If you use facebook, i’m pretty sure you would have seen advertisements on side bar thats focused on your interests based on social interaction. Do you find such advertisments have reduced your interest to go on facebook? or had it made no effect on your usage of facebook?

  3. Twitter has been critised quite a bit for its slow approach to creating or at least harnessing multiple revenue models–which is a key aspect to the scalabilty side of this pattern.

    Althought they seem to have now, implelemented a good model, do you think that this slow startup (or even lack of revenue planning) has made a huge impact on Twitter as a business?

    I too have done an article on Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability, except I have chosen Facebook as an example. When you get a moment, I’d like to know your thoughts about it 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment carly. Yeah it is true that Twitter was a slow startup considering they didn’t have a clear revenue model. But I think this helped them to establish as a social media giant and identify their key strengths. Now they have clearly established their revenue model creating a huge demand for advertisements and promoted tweets.

  4. Hi Hasitha, informative breakdown on Twitter!

    With the sheer amount of concurrent tweets, it’s a technological marvel that the system can keep up with everything going on. As lightweight as the platform is, I have followed live events before where people were tweeting their responses as the action happened and Twitter has struggled to keep up. I recall one instance when a major announcement was made and the twitter stream for the particular hash tag everyone was following struggled to keep up. The page updated at least twice before I could see my response appear amongst those following along.

    Despite this, Twitter is very good at what it does and does so without pushing annoying advertising banners into my face with a very nice, clean interface. But, I also appreciate the annoying banners at the same time since I’m used to them enough to filter them out when I look at a web page.

    With Twitter’s mobile application being so important, it makes sense that the promoted advertisements are used in order to fit them into the twitter streams much more seamlessly.

    It’s useless to debate whether or not this approach is working for Twitter as the graph you posted shows that it is. However it begs the question – where to now? How can Twitter innovate or improve? They are trying new ways to interest people in following new users/products/organisations etc, but is this the way to go?


    Anthony Smith

    • Thanks for the comment Anthony. Twitter definetly got a better systems architecture and they’ve been consistently updating their architecture to be able to catch up with the demand. I think thats one of the main reasons they didn’t have a clear revenue model until recently as they mainly focused on scaling their architecture to meet the demand.

      I think as with any other scalable business model Twitter will have new and improved ways of creating revnue models. Pushing promoted tweeted itself is an innovative way to reach out to the users, and it has been definitely working as it can be seen with their profit graphs.

  5. As usual great post Hasi. It’s great to see how you pointed out the use of Open software which plays a big role for many web applications that constantly try to minimize overheads.

    As mentioned previously, twitter has been slow in it’s effort to try and harness revenue. However, other sites (like Digg and even FaceBook) had these issues when they first emerged.

    Do you believe that twitter will try to syndicate their business model further?

    • Yeah I think twitter will definetly syndicate their business model to suit the demand, revenue and profits. Unlike facebook, demand and the user base for twitter grew overnight (figuratively). So they needed to focus first on their system compatibility for this demand. But now as we’ve all seen they have focused purely on their revnue models and trying to gain some more momentum from the demand they gained. Depending on the demand in the future, they will definetly cater for innovative ways of promoting tweets and advertising!

      • As which has been mentioned by Colin, they have been very clever in maximising their features through open source software which allows them to have a zero acquisition cost and to allocate those funds in hiring the talent to bring it to a reality.

        The issue with Facebook is that they really do now have to develop their revenue stream as they have reached a peak for their user base of 900million users. It will definitely be interesting to see how it all develops in the near future following the IPO!

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