If you happened to have set up a TweetDeck column to filter tweets with the "#Debate" hashtag during any of the recent presidential or vice-presidential debates, you may well have had the same experience I did: the application crashing under the weight of thousands and thousands of posts per second.
With Twitter becoming a bigger and bigger part of mainstream culture, there are an increasing number of big events that generate huge numbers of tweets, and today the microblogging company announced it is attempting to address the dynamic of TweetDeck buckling when those events generate incredible amounts of traffic.
In a blog post this morning, Twitter said:
To enable high-velocity columns to run smoothly [we] developed a method of measuring the number of tweets entering the search column and when a particular threshold was met TweetDeck would start to reduce the "visual weigh" of each tweet as it appeared. For example, removing the animation on each tweet when it first appears and in extreme cases hiding the avatar until the column slows down. We'll dive into more details on the techniques used in a future engineering blog post.
By using these techniques we've been able to improve the performance of TweetDeck to handle ten times the previous speed of update in a column. With the added improvement that, for the first time, multiple high-velocity columns can be added to your TweetDeck.
It remains to be seen if these improvements really will be able to keep up with the biggest events going on in the world today. But if the company is right, this will be a terrific upgrade to an application that until now, has had this one glaring problem. If the change solves that problem, I'm ready for another #Debate.