Twitocalypse just a scare

But, like the so-called Millennium Bug, it turned out to be a non-event and might have been merely a viral marketing stunt.

Y2K occurred when the calendar clicked over from 1999 to 2000. Early computer programmers had left out the “19” part of the year, creating global fears of computer and financial meltdowns.

The Twitocalypse was caused when the number of Tweets reached 2 147 486 471. The number is significant because each Tweet is given a unique identifying number and some applications couldn’t store numbers larger than that.

That two billion-something figure is the largest signed integer that can be represented in 32 bits.

Unsigned integers can go up to 429 4967 295 because the computer doesn’t have to reserve a bit for the sign.

The scare was sparked by the twitpocalypse.com webpage, which had a countdown to when the feared integer would be reached, and was put up by Martin Dufort, chief executive of developer Wherecloud, who told the Los Angeles Times that it was “a viral marketing move”.

Luckily, the whole system didn’t fall over and people could still send and receive messages.

Twitocalypse and Twitter discussion

The Times

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Twitocalypse just a scare