How Twitter's back-end stays up


I read this headline as the beginning of a joke and the punchline involved yoga pants.


He’s one of those people (often in tech) who like to semi-randomly start sentences with “So”. I have a friend who does this. Never understood where that comes from, or why it’s particularly prevalent in that field.

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I thought it might be somehow related to the Soul Train post. Back that end up!

I was all ready for reading about suspenders and gluteoplasty.

It’s shorthand for data that the speaker assumes everyone knows about, doesn’t care about, or won’t understand.

You could say “Alice did X, I did Y, then Bob did Z to fix a mistake I made when doing Y. Because we did those things, we can now keep the system up constantly and not have to bring it down for patches.”

X, Y, and Z are likely things your peers know already and would be bored with you repeating them. The general public and your boss either will understand what you’re saying and won’t care or won’t understand and want it simplified. Then you have to figure out a way of explaining something complicated in a way that they can get at which point they realize they don’t care anyway or still don’t understand and just want to know the end result.

Go through that enough times and you might start skipping over the explanation and just give the end result.


Twitter, how you do it, how you keep that site up?
You’se a fine microblogger, won’t you keep that site up?
Pushing code is pretty dangerous to keep that site up.
Twitter uses Decider to keep that site up.

In other news, I can’t get this out of my head now.


So, i’m an engineer and i endorse the above message.

“So”, in this context, is equivalent to “Uhm” or “Like” or a dozen other null noises people use when they’re nervous. Trying to analyze my own use of one of these (I won’t say which), it seems to actually be a mechanism to make sure I’m actually producing voice at appropriate volume level before I start modulating it. I couldn’t tell you why I feel I need that in some situations, but apparently I do.

So (and here I used the word more appropriately), I’d say that the real problem here is that the transcriptionist should have edited out the leading “So”, just as they would “Uhm”, but chose not to

As verbal ticks go, this is a minor one. Worked with someone who had one that ran about 10 seconds, and was repeated every few minutes. We quickly learned to either ignore it, or to make internal bets about how many times it would come out in any given presentation…

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The transcription IS painfully direct, to the point that it’s hard to read. I suppose there’s the (reasonable?) fear that any edits will be percieved as changing meaning, but really… it’s OK to edit for readability.

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