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7 Reasons That Twitter Should Replace The Fail Whale

Posted on August 6, 2010 in Top Posts | 10 comments

The Fail Whale. Twitter is over capacity. Please wait a moment and try again. For more information, check out Twitter Status »


Tharr she blows!  It’s the Fail Whale.  Don’t panic though, dear reader.  This doesn’t mean that our website is down.  We’re just fed up of the Fail Whale, Twitter’s iconic image which surfaces whenever the social media network isn’t functioning.  Beautiful as it is, we think that it’s time to replace it.  Here are seven reasons why.

1.  It’s Not Fair To Whales. Whales have enough problems without Twitter tainting them with failure by association.  Zeppelins, like Twitter, are cool.  Yet they’re already associated with failure.  What better way to show that the network is down?

The Fail Zeppelin: A more appropriate Twitter screen than the fail whale.


2.  Sometimes It Appears Erroneously. Sometimes the Fail Whale appears once, only to disappear when you refresh the screen.  This means that Twitter isn’t wholly down, it’s just working slowly.  For that eventuality, they require a Fail Snail.

The Fail Snail: A Picture to use when Twitter is functioning slowly


3.  Because Twitter Is Down A Lot. Twitter is a huge success and has grown rapidly.  Yet their servers seem unable to cope.  This constantly frustrates users and, in turn, leads to ill-will towards the network.  If they don’t sort their technical issues out soon, they may find themselves becoming extinct.  The Fail Dodos would remind them of this.

Twitter's Fail Whale being held aloft by a flock of dodos.


4.  It Doesn’t Suggest A Helpful Alternative. The Fail Whale doesn’t really tell you much.  This image though, suggests an alternative and more reliable – though archaic – method of communication to use while twitter is down.  Behold, the Fail Mail.

An alternative method of communication to use when Twitter's Fail Whale appears.


5.  The Image Suggests Functionality. The Fail Whale image shows a whale being held aloft by Twitter’s cute little birds.  Rather than suggesting that Twitter isn’t working, the Fail Whale image suggests that it is.  A far less plausible, and therefore more accurate, image would be the Fail Bird: A large Twitter bird being kept airborne by school of fail whales.

A school of Fail Whales carrying the Twitter's bird aloft


6. Sleep. Because the Fail Whale image is slightly reminiscent of Dali’s Sleep, which is a much more interesting thing to look at.  And it’s important to be stimulated while you’re unable to communicate with people.

Salvador Dali's Sleep, as the Twitter logo.


7.  It Doesn’t Go Far Enough. It’s a pretty picture, but the Fail Whale image doesn’t state what is occurring in clear enough terms.  This is far more descriptive.

Twitter Fail


And yes, we did put most of these images together last night, while Twitter was down.



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  1. I really like the Fail Snail, although I haven’t experienced so many downs recently…maybe they are finally improving.

  2. I also love fail snail, too haven’t experience any system down so far. Nice post and the insights fantastic.

  3. No way, fail whale FTW. It even rhymes. Though fail snail works in that respect too.

  4. Twitter is down way to often now a days and to be quite frankly I am sick of seeing the Fail Whale

  5. I vote for the big FAIL instead of the of the whale, at least it’s more honest…

  6. Moby Dick has got to go! I would rather see Charlie Brown or Rodney Dangerfield hoisted by birds than that great white fail whale.

  7. I have never really started using Twitter also I do have an account and following some of my friends. I haven’t seen the fail whale so far but he looks quite funny.

  8. I can’t help but laugh with each suggestions. I always encounter overcapacity issues in twitter and I cannot log in or open my account at times when I really have to do so. But for me, I still find the “fail whale” the cutest. maybe because i was already used to seeing this one often. ^.^

  9. It breaks my heart to see this post because I am an avid fan of twitter but honestly I wasn’t able help it – I laughed! Among all the ones you have posted here, I would prefer the last one. Let’s just forget about the pitiful animals like the whale. Well, no hard feelings, I am just trying to come up with a more formal suggestion. 🙂

  10. haha, I’d never even thought about this before, but it’s so true… why are the twitter birds helping the whale? They should be failing themselves! Love the fail snail too though

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