Hi Developers,

It's no secret that Twitter is growing exponentially. The tweets keep coming
with ever increasing velocity, thanks in large part to your great
applications.

Twitter has adapted to the increasing number of tweets in ways that have
affected you in the past: We moved from 32 bit unsigned integers to 64-bit
unsigned integers for status IDs some time ago. You all weathered that storm
with ease. The tweetapoclypse was averted, and the tweets kept flowing.

Now we're reaching the scalability limit of our current tweet ID generation
scheme. Unlike the previous tweet ID migrations, the solution to the current
issue is significantly different. However, in most cases the new approach we
will take will not result in any noticeable differences to you the developer
or your users.

We are planning to replace our current sequential tweet ID generation
routine with a simple, more scalable solution. IDs will still be 64-bit
unsigned integers. However, this new solution is no longer guaranteed to
generate sequential IDs.  Instead IDs will be derived based on time: the
most significant bits being sourced from a timestamp and the least
significant bits will be effectively random.

Please don't depend on the exact format of the ID. As our infrastructure
needs evolve, we might need to tweak the generation algorithm again.

If you've been trying to divine meaning from status IDs aside from their
role as a primary key, you won't be able to anymore. Likewise for usage of
IDs in mathematical operations -- for instance, subtracting two status IDs
to determine the number of tweets in between will no longer be possible.

For the majority of applications we think this scheme switch will be a
non-event. Before implementing these changes, we'd like to know if your
applications currently depend on the sequential nature of IDs. Do you depend
on the density of the tweet sequence being constant?  Are you trying to
analyze the IDs as anything other than opaque, ordered identifiers? Aside
for guaranteed sequential tweet ID ordering, what APIs can we provide you to
accomplish your goals?

Taylor Singletary
Developer Advocate, Twitter
http://twitter.com/episod

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