Oh no! Twitter has been down intermittently for an hour or so, leaving the world totally unaware of the current level of Justin Bieber fandom. Why is the incredibly popular social networking site still experiencing outages like this?

Longtime Twitter users are intimately familiar with the "fail whale," the twee cartoon that indicates Twitter downtime. It's been infrequently sighted for the last few months—until the last couple days, when the service experienced a bunch of outages in a row. Twitter is a huge success story at this point (well, from the point of view of users and influence—it's not exactly the most profitable company in San Francisco), and it's growing larger at a fast pace. It really shouldn't be going down like this anymore. So what's the deal?

One possibility that's been suggested is that the World Cup—and the high volume of Tweets associated with a huge global event like it—is contributing to already-existent network problems, causing the frequent outages.

Then again, it could just be general stupidity. According to Twitter, tonight's downtime came thanks to the "failed enhancement of a new approach to timeline caching." They're working on fixing it now—until then, feel free to use the comments section here to let people know how hungry you are, or whatever the hell it is Twitter is for.

Update: And we're back! "Users may temporarily experience missing tweets from their timelines." So that's, you know, reassuring.