Stephen Fry - "I can take sites down with a single tweet"

Stephen Fry has revealed in an interview with .net magazine how he can take down sites by tweeting a link, as thousands of his 1.3 million followers follow the link and overload the servers, Neowin has learnt via TechRadar.

"When I tweet a link it usually gets around two or three thousand requests a second. Especially if I word it in a way where I really want people to go to a site," he said in the interview.

Fry went on to explain how he warns site owners prior to linking them so as to try and avoid taking their websites down. "I just have to be very specific, and say: 'Please go to your web guys and your host and tell them this is the kind of traffic you could get.

"Fifty per cent of the time the site is down in seconds – even when we've contacted site owners and they've told us everything will be fine. It's often an unprecedented amount of traffic, and they don't have the required capacity."

A huge fan of Twitter, Stephen Fry also talked about how people are only just beginning to realise the potential of the service as a way to not only advertise but as a way to campaign.

"Twitter's astonishingly new still, and its power is only just beginning to be discovered. Not just power to advertise, but power to campaign, power to – perhaps – change politics: not necessarily in a good way, not necessarily in a bad way. But it's power nevertheless.

"Wherever a lot of people are assembled, and are exchanging ideas quickly, there is always power. And people are only just beginning to learn how to use the API to its fullest potential."

You can watch the full interview on the .net magazine website at http://www.netmag.co.uk/fry/

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85 Comments

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grewnd33 said,
Just because you have the power do something does not mean you should.
"Fry went on to explain how he warns site owners prior to linking them so as to try and avoid taking their websites down."

I lost a lot of respect for Stephen Fry when he started talking about how magical the iPad was, locked inside that conference centre he completely misjudged how people would react out in the real world.

You loose respect for someone just because they've said they like a particular gadget. I think that says more about you...

Edited by bobbba, Mar 3 2010, 4:09pm :

He's always loved Apple products, but the iPad was widely regarded as one of their most disappointing announcements for years. I just would've hoped someone as intelligent as him would have the sense not to be a fanboy, that's all.

JamesWeb said,
He's always loved Apple products, but the iPad was widely regarded as one of their most disappointing announcements for years. I just would've hoped someone as intelligent as him would have the sense not to be a fanboy, that's all.

or he could just genuinly like the thing? There are a bunch of non-apple fanboys that are intrigued by the idea because it's novel and interesting... not one of them myself, but I can recognize that something has merit to specific people without thinking they're stupid fanboys or something.

AgentGray said,

or he could just genuinly like the thing? There are a bunch of non-apple fanboys that are intrigued by the idea because it's novel and interesting... not one of them myself, but I can recognize that something has merit to specific people without thinking they're stupid fanboys or something.

There's nothing particularly novel about it. The Tablet PC has been around and in use for years. The only difference is that this incarnation is the cumbersome edition of the iPhone.

JamesWeb said,
I lost a lot of respect for Stephen Fry when he started talking about how magical the iPad was, locked inside that conference centre he completely misjudged how people would react out in the real world.

Oh come on. Stephen Fry is the biggest Apple fanboy on the planet. He has admitted as much on multiple occasions. Either you live with that and like him regardless, or you stop liking him just because he likes something you don't, which as other people have said doesn't make any sense. It just makes you seem like a very shallow person.

If there are that many people glued to their computers ready to pounce on a link this guy posts via Twitter, I think that says more about these people than the web servers.

Glen said,
If there are that many people glued to their computers ready to pounce on a link this guy posts via Twitter, I think that says more about these people than the web servers.

I'm guessing they are not constantly looking at what he is up to, maybe some crazy method of notification of even mobile checking has been invented.

lt8480 said,

I'm guessing they are not constantly looking at what he is up to, maybe some crazy method of notification of even mobile checking has been invented.


Haha, imagine that! Being able to be away from your computer and still be notified of something that happens online! Amazing!!! LOL

Oh yeah? Well, when I fart, I can take down an entire conference room full of developers. Suck it, Stephen Fry.

Skwerl said,
Oh yeah? Well, when I fart, I can take down an entire conference room full of developers. Suck it, Stephen Fry.
Now that right there is power to fear! Wield it with respect for you may end up with a streak.

Edited by zeke009, Mar 3 2010, 2:35pm :

I love articles that do not explain who they are talking about in the article like most people do.

Who the hell is Stephen Fry?

necrosis said,
I love articles that do not explain who they are talking about in the article like most people do.

Who the hell is Stephen Fry?

I posted this above, but it bears repeating:

Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

but here's the Wikipedia article on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Fry

roadwarrior said,
Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!
Neowin has always had a bit of a UK bias. To us, it's very unusual to not know of Stephen Fry. In any case, Wikipedia links are good, and def recommend for people to watch some of his stuff.

(For example, why should UK users know of Jay Leno? We have little to no contact with him, yet it's expected to know who he is. We do, just because of the dominance of US news.)

Kirkburn said,
Neowin has always had a bit of a UK bias. To us, it's very unusual to not know of Stephen Fry. In any case, Wikipedia links are good, and def recommend for people to watch some of his stuff.

(For example, why should UK users know of Jay Leno? We have little to no contact with him, yet it's expected to know who he is. We do, just because of the dominance of US news.)

This American is jealous of those in the UK who DON'T know who Jay Leno is!

roadwarrior said,

I posted this above, but it bears repeating:

Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

but here's the Wikipedia article on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Fry

Makes a change! Most tech sites forget there is a world outside the US. **** off.

necrosis said,
Who the hell is Stephen Fry?

Google. Bing. Wikipedia. Yahoo. Hell, even Hotbot for God's sake. Use one of them and stop spamming.

roadwarrior said,

I posted this above, but it bears repeating:


Yeah, seriously, look at a map. You might find that the US does not take up the majority of it. F*** off and stop spreading your anti-anythingbutamerica bullcrap. Just because you are uneducated enough to not know who Stephen Fry is, does not mean everyone else is the same - but those that are should at least be able to accept that the US is not the centre of the universe.

RangerLG said,

In his own mind.

Says you, who will be but an afterthought the minute you die. Achieve some level of notoriety that doesn't involve posting on an internet forum and maybe your critique will count for something.

Cat Fluid said,

Says you, who will be but an afterthought the minute you die. Achieve some level of notoriety that doesn't involve posting on an internet forum and maybe your critique will count for something.


Well said.

Rudy said,
Never heard of the guy...

+1
Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

roadwarrior said,

+1
Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

Most of them know what twitter is and what taking a web site down means...

roadwarrior said,

+1
Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

He's that guy in A Bit of Fry and Laurie with Hugh Laurie

Edited by spy beef, Mar 3 2010, 3:10pm :

s3n4te said,

He's that guy in A Bit of Fry and Laurie with Hugh Laurie

What's "A Bit of Fry and Laurie"? Never heard of that either. Looking it up, it seems it's a UK television show that hasn't aired in 15 years, and only had 26 episodes in the first place.

Expecting someone outside the UK to know about that show is sort of like asking someone outside the US to know about Bosom Buddies (one of Tom Hanks' early TV shows). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosom_Buddies

roadwarrior said,

What's "A Bit of Fry and Laurie"? Never heard of that either. Looking it up, it seems it's a UK television show that hasn't aired in 15 years, and only had 26 episodes in the first place.

Expecting someone outside the UK to know about that show is sort of like asking someone outside the US to know about Bosom Buddies (one of Tom Hanks' early TV shows). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosom_Buddies

I don't live in the UK and I know who Stephen Fry is, I've seen him in 'A bit of Fry and Laurie', 'Blackadder', 'Kingdom' and 'Bones' and thats just TV, He narrated the 2005 Hitchhiker's guide movie, he was in V for Vendetta and he voices the Cheshire Cat in the upcoming Alice in Wonderland. One that some people on here might be more familiar with is that he narrated LittleBigPlanet on PS3 and PSP.

Just because he is British doesn't mean the rest of the world hasn't heard of him.

And for the record, I have heard of Bosom Buddies as well.

Edited by lexa000, Mar 3 2010, 9:54pm : Fixing Typos

roadwarrior said,

+1
Neowin seems to be getting more and more UK-centric in its reporting. Hey Neowin, here's a hint: most of the world (that is, the 99% of the world who don't live in the UK)do not know who Stephen Fry is!

...Here's a hint, not everyone in the World looks at Neowin. I'd guess America and the UK account for most of Neowins traffic, and Stephen Fry is definitely known in the US.

99% of the world don't know who Steve Ballmer is too... but some news is appropriate for Neowin. Steven Fry is renowned for twittering... this is related to tech, but is it front page News? - maybe questionable in is its "news worthy", but not questionable because people don't know who he is.

In fact getting a little too analytical, the only time you could state something was not news worthy on the grounds on who they were and who said it would be if you knew who they were and knew it was therefore nonsense to be reporting about it.

Windows7even said,
whats the big deal...kayne can take the entire twitter network down with one dis at taylor swift..pfffffttt

Who's kayne?

Thou shalt not judge a book by its cover, thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover, thou shalt not buy Coca Cola products, thou shalt not buy Nestle products.

Stephen Fry is a legend! One of the only people actually worth having a Twitter account for. Interesting read for sure.

tiagosilva29 said,
"WATCH STEPHEN FRY NOW
INSTALL SILVERLIGHT"

No.

Meh, it's better performing than Flash even on a Mac. Yeah, seriously.

tiagosilva29 said,
Get me the interview on Theora and I will. I'm not going to install Moonlight.

Yeah, your loss. Do you think anyone could give a f*** to give you the interview on Theora?

Moonlight? What were you trying to do there?

Not only are you missing out on Stephen Fry's interview, you are also missing out on the benefits of Silverlight and should educate yourself some more.

Mikeyx11 said,
Moonlight? What were you trying to do there?

Installing Silverlight on GNU/Linux.

Edited by tiagosilva29, Mar 9 2010, 10:28am :

I don't use twitter but if i was following someone and suddenly noticed they were just advertising i would stop immediately.

Federation said,
I don't use twitter but if i was following someone and suddenly noticed they were just advertising i would stop immediately.

There more like reccomendations not advertisements.

Digital Tonic said,

There more like reccomendations not advertisements.

A few of the people I follow I follow specifically for advertisements... places like Dell and even Pizza Hut and Dominoes... all put stupidly good sales on their twitters because the sales they generate with them would normally cost them thousands of dollars in advertisement costs.

As for Fry, he doesn't seem to advertise so much as share stuff he likes and wants to get attention... or things he has a vested interest in sharing/getting out.

Purify said,
I don't use twitter but if i was following someone and suddenly noticed they were just advertising i would stop immediately.

Even worse, when you haven't done anything, suddenly I'd see "<Obscure Company> is following you."

I don't want to be associated with them in any way! That is the WRONG way to use twitter.
Thankfully, that's stopped now. Don't know why... maybe joining the "private" list for a while did it.

Purify said,
I don't use twitter but if i was following someone and suddenly noticed they were just advertising i would stop immediately.

What does advertising have to do with interesting sites that Stephen Fry links to?

This does not surprise me as most server/net admins can be smug and think that "anything you can throw at it" will be just fine since they are such "server masters."

Either way that is an interesting read.

Although to be fair can you necessarily expect a lot of them to be able to do a huge amount anyway, at least in a limited time frame. The admin probably wouldnt get the resources needed even if they wanted them.

noroom said,
I guess you could say...
Those sites... Got fried.
*Puts on sunglasses*
YEAHHHH!

i see what you did there. nice job