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The fail whale is a graphic that appears when the social networking website Twitter.com is experiencing technical difficulties. The image is of a whale being lifted by 8 orange birds and was created by Yiying Lu.
The fail whale has become somewhat of an Internet meme in itself and is imitated both on and off the Web. In the early days, Twitter got so popular, so fast, that seeing the fail whale was a common occurence. The success of Twitter, in despite of its technical snafus, is part of the popularity of the fail whale.