That person would be Yiying Lu – the illustrator of the infamous Fail Whale that shows up when Twitter gets moody. Like any good entrepreneur would, Yiying has developed a little cottage industry around the Fail Whale with official merchandise, even parties. With every Twitter failure, a little more exposure is sent Yiying’s way.
What’s happening with Yiying and the Fail Whale (should that be capitalized?) supports Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame creedo. But the most unique thing about the Fail Whale is how the Twitter world has turned it into an icon that is put on a pedestal. Let’s face it – the Fail Whale is the most successful 404 error page in the history of the internet. Most 404 error pages are met with thoughts of “stupid web site” from surfers on the web. The Fail Whale is often met with a heavy sigh, then a thought of “C’mon Twitter – get it together. I’m rootin’ for you.” How many other 404 error pages have ever done that?