(CNN) — David Bill isn’t annoyed when Twitter gets so bogged down with traffic that he can’t post a message.
Twitter’s “fail whale,” which appears when the site is overrun, is so popular it’s on T-shirts and even tattoos.
That’s because in the moment when frustration would hit, he’s greeted on the popular Web site by a cartoonish image he loves: a giant whale being lifted out of an ocean by a small flock of tweeting birds.
The icon — which Twitter users call it the “fail whale” because the creature appears only when the site has failed to load — has gained a cult following as the social media site grows at breakneck pace.
The conversational Web site, which lets users post 140-character microblogs, saw a 1,374 percent jump in unique visitors between February 2008 and February this year, up to 7 million from only 475,000, according to Nielsen NetView.