Maybe Twitter would indeed be better off using a smaller number of more beefy servers. But at the software level, I wonder if the architecture would be very different.
Suppose you implemented something like Twitter as a single large application, running in a single process. Maybe run the RDBMS in its own process. The app server stores a lot of stuff in its own in-process memory, instead of using Redis or the like. Now, what happens when you have to deploy a new version of the code? If I'm not mistaken, the app would immediately lose everything it had stored in memory for super-fast access. Whereas if you use Redis, all that data is still in RAM, where it can be accessed just as fast as before the app was restarted.