WHAT: Twitter jail is when you can’t tweet any more because Twitter has temporarily shut you down. You might get a message “Requests exceeded” or you just might not be able to tweet. Twitter jail can last anywhere from an hour to 24 hours depending on the circumstances.
WHY: Twitter has Twitter Jail to keep any given person from using too much of its resources. To the good, this helps keep spammers in line a bit. To the bad, it’s a nuisance, and a particular nuisance at #pawpawty where we chat more.
HOW: How does it happen?
Twitter has limits and you can make too many updates (ie “API calls”, or “requests”) of Twitter. Simply put, that’s where you use your Twitter software or website to ask for too much from twitter.
These are Twitter’s limits as of today:
- 1000 total updates a day, on any and all all devices (web, phone, Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Tweetgrid, etc.)
- 250 total direct messages a day
- 150 API requests per hour (ie, “updates”)
Incoming updates are where you get new tweets that others have tweeted. Outgoing requests are tweets, @replies and DMs. Both incoming and outgoing requests count towards your total updates per hour and per day. Whenever your software collects new incoming tweets of any kind, that is one update. For example, when Tweetdeck gets the incoming tweets from your followers, that is an update. Whenever you send a tweet or DM, that is one request. Even if you send the tweet from Twitpic or your phone or Blip.fm it is one update, and if you get a DM sent to your cell phone it is one update. So you can see that it adds up pretty quickly, especially during a pawpawty.
Some tricks to deal with Twitter jail are:
- Stay out of jail
- Use the Twitter.com website. It’s least likely to get you in jail because you’re only looking at once page (aka stream) of requests at a time.
- Use Tweetgrid for pawpawty instead of Tweetdeck or other third party software and turn the third party software off.
- Turn Tweetdeck or other software off when you are not actively tweeting with it.
- Only run one device or software with Twitter at a time or you could be making double updates that would rack up your updates per hour very fast.
- If you use Tweetdeck, turn off the DM column and just check the DM page on twitter occasionally.
- Ignore jail
- Make yourself a secondary twitter account to use when you are in Twitter jail with your main account. Twitter allows multiple accounts as long as you follow their terms and don’t spam and such. If you set up your secondary twitter account early, you can just hop over there if you find yourself in jail during a pawpawty or conversation.