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What Is Twitter Jail?

Recently, a few people approached me on Twitter, asking what the mysterious Twitter Jail is.

So yes, you have heard correctly, Twitter can actually put you into figurative jail and you have to take a break before you can take up your Tweeting habits again.

The best explanation I found was from the Urban Dictionary, putting it this way:

Twitter Jail Means No Tweeting If You’ve Reached The Limit Of 100 Tweets Per Hour Or 1000 per day.

This explains it most succinctly and I hope it helps you to stay out of this dangerous situation. The explanation from the site goes on to further explain:

You can access your page, you may not post publicly for a specific period of time. Anything from half an hour to a few hours.

So if you ever find yourself in Twitter Jail, don’t worry, it will only last a few hours before you can Tweet normally again.

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Why Is It Possible That You End Up In Twitter Jail?

When I first heard about the term I and most likely many others have asked themselves, how is it ever going to be possible to end up in Twitter Jail. No one can Tweet 100 messages in an hour or post 1000 Tweets per day.

Here are a few situation where it is usually very easy to end up being shut down by Twitter for a limited timespan:

  • There is a breaking news event, like recently an earthquake, Bin Laden’s death or the Emmy awards that triggers people to Tweet in a mad and furious manner.
  • Twitter Chats are another occasion, where it is very easy to Tweet more frequently than usual. In these 1 hour online events I even got close to the 100 Tweet limit myself once.
  • Offline conferences or events that you attend are naturally another source where it can happen very easily that you cross the Twitter API limit for your account.

In general the exact timeframe you have to spend in Twitter Jail isn’t quite clear actually, yet the half hour to a few hours seems to be an accurate measure so far.

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Why Has Twitter Introduced Twitter Jail?

Of course, the key reason that Twitter introduces this API limit is to firstly not put too much load on their servers. Additionally, it is a great way to fight spammers and eventually suspend them, as they are more prone to cross the limits.

What is your experience with Twitter Jail? Have you ever ended up there or are you naturally a good Twitter citizen?

P.S.: As a rather odd end note, I believe that Twitter Jail is actually a really funny word, that reminds me of Monopoly Jail more than anything else.

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