Tips from a Twitter Jail Ex-Con
January 17, 2014
January 17, 2014
Awards show season means many things: Hollywood gossip. Armchair fashion criticism. And live-tweeting.
According to Twitter, there were 2.1 million tweets sent relevant to the 2014 Golden Globes official telecast, making it the most talked-about show of the week. That doesn't include tweets sent during the two hours of red carpet coverage available on cable channels.
I was one of the millions of people who turned on their TV and started live-tweeting about the show—until I found myself in Twitter Jail.
Urban Dictionary defines Twitter Jail as:
Twitter Jail is no tweeting if you've reached the limit of 100 tweets per hour/1000 per day.
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.
“Twitter Jail” isn't a sanctioned Twitter term, but a search turns up this helpful official guide. The network says the limits are necessary to “reduce downtime and error pages.” The error message returned by Twitter has the same vague “try again in a few hours” language, which isn't helpful.
I've seen a few other users get tossed into Twitter jail when they've been engaging for a strategic purpose. For instance, Boston Globe reporter Wesley Lowery got thrown in Twitter Jail when thanking followers for their well-wishes on his new job at the Washington Post. What if Lowery had been live-tweeting a breaking news situation for the Globe?
Obviously, being shut off on a personal account when engaging for fun isn't the end of the world. But what if you've been assigned to live-tweet during a conference or event for your organization? Here are some tips from a Twitter Jail ex-con:
1. You can retweet (maybe)
During the half hour I was unable to post, I was able to retweet other users on Twitter's website. Twitter says that’s not possible, but I was able to still use the service in a limited capacity.
2. Let people know why you've gone silent
I was sharing a couch with a social media savvy individual, who managed to send a tweet explaining my absence and starting a hashtag to bring me back. I don't know if the testimony reduced my sentence, but it probably didn't hurt.
3. There's no way to ask for parole.
Flooding your feed with updates because you're witnessing breaking news? Or getting amazing traction on a piece of content and want to thank people for sharing and find yourself shut off? There's no mechanism for making your case to be let out before your time has been served. Come on, Twitter—help us out!
4. Avoid the slammer altogether
When live-tweeting from any event, make sure you're sharing truly insightful content. Retweet strategically. Has everyone else seen what you’re about to share? Hold off and offer a new perspective later. It makes your content stronger, and may keep you out of the Twitter slammer.