Twitter jail is a mysterious place where you can be cast away by Twitter if you’ve been a bad tweeter and need punishment. Twitter does have this and can put you there — not physically, but your account is disabled from tweeting. Technically, I guess it’s your account that goes to Twitter jail, but the effect is basically the same.
It’s simple, really. To deal with some of the spam problems that plague the service, Twitter has introduced limits on how much and how often you can tweet. Its current limits are 100 tweets per hour, or 1000 tweets per day. The first limit seems ridiculous, but some Twitter accounts have been known to produce that many tweets. Usually, these are spam accounts that randomly @mention people on Twitter with spam links. Being sent to Twitter jail just means that someone who reaches the imposed limits can’t tweet until the limits reset themselves.
You can fully access your page, see everything, and change settings, but cannot post publicly until the limit is reset. There have been reports that the limit can reset itself before the hour time limit is up, so it’s a bit tempermental.
When first hearing these limits, it seems impossible that anyone could tweet 100 times in an hour or 1000 times in a day. But there are surprisingly many situations where this limit can be approached without the user even knowing.
It’s obvious for the first situation that a breaking news event like an earthquake, a famous person’s death, or the Emmy awards can set off a ticking time bomb that makes Twitter users tweet furiously.
Twitter chats can spontaneously erupt on occasion, and they can sometimes get heated enough to generate enough tweets to approach the limit more quickly than a user might realize.
Offline conferences are another way to reach a limit in a hurry. Things are constantly happening, and it’s tempting to trumpet to the world every little tidbit of exclusive information that’s reaching you in real time. You can really lose yourself!
It’s not certain how long you can stay in Twitter jail, but you must know that if you frequent it, you might find your account suspended for overtweeting.
Twitter’s limit is really for the benefit of its poor, overworked servers and not you; the company couldn’t care less what you tweet about (as long as it’s legitimate and not spam). But as far as spam goes, Twitter jail is one way to keep its traffic in check and protect its users.
Enjoy your tweetings; if you’ve ever gone over Twitter’s limit and wound up in Twitter jail, let us know and your experiences about it.