Twitter Jail is a familiar experience for many role players although few “real life” tweeps even know it exists unless they become a trending topic or are spammers. Users end up in Twitter Jail when they tweet to excess. In fact, many people are unaware that there are any limits on tweeting at all.
What is excessive tweeting? Well, it seems sort of relative because Twitter hasn’t really defined or put a hard number to how many tweets is too many in an hour or less. It’s possible to infer how much is too much in a 60 minute time span by looking at some of the limits Twitter does set and publicize. As of 30 July 2013, the current Twitter technical limits we know about are:
- 250 direct messages (DMs) per day
- 1,000 tweets per day
- 4 changes to the account email per day
In addition to these limits, Twitter limits the number of people an account can follow in several ways. The daily limit on the number of people any account can follow is 1,000 however your account has to be brand new or very popular for that limit to come into play because unless your account has more than 2,000 followers itself, you won’t be able to follow more than 2,000 people either. Once you’ve topped 2,000 followers (and there are RP characters and accounts that do have more than 2,000 followers some even have tens of thousands of followers) the limit on the number of people you can follow is 2,000 plus 10 percent of your total number of followers. Some users also report that there may be a limit on how fast you can follow people.
What all this means is that role players can land in Twitter Jail for tweeting too much, sending too many DMs or following too many people. When you hit any of these limits you will discover you cannot tweet, send DMs or follow anyone for a period of time. Fortunately, you can do other things as long as you haven’t hit multiple limits. For instance, if you can’t tweet you may still be able to follow people or send DMs and if you can’t send a DM you may still be able to tweet or follow people). Unfortunately Twitter doesn’t always tell you when you’ve hit a limit or which limit you hit making it hard to know what you can and can’t do. The good news is they are getting better at notifying users about what’s going on. If you are using a service like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or UberSoc it may also be difficult to determine if you are Jailed or if there is a problem with the service or Twitter.
Problems with notifications as well as crashes and overloads that commonly interrupted role play on Twitter in the past led many long time RPers to create “jailed accounts”. The accounts allowed us to at least attempt to continue playing and interacting when we encountered problems on primary accounts. You still see these accounts every once in a while, the usernames typically use include “Jail” or “Jailed” and the bios frequently stated “jailed account of [Username]”. You may also see “Can you see me?” or “Am I out of jail yet?” tweets on the timeline from people testing to see if their tweets are going through yet.
The good news is landing in Twitter Jail does not mean your account has been banned, restricted or deleted from Twitter. Service has simply been temporarily interrupted and will be restored soon. No action is required on your part. It may even be best it you don’t do anything for a few minutes. Take a break from the computer or whatever device you are tweeting from. When you return, everything should be right with your virtual world once more.