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Possibly the longest tweet in world history: 255, no, 517, no, 532 characters (without API!)

16. Dezember 2009

Up until yesterday, people assumed that the longest tweet in history had been 247 characters longs, posted by Taylor Buley on July 9th 2009 and reported to the world by Forbes Magazine. This record, however, has now been broken: Yesterday, on the 16th of December 2009, I, Jana Herwig a.k.a. @digiom, posted the longest tweet in history ever – 255 characters. Look at this baby:


And it’s even better than Taylor Buley’s, because his one was only fully visible after you clicked on the ellipsis – this feature has, however, now been switched off (try for yourself). Also, Taylor could only achieve this because he twittered from an API account. I did the deed posting from web.

But how did I do it? I cannot tell you WHY this worked, but I can tell you WHAT I did: For the first time ever, I noticed yesterday that Twitter is actually passing on a full URL if I hit the reply-button on the web interface: I had wanted to respond to a message from @martinthuer, but somehow the browser got stuck and I saw the following displayed in my browser’s address field:

http://twitter.com/?status=@MartinThuer &in_reply_to_status_id=6738222714@in_reply_to=MartinThuer

You can actually see these URLs if you hover your mouse above the reply link: they will be displayed at bottom in your status bar (if you use Firefox, that is). “That’s pretty cool”, I thought, “I have never noticed these links before.”

As twitterers often do, I wanted to tweet about my little epiphany, so I copied the link from the address field (you have to be really fast to copy them using right mouse click), and started writing a new tweet, beginning with “Bemerk zum 1. Mal diese URLS: ” (‘Noticing these URLs for the 1st time:’, in German) and then pasted the link and hit enter. And miraculously, what I got back was this purty 255 character tweet.

Again, I have no idea why this works. And what is displayed in this tweet is not even what I had copied: the http:// is omitted – at the same time, the blank space after http://twitter.com/?status=@MartinThuer has been replaced by %20, which is what happens if you have a URL with blank space. Bits of the link show up as hyperlink even though both @ or http:// are missing before the first MartinThuer.

But have I discovered a new way of tweeting? Barely, because all the space is used up by what looks like HTML code. And I doubt that you can go beyond 255 characters (which is, to my knowledge, the maximum of characters you can fit into a regular data table cell – don’t know which type of data encoding though) – raising my hopes that I might have set a record that no one can break:)

Go ahead and try for yourself – I am sooo close to my 11,111 tweet, which I’d like to post on Christmas eve, so I’m trying to keep quiet for now:)

EDIT: Also look at the baby in my time line – no farking ellipsis anywhere!

EDIT: (timestamp: 2009-12-17T06:33:54) Easy come, easy go – taking notice of my incredible feat, Twitter user @axkibe spent the whole night trying to snatch the record away from me. And succeeded. That was the shortest time I ever held a world record. I even had to zoom out to be able to take a screen shot! I still take pride in teaching him how to do it.

EDIT: And he’s keeping at it – 532 chars is the new record!

EDIT: Good I took screenshots. Twitter did something to their system, and now the once long tweets have been cut down to the regular size.

15 Kommentare leave one →
  1. @nic_ko Permalink
    16. Dezember 2009 11:31 nachmittags

    ah, the sheer awesomeness of that!

  2. 16. Dezember 2009 11:32 nachmittags

    Awesome it is. Now I’ve achieved everything a woman can achieve in the world of geekdom.

  3. axkibe Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 12:33 vormittags

    Die Eingabe von “http://twitter.com/?status=@a http://twitter.com/?status=@a http://twitter.com/?status=@a http://twitter.com/?status=@a” erzeugt einen 351 Character langen Tweet.

  4. 17. Dezember 2009 12:37 vormittags

    *bow* I’m not worthy! *bow* I’m not worthy!

  5. axkibe Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 12:38 vormittags

    Mit “http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a http://b.cc/?s=@a” gehen sogar 517 Zeichen.

    Interessanter Twitterfehler übrigens :-)

  6. axkibe Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 9:03 vormittags

    whole night is a little overstated, and yes, you are the one who discovered the twitter error. Regarding the tweet length, there is still room for improvement. So I don’t expect te 517 chars to hold, at least 525 is surely possible.

  7. axkibe Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 9:32 vormittags

    There you go: 532 bytes dedicated @digiom http://twitter.com/axkibe/status/6758728319

  8. fatmike182 Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 12:34 nachmittags

    Not only that Jana was World Record Holder for some time, she also invented TEH STATEGY of how to do that. Congrats (of course to axkibe – great work)

    Damn, they’ve switched off my retweet-feature (web), might have been a possibility of elongating the tweet again

  9. 17. Dezember 2009 12:42 nachmittags

    You tink so? Me tinks RTing is da killer of 140 plus.

    And I think that ads are going to be unleashed upon us once they reactivate supported retweeting.

  10. @nic_ko Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 12:50 nachmittags

    wäh. RT-ads.
    ich weiß, es ist nicht überraschend. aber trotzdem wäh.

  11. 17. Dezember 2009 12:54 nachmittags

    we hate them.

  12. axkibe Permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 1:10 nachmittags

    I’m confident it will be no arcane art to come up with a greasemonkeyscript that removes all the ads once they come up.

    And yes all the fame goes to digiom for discvoering this thing, in my technical curiosity I merely tried to figure out the minimal string that raises this glitch and used it as often as possible in a Tweet.

  13. 17. Dezember 2009 1:27 nachmittags

    greasemonkey doesn’t help with clients though, and hiding it in your browser cannot prevent the change of culture that goes with ads on twitter.

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