Thursday, December 04, 2008

Testing BigTweet, the 280 character Twitter poster

Are you a rule breaker? Have more to say on twitter than just 140 characters?

BigTweet allows you to post 280 characters to twitter.

This is what my test posts looked like:

Testing BigTweet. BigTweet runs on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Amazon SimpleDB is used to store usernames and encrypted ...1/3
138 characters
...passwords for users who wish to remain logged in at the end of a browser session - see the "Keep me logged in"checkbox used at ...2/3
136 characters
...login. End of test. ...3/3
28 characters

That's a total of 302 CHARACTERS. Then you need to subtract the formatting characters that BigTweet enters for you. That means the leading "..." from 2 posts, and the trailing "...1/3", "...2/3", "...3/3" characters.

So that's (138 -6) + (136 - 9) + (29 - 9) = 279

Here's a look at the entry screen:

280 Characters is Not Two Twitter Posts
What's confusing is that even though BigTweet lets you post 280 characters, it breaks that down into 3 twitter posts.

Since twitter accepts 140 characters per post, you'd think that you'd be splitting your 280 character post into two posts.

A 280 character post ends up being split into three posts because of the extra characters that Big Tweet uses for formatting.


  1. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Lol, it seems pretty annoying to me actually :-) I'm actually someone who loves the 140 char restriction, it's almost like a new Haiku. I think it forces clarity around what your trying to say.

  2. I like trying to fit into 140 characters exactly, then after I am finished working out all the words and charaters, when I post, twitter sometimes shortens shortens my artful post with an automatic shorter URL.

  3. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I agree with Karl. I have come to appreciate the conciseness that twitter demands. Having to edit oneself will bring the best to the surface.

    That's the hope, anyway :)

  4. Anonymous1:04 PM

    junk and waste of time

  5. Anonymous1:19 PM

    No offense, constructive feedback: your "Big Tweet" (the test) was annoying. If you used that with any regularity, I would a) have to stop following and b) petition Twitter to stop Big Tweet's use of their API.

    Steve, I don't want to stop following you!

    IMHO: more than 140 is a blog post. Feel free to link to it on Twitter, though, so long as that link fits in a single message!

  6. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for trying BigTweet. I do appreciate a concise post, but occasionally need to say a little more which is why I added the 280 char feature.

    For those who wish to stay with 140 characters, BigTweet does have a control option to limit your post to 140.

    BTW - in 280 char mode, BigTweet does indicate how many posts will result to Twitter as you type.

    There are many other convenience features that BigTweet offers including automatic URL shortening, title capture and special Unicode characters. Using it as a bookmarklet from any page was intended to be the main attraction.

    Thanks for giving it a try!


  7. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Also known as, a technology solution searching for a problem.

  8. Hi Scott,
    Thanks for the comment.

    I just changed the setting to limit my post to 140, automatically include a title, and shorten the URL with

    That is a great experience that I could use.

    My tweet:

    "AppleInsider | Mozilla-based iTunes rival "Songbird" takes flight I saw this in SF last year. I'll check it out."

    Thanks again,

  9. Anonymous2:25 PM


    Hope you can find some occasional benefit from BigTweet.

    Question for you and your readers: Should I make the default of BigTweet be 140 characters for new users (can be changed via control)?

    Whatever option is selected (140/280) is remembered for the next invocation.