Tweet Sequencing

This is an esoteric topic, but as I participate more on Twitter, sometimes with messages longer than the 240 character per tweet limit, I have been researching and pondering Tweet sequencing.  It may seem minor, and it is, but still I would like to choose a good system. First I’ll cover the intricacies of the stream itself.  Then I’ll have a few comments on the absolutely abysmal Twitter client interfaces and logical thread modeling.

Here are some of the properties to explore of various methods:

  • Do the sequence indicators go at the beginning or end of each tweet?  At the beginning they clearly signal that a sequence is in progress, yet they are somewhat distracting.  At the end, they might be missed when quickly skimming.
  • How many characters are required for tweet sequencing both within each tweet and overall?
  • What sequence character set to use?
    • positive monotonically increasing integers?
    • roman numerals
    • lower case letters
    • upper case letters
  • What delimiter characters to use? I believe a delimiter is required to differentiate the sequencing indicators from the message.
  • How to end the sequence.
  • Can the sequence be appended to later?  Note the constraint that tweets may not be updated.  End of sequence tweets can be deleted and replaced transparently only if they have no replies and no likes.
  • Sequence control

System 1: Positive Monotonically Increasing Integers with a Delimiter

  • Example
    • 1/
    • 2/
    • 3/
  • Can always be appended.
  • No way for reader to tell when list is ended.
  • Uses the fewest characters per tweet. AFAIK

System 2: System 1 with a total count or place holder for total count in each tweet.

  • Example
    • 1/n
    • 2/n
    • 3/n
    • 4/4
  • End is indicated when numerator and denominator are equal integers.
  • Can not be appended
  • Somewhat awkward or redundant.

System 3: System 1 with END used for the last tweet in a sequence.

  • Example
    • 1/
    • 2/
    • 3/
    • END/
  • No positive method to ensure reader did not miss tweets prior to the END tweet. This is not a major concern if the poster properly linked the sequence by replying to each one in turn.
  • Efficient use of total characters.

System 4: System 1 with OVER.  (Original idea. Novelty unknown.)

  • Example
    • 1/
    • 2/
    • 3/
    • 4/OVER |
  • Borrows from radio use of OVER call.
  • OVER indicates “I’m done, your turn,” providing powerful sequence control.
    • Enables pause.
    • Enables continuance on a response to the OVER tweet.
    • The original poster may continue numbering additional points, usually after a delay, always ending with n/over.
    • The lack of an OVER tweet implies, but does not guarantee, that the sequence poster is currently working on the next tweet in the sequence.
  • Efficient use of total characters

At this point, for me, System 4  is the best of the options known to me.

Example of System 4 usage in practice.

 


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