This is what a single tweet looks like

Twitter users are limited to posting 140 characters for each tweet. The average Twitter user wouldn’t think much else goes into posting a short sentence to the social networking site, but in reality, much more information is being sent and stored over to the Twitter servers. 

To really illustrate the entire scope of how much data one tweet contains, Twitter developer Raff Krikorian made a graphic of all the metadeta that’s stored when sending out a tweet. Information from the specific Twitter client used down to the exact country and language are all stored within the status object.

via ReadWriteWeb

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They could compress a lot of that data, the Date value for example could be stored in mini ISO format that's much shorter in length that the "English" version.

TonyLock said,
They could compress a lot of that data, the Date value for example could be stored in mini ISO format that's much shorter in length that the "English" version.

They store it the way they need it when it gets displayed, because it would require too much processing time when "decompressing" aka converting the date back to normal English.

When you have so many requests a second as a site as big as twitter has you try to develop your system processing time secure more than storage saving.

Twitter is a site that needs to be as fast as possible by concept.
EVERY calculation counts, because every calculation you save with a request is millions in a super short period of time.

~Alex

The_Decryptor said,
I would hope a lot of that data isn't actually stored with the "tweet", but would be stored separately and retrieved when needed.
Agreed.....sort of stupid if it is storing the user ID, screen name, and display name, when simply storing the user ID, then using that to look up the screen name and display name when needed.

On top of that, why would every single tweet need to know the authors biography and location? Even if there is a good reason, both of those could also be looked up with the user ID instead of storing that information in the tweet itself. Same with lots of the other info.

If this is just all the data that a tweet might have to look up or something, then that is rather believable.....if it is all the data that a single tweet stores, then much of it seems redundant.

The_Decryptor said,
I would hope a lot of that data isn't actually stored with the "tweet", but would be stored separately and retrieved when needed.

It isn't. There are a number of tables in the database that store various parts. For instance, one table would store the user information and a unique identifier number. Another would store the tweets using the unique identifier number from the Account table to tie the two tables together.

Edit to clarify: The above image shows the Tweet object which does in fact contain all of the information but it gets stored in separate tables in the database. Otherwise the site would take entirely too long to load.

Edited by SputnikGamer, Apr 22 2010, 1:30am :

The_Decryptor said,
I would hope a lot of that data isn't actually stored with the "tweet", but would be stored separately and retrieved when needed.

yea, seems like a waste to download all for that information for every tweet...

Quigley Guy said,

yea, seems like a waste to download all for that information for every tweet...

You don't download all of it. You do upload it though. A good example is the last one on the list. The source is listed as the web which is useful for Twitter to track. When you view someone else's tweets, all you download is the user, tweet, time, and maybe a few other things. Even when you use that feature that lets you see all the tweets in your area, it sends your location once, then the server finds all the tweets and sends the tweets back to you. It doesn't have to send the location back because you already told it what that was on your device/computer.