We're planning an integration with a CDN (likely Akamai) and are trying to determine how low we could go for a max-age value.
For a site that could get a few hundred thousand folks hitting the site after a tweet goes out, having content be cached will help reduce the burden on the servers. Having said that, our client is sensitive to not being able to quickly modify content if something were to get published prematurely.
Our plan has been to implemented a phased cached-control process where we start out for the first 1-10 minutes at a low (20-30 seconds?) Cache-Control max-age and then as things appear to be in working order, we'll begin to increase the max-age as content has been live for a period of time. For example, after a few hours, we might start to set that at 60 minutes... and after a day, we might throttle that to a day.
Circling back to the original question, is it possible to set a cache-control header at a low level like 20-30 seconds? (Does Akamai set a min value here? I haven't been able to track down any specifics here on my Google searches)