Twitter, that wonderful little social networking site that is taking the world by storm, is a “less is more” based social networking site. The idea is to microblog – sharing tips, ideas, articles as on other networks – using 140 characters or less. I tend to be a talker, so this has always been an exciting challenge. But in the world of Twitter a new challenge is emerging: Saying what you want to say in just 120 characters or less.
In Twitter it is common to “retweet” or “RT” posts that may be of value to your community. The 140 rule still applies. In order to be retweeted there must be extra room for both your Twitter name AND the RTers name. If your tweet is at 140 it must be somehow shortened if it is to be shared. Thank goodness that spelling counts less than meaning on Twitter! Any method of abreviation is welcome. By keeping it short you are doing yourself and your community a favor, making RT’s much simpler. It encourages sharing and keeps your post active.
Here are some tips to help keep your tweets as short as possible:
– URL Shorteners: TweetDeck, Seesmic & PeopleBrowsr all have apps built in to shorten the URL. Otherwise bit.ly & HootSuite are good URL shorteners that also let you track the clickthroughs. I have shortcuts to both of these in my menu bar.
– Symbols & Numbers: Replace words with symbols and numbers: and=&, anyone = any1, etc…
– Tweet Shortener: Did all the above but still too long? Use TweetShrink to abbreviate your entire post. This has been a great tweetsaver time and time again! Again, this is already built into TweetDeck & PeopleBrowsr. For example, the last two sentences in this sentence were shortened to “Use TweetShrink 2 abbreviate yr entire post. ths has bn a gr8 tweetsaver time & time again!”
All you need to remember is that getting your point across is what matters. What words can you afford to abbreviate? If your target audience is other marketers, SMM is probably fine if you are discussing Social Media Marketing. If, however, your target is a group of small business people who are new to online marketing, they may have no idea what SMM is. Make sure the words that you abbreviate still make sense to your target audience, and adjust your tweet as necessary.
Sharing is half the fun on Twitter, so do your part to RT & be RT’d. Accept the challenge and have fun!
PS – Please be sure to share any Tweet Shortening tips you may have in the comments. We’re always happy to hear new ideas!