How Many Characters Should a Tweet Be?
You can use 140 characters on Twitter, right? Well...
Yes, you can use up to one hundred and forty characters - and that includes spaces - on Twitter. But should you?
Why are you using Twitter?
If you're using the service simply as a way to chat with friends (do people really do that?) all well and good.
But what most of us are doing, in one way or another, is promotion. That doesn't necessarily mean in a commercial sense.
Users might be showcasing a charity, a sporting event or a concert series. Writers aim to increase their readership, artists tweet to gain awareness of their work ... there are so many reasons.
Spreading the word
Some people get very het up about the fact that they don't have many followers. That is no problem at all if your messages are interesting, add value and are sharable.
Make it easy for others to share - they'll appreciate it
1. This is a typical message. The goal here is to attract readers to a page with a tasty recipe.The message ends with the link which has been shortened.
In total, it has exactly 140 characters. So that's fine, isn't it? No.
2. Here's what happens if someone retweets my message. My user name, plus RT @ and a colon then a space are added.This means that the message is now 157 characters and too long.
The user has to edit it if they are going to share the message.
Believe me, many people at this stage will think 'forget it - I can't be bothered'.
3. So let's say that a determined user wants to retweet the message and decides that they'll take the time to edit it. (And that's rare - I'm unlikely to do it).
If a user is retweeting to flatter you (it happens) they might start at the end and remove your link. We're busy people. No link defeats the object.
See the image on the right and you'll see the edits and that it's now down to 121 characters. That's great, isn't it? Nope.
4. Social media is about being, well, social. It's not a good idea to retweet a message without adding your own comments.And see what's happened here.
I've added just two words and now we're up to 139 characters. So yes, it's tweetable but it won't be passed on again without edits. So we're back where we started.
5. So now, to make it sharable, even more edits are needed. Editing can be quite quick with practice.For example, 'do you want to know' can go without changing the meaning. So can 'here's a great'. A comma can be used between 'quick' and 'easy'.Sure, it's not too tricky.
But why make it hard for people? It can be tricky for people who are writers but, for example - 10:00 p.m. counts as 10 characters whereas 10pm is just four, and people understand it just as well.
6. Here's what the tweet SHOULD have been in the first place. Note that I have shortened in further by using an ampersand. It now has 71 characters.
In fact, I could even get rid of 'how to make' because the word 'recipe' makes it redundant.'Quick easy recipe for the best Bubble & Squeak' would be just fine too - and has a character count that's even better. And a lot more sharable
Twitter is incredibly important. It shouldn't be dismissed as a frivolous medium. The world's top companies and organisations are using it and we can too. Absolutely free. And in many ways, it's a level playing field - we can compete with the big boys. Learn how from the book below.