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How-to Squeeze Your Thought Into 140 Characters

How to tweet in 140 charactersAh, you would normally think that copywriting is for books, but it’s really used in everything written, including Twitter. Often times you have something you want to share but after you thoughtfully write it out you see the red negative number which indicates you have gone beyond your allotted characters. Grrr.

There are a few ways you can master this challenge. Here are some tips:

  1. Determine who your audience is for a particular post and see if by calling them out you can also put a hashtag in front of them.
  2. Write it out in full and then take out some of the pronouns. For example, the word “that” can almost always be taken out.
  3. It’s okay to use abbreviations for some words like:
    “u” for you, “&” for and, “w/” for with, “thx” for thanks, “ppl” for people, “gr8″ for great, “luv” for love, “attn” for attention, “preso” for presentation, “2” for to or two, “4” as for or four, “FB” for Facebook, all numbers can be abbreviated, etc.
  4. When using hashtags see if you can work the hashtag into your sentence rather than putting it at the end. But don’t do too many otherwise it becomes hard to read.
  5. Don’t state the obvious like it’s a newsletter or an article or blog post – those words take up characters and you are going to link to it anyway. The only 2 exceptions are [Video] and [Infographic] – otherwise leave it out.

Always, always, always use a URL shortener such as Bit.ly or Tinyurl.com or if using a desktop tool, you can use theirs as well.

Some examples:

Post A is 128 characters: Today marks the tenth anniversary of the September the 11th atrocities, here are my thoughts and opinions – http://bit.ly/ocCWaS

Same post as 99 characters: Today marks the 10th Anniv of the 9/11 atrocities. Here are my thoughts on it: http://bit.ly/ocCWaS

Post B is 138 characters (no room for RT):
For busy working moms, this article provides interesting tips on how to use iPhoto as a recipe manager and meal plannerhttp://t.co/Oc1s5gW

Same post as 106 characters: Working #moms – interesting tips on how to use iPhoto as recipe manager & meal planner http://t.co/Oc1s5gW

Have any other suggestions? List them below so we’ll all benefit from them.
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.

Comments

  1. Your article has helped me to understand how to use twitter in a smart way. Thank you.

  2. Twitter can be tricky sometimes with trying to squeeze your thoughts into 140 characters. Your article provided useful tips, some that I currently use and some that I do not.

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Ah, so glad to help! If there are any others that you use that are not listed, please share them so that other readers can benefit. Cheers!

  3. This is just the sort of post that is great for even veteran users of Twitter. I like your suggestions about writing it out in full then removing pronouns and incorporating hashtags judiciously into the body of the post.