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17 Tips To Shorten Tweets

If you’ve ever been frustrated by trying to cut those last few characters out of a tweet so you can send away, this post is for you. It’s hard enough to cut tweets to the general 140 character limit, much less the recommended 120 characters or less needed to leave room for others to retweet you, so I created this guide to help.

There’s plenty of general advice about keeping tweets short, but without specific examples, rules such as “omit needless words” are hard to grasp. Thus, I’ve searched Right Source Marketing’s tweetsmy own tweets, and some of our clients’ tweets to collect examples to take specific action to follow all of this general advice.  Following this advice will not only help you become a better tweeter, but in many cases, a better writer (Copyblogger’s take on this).

A note of caution: be careful not to abbreviate your tweets to the point that their meaning is warped, or totally lost. It doesn’t matter how easy to retweet you are if no one understands what you’re trying to say.

Examples 1-4:

Original: Malt-O-Meal brand cereals launches new movement 2 rethink breakfast and excess #packaging: from @PRNewswire

Characters: 128

Suggested: Malt-O-Meal cereals launches movement 2 rethink breakfast, excess #packaging: via @PRNewswire

Characters: 114

1. Get rid of “brand.”

2. “Launches new” is redundant, get rid of “new.”

3. Use a comma or &, not “and.”

4. Use “via,” not from.

Examples 5-6:

Original: Blest Plastic-to-Oil machines require just 3 kilowatts of energy to convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil

Characters: 138

Suggested: Just 3 kilowatts of energy can convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil w/ this machine

Characters: 117

5. Remove unnecessary branding. 

6. Put the good stuff first.

Examples 7-9:

Original: 7UP introduces new  #packaging designed by “The Celebrity Apprentice” finalists Marlee Matlin, John Rich:

Characters: 126

Suggested: 7UP introduces #packaging designed by The Celebrity Apprentice’s Marlee Matlin, John Rich:

Characters: 112

7. “Introduces new” is redundant, get rid of new.

8.  Remove quotes.

9. Use apostrophes instead of words when possible.

Example 10:

Original: RT @EUBioplastics: Green packaging is leading the way: #eco #green

Characters: 98

Suggested: RT @EUBioplastics: Green #packaging is leading the way: #eco #green

Characters: 88

10. Integrate hashtags.

Examples 11-13:

Original: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup has won $100,000 in MIT contest w/ its garbage 2 energy solution

Characters: 133

Suggested: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup wins $100,000 in MIT contest w/ garbage 2 energy idea

Characters: 122

11. Avoid the past tense.

12. Get rid of “its.”

13. Solution can be “idea.”

Examples 14-17:

Change: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Education Association are asking for your help to fight #hunger:

Characters: 115

Suggested: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Ed. Association ask 4 your help to fight #hunger:

Characters: 100

14. Change “Education” to “Ed.”

15. Remove “are.”

16. Avoid gerunds (i.e., “asking”).

17. “For” can be “4.”

Take umbrage with one of my examples? Have your own to share? Please share in the comments so that we can turn this into a dynamic resource.

Tracy Gold is a Marketing and Content Associate at Right Source Marketing. This post was originally published on the Marketing Trenches blogFollow @tracycgold for more marketing commentary.


Join The Conversation

  • Aug 9 Posted 5 years ago Craig Kelley (not verified)

    Great post Tracy!  Now off to share it with my followers.


  • Jul 18 Posted 5 years ago reza naghibi

    Great article - love how you underscore the importance of concise tweets with examples; saving even a half-dozen characters can mean a more swift delivery of the message. A priceless resource, this will be.


  • Jul 18 Posted 5 years ago Marcelo Rossin (not verified)

    Hi, Tracy! How are you?
    Really nice post and tips!

    I´m from Brazil and I´m working on a very simple url shortener project to save more characters, but without loosing the "cute factor".

    It´s ʚïɞ.com and I´m thinking mainly on the girls! ;)
    As you can see (I hope so!), the domain seems a butterfly. You can visit it at www.ʚïɞ.com if you want.

    So we can transform this to this http://ʚïɞ.com/3c (sooo cute... lol).

    But... I´m still having troubles, ´cause Twitter doesn´t recognize the link. :(

    It works sending the link through, but it doesn´t work straight on Twitter. I will keep trying.

    Best regards!

  • tracycgold's picture
    Jun 17 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold


    Thanks for reading! I'm sure there's still more that I missed--a million eyes can find a way to shorten a tweet? 



  • Jun 14 Posted 5 years ago Kalia West (not verified)

    Hi Tracy - great examples of how to breakdown tweets! I was also going to mention the 100k instead of $100,00, but John beat me to it! ;)



  • tracycgold's picture
    Jun 13 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold


    Glad to help! 

    Generally, changing a word to a number or putting an ellipses between words gives me no pause when I'm retweeting someone. If I find that I need to make significant changes, though, I'll just restructure the tweet and give them a "via" credit rather than retweeting. 

    Thanks for reading, 

  • Jun 9 Posted 5 years ago Daniel Schutzsmith (not verified)

    All great tips Tracy and much food for thought - even for a veteran marketer like me! Especially love how you've said we should put the most important info first.

    Any tips on how to handle retweeting others that don't follow rules like these? Is it improper to remove their words and abbreviate?


  • tracycgold's picture
    Jun 8 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold

    Great points! Thanks for adding to the list, and I suppose I do owe you.

  • tracycgold's picture
    Jun 8 Posted 5 years ago tracycgold

    Trevor--yup, you got it with the w/. 

    And yes, I over shortened these for the point of demonstration. I wanted to use real tweets I'd seen or was responsible for editing, which made finding ones that really needed to be shortened difficult. Many of these tweets would be just fine, or preferable, to be sent without the extra shortening, but in those situations where you need just a few characters less, the tactics apply. 

    Thanks for reading and the comment, as always!


  • Jun 8 Posted 5 years ago John Petrosky (not verified)

    Why not use abbreviations?  Two biggies: kilowatts = kw & $100,000 = $1k.  You "owe" me a dozen characters.... 

  • Jun 8 Posted 5 years ago Trevor Stanesby (not verified)

    Hi Tracy - great advice. You haven't explained the w/ abbreviation? I assume this means with...although I didn't know that.

    However, as most of the original examples are less than 140 characters to start with, why would you need to reduce them? Or do you think they read best if cut shorter?

    It's all good practice though :)



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