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17 Tips To Shorten Tweets
Posted on June 7th 2011
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 tweets, my 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.
Original: Malt-O-Meal brand cereals launches new movement 2 rethink breakfast and excess #packaging: http://prn.to/kR2owS from @PRNewswire
Suggested: Malt-O-Meal cereals launches movement 2 rethink breakfast, excess #packaging: http://prn.to/kR2owS via @PRNewswire
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.
Original: Blest Plastic-to-Oil machines require just 3 kilowatts of energy to convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil http://bit.ly/lsI2WA
Suggested: Just 3 kilowatts of energy can convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil w/ this machine: http://bit.ly/lsI2WA
5. Remove unnecessary branding.
6. Put the good stuff first.
Original: 7UP introduces new #packaging designed by “The Celebrity Apprentice” finalists Marlee Matlin, John Rich: http://bit.ly/kSeIdt
Suggested: 7UP introduces #packaging designed by The Celebrity Apprentice’s Marlee Matlin, John Rich: http://bit.ly/kSeIdt
7. “Introduces new” is redundant, get rid of new.
8. Remove quotes.
9. Use apostrophes instead of words when possible.
Original: RT @EUBioplastics: Green packaging is leading the way: http://bit.ly/kBynsS#packaging #eco #green
Suggested: RT @EUBioplastics: Green #packaging is leading the way:http://bit.ly/kBynsS #eco #green
10. Integrate hashtags.
Original: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup has won $100,000 in MIT contest w/ its garbage 2 energy solution http://bit.ly/kWdZOm
Suggested: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup wins $100,000 in MIT contest w/ garbage 2 energy idea http://bit.ly/kWdZOm
11. Avoid the past tense.
12. Get rid of “its.”
13. Solution can be “idea.”
Change: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Education Association are asking for your help to fight #hunger: http://bit.ly/mRw5gE
Suggested: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Ed. Association ask 4 your help to fight #hunger: http://bit.ly/mRw5gE
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.