Less is More
The developers of Twitter were onto something big when they decided to go small.
Information on the Internet is growing exponentially while our capacity to absorb it all seems to be moving in exactly the opposite direction.
Enter Twitter – a social network that applauds the beauty of brevity.
Brief is Better
Although Twitter allows you to use up to 140 characters in your tweets, we recommend that you use less than the total character allotment. Internet users these days are extremely stingy with their attention and are always looking to get to the point very quickly.
Not only do shorter tweets stand out because of the ‘white space’ they contain, they are also easier to read, digest and act upon.
For example, which of the following two tweets would you be more likely to click on?
Chances are, like most Twitter users, your eye was drawn to the tweet with less characters and more white space. And chances are, you’d be more likely to click the link from the shorter tweet, even though it’s exactly the same link as the longer tweet with more information.
Shorter Tweets Get Retweeted
Another huge benefit of short tweets is that they are easier and more likely to be Retweeted – or shared with other Twitter users.
When users retweet your post, they’ll typically want to include the characters ‘RT’ (that’s the classic Twitter shorthand for ‘Retweet’), followed by a space, then your Twitter handle and perhaps even a very brief comment of their own.
It’s easy to see that if you use the maximum characters allowed in a tweet, you won’t be leaving any room for the reader to properly retweet your message.
We recommend at a maximum that your original tweet does not exceed 120 characters. That leaves a retweeter 20 characters to properly format their retweet and add any additional comment without exceeding the maximum length of 140 characters.
How to add character without adding characters
Convert long URLs into fully functioning abbreviated versions by using a link shortener like bit.ly, for example. Link shorteners take your long weblink and trim it down to a fraction of the original size so that you can link to an external website without using too many of those 120 characters mentioned above.
It’s also completely fine to include hashtags and other ‘meta data’ (ie: added information) in your tweets. Used sparingly, these additional tags can be used to associate your tweet with specific topics or groups or to add more information without adding too many extra characters.
We recommend a standardized format like: Post Title, followed by shortened URL link, followed by any hashtags or meta data relevant to your tweet.
For example, taking the shorter tweet above, we can add a hashtag like #TwitterTipTuesday at the end of the post so that this tweet is associated with all the other tweets related to the ‘TwitterTipTuesday’ topic. This adds valuable meta data to the original tweet while still allowing for a readable, clickable and retweetable tweet!
What do you say?
Are you a short tweeter or do you take pride in making all your tweets clock in at exactly 140 characters. We’d love to hear your pros and cons of short tweets in the comments, below.