Make Sure Your Tweets Aren’t Too Long

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Absurd. Ridiculous. Totally nuts.

How on Earth, you might ask, can a Tweet be too long? By definition, Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Isn’t that about the length of a single, longish sentence?

Well … yes. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. But my point is this: 140 is too long!

At issue is the sought-after RT, or retweet, through which an individual Tweet can begin to go viral in the Twitter community. A retweet can bring fame to an account with just a handful of followers. It can bestow prestige and credibility. It is Nirvana for Tweets.

However, if your Tweet is exactly 140 characters, or 139, or 138, anyone interested in retweeting is going to have to edit it down. Yikes! You don’t want to force prospective retweeters to edit. That’s like a car salesman asking a prospective buyer to “go home and think about it.” It’s a mistake. A big one.

The culprit is the format for retweeting. To retweet, you typically add to the front of the Tweet: RT @name. That’s 8 characters, and for only a 4-letter name. Add that to a 138 character Tweet, and you’ve over by 6!

Someone’s now got to go through your Tweet and take out 6 characters to send the retweet. That’s not so easy with Tweets, because they’re usually pretty tight.

The solution is simple. Keep your Tweets well below the 140 character limit. Maybe 128. Maybe 126. Something like that.

If you do, retweeting will be simple as pie. And that’s just the way you want it to be.

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