As an avid Twitter user, I’m shocked how many social media “experts” and businesses tweet, paying no attention to simple math.
Are your tweets being edited, removing the most important information?
Earlier this month I focused on 10 tips for using Twitter, and #2 on that list deserves more attention. That is, tweet with re-tweeting in mind.
Consider this fictional tweet, which is quite representative of the tweets I see every day, by a fake username of blahblah9898:
Get a $10 Gift Card to CoffeeShop! To enter, signup for the blah blah newletter then tell all your friends – RT this! http://xxx.xx/xXxx67
When tweets are retweeted, the original tweeter’s username counts toward the 140 characters – in fact, everything in the tweet (except for your username) counts.
In this case, the username blahblah9898 is 12 characters.
The tweet itself is 139 characters.
Without editing, the re-tweet is:
RT @blahblah9898: Get a $10 Gift Card to CoffeeShop! To enter, signup for the blah blah newsletter then tell all your friends – RT this! http://xxx.xx/xXxx67
This is 157 characters, so it can’t be successfully posted.
Let’s take a closer look:
To re-tweet, one needs to enter RT(space) then the @symbol and the username, so that’s 4 characters added to the 12 characters of the username.
Following the username, by default, is a :(space), which is 2 characters.
12 + 4 + 2 = 18
139 + 18 = 157
Do you see where this is going?
Now, one of two things needs to happen for this tweet to be successfully re-tweeted, because the tweet itself – which is EVERYTHING following your username – can only be 140 characters.
The re-tweeting user can edit the tweet, and this is most often done by removing certain words or abbreviating terms. This practice, however, is frustrating, especially for newbies.
But some programs will auto truncate tweets to meet the 140 character limit. This could result in a truncation of the URL:
RT @blahblahblah: Get a $10 Gift Card to CoffeeShop! To enter, signup for the blah blah newsletter then tell all your friends – RT this! htt
When this happens, the only way for others to see what that URL should be is to click the @blahblah9898 username and find the original tweet. Of course, that’s only if the other users know to do this, or even want to take the time.
Ideally, you should be using simple math to determine the proper character count for a tweet that’s designed to be re-tweeted:
140 – (username character count +6) = A tweet ready to be re-tweeted