Twitter Tuesday #23–Brevity & Clarity are Important

Welcome to the twenty-third installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Cryptic Tweeter

OMG.02 Dont u h8 ppl who twt w/evrythng abbrv.? Dyhwp. @TEOTD ? & 182

Translation: Oh, my God. My two cents worth. Don’t you hate people who tweet everything in abbreviated form? Do your homework people. At the end of the day, I can’t understand what you are saying and I hate you.

I know Twitter makes us whittle down out golden nuggets of wisdom to 140 characters, but this is not a reason to go crazy with the text speak. Try removing some filler and Twitter is actually gr8…I mean, great practice for learning the beauty of brevity. Twitter trains us to be more concise in our thinking and communication, and I think most of us adore people who can quickly get to the point.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Less is More

When tweeting something you desire to have others RT, do everything you can to only use 110-120 of the characters, or end the tweet with #s that your tweeps can easily delete or change. If we take up all 140 characters with our message, often what will happen is that others will not RT. We made it too hard! We also run the risk of turning our friends into a Cryptic Tweeter (above) because they are doing all they can to RT, yet still maintain the message.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by Shéa MacLeod on June 28, 2011 - 2:13 pm

    I loathe text speak. Even when texting! About the only one’s I use are LOL and OMG. And maybe a little LMAO!!🙂

  2. #2 by Jill Kemerer on June 28, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Thank you, Kristen. I’m not always fully awake when I hop on Twitter, and let’s just say my first cup of coffee doesn’t throw me into overdrive. That’s cup two. Or three… Regardless, I don’t have the brain energy to decipher letters and numbers coded each morning! (The exception? LOL and Thx.–I can get those with or without coffee.)🙂

    Another great tip!!

  3. #3 by amyshojai on June 28, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    Another Twitter pet peeve of mine (maybe you’ve already covered this?), again on clarity–DESCRIBE what’s in the link! Once it’s shortened, you can’t tell, and I don’t have time or inclination to guess and click every blind link. “OMG this is so LOL!” doesn’t help. Something descriptive–“cats attacking puppy? helpful& funny tips here (link)” would get me to click.

    02 *eg*

  4. #4 by Jennifer Fischetto on June 28, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    I completely agree with Shea. I detest chat speak, and refuse to use it except for LOL, OMG and a few more to express laughter or time. It’s hurts my brain to try and read it, even the simple words like 2 and 4. It’s not natural. Plus, my daughter (16) loathes chat speak and is a grammar and punctuation fiend. She would not be happy if I, the writer in the family, typed like I was 11.😛

    It also teaches people to be lazy. I stare at the messages my daughter’s friends leave on Facebook and shake my head. A couple of these girls aren’t good spellers to begin with, and this isn’t helping.

  5. #5 by Orlando Ramos on June 28, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    I always feel inept because I don’t understand these acronyms or abbreviations. Some of which even my daughter, the text queen, doesn’t even know. I think people make this stuff up as they go along.

  6. #6 by Kate MacNicol on June 28, 2011 - 3:05 pm

    I’m the queen of long messages but I have to say this social media thing is helping to me be more brief. Got the Facebook message that my comment was too long twice this week. Thanks for tip about tweets and how to make them easier for others. I may be longwinded at times but I’m all about easy.

  7. #7 by Heather Sunseri on June 28, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    And it’s kind of like cheeting.🙂 A good writer should be able to find the “right” words to tweet exactly what they want and stay within the allotted characters. It’s like a game, and you lose if you have to abbreviate or leave out necessary words.

  8. #8 by Christine Fonseca on June 28, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    HAHA! Love this post. And yes, clarity, depending on the tweet = very important!

  9. #9 by Leanne Shirtliffe on June 28, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    Ths is a gr8 post, Krstn! (Am I annoying you yet? If not, I’ll try harder.😉

    I read a book before I started tweeting in 2009. One tip I picked up was to limit your tweets to fewer than 120 characters, so you give people an opportunity to add something if they RT.

  10. #10 by Tiffany A White on June 28, 2011 - 5:05 pm

    Very interesting…I never thought to try for under 120 characters for the RT. See, I’m always learning from you!

  11. #11 by Renee Schuls-Jacobson on June 28, 2011 - 5:16 pm

    I try to keep my Tweets short and Tsweet.😉 I’m sorry I couldn’t resist.

    Sometimes bloggers’ titles are so long! If I am absolutely desperate I will change the title of a piece to make it easier to Tweet and RT.

  12. #12 by Susan S on June 28, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    So true! Twitter has been great practice for short-form. It helps novel length fiction density too – by making me think more concisely!

  13. #13 by Lynn kelley on June 29, 2011 - 12:12 am

    Ah, I love these tips. I’m still learning. On a few tweets that I wanted to retweet, I just deleted part of the original message. My bad!

  14. #14 by Kerry Meacham on June 29, 2011 - 12:32 am

    In the spirit of the piece…great blog Kristen.

  15. #15 by Christine Grote on June 29, 2011 - 1:32 am

    That’s one of the things I like the best about it. It is like a game.

  16. #16 by Terrell Mims on June 29, 2011 - 1:45 am

    Great blog.

  17. #17 by Tim Greaton on June 29, 2011 - 4:06 am

    Kristen: A few hundred more of these insights and I might actually know how to use Twitter🙂

  18. #18 by Jody Moller on June 29, 2011 - 4:11 am

    When I read abbreviated tweets (which let’s be honest I can’t really interpret) it just makes me feel old!

  19. #19 by Piper Bayard on June 29, 2011 - 1:58 pm

    OMG! I H8 that 2. Great advice, Kristen. I do my best for my tweeps when it comes to the RT, but even I have my limits. For my tweets, I’ve counted how many spaces I need for someone to hit RT with no fuss or muss on their part and I think it really helps out the people who are trying to help me. They’re doing us a favor, for crying out loud. The least we can do is make it easy for them. Great post.

  20. #20 by Les Howard on June 29, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    It takes me longer to remember the shorthand for a phrase than to simply type it out in full so I don’t use many abbreviations. Also, what would be the point if the reader doesn’t understand it? (other than listening to myself talk, I suppose).

    I’m one of those weird people who reread everything before I hit ‘send’ and correct the spelling and grammar – including the 3 4 in this post.

  21. #21 by Marilag Lubag on July 1, 2011 - 1:44 am

    Ouch! I think this applies to my generation (and others that follow) more than anything else. I mean, I love text speak. Still do. If I don’t remember the abbreviation, I go to the urbandictionary.com and look up their meanings.

    However, there are 2 purposes for text speak. The first one is to get everything you want to say on one tweet. This was a matter of convenience. However, the second one, though is so that parents won’t understand what you’re saying. In other words, it’s a code.

    For the purposes of reaching out to others, Kristen was right. We need to avoid using text speak. It’s easier to communicate if everyone actually understand what you’re saying.

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