Monday, April 6, 2009

maximum Twitter message length for retweeting

From my Twitter Communication Optimization seminar January 2009:

For greater viral reach of your brilliant Twitter messages and links, do this. Use this secret Twitter optimization technique as your a Twitter message floats in a blur on the rushing river of brevities.

To optimize Twitter effectiveness, start now to reduce all messages to UNDER 140 characters. While Twitter enables users to post messages up to 140 characters in length, smart communicators and marketers are keeping their tweets shorter.


To facilitate retweeting (RTing) their tweets (Twitter messages). When your tweet appears as some other user's tweet, it's called a retweet, or RT. Common practice precedes your @ username with RT to indicate it's a retweet, or a quote of what you tweet, giving you credit, linking to you via the @ sign.

We now calculate the new maximum ReTweetable message length:

140 chars MINUS RT + : + space + @ + number of characters in your Twitter username + space

140 - 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + (number of username characters) + 1 =

(new) MAXIMUM Twitter message length.


In my case that would be:

RT: @vaspersthegrate

RT: is 3

space after RT: is 1

@vaspersthegrate is 16

(@ + vaspersthegrate, no space between them)

space after username is 1

Total pre-message characters for a ReTweet is 3 + 1 + 16 + 1 = 21

TOTAL characters to subtract from 140 character Twitter limit is 140 - 21 = 119

Therefore, the ideal number of characters is now 119.

IF I want to enable fellow Twitter users to quote my tweet in full, without bothering to truncate or paraphrase it.

Many great tweets go un-retweeted, thus missing reach opportunities, due to being too long to easily RT. Don't let this happen to your genius gems!

Let's promote this blog post as a ReTweetable tweet on Twitter:

Why you can NO LONGER post 140 character length messages in Twitter

The retweet RT of the above tweet would then be:

RT: @vaspersthegrate
Why you can NO LONGER post 140 character length messages in Twitter

21 + 92 characters of message = 113 (6 less than my new 119 limit).

NOTE: The ":" after RT is added by TweetDeck, which some Twitter users employ as a 3rd party app to send messages via Twitter.


Anonymous said...

It looks like you forgot to allow for the spaces between "RT:" "@username" and the original tweet - all of which knocks an extra 3 characters off your maximum tweet length!

steven edward streight said...

You're right Anon! Thanks for helping me out here. Never been that good at math or anything visual. LOL