Okay it's true, most of us are addicted to Twitter by now. Some of us use it as a modern day celebrity communication tool, just hoping for that special reply or retweet (or in fact any form of recognition from our idols), whilst others use it for its powerful business promotion / networking capabilities.
With Twitter now handling over 140m tweets and nearly 500k new members each and every day, it's not hard to see that this is going to be anything but a here-today-gone-tomorrow phenomenon.
So this brings me to the topic of what I want to talk about, i.e. where does Twitter go from here, and more specifically should the 140 characters be extended. I'm not talking to the likes of 5k characters or so, I just mean enough to make it more of a 'proper' sentence for people like me that like to write long-handed (speaking as someone that has used SMS text messages for many years and still writes 'because' as 'because' and not 'cuz')!
Of course I can see an argument for both sides, and for example the Plain English campaign say 75-100 characters is an optimum length for a sentence. Now I think that works great if you're writing many sentences in paragraphs, however, Twitter is not like that. In my experience I'm always trying to condense a paragraph into a sentence, and it usually takes me longer to think about / edit my tweet down, so I can get over what I want to say.
It takes time and thought to write a successful tweet that other people will want to read, so with that in mind I've prepared my top 5 list for creating a quality condensed business tweet:
A successful business tweeter will always tweet about something new, fresh or interesting on their area of expertise. This should be your own informed and non-biased view on a topic, news or event within your industry.
2. never rush a tweet
Remember that this IS published content and people will read it, perhaps for many years to come. At a basic level it must be factually correct, and represent your brand / business in a positive light.
3. keep it business
If you're tweeting for business then keep it that way - perhaps have one account for business and one for personal use. A prospective customer may not want to know that you had a fly in your soup at lunchtime, or what time you got in after a night out on the town.
There really is no excuse for bad spelling these days, and if you're not the best speller then acknowledge it and make sure you spell check first in another application, and then paste into Twitter. If you're going to use word shortening like that used within SMS messaging, then it's best to use the recognised standards. There are plenty of sites that have a glossary of terms.
5. appropriate linking
If you want to direct the tweet readers to a URL then make sure it's relevant to the topic and builds on the subject of your tweet - no one likes to be sent to a poor quality link with no original content.
Personally I think that by following these simple steps will increase the quality of your business tweets (within the 140 character limit constraints), and of course quality tweets will lead to more followers which is a good thing as it builds confidence with prospective customers that look at your Twitter account.
I'd love to know what you think about the 140 limit - perhaps I'm not alone in my potentially old fashioned ways.
Author: James A Stevens / Posted: 08-05-2011