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I, along with 200 million other people, love Twitter. I am utterly addicted to it. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s never the same. With each reloading of the page, I have a fresh new feed smothered in super important, up-to-the-minute posts from the 2,000 most interesting people I know. The fact that tweets are limited to 140 characters requires one to be concise and clear about whatever it is one deems twitterable. Or so you would think.

When over-tweeting goes wrong.

There are some tweeps out there who disregard and disrespect the limit. “140 characters, you say, little bird? Pah! I will use another tweet and have 280 characters to continue a single thought! Stick that in your nest!” Thinking they beat the system, they go on and on like the Facebook status that never ends.

Don’t these rebels know how ineffective it is to use multiple tweets? By the time the second – or third or fourth – tweet it fired off, it is miles behind its already forgotten countertweets, requiring followers to go and find the missing puzzle pieces. Sure, it may direct people to your profile (doubtful) but what’s the point of that? Most likely your followers already saw the punch line and won’t bother looking for the joke.

Just like credit scores and cholesterol levels, it is important to closely monitor your tweet character count. Therefore, tweeples need to learn how to express themselves within the boundaries of the twitterlaw. Each tweet needs to be able to fly on its own. A single topic can be carried over into other tweets, but this requires a flock, a conversation involving more than one twerp, and engaging other tweeps to contribute.

Here are my suggestions for tweeting inside the box:

  • Link shorting tools are your best friends. I had to get this out first for new Twitter users. And by new, I mean people that have yet to create an account. Bitly.com and tinyurl.com are great ways to turn that scary long link into a cute little link.

  • Make sure you have removed all unnecessary words. “Very” and “that” seem to be the most common letter guzzlers, so check to make sure that they are very much needed. Other common space invaders are repetitive redundancies such as:
    • @StephLough: “The (exact) same python my Grandma used to have.”
    • @StephLough: “Never (before) has a platypus crossed the Atlantic.”
    • @StephLough: “Get that unruly swine off (of) the roof.” ßappropriate use of that!
    • @StephLough: “The reason (why) Rebecca Black’s video is so popular is obviously her talent of epic proportions.”
    • @StephLough: “Please reply (back)” or “DM me (back) with your opinion of the thimble controversy.”
    • @StephLough: “I want (to have) fish sticks for lunch and dinner.”

  • Abbreviate those words that have been dubbed acceptable by society. A general rule is if it can be understood in an office e-mail, it can be used it on Twitter. Ex: FYI, BTW, IDK, thx, bc, etc. Avoid “lol” and “brb” if you want followers or friends.

  • Write numbers as numerals. Obvi. (sorry 1-9, AP need not apply.)

  • Punctuation isn’t always necessary. Right? Right.

  • Sacrifice your apostrophes - and in extreme cases - your hyphens.

  • Remove spaces between words. This one can be tricky. If not properly done, your tweet becomes a secret code that needs to be cracked. Try combining words ending/begging with consonants or removing the space before a pronoun, the capitalization will make it easier to read. Make sure you haven’t unintentionally created a new word or unfortunate phrase in the process.

Wrong: We saw so many celebrities on our trip to Hollywood! My brotherstalked Mariska Hargitay’s ears off!

VERY wrong: Just got done delivering Christmas presents to the orphanage! The childrenslaughter made me feel so good.

Right: We saw so manycelebrities on our trip to Hollywood! My brothers talked Mariska Hargitay’s ears off!

Very right: Just got done deliveringChristmas presents to the orphanage! The children’s laughter made me feel so good.

See what I did there? I went from murderer to saint in the matter of a single space.

  • Never abbreviate “your” or “you’re” to “ur”. It gives the impression you’re not confident your you’re is the right your for your Tweet.

Of course, all these rules are objective and can be altered to your personal tweeting style. But by following these rules, following your heart, and following @StephLough, you’ll be on your way to a protweep in no time.

Note: All tweets are fictional. These tweets have not actually been tweeted by @StephLough

Stephanie Lough
Stephanie Lough
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. Stefanie says:

    Great post.

    How do you feel about using w/ in place of with and & instead of and? Do you think it still looks professional and gets your point across or should I try and avoid that?

    Something else I have found useful is to always leave about 15-20 characters so that if someone wants to retweet whatever brilliant thing I have said they can do so without chopping it up and making me look dumb. Example: changing you to u! If I wanted to look like a moron and put u then I would have, leave my tweet alone!

  2. Stephanie Lough says:

    I would think w/ and & fall into the category of abbreviations that are accepted generally by society. They both literally mean what you are saying without any speculation.

    I agree about when people retweet me and throw their own changes to my beautiful, mindfully crafted tweet. Usually if I RT someone and it is too long, I end their quote with an ellipsis.

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