What can you say in 140 characters?

I’ve seen it again.

That perennial query from a non-Twitter user who derides the character limit of a tweet.

Today this question was posed in comments following an online newspaper article about Twitter and its news breaking capabilities: “What can you say that is real in 140 characters?”

There’s plenty you can say in 140 characters and to suggest that something important or valid requires a lot of words is ridiculous, really.

Barack Obama’s recent victory tweet was simply “Four more years”. Below are screenshots of tweets which have been able to impart a lot in a few words and would have been very important to various audiences:

IDF Tweet
IDF Tweet
Guardian Tweet
Guardian Tweet


ABC news tweet
ABC news tweet
Adelaide Crows tweet
Adelaide Crows tweet

Within 140 characters, Twitter users can:

  • Ask for a recommendation
  • Alert people to an accident or piece of news
  • Organise to catch up with a friend
  • Let others know about something they’ve discovered
  • Share an opinion
  • And much more …

But don’t think that you need to be confined to one tweet. As I’ve written previously in Twitter is the headline, it’s valid to publish a string of consecutive tweets.  And many tweets contain links to another web page, where authors can expand on topics.

Of course, the 140 character limit isn’t the only consideration we have when tweeting. We might want to leave room for our post to be retweeted (which will also include our own Twitter handle), so 100 to 120 character tweets may suit better.

Related Prakkypedia reading: Length doesn’t matter

Don’t forget to use link shortening services like Bit.ly or those within your social media dashboards like Hootsuite, to shorten website pages you’re sharing. (Bit.ly can also customise the URL you’re shortening).

I work with a lot of clients to deliver Twitter training and plan their approach to this fascinating platform. I’m also running public workshops – ” Twitter 101 for Business” –  here in Adelaide. The next one is Tuesday 4 December. Just email admin [at] prakky.com.au if you’d like to know more.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Patricia Balfour says:



    Could you please tell me the duration and cost for Twitter 101 for Business.

    Cheers, Patricia

    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Patricia. Classes of 10, $90 per person plus GST, for 3 hours. They’re lots of fun!

  2. thecollyblog says:

    Twitter’s 140-character limit can also be a great platform for comedy. I’ve seen many a good tweet, making use of the limit for punchlines and one-liners.

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