Twitter Tips for managing the 140-character limit If there’s one thing that even many non-tweeters know about Twitter it’s that its messages can be no more than 140 characters long. Why 140 and not, say, 200, or 500, or no limit at all? Twitter was designed originally to use the Short Message Service (SMS) to send out its updates, and on the majority of SMS systems at the time, each message was limited to 160 characters. Twitter’s messages had to tack on the username at the front (which can be up to 15 characters long), so it
chose 140 characters as the limit for a Twitter update.
Of course, knowing why you’ve only got 140 characters to express your thoughts is one thing, but actually shoehorning that thought into such a tiny space is quite another. Fortunately, with a bit of practice you’ll find yourself getting remarkably adept at crafting 140-words-or-less gems. To help you get there, here are a few pointers to bear in mind when composing your updates:
Take advantage of the symbol short forms that are built in to the language. Use & or + instead of “and,” $ instead of “dollars,” % instead of “percent” or “percentage,” and so on.Use common abbreviations. E-mail, chat, instant messaging, and other forms of Internet communication have created a wide variety of abbreviations and acronyms, many of which are in common use: BTW (by the way), FYI (for your information), LOL
(laughing out loud), and TTYL (talk to you later). Don’t hesitate to use these and other familiar short forms to save characters.
Find shorter words. If there’s a key to winning the battle with the 140-character limit, it’s this: if a word has a shorter synonym, use the synonym. Delete “perturbed” and replace it with “mad”; get rid of “therefore” and use “so,” instead; replace “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with “cool.”
Avoid redundancy and wordiness. If you’re bumping up against the 140-character ceiling, cast a critical eye over your text and ruthlessly rewrite passages that are redundant or that use more words than necessary. For example, use the Delete key to change “in the vicinity of” to “near” and trash “at this point in time” in favor of “now.”
Reference : wiley.com