Ideal length of breaking news tweets is 120 characters

About one hour ago, the Nobel Foundation announced that Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2009. As I blogged yesterday, the Nobel Foundation announced this via Twitter, as a complement to other channels.


I think it’s great that the foundation wants to experiment with social media. But regarding the tweet, I have one tiny comment and that is, if you know you have something to announce, that many people will retweet on Twitter, you should ideally make room for that in your original post. Otherwise you are forcing people to change your message, in ways you might not want. For example by deleting the link to the original post.

The tweet above is 136 characters long. For someone to retweet this with the @nobelprize_org included, the new tweet will be at least 155 characters, including “RT” and spaces. This is of course too long, the maximum is 140 characters. In other words, the ideal length of a breaking news tweet is about 120 characters.

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