How to Reduce a Character Count

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With the advent of micro-blog social networks like Twitter, character count has become a consideration as mainstream and every day as word count once was. You can become better at reducing your character counts, whether you are doing so to fit a Twitter status or for any other reason. Practice reducing character counts without compromising the original meaning of the message. Avoid unnecessary or unprofessional abbreviations whenever possible.

  • Make a mental list of the longest words within the update or status message and replace them with shorter synonyms. For example, in the following status:

    "Today, geophysicists made a groundbreaking discovery poised to change science as we know it http://www.newswebsite.com/story1.html"

    The words "geophysicists," "groundbreaking" and "discovery" are the longest words. Replace these with "scientists," "new" and "find." In this case, the second half of the message conveys the drama and meaning. Flashy nouns and adjectives aren't necessary.

  • Remove or shorten any wordy or cliche phrasing that appears in this message. For the example message, rather than typing "poised to change science as we know it," type "poised to alter science" or "poised to shift scientific thought."

  • Shorten URLs you attach to the message using a free online shortener like bit.ly or Ow.ly. Paste the full URL into the "URL" field and click "Shorten," then replace the full-length URL with the shortened one.

  • Resort to Web abbreviations and omission of necessary punctuation and conjunctions only in extreme cases. Gauge your changes based on your audience. If teenagers are your primary audience, using "2" instead of "two" probably won't bother them, but a more professional network demands more professional messages.

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