Quantity and quality: How we measure words.

I’m not one of “those writers” who is always arguing for more space.

Nearly everything I write is better when you cut it by 10 percent. I know that. Brevity is the soul of “having any chance to be read.” As a journalist, I watched standard story length fall from about 30 inches when I started, to 13 inches or less when I left.

And then came Twitter. Oh dear Twitter.

When I add a photo to Twitter, it deducts 24 precious characters – leaving me with just 116 to explain WHY I’m attaching the photo. For someone who once measured her space limits with a ruler, it’s excruciating to work with 116 characters – oops, wait, I want to tag @C2Strategic, so now I’m down to 105!

Sometimes I have so few characters to work with that I am tempted to spell you as U…. Desperate time, people! Desperate times.

So let me take 1,658 characters here to praise Twitter’s recent announcement that it will soon no longer include Twitter handles (like @C2Strategic) or attached media files as part of your 140 character limit.  This means you can attach photos and include a handle and still have enough characters for a sentence. Luxurious!

The change is welcomed. But here’s what won’t change. Whether you have 250 pages of words, or 30 inches of words, or 140 characters worth of words, the key to quality communication is choosing the RIGHT words, the right tone, the right message.  And the only thing that makes that easier is experience!

Whether you’re writing your annual report, or ad copy, or tweeting at the governor, having someone on your team that knows how to use words with economy and clarity is the surest way to get your message out in a cacophonous world.

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