Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

2010-01-07 13:34:48
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Twitter is like a giant gossip engine, and gossip can be a good thing when you want everyone to learn about something really juicy. The problem is explaining in 140 characters why someone should pass along a message.

Say I post a comment like this:

I nominate @adbroad for a Shorty Award in #advertising because she knows how to blend old and new school media

Because it's a contest, the posting has to be formatted a certain way, and even though there is room to add "Please Retweet" to the end of the posting, you don't really have enough room to explain WHY you want them to retweet.

So, we came up with a clever way to ask people to tweet something without having to give them all the text. First, you create a link to twitter that automatically fills in someone's status. You construct a status link like this:

The trick is you have to escape URL, which means converting some characters to wacky %XX codes. If you're web savvy you'll know what I'm talking about (like changing the # to a %23), if you're not... maybe I'll get one of the guys to write a script to do this automatically...

So once you you escape your status update it reads like this:

Now you shorten the URL with a tinyurl generator (see my blog about tinyurls). So that big long link becomes

Which means you can now write a more detailed message like:

Help @Adbroad win the Shorty Award in #advertising by posting your vote for her on Twitter:

That still leaves room for a RT @somehandle AND your whole, unedited message can still get posted.

I know, it's a little convoluted, and the reasons for embedding the longer message in a status link vary, but it seemed like a cool idea to me. If it catches on, I want a gold star.

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SlideShare_Dan: Re: How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)
2010-01-09 00:18:14

We do that on our "Tweet This" link on SlideShare. We implemented this almost a while ago, so let us know if you get a gold star. We want one too!

Michael Bissell: Re: How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)
2010-01-10 18:03:22

You definitely get a gold star for including the twitter status update on slide share (we added this to a while ago and found a definite traffic increase). That and having your own url shortener is really good -- I'm still amazed how many companies don't have their own.

But I think you miss the point (or I miss yours). What we did here isn't just using the Twitter Status URL, it's the fact we're putting the status into a tweet that seems different to me. A tweet inside a tweet -- sort of "tweet compression" or "tweet attachment" in the otherwise too limited constraints of 140 characters to let you ask for a Retweet AND have the tweet fit in the box...

Adbroad has been using this to moderate success, and I think the idea might still be a little abstract to get people to really use it, but as with any of this social media stuff, we'll just have to see if others pick up on the idea.

SlideShare_Dan: Re: How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)
2010-01-11 18:38:24

Ahh, I get it now. It's basically a more refined usage of the Twitter status update. You click click the link and your tweet nominates AdBroad

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