“Q: Why do I need to shorten my URL? A: The most popular reason to shorten a URL is to avoid exceeding Twitter’s 140 character limit.”
That’s a quote from a recent article posted on the blog of a very popular social media management system.
The same idea is repeated on other social media blogs in articles about URL shorteners or branded short links. No, I’m not talking about John Doe bloggers or old articles.
What’s the reason behind so many similar assessments? Simple math counting. A shorter URL has fewer characters than a longer one. It makes sense indeed.
But is that true when we move from theory to practice?
1. Composing a Tweet That Has More Than 140 Characters
Let’s take a long URL and compose a tweet…
Want influence? Don’t be just a broadcaster. It’s called social media for a reason! More #TwitterTips: http://www.adrianjock.com/twitter-marketing-tips/
How many characters? 152.
There’s no way you can send such a tweet, is it?
2. Sending a Tweet That Has More Than 140 Characters
Let’s do some magic… Hocus Pocus…
— Adrian Jock (@IMTipsNews) April 29, 2015
3. Why Was I Able to Send a Tweet Longer Than 140 Characters?
According to Twitter Help Center, “A URL of any length will be altered to
22 characters, even if the link itself is less than 22 characters long. Your character count will reflect this.”
In plain English, the length of your URL doesn’t matter.
Due to Twitter’s own t.co URL shortening service, whether your URL is very short or very long, it’s counted as having
22 characters. Since 2011. Not breaking news :P
Update September 28, 2015: Twitter announcement:
On October 1 all new links wrapped with Twitter’s t.co wrapper will use the https URL scheme.
The consequence is that the URLs aren’t counted as 22 characters anymore, but as 23 characters.
4. Another Social Media Myth Busted – Conclusions
Some apps or tools (examples: TweetDeck, Twitter’s web-based interface, JustRetweet) will adjust your character count as you compose a Tweet.
22 characters no matter the length of the link.
Other tools won’t adjust your character count. I have no idea why is that…
Maybe the developers of these tools weren’t aware of the piece of information mentioned under the sub-headline no. 3. Or maybe they didn’t bother to solve this tech issue because their tools use URL shorteners anyway. For tracking purposes.
I don’t know what their reason is. The fact is that they generated the myth that you need a URL shortener or a branded short link in order to save space when tweeting long links. No, you don’t.
A URL shortener doesn’t save space. It offsets tech issues not solved by some apps and tools. [And of course it helps you gather basic tracking info – but this is another topic, not related to this post.]
To Your Twitter Success!
P.S. Your turn… Did you know that the length of a link doesn’t affect characters counting on Twitter?
P.P.S. Follow me on Twitter for more interesting internet marketing tips & news.