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03 Aug


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The Power of 140 Characters

August 3, 2011 | By | No Comments

In the world of social media Twitter is a powerful force and growing.  As evidenced by the recent Women’s World Cup when tweets were flying at a rate of over 7,100 per second, it is a worldwide phenomenon.

When I first learned of Twitter my initial reaction was the 140 character limitation would severely limit the utility of the tool but as can seen from innumerable examples gone bad, the power of 140 characters is immense.  Just in the last few months we have seen political figures ruin their careers (Anthony Weiner), celebrities severely damage their reputation (Gilbert Gottfried and others) and even billion dollar companies make meaningful mistakes (Microsoft).

From a historical perspective I wondered if certain memorable quotes throughout the last century could have been delivered via Twitter:

“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” – Lou Gehrig

“December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” – Ronald Reagan

As you read these quotes and if you close your eyes, you can envision the delivery of these meaningful orations.  I am not suggesting that these famous quotes of Courage, Outrage, Service and Leadership would have been as effectively delivered via Twitter, but what you can see is that they are all less than 140 characters and extremely powerful.

As companies execute on their social media strategies it is important to remember it is not the length of the message that is important but the power of those messages and defining a call to action.

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