How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)
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: http://t.conquent.com/p700
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.