publication date: Nov 23, 2011
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Twitter won a parliamentary seal of approval in October as
the British House of Commons voted down a motion that would have restricted the
use of electronic devices to "receive and send urgent messages, as a substitute
for paper speaking notes and to refer to documents for use in debates." The
motion would have ruled out accessing social media.
MP Kevin Brennan may have helped carry the day when he
pointed out that Winston Churchill's famous statement, "Never in the field of
human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few," would fit nicely into
Twitter's 140-character limit with quite a few left over.
"There is nothing new in political communication in trying
to get a message across in a pithy, memorable way, as Twitter enables us to do,"
Short enough to
Pithy, memorable messages - just what we want as
fundraisers. In our accelerated world, even an elevator speech may be too long
to remain in the brain. Every day, thousands of messages stream towards your
donors, in every medium, from every conceivable source. You may be retreating
as far as you can from the whole notion of Twitter, but you have to admit that
conciseness will lift your messages above that torrent.
What would happen to your "memorability index" if you took
every one of your key messages and reduced it to a tweet? If you think your
cause is more complex than Churchill's, your work too multi-faceted or your
campaign too nuanced, consider these other high-impact, low-word-count
The state has no business in the bedrooms of the
nation - Pierre Trudeau (57 characters)
We cannot always build the future for our youth,
but we can build our youth for the future - Franklin Roosevelt (92 characters)
Nothing stops a bullet like a job - Homeboy
Industries (35 characters)
I love you (12 characters)
Whether you tweet or not, 140 characters gives you all the
leeway you need for a succinct message that's easy to remember.
Short is vital, but not
Of course, a concise tweet is only the beginning and even
the most memorable tweet on its own isn't enough to make you a trending topic
for more than a day. Action, engagement and case explanation all require more
than that. How do we build our youth for the future? How do we create those
jobs that stop bullets?
But even those in-depth explanations and appeals are more
powerful with the occasional short, memorable - and tweetable - statement.
Thanks to Ronn Levine of the Specialized Information Publishers Association for the Roosevelt quotation.
Contact Janet; follow her on Twitter.