Lost in translation? Twitter's coded messages, and how to read them

TwitterDespite all the media hype, seven out of 10 people still don't know what Twitter is. And even those who do probably find themselves regularly baffled by Twitter messages ("tweets"), whose 140-character limit result in a seemingly garbled thicket of symbols, code, and characters. For example, take a look at a real tweet I wrote last week:

Even for $GOOG? Bloggers <3 Twitter sale gossip. So sad for them. RT @hianthony: Massucci's Take: Too late to buy #Twitter http://tr.im/uvs3

Need a translation? The graphic below breaks it down:


As you can see, Twitter's tweets fall somewhere between headlines, haiku, and mysterious postcards. The messages' space constraints turns language into a dense thicket, as users try to cram as much meaning as possible into 140 characters.

But with the help of our annotated graphic, we can render that tweet into plain old English:

Anthony, your column on the possibility that it's too late to buy Twitter is sure to disappoint bloggers, who love to speculate about a deal for the company. Has Google missed the boat, too? I like your column so I'll send it out to my contacts and bring to the attention of people who are interested in Twitter. (This is in reference to your post at this shortened URL: http://tr.im/uvs3)
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