You think 140 characters is short? Get ready for the “glance.”
You may remember (or you may never have known) that Twitter started as a kind of network of cellphone text messages. The 140-character limitation was imposed by the phone interface. But now we’re starting to see smartwatches, which act as second screens for our smartphones. Those watches don’t have room for even 140 characters, so even tweets are truncated.
Dan Shanoff points this out in a piece for the Nieman Media Lab and suggests that the “glance” will become the “subatomic unit of news” — smaller even than a tweet. Your device buzzes, you look down, and — what? How much can we communicate in 100 characters? 80? 50? You can get a sports score, sure, and maybe even a partial: “NYM 5 CIN 3 B4” for a Mets game in the bottom of the 4th.
What do you do when you can’t even spare the characters for “OMG”?
As a veteran of the wire service wars, I’m awfully familiar with speeding up news and boiling it down for as many formats as you need. For bulletins, the Glance is a no-brainer. But, thinking as a content strategist and a content marketer, when does content reach the point that it’s infinitely mobile but doesn’t communicate anything?