Text-speak (txt-speak, txtese, chatspeak, txt, txtspk, txtk, txto, texting language, txt lingo, SMSish, or txt talk) . . . regardless of what you call it, we all have used it.
Text-Speak has become common place in our day to day online and mobile lexicon. Social networks that limit the amount of characters we can use have been the excuse of many to justify this trend and to others, well, we’ve been using text speak since the pager. On a personal level – many people still think that txt speek sux, so you can imagine what they may think about your brand when you use it to communicate.
When it comes to social media and building your brand, the question is. . . should we take the easy way out and cram as much information as possible into each update? 2 b or nt 2 b: d gr8 txt spk db8.
Now, I will freely admit that I use text-speak and I try to do so sparingly. I’ll throw out an LOL and a THX now and then. . . but over all, I like the challenge of fitting my thoughts into a confined space. Having a limited character count helps me focus on delivering my message and challenges me to take out unnecessary words without making my followers/friends take time to look up text message shorthand before responding.
At a luncheon last year with a group of very bright design students, the topic of text-speak came up and the majority agreed that when they had to work to decipher a tweet or status update . . . they tuned out the message and generally avoided engaging with the person using Textese because they had to work harder to understand what was being said.
This insight struck me like a bell. Why on earth would I make it more difficult for my followers/fans/clients to understand my message? Seems counter intuitive to what social media represents.
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If you are building your brand online using social media, remember that you shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to your communication. Cultivating a consistent tone of voice across media is vital to long term success.
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Do you use text speak?
Do you engage with brands who use excessive text speak to communicate online?