Communicating well in 140 characters is one of the newer dimensions of “communication design,” and its importance was discussed at length some time ago by Rands in, “The Art of the Tweet.” Just like blog articles, I often draft tweets outside of my Twitter client, in a dedicated writing application. Since I sometimes have URLs, references and other text sitting alongside the drafted tweets, I really needed a quick and efficient way to count the characters of the tweets themselves.
I’ve found a wonderfully simple solution based on LaunchBar and Devon’s WordService, described below.
- You’ll need to install LaunchBar from the good Austrian folk at Objective Development.
You’ll need to install WordServices from the technologists at Devon.
Once you’ve installed WordServices, you’ll need to enable the “Statistics” service in the “Keyboard” System Preferences panel, under the “Keyboard Shortcuts” pane.
At this point, you can copy the text of a draft tweet to the clipboard.
Envoke LaunchBar — [command][space] on my system — and type “stats”. “Statistics…” should be one of, if not the, first hits in LaunchBar.
Hit the “tab” key, and paste in the clipboard text.
Hit return, et voilà — up will pop a small window with your text stats.