Signal Vine Blog: Text Me Back

How To Communicate in 160 Characters or Less

Posted by Arianna Hartmann on August 28, 2015
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Congratulations! You’ve jumped through the administrative hoops and you’re finally ready to start texting your students! We know you have a lot of great information to send out, but you want to make sure your messages are relevant and don’t fall into the TL;DR trap. The beauty of a text message is that it’s short, sweet, and to the point, so here are a few tips and tricks to get your information out there in 160 characters or less. 



Abbreviations (or abbrevs) are the easiest way to cut down on character count. Shortening “information” to “info” and “legitimate” into "legit" can give you enough space to add some personalization to a message, like a student’s first name.

Link Shorteners

Sending students to a link is a great way to give them all of the information they need, but certain links can be over 160 characters alone! Services like bitly or TinyURL shrink your link to about 20 characters, creating room for additional information in your message. Also, if you create an account with bitly, you can track the click-through rate of your link to find out how many students are actually clicking!


Shortcuts are similar to abbreviations, but instead of cutting off letters from the original word, you’re replacing them. Replacing “and” with “&”, “to/too/two” with “2”, or “before” for “b4” are common use cases when you’re just over the 160 character limit. However, you want to make sure you don’t oversaturate your message with shortcuts. The message should still sound like it’s coming from you, so use them sparingly.


Building in a response to your message not only shortens the original text, but also promotes engagement and keeps the message relevant. For example, if you want to send out a text containing links for fall internship opportunities, all of your students might not need that information. Sending out a message like: 


Students that respond “yes” can receive a “Good luck!” message, while students that respond “no” can receive the fall internship links and information that’s relevant to their situation.

Now that you’re equipped with text knowledge from the pros, go out and share your information in 160-character bubbles! Of course, if you ever need further help, Signal Vine's customer service team is happy to provide assistance. Happy Texting! 

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Text Acronyms, Best Practices