Twitter’s 140 character limit is undoubtedly a constraint.
Some see it as a challenge, carefully crafting pithy updates designed to make the most of every available character.
Others ignore the ruling altogether, preferring to make use of Twitter clients with built-in URL shortening apps, such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
But what if you want your whole message included in one tweet? If you don’t want readers to have to click on a link to read the rest of it?
Enter Trimit, a new iPhone app from Frimby Limited which uses a complex algorithm to condense and summarise text.
Currently priced at just 59p, and also available for the iPad, the app allows users to type or paste vast swathes of text into the editor and select whether the condensed version is required for Twitter (140 characters), Facebook (421), Tumblr (700), SMS (300) or email (1000).
Shake the phone and the app churns out a shortened version of the prose.
Developers say the app is useful not only for social media platforms such as Twitter, but for anyone wishing to send a summary of a lengthy document via email.
So how does it work? Well, it won’t give you great works of literature, and if you’re allergic to txt spk you probably won’t like the results.
Basically Trimit gets rid of unnecessary vowels (so ‘swimming’ becomes ‘swmmng’) and offers the option of using abbreviations (thus ‘great’ becomes ‘gr8’). In addition, the algorithm uses the structure of a sentence to rank its importance in the text.
The app then fits what it considers to be the most important thoughts together in an appropriate order.
Okay, so let’s see it in action. This is what I typed into Trimit;
“Welcome to Techwatch.co.uk, a freely available online publication relating to digital television, computers, the internet, social media, gaming and mobile phone technology. Join us for the latest tech-related news, industry updates and today’s ‘must have’ gadgets.” (268 characters)
The app isn’t terribly intuitive, but it has a good step-by-step help feature and clear icons.
I haven’t yet worked out if I can lose the irritating high-pitched beep each button makes. It was easy to cut and paste my text into the window, and with a similar interface to Twitter it was relatively quick to use.
Here’s how Trimit summarised my message for use on Twitter;
“uk, a frly avalable onlne pblctn ritng 2 dgtl tlvsn, cmptrs, the intrnt, scl md.”
I’ll leave you to make up your own minds on this one.