Twitter’s 140 characters – a much-needed increase or an information overload?

by | 07/03/18

It’s been several months since Twitter introduced its platform-defining update, increasing the character limit on tweets from 140 to 280.

The days of painstakingly trying to chop unnecessary words to fit a link within the character count seem like a distant memory, as users have now adjusted to life with longer tweets.

Announcing the news in early November 2017, Twitter shocked social media professionals and casual users with the proposed update, stating that it was part of a long-term goal to attract new users and increase growth.

During an initial test, Twitter found that accounts using longer tweets generally gained more followers, more engagement and spent longer on the site, while those restricted to 140 characters spent longer creating tweets and would often abandon posts they didn’t have time to perfect.

It was a bold but brave move from the social media giant, who essentially scrapped the unique selling point of their platform in a drive for improved user experience and post creativity.

With social media rivals Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all thriving and regularly introducing new features to retain and expand their userbase, Twitter’s character expansion was a carefully executed decision that kept users coming back for more.

Although initially met with doubts and resistance from some users who believed their Twitter feed would be congested with unnecessarily long posts, the 280-character update has grown on most people, allowing for improved creativity and detail.

For PR and Marketing professionals, there is now a lot more scope for creativity when developing social media strategy, with more characters to include important hashtags, account handles and web links.

While composing 140-character tweets would require careful consideration, resulting in much more concise posts, there would often be times where important industry hashtags or company links would be sacrificed to stay within the limit.

In the last three months, our clients have benefited form the increased character count, as we develop and create relevant posts that target specific industry related hashtags and influential accounts that can share and engage with our content.

Remember, 280 characters is a limit not a requirement, and the quality and content of tweets is more important than the length of posts.

You may find that certain content performs better when kept simple, but just having the creative license to extend tweets and add extra information is an important update for those businesses who want to promote and build a strong social media presence.