If you follow marketing closely, you have likely seen the latest news from Twitter. They have rolled out a new test giving some certified users the ability to tweet with 280 characters instead of the 140 to which we’ve all become accustomed. Twitter stated that they originally kept the character limit to 140 to keep tweets under the 160 SMS limit, but that is no longer an issue with most cell phone carriers. Twitter has said that their goal is to eliminate the constraints that keep users from tweeting more often. Their internal research showed them that the character count limitation was one such barrier—and this test is a way for them to address the issue.
We have seen mixed emotions on the subject and some of our tweet-tastic team members wanted to weigh in. This is how we REALLY feel about the idea of having a 280 character limit on Twitter.
Katy Katz – @KatyKatzTX
Twitter has not really been at the cutting edge of social media for a while now. In fact, they are often making the news for concerns over how much longer they can actually last as a platform. Increasing the character count from 140 to 280 feels a bit like a “meh” announcement to me. The reasons they gave for the change feel misguided (140 was never intentional and to encourage new signups). I wonder, will Gen Z really think to themselves, “ooh, an extra 140 characters, now I’ll get off Snapchat and start tweeting.” Probably not. Especially in a world that’s becoming increasingly focused on visual forms of communication with memes and emoticons. That being said, as a marketer, it’s always nice to have a little more room for hashtags and calls to action. Get ready for more Instagram-style tweets overstuffed with hashtags by zealous marketers. #socialmedia #twitter #chachachachanging #lifeofamarketer #longtweets #riptwitter #kidding #sortof
Aaron Eaves – @AaronEaves
I liked the fact that the 140 character limit kept things short and sweet. It also forced creativity and caused you to “trim the fat” from your message. This image sums up how I feel about it:
James Caldwell – @JCTorch
As a writer, I’m pleased to see Twitter expand to allow more content per post. Throughout my use of Twitter, I’ve often felt limited by 140 characters to post a complete thought about a moment, topic, or news story. I am also hopeful this will lead to more thoughtful discussion and debate on Twitter. It’s simply not possible to have an intelligent debate 140 characters at a time.
My concern is seeing my timeline fill up with large chunks of content, like on Facebook, but I’ll take that tradeoff to post and read higher quality content! In the future, look for companies to shift to micro-blogging on Twitter to reach their audience and create new revenue streams, which has always been the elephant in the room with Twitter: how do you monetize Twitter posts? Expanding the character count creates a path to make that possible.
Lindsay Bartels – @Lindsay_Bartels
I have mixed feelings about having more characters on Twitter. As a millennial, there are few things that I enjoy more than live-tweeting television shows. I have certain days of the week where you can find me with a glass of wine in hand, shooting out tweets left and right about my feelings on the latest Bachelor and Real Housewives episodes. One of my tweets was even shared on the “Social Edition” of an episode of Real Housewives of New York!
I am excited at the idea of having more room to share my thoughts – but am also slightly worried that the quick-witty tweets that I see every week will have more words and less wit. It is fun to try to fit your funny comments into a short tweet, and adding extra characters might take away from that. I am happy I won’t have to cut out appropriate punctuation anymore though. It absolutely kills me when I have to type “dont or cant” without apostrophes.
On the other hand, since I am the social media manager for the Marketing Refresh accounts along with several of our clients, I am thrilled to have a longer character count to give followers more information. I often have found myself having to cut out a relevant hashtag that could have been attached or had to reword something that could have been way more impactful.
Terri Hoffman – @TerriHartley
Twitter has been less effective for our B2B clients over the past few years; and has declined significantly in the past year especially. I am interested to see if this helps improve engagement or if it continues to decline after this update. My sense is that it’s not going to make a big difference.
Mixed Feelings at Marketing Refresh
It’s not surprising that we have mixed feelings about this switch. The entire internet is at odds with whether or not this will be a good thing. We are excited to see how it impacts Twitter moving forward. Follow us for interesting tweets – even though we are still only at 140 characters – at @mrketingrefresh.