Helena Martin

Is Twitter becoming less Twitter?

Helena Martin
Is Twitter becoming less Twitter?

We’ve all been there, you write the perfect tweet and then find you’re over the dreaded 140 character limit…nightmare!

However, Tweeting as we know it is about to change. This week, Twitter announced it was doubling the character limit to 280 due to a recent fall in profits. From 10pm on Tuesday 26th September, users were randomly selected to trial the new move which excludes Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages. These exclusions are based on statistics from the platform which showed 9% of tweets in English hit 140 characters, while just 0.4% in Japanese reach the maximum.

So, what do we make of these changes?

We are all for championing the character increase, allowing for greater tweeting freedom, and we do believe this will be good news for our clients when covering events, insights and news stories.

Much of our Digital Team’s time is spent crafting the perfect Tweets for clients – an on-the-surface simple task which often becomes complex and time-consuming, partially due to the frustrations of fitting all vital information, hashtags, handles and links into the restricted character count. Having double the space will relieve some of the pressures of social drafting.

However, the beauty of Twitter compared to other platforms is its ability to convey your thoughts concisely and to be witty with restrictions. Plus, its user-friendly mobile format is great for reading on the move.

Particularly for businesses, the value of Twitter lies in Tweeting a short and snappy lead to your content, grabbing and maintaining the reader’s attention and encouraging them to click through to find out more on your website. Will this be lost when Tweeters have the option to Tweet out full paragraphs?

Overall, we think the move to increase characters is a good one, but the new 280 limit is excessive. The platform is in danger of losing its purpose and becoming less conversation and engagement-driven, with a mass of text taking over timelines. In a world where photo platforms like Instagram and Snapchat continue to strive, we think Twitter should perhaps be more media and audience focused rather than profit-focused.

What do you think? Let us know @brandformula_uk.

See Twitter’s coverage of the news here.