Twitter has doubled its character limit, allowing us to share even more of our thoughts with the world through the micro-blogging site.[i] The 280-character upgrade has – as always- created some mixed feelings with the public, with many confused as to why an ‘edit’ function wasn’t created first.
Twitter announced in September 2017 that it was testing out a longer character limit, allowing users to express their thoughts using double the amount of characters they are used to. Interestingly, an analysis of the focus group who tested out the new feature, showed that only 5% of the tweets sent by the group were longer than the standard 140 characters.[ii]
Does this mean that we don’t really need those extra characters?
Some have said that the novelty of the extra character allowance wears off pretty quickly, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated in a tweet:
“This is a small change, but a big move for us. We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.
“But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”[iii]
2017 has been a tough year for Twitter, with revenue dropping repeatedly as they struggle to attract new users. Its 317 million users seem rather small compared to the 600 million that Instagram have, and even smaller when compared with social media giant Facebook, which reached 2 billion users earlier this year.[iv] This move was possibly an attempt to attract more people, including businesses who use Twitter as a platform to announce new plans, releases and information.
What does this mean for your business?
The longer allowance gives businesses and media outlets a better opportunity to get more of their news out to followers. The Balance reported that 47% of people who follow businesses on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website, so it’s clear that Twitter is becoming a more useful resource for businesses.[v] With over 350 businesses across Northern Ireland taking part in #belfasthour and other twitter networking hours weekly. This gives them a lot more freedom to discuss on trend topics and pitch new business ideas.[vi]
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