Social network Twitter is trialling longer character limits to help its users “more easily express themselves”.
Twitter currently limits tweets to 140 characters, but has doubled that to 280 characters for a small group of users, and will roll this out across the network if the trial proves a success.
It has proposed the change in response to user feedback, which identified that the current character limit was a “major cause of frustration” for some.
Twitter has been suffering from slowing user growth and the shift could be one way for the firm to attract new users, by widening its appeal.
The 140-character limit was only ever a technical limitation thanks to the character limits of SMS messages in the early days of Twitter, but rapid advances in mobile technology over the past few years means it is no longer an issue.
But, while some users are celebrating the switch to more characters, it has left some Twitter purists bemused.
From a business perspective, the increased character limit won’t make a dramatic change.
On the plus side, it could increase the engagement and attention times of its users.
Marketers will have more characters with which to get their message across.
It might also lead to a resurgence in good grammar and proper English, with users no longer having to resort to text speak or emojis to get their points across.
On the negative side, however, it’s a move that may kill the creativity of many of its users who are used to coming up with ever-more elaborate ways of getting their message across in every Tweet they send out while staying within the 140-character limit that has been in place since the start.
This is no mean feat for copywriters and social media gurus who have refined the art of making every one of the available characters count.
Many users still think one of the best things about Twitter is that it forces people to be brief. Every word counts, so they lose the filler.
By giving them a little more flexibility when it comes to character count, Twitter is losing some of its USP.
And by allowing its users a bit more time to consider how to fill their newly-expanded Tweet capacity, the platform may lose some of the spontaneity that has characterised it in the past.
There’s also the danger that longer Tweets will see the platform flooded with generic marketing messages from businesses which don’t know how to make their marketing memorable.
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So, will the Twitter’s plans to increase the character limit have a massive impact on your business? Probably not.
Will it kill the creativity of some of its users? Maybe.
But you should view that as an opportunity to make your marketing memorable – if you need help, why not give us a call?