Wednesday 8th November

In an announcement made by Twitter yesterday, the social media network that has been widely known, since July 2006, for its short, sharp and to the point messages, has just doubled its character limit for every user. The changes that they have just introduced were highlighted to make tweeting easier by allowing all users to utilise the full 280 character limit.

Back in September they rolled out a test that expanded the 140 character count for selected users. At the beginning of the experiment many people utilised the full 280 character limit because it was ‘new and novel’. But longer messages filling up a user’s timeline were short-lived, as after a short while the behaviour of Twitter users, privileged with using this longer character count, became normalised. Whilst some people were able to make use of the longer character count, most people Tweeted below 140 characters most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.

We’re glad they have increased the amount of characters that we now have at our disposal to help promote the number of companies and organisations that we work for. No longer are we going to have to substitute letters with numbers and words with capitals to fit our message into the short space allowed. This did pose problems when publishing from some accounts that were looking to lobby government and were meant to be accessible. More often than not, we were having to substitute ‘two’ with ‘2’ and ‘and’ with ‘&’, you get the idea.

I’m not overly concerned that my Twitter timeline will fill up with other users’ tweets making use of the longer character count, as I believe it is just a fad and will die off in a week or two. In their test only 5% of Tweets sent by users trialling the new limit were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters.

What was encouraging from the test was that people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets & @Mentions), got more followers and spent more time on Twitter. More importantly people in the test highlighted that they felt more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter overall.

Whilst we won’t be using the 280 character count every time we post on the micro-blogging social media network, should the need arise we know the space is there, should we need it. Something that we, and consequently our clients we work with, will be very happy about.