Social media agency: Why has Twitter turned to 280?

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That’s that then, the decision has been made, the jury has returned its verdict, and life on one of this social media agency’s most beloved networks will never be the same again.

Twitter has increased its character count from the classic 140, to the more wordy 280. This seems like a great idea in a world that is looking to explain more and more without the need for link-clicking, but in many ways we see this as a bit of a loss.

There was a genuine art to conveying your message under the old limits- you couldn’t possibly fit everything you wanted in, and the succinct style actually encouraged better copy writing amongst those that needed guidance. Less is always more within that context.

Why has this happened?

On the flip side, though, it’s not hard to see why this change has happened. For one thing, it should help to boost tweet engagement in many circumstances. Perhaps the content you are sharing references a number of third parties, which all have Twitter accounts. Whereas before there would not be enough room to @ all these handles, it should now be possible to find space for all (or at least most) of them. The more you tag, the more likelihood there is of getting a re-tweet, like, or @ in a tweet, which is why you’re posting in the first place.

The other issue is choice. When Twitter first trialled the new character count, it found that while 97% of English language tweets were hitting 140 characters, only 1% were actually extending to the new 280 limit. This means that fears over a death to the brevity of Twitter, which is integral to its appeal and stands as its USP up against every other network, are likely to prove unfounded now the limit has been universally increased. But it also means you have the choice to post longer updates when the moment is right.

So what should you do?

Going forward, agencies and business users should look at the change as an added bonus, an optional offering that they may want to exploit, rather than a new requirement that has to be met. The whole idea of Twitter from the beginning was delivering information and opinion in short, sweet, and beautifully chosen words, so it’s vital not to forget this, and risk ruining the experience of following you on this platform.