140 Characters Feel Too Short? Well Twitter’s New Update Gives You The Chance To Use Every Last One!
Previously we addressed the rumour that Twitter was going to change the strict character count of a Tweet from 140 to 10,000… An idea which, we suggested at the time, had many flaws – no more so than the Social Network effectively sacrificing its own USP to try and appease the crying masses. However, the masses wanted change, but not something as dramatic as that!
This was back in February, now some 7 month’s on they have made an important alteration… but thankfully not that one! Reacting with a more considered head to the outcry from millions of users, Twitter has adjusted the 140-character limit to be more appealing and useful for Tweeters.
These changes were hinted upon by Twitter back in May, however the time scale was not made clear, they only said “over the coming months”; we all had to play the waiting game. Well friends… the wait is over!
Twitter is known for its emphasis on short and snappy conversations between users, encouraging creativity and innovation within the 140-character limit. Thankfully, this should remain the same with these changes, instead the difference is that Tweeters are now able to effectively use more words when accompanied by an image!
So What’s Different?
Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC
— Twitter (@twitter) September 19, 2016
Now when constructing a tweet, any media file (image, video, GIF or poll) will no longer cost you valuable characters. In essence, more characters to use for text!
Twitter recognises the importance of imagery on social media, with engagement rate significantly higher when media is used (particularly short videos). Thus the change is no longer penalising you for using media in a tweet; instead you have the opportunity to add more text / a link to your benefit.
Great news! A user’s Home Stream is more likely to be filled with amusing imagery, GIFs and videos as opposed to blocks of text. Much more appealing than the 10,000 characters of doom!!!
A quoted retweet shall also no longer contribute to your loss of characters, thus if you were to retweet someone you can still have the full 140 characters at your disposal.
Not only this, but Twitter has now introduced the ability to retweet yourself! An egotists absolute dream… but also rather useful to double one’s character count.
Previously you would have had to break down a tweet which didn’t fit the 140 constraint into two separate tweets, possibly beginning with “P1” & “P2” to distinguish between them, but Twitter have put a stop to this by making the change. Now one can retweet themselves and use an extra 140 characters… that’s 280 characters – use them wisely!
Although rumoured elsewhere, including by Twitter themselves, there is one change which is yet to take place.
It was suggested that a reply (signified by the “@” at the beginning of a tweet) would also no longer contribute to character count, however this is not yet the case. Not only this, but Twitter also said the “.@” system for replying whilst reaching all followers was going to be abolished and that all tweets you intend to reach a wider audience would need to be retweeted. Again, this is yet to happen.
Watch out for updates about this; given Twitter announced it a while back, it might still happen in the coming weeks!
What Still Counts?
This can all be a little confusing, and sometimes the best way to find out what counts and what doesn’t is to go and play around on Twitter.
In order to try and help in the meantime, this is what does still count towards your character limit per tweet:
- Links (which amount for 23 characters)
- Replies starting with “@”
Still plenty of opportunity to create invigorating and exciting tweets!
More Characters, More Marketing Potential?
Time to bring it home and understand how this will affect Marketing on Twitter.
More characters surely results in more chance to create meaningful and impacting tweets no? Well possibly not.
A longer tweet doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be filled with more worthwhile content. Sure a media file helps the tweet to stand out and grab attention (and is clearly a key ingredient to it being successful), though the text must still be applicable and add value to the reader.
Be considered with your extra characters! Just because they are there, doesn’t mean you have to use them.
We here at clockworkTalent intend to change almost nothing with regards to the length of our tweets, but instead we will ensure we use appropriate media as much as we can to enhance the text & link. You can see our Twitter feed HERE.
— clockworkTalent. (@clockworkTalent) September 21, 2016
As an exciting new venture for everyone in Social Media Marketing, it will be a case of trying, waiting and watching to understand what the best approach is to optimising the increased amount of characters in a Tweet. If you happen to find out what works best, please do let us know!
In the meantime, we welcome you to follow our Social Media channels for more of the latest News and Jobs from Digital Marketing. You can find us across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+! Gives you an opportunity to discover how we choose to use our Social Media channels in the most effective way…!