If you’re a fan of Twitter, you might have noticed a whole heap of noise (read the announcement from founder, Jack Dorsey) this week about a potential change to the fundamentals of writing Tweets. Almost 10 years ago we were introduced to the concept of ‘micro-blogging’ with the luxury of 140 characters. In an age where we’re time poor, this meant we all had to get creative, put our message across succinctly and, let’s face it, have a little fun. Yet here we are in 2016 about to face a character limit of 10,000.
What does that mean for those of us in social media marketing?
It will, in our opinion, be a game changer. Going are the creative, witty and interesting tweets consisting of 140 characters. Hello to much longer posts. MUCH. LONGER.
Think about how and what you write in your 140 characters today and how often you get RTs as a result. Now, imagine you’ve written an interesting, if very long, 9,000-character post. Who’s going to read it? Who has time? And is anyone going to RT that one?
You only have to look at the volume of content available online to know that expanding Twitter by so many characters isn’t going to help marketers be heard. If anything, your Twitter feed will be so limited, you’ll tune out before you’ve even read the precis.
Despite Jack’s assertions that he loves Tweetstorms and that they won’t go away, we’re not so sure. If an argument takes a long time to read, discover opposing views and construct a reply, people will move on quickly.
What does it mean for your paid promotions?
How will social media marketing happen now? Will the costs for paid promotions increase dramatically?
Currently the different social media platforms can be characterised in very different ways (for content marketing). LinkedIn is very ‘business-focused’. Messaging tends to be business oriented, formal and professional. Facebook is informal, a little more light-hearted, definitely social and quite short in format. Twitter, today, is the easiest of the platforms to write for, get involved with and maintain from a social media marketing perspective.
As consumers in a very digital, modern age, we want everything on-demand – and that’s what Twitter does. It delivers easy to read, easy to digest and understandable snippets of information (formal or informal) that you can dip in and out of as you please. Take that away and you’ve got another ‘blogging’ platform, haven’t you?
There’s an argument to say that the new format might give brands a bigger opportunity to communicate with audiences, with more real estate to share ideas and information. We would argue that there is no need. We have a large opportunity now. We Tweet, we share links to other content, photos, videos and other peoples Tweets. With longer Tweets, are we simply encouraging audiences to ‘live’ within the Twitter platform and therefore away from our websites and our content?
Whatever happens with Twitter, we’ll be watching (and Tweeting in 140 characters).