Twitter’s Change Is Too Much, For Me

November 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Twitter is setting us all free! We can finally tweet a full 280 characters! Life is great! Yeah, not so much.

Twitter’s move to expand its character limit is a change that may make the service worse. (This is not to mention rendering one of my soft “skills” – crafting 140-character posts – utterly useless.) One of the great things about the social network site is that it tamped down the urge to be overly loquacious. For professional services firms (and hey, even presidents), this meant brevity ruled. From a marketing and communications standpoint, it forced companies to boil their messages down to just the essence.

Despite the site lagging behind the popularity and active user base of Facebook, Twitter has become a key conduit for and window into the media. It’s transformed live events, particularly conferences, sports and breaking news. The shorter character limit meant posts actually read more like headlines, making a pitch for viewers to click-through or follow the user for similar, future content. This has always stood in contrast to Facebook, where lengthy posts are the norm, with lots of extra verbiage that may or may not offer additional value. My philosophy when writing social media posts has always been to start with a tweet and then write for other sites where you can add that extra word or two for emphasis or clarity. Twitter was one of the only spaces on the internet where editing was necessary.

You may be thinking, “C’mon, 280 isn’t such a change!” In absolute character terms, it’s a 100 percent(!) increase. But, yes, most of us fire off more than 280 characters in nearly every exchange. The bigger issue is that Twitter is changing its formula. It may not be its “New Coke” moment, but it is definitely a big shift – and one that ushers in the potential for extra-puffy posts.

It should be noted that I’m terrible with change. Almost every rebranding I see I think is a mistake. (Almost. Some companies and brands really benefit.) Maybe I can grow to love the new spacious Twitter. Perhaps. But, my counsel to professional services companies leveraging Twitter remains the same: keep it short. Everyone’s attention is going in a million different directions and delivering a targeted, concentrated message is the best strategy for reaching a target audience.

Michael Bond

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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