Twitter – the long and short of it

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I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead
Mark Twain

The Twitter character limit

It’s official. Sources have confirmed that Twitter is extending its character limit.

Details of the extension are yet to be announced, such as when this update will roll out and what the new character limit will be, despite rumours of 10,000 characters being talked about online. But it would seem it is unavoidable – long-form Tweets are coming.

The announcement was made at Twitter’s Plan for 2016 showcase, where an attendee appeared to confirm during a Q&A that the limit is set to be extended. While Twitter has said that it’s yet to be set in stone, even Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has heavily hinted at the prospect.

So what does this mean for the social community and digital marketers? We’ve asked various members of the JJ team to give their thoughts – within the current 140-character limit. Who knows how much longer we’ll have to stick to it?

Fergus Cable-Alexander | Group Account Director

Fergus Tweet

Gemma Taylor | Digital Designer

Gemma Tweet

Jai Raja | Social Marketing Executive

Jai Tweet

Bethany Lucas | Social Marketing Executive

Beth Tweet

Michael Cavanagh | Content Director

Michael Tweet

Emily Bray | Digital Account Executive

Emily Tweet

Rich Henderson | Senior Account Manager

Rich Henderson Tweet

Killing or freeing creativity?

It would seem as though the general feeling is that removing the character limit does exactly the opposite and puts a limit on creativity. Restrained to 140-characters, writers and tweeters have to be clever about what it is they’re saying and the result is often witty storytelling that the freedom of extended word length just doesn’t give us.

The 140-character limit has long been regarded as Twitter’s USP, so will removing the limit see a decline in users? Think about the stories that makes Twitter famous. Would a Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa argument have the same impact if they were allowed to rant on for 10,000-characters?

Probably not.

On the other hand, might the new character limit offer more by way of creativity or does it just restrict us from expressing what we really want to say?

The style and form of the platform could be kept alive with a simple ‘read more’ feature, while advertisers would be able to better target Twitter users and gain more accurate data about our likes and dislikes. Or is Twitter just trying to be more like Facebook in a drastic attempt to please advertisers and shareholders?

Whatever the reasoning, we might have to come to terms with it and get on board with the additional ‘freedom’.

What are your thoughts? Is it going to impact on your social marketing strategy? Get in touch with us on Twitter.

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