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Longer Tweets would significantly recast Twitter – but for good or bad?


Is Twitter's 140-character limit disappearing?

Reports suggest Twitter is working on enabling longer Tweets, a move that some are calling a bad idea while others suggest it could open up new opportunities for marketers and attract more users. 

Twitter lifted the 140-character limit on its Direct Messages chat product last year in an attempt to take advantage of the growing popular of chatting apps. Taking a similar step with Tweets is a more risky move as they are the platform’s core offering. 

"Although Twitter’s imposed 140-character limit required people to be creative with a short and sweet message, upping the character count will allow users and brands to articulate their unique brand attributes, product features and things that matter to them,” said Carrie Middlemiss, U.S. director of marketing at Metia

"The design aspect will be key for both consumers and brands,” she said. “It will be important for Twitter to allow more content and images without disrupting the way you currently consume information from your timeline. 

“It would be handy if you could read everything you want to read all neatly folded up in Twitter."

Design is key
Since 10,000 character significantly repositions Twitter away from being a micro-blogging service, it will be imperative for the new capabilities to be positioned so as not to turn off existing users while still attracting new ones, something that Twitter very much needs to do.

Reports about the move, which will reportedly happen sometime in the first quarter, suggest Twitter very much has the user experience in mind. 

The platform is reportedly currently looking at continuing to display 140-character Tweets and including a call to action to let viewers know more content is available. Viewers would be encouraged to click to reveal the additional content.

If this ends up being the final design, it would be a way for Twitter to add more content without forcing users to change the way they currently scroll through their timeline. 

In contrast, redesigning Tweets with more content in the timeline could mean users would look at less content. 

Personalized approach
The ability to provide more content is likely to be welcomed by marketers and publishers as long as users continue coming to Twitter for real-time news. Such a move would also address how content consumption on mobile is evolving, with users increasingly engaging with longer content from their devices. 

The change to the character limit is just one of the ways that Twitter is looking to attract more users as its growth slows and the buzz moves to new platforms such as Snapchat. With the return of Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey to the company last year, a push to reinvigorate the company has been underway. 

“Yes, the current platform keeps tweets concise and digestible,” Ms. Middlemiss said. “Yet it can be confining. 

“Evolving to a 10,000 character count could enable brands to have a more personalized approach and a more positive customer service experience,” she said. “It may also provide an opportunity for effective advertising. 

“It will allow users more flexibility to be more expressive and may entice a larger audience who are accustomed to the greater freedom offered by Facebook and other platforms."

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News Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Social networks, Twitter, Tweets, Metia, Carrie Middlemiss, mobile marketing, mobile

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