Blog : character limit

Has Twitter lost its USP? How you can utilise Twitter’s new character limit without feeling compelled to use it.

Has Twitter lost its USP? How you can utilise Twitter’s new character limit without feeling compelled to use it.

This week saw Twitter, famous for its limiting character count, expand the number of characters Tweeters can now use from 140 characters to a generous 280. The aim of this, as described by Twitter, was to allow everyone in the world to express themselves easily.

This was tested in September this year and Twitter found that only 5% of posts made in this time took full advantage of the extended character allowance, however, the posts that did exceed the traditional 140 character limit generally received higher levels of engagement (mentions, replies and retweets).

However, is this good news?

Within 24 hours of Twitter announcing they were extending the character limit for all, bar tweets in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, the #280Characters had been used over 350,000 times, receiving a very mixed response.

Many argued that Twitter has now lost its unique selling point, which made it stand out as a micro-blogging site, whereas others claimed this would fully allow them to share their thoughts online in much more depth and without abbreviations.

The past few days have not given us the clearest idea on how Tweeters and brands alike will choose to use their new found character limit freedom, with most 280 character tweets being filled with either random characters or song lyrics and numerous other ways people have chosen to fill the limit simply to experiment.

Utilising #280Characters

We’ve seen several brands toy with all 280 characters, with some using the space to write longer messages of appreciation from their customers, or grab their followers attention, such as this post by Give Blood NHS.

Others using it to drum up follower engagement with quizzes and emojis, such as this post from Spotify.

My favourite was this from Penguin Classics.

Only time will tell how the new character limit will play out in terms of brands communication with customers and vice versa, opinion sharing and online debates and news sharing, however, if longer tweets have been proven to create higher levels of engagement then why not test it out?

What are your thoughts on the 280 character limit? Will you be writing war and peace in a tweet with your additional characters or shying away from it and sticking to what you know best? Let us know in the comments and share your favourite #280Characters reactions with us!