Twitter has recently announced that a character limit change is official – tweets can now contain up to 280 characters, but not for every user yet. It’s an interesting and risky move, as the 140 character limit is what Twitter has always been known for and is a major way they differentiate themselves from their social media competitors. According to an article from Market Land, this would mark the “biggest change to Twitter since its founding in 2006 and the biggest risk yet by the company to increase its user base.” This post will explore the potential benefits and disadvantages that could come along with an increased character limit.
Can’t fit your Tweet into 140 characters? ????
We’re trying something new with a small group, and increasing the character limit to 280! Excited about the possibilities? Read our blog to find out how it all adds up. ????https://t.co/C6hjsB9nbL
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 26, 2017
Introducing a doubled character limit (280 compared to 140) has the potential be a beneficial move for Twitter moving forward. One possible benefit of a larger character limit is that it would allow users to “better express themselves,” according to the Marketing Land article. This is a legitimate reason as a restricted character limit has forced users to limit what they’re trying to say. A 280 limit would also decrease the “loopholes” of tweeting such as screenshots of longer text and the annoying threads that appear on timelines. Another important point to mention is the increased opportunity this presents for Twitter’s advertising platform. An expanded character limit gives advertisers an opportunity to create more appealing ads, and as a result this could lead to more ad revenue for Twitter in the long run.
The Marketing Land article also quotes Aliza Rosen (Twitter’s Product Manager) stating that “Twitter is hoping fewer tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to tweet.” Ultimately, Twitter’s overall goal of increasing the character limit appears to be focused on making it easier for everyone to tweet and reducing the frustrations that come along with character limits.
Based on all of the potential benefits above, the expanded 280 character limit seems like a brilliant idea. However, there could be some possible drawbacks of having larger character limits. A clear negative of moving away from the 140 characters is that Twitter would now be steering away from their core idea that has differentiated themselves from other social media competition. The article states that Twitter’s original thought behind the 140 character limit was “replicating the length of a text message would make the social network more inviting to people to post thoughts on the fly from their phones.”
Another disadvantage that could come along with expanding the character limit is an increase in spam. There would be nothing worse then scrolling through a timeline of spam accounts or reading 280 character tweets from irrelevant sources. In the end, it will be very interesting to see what happens with Twitter’s new 280 character limit moving forward. Based on outside research and analysis, it appears to us that the potential benefits of an increased character limit would outweigh the possible disadvantages.
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